When Someone Gets So Influential, They Work Hard To 'Stay On The Edge Of Sanity'

Elon Musk
Founder of Zip2, X.com, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Neuralink and The Boring Company

Most people work to make ends meet. Lesser people manage to have spare money to spend, and the least amount of people make money work for them, to make even more money.

Among the latter, include millionaires. Those people who reached that height, can afford to purchase a huge mansion, own a car collection, and the ability to acquire some of the world's most expensive things.

And when someone reaches the billionaire status, some may indulge themselves in an even more luxurious and extravagant lifestyle, or maybe revert back to square one.

Elon Musk is a serial entrepreneur, and is regarded by many publications and calculations, as the richest man on Earth.

With a net worth around $300 billion, he could afford almost anything.

But Musk doesn't really care about his status, and even called it "bonkers."

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk

In an interview with the head of TED, Chris Anderson, Musk addressed some of the public's criticisms regarding billionaires, and his status as the world's richest man.

"You know, I think it’s fair to say that if somebody is the king or de facto king of a country, they’re wealthier than I am."

Instead of being happy or sad about his net worth that can fluctuate by billions of dollars at any given day, Musk would rather be concerned about his work and how his companies can change the world.

"I actually don’t think about that too much. The thing that is actually more difficult and that does make sleeping difficult is every good hour — or even minute — of thinking about Tesla and SpaceX has such a big effect on the company."

"I really try to work as hard as possible to, you know, stay on the edge of sanity, basically."

"Because Tesla’s getting to the point where […] every high-quality minute of thinking [has] a million-dollar impact."

And when he was asked about how it is "unethical" for anyone to have such a huge net worth, given that a large amount of the global population still lives under the poverty line with little to no earnings, Musk said that "at this point, it's water off a duck's back."

"I think there’s some axiomatic flaws that are leading them to that conclusion."

The only reason Musk would be offended, is if he was consuming the many billions of dollars he has in personal consumption.

But this isn't the case.

Let alone owning a luxury mansion or a yacht, Musk said that doesn't even own a home.

"In fact, I don’t even own a home right now," he said. "I’m literally staying at friends’ places — if I travel to the Bay Area, which is where most of Tesla engineering is, I basically rotate through friends’ spare bedrooms."

"I don’t have a yacht, I really don’t take vacations, so it’s not as though my personal consumption is high," he said. "I mean, the one exception is a plane, but if I don’t use the plane, then I have less hours to work."

This statement can be justified, since before, his partner, Grimes, once said that Musk sometimes lived "below the poverty line," and refused to buy a new mattress even after her side had a hole in it.

"Bro does not live like a billionaire. Bro lives at times below the poverty line," Grimes said at the time. "To the point where I was like, can we not live in a very insecure $40,000 house? Where the neighbors, like, film us, and there's no security, and I'm eating peanut butter for eight days in a row?"

in 2015, Google's co-founder and then-CEO Larry Page said that sometimes when Musk came to Silicon Valley, he would contact him and say: "I don't know where to stay tonight. Can I come over?"

Then in May 2020, Musk once tweeted that he was selling all of his possessions and that he would "own no house." Then in August 2021, it was reported that Musk was thought to be living in a $50,000 tiny home, which he rented from SpaceX.

And when regarding philanthropy, Musk said that he is one, but in a slightly different way.

"If you say philanthropy is love of humanity, they are philanthropy," he said.

"Tesla is accelerating sustainable energy," he said. "This is a love of philanthropy. SpaceX is trying to ensure the long-term survival of humanity with a multiple-planet species. That is a love of humanity."

"Neuralink is trying to help solve brain injuries and existential risk with AI. Love of humanity. Boring Company is trying to solve traffic, which is hell for most people — and that is also love of humanity," he added.