Elon Musk
Elon Musk told a Reddit AMA questioner his best daily habit is...showering. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Renowned inventor/entrepreneur Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, doesn’t believe his success comes just from smart investments, solid management choices or even innovative technology. No, according to a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session, the habit that has the most positive impact on his daily life is … showering.

Musk dove into a range of topics during his question-and-answer session with fans, reiterating his past warnings against artificial intelligence and name-checking the Kerbal Space Program while also mentioning some personal likes and habits. He likes drinking whiskey, for instance, has been known to play some "World of Warcraft," and is super nervous about the upcoming test flight when SpaceX will attempt to land on a target in the ocean.

You can livestream that launch as it happens Friday by clicking here.

On Education

Asked by a teacher about the best way to motivate students, Musk responded by citing his middle school principal.

“Our math teacher quit for some reason, and [our principal] decided to sub himself for math and accelerate the syllabus by a year.

“We had to work like the house was on fire for the first half of the lesson and do extra homework, but then we got to hear the stories of when he was a soldier in World War II. If you didn’t do the work, you didn’t get to hear the stories. Everybody did the work.”

Landing A Rocket On An Ocean Platform

As for Musk's recent estimate that humans have a "50 percent chance" of landing on an automated spaceport drone ship (referring to the SpaceX launch rescheduled for Friday), that wasn't exactly based on any data.

“I pretty much made that up. I have no idea :)

The grid fins are super important for landing with precision. The aerodynamic forces are way too strong for the nitrogen thrusters. In particular, achieving pitch trim is hopeless. Our atmosphere is like molasses at Mach 4!”

Elon Musk AMA
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said humans are already preparing to make landfall on Mars. Reddit

On Getting Smarter

One question -- how is it possible for one person to know so much about so many different topic areas -- yielded an answer that had to be inspiring for a lot of listeners:

“I do kinda feel like my head is full! My context-switching penalty is high and my process isolation is not what it used to be.

Frankly, though, I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.

One bit of advice: It is important to view knowledge as a sort of semantic tree. Make sure you understand the fundamental principles -- i.e., the trunk and the branches -- before you get into the leaves/details, or there is nothing for them to hang onto.”