Musk was considered disabled and lonely at school
He’s the richest man in the world, owns companies such as SpaceX, Tesla and X, but throughout childhood Elon Musk’s teachers thought he would amount to nothing more than an underachiever.
In fact, the principal believed the reason why Elon came across as a daydreamer and didn’t have many friends was because he had some form of learning disability.
In his biography he recalls how his mum, Maye, knew she had an exceptionally intelligent son, from the age of 3 she enrolled him into nursery school against the teachers advice.
Maye had to fight for Elon’s early education, when the school turned him down she told them "I really have this genius child."
But in the classroom Eton did far from shine, "The teacher would come up to me and yell at me, but I would not really see or hear her," he shared.
Eventually the principal called his parents in for a meeting, where they were told, "We have reason to believe that Elon is retarded."
Refusing to accept their son had a learning problem his family thought the issue was being caused by hearing loss.
"They decided it was an ear problem, so they took my adenoids out,” Elon went on to explain.
But he continued to be disciplined by teachers, on a number of occasions Elon would stare out the window when he should have been listening in class.
When he was told off, Elon would make flippant remarks such as, "The leaves are turning brown now."
He didn’t have a learning disability, his hearing was intact; Elon defends his school behaviour as a coping mechanism which allowed him to have deep thoughts.
"Ever since I was a kid, if I start to think about something hard, then all of my sensory systems turn off," he explained.
His nature to switch off from what was going on formed broken relationships between him and the teachers who tried various techniques to catch his attention.
Maye said: "It's best not to try to break through when he has that vacant stare."
It was a painful time for her, she witnessed how isolated her son was from an early age.
"Once he started going to school, he became so lonely and sad,” she said.
It’s a subject Elon himself addressed in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2017. He told the publication: "When I was a child, there's one thing I said. ‘I never want to be alone.' That's what I would say. ‘I don't want to be alone.'”
Looking back he feels it was a mistake when his mum put him into a nursing school at such a tender age, it wasn’t until college until he started making friends.
But we wonder how that principal feels now, the one who labelled a young Elon a ‘retard’? We guess they are living out their winter years in a retirement home trying to afford the bare essentials, let alone a brand new Tesla.
[ Elon Musk launched his first business Zip2, an online business directory, at the age of 24 ]