How To Think Like A Genius (Without Being One)

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elon musk seems to have a formula for taking an impossible dream and making it a reality there are only four entities that ever sent a space capsule into space and brought it back us russia china elon musk so in this video we’ll go through six tricks you can steal from elon to achieve your most ambitious dreams specifically by learning to think like a genius and find solutions that no one else sees the first obstacle that holds most people back isn’t actually lack of talent it’s fear of failure sadly it’s super common for someone to be so scared of failure that they don’t even make a real effort at achieving their dream from the outside it’s easy to assume elon has superhuman confidence that he’ll always be successful but listen to him talk about founding tesla and spacex i mean i thought both tesla and spacex would fail nevertheless you put all your money in that it both i expected to lose it so the question isn’t how to be fearless it’s how can you feel fear and do it anyway here’s elon explaining why he was able to invest a hundred million dollars into something he didn’t think would work i feel fear quite strongly but i um if the if if what we’re doing isn’t for what you know what i’m doing is i think is important enough then i just uh override the fear drive right sphere drive override sphere sounds great in theory but unfortunately we’ve all had something we thought was important to us but couldn’t find the courage to pursue that’s because vague dreams aren’t motivating the trick is to create a very specific picture of the future that energizes you for example listen to how specific elon’s vision was for starting spacex so actually what i sort of thinking i would do is send a small greenhouse the surface of mars with seeds in dehydrated gel and then upon landing hydrate the gel to grow the plants and the public tends to respond to precedence and superlatives so this would be the furthest that life’s ever traveled the first life on mars in your own life if your goal is vague like quit your job and start a business that’s unlikely to overcome fear instead create a specific vision for your future this can be as simple as you waking up every day without an alarm walking to the beach and drinking a coconut in a hammock the more detailed and inspiring your vision is to you the more it will motivate you to act now despite elon’s high chance of failure he’s been incredibly consistent at making his visions a reality the number one thing he attributes this to is his ability to use first principles thinking here’s a quick explanation from elon you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there and this is a good way to figure out if if something really makes sense or if it’s just what everybody else is doing that’s a bit heady so here’s a real example from spacex most people looking to start a space exploration company would look at how other rockets had been built and copy their design this copycat approach is called reasoning by analogy elon found that rockets in their current form were too expensive so he asked why are rockets so expensive they’re built from scratch every time and only used once well does it have to be that way that last part is the magic question with first principles thinking does it have to be that way it’s the question that led elon to create reusable rockets and it will let you find solutions that no one else sees and live a life that most people think is impossible watch here as elon lays out why it makes sense to always question your imagined limitations you should actually take the approach that the constraints that you’re given are guaranteed to be some degree wrong guaranteed to be something you want so let’s say you think you can’t achieve your dream because you need to work full-time to pay the bills does it have to be that way what if you use technology to automate part of your job or hired a virtual assistant to help you what if you quit moved abroad somewhere inexpensive and now you only need to work part-time to pay the bills so the rest of your time can go towards your dream so do you really need to go into the office and work eight hours a day five days a week today those are constraints worth questioning what an employer wants isn’t to have you physically located somewhere 40 hours a week they want you to add value to the business beyond what they pay you this ties directly into the next habit that has led you on to incredible success a focus on delivering value listen to this extremely simple mental framework for what a business actually is as a company it’s just that’s it’s a group of people that are assembled to create a product or service that’s the purpose of a company if you also always forget this elementary truth most people focus on themselves and what they get from work which ironically tends to make them less valuable and therefore they don’t get paid much elon became absurdly wealthy by focusing on making a product that’s good for the world and good for his clients if you don’t have a compelling product at a compelling price you don’t have a great company this is true of any ambitious dream not just business if you want to be a rock star focus on making music that hooks people and moves them emotionally if you want to be a pro athlete then focus on being a player that can help your team win at a high level another trick related to first principles thinking that has helped elon be so successful is to define your top priority let’s look at this interview for a concrete example elon has asked a reasonable question how do you protect your tesla patents so you can maintain your edge over the competition listen to his answer if we created a patent portfolio that discouraged other companies from making electric cars they will be inconsistent with our mission so we open source all the patterns okay in order to help the other anyone else who wants to make an electric car reasoning by analogy aka looking at what other people do you would never give away your intellectual property but tesla’s top priority is to get the world to use sustainable energy through that lens sharing your patents is obvious even if no one else has done it before so if you want to achieve your dream you need to ask yourself what is your top priority this trickles down into everything you do if your priority is to stop global warming at all costs you work 22 hours a day like elon if your priority is to be your own boss then turning down millions in investor money is easy decisions are only hard when you lose sight of your top priority and start looking around at what other people do and whether your dream is to be a celebrity or to create a billion dollar business that changed the world another mindset you can steal from elon to get there faster is be willing to polarize most people try to please everyone and avoid anyone having a negative impression of them so they share little of themselves and they make no impression at all elon does the exact opposite he leans into his quirky personality and throws out the normal pr playbook he smoked weed with joe rogan produced a rap about harambe and hosted meme review with pewdiepie he’s like a magnet that creates a strong pull or push depending on who you are and what you like this has helped him to create a massive cult following that will support him in anything he does even when it’s someone he cares about very much elon doesn’t let other people’s opinions control him for example retired astronauts neil armstrong and gene cernan were critical of elon when he started spacex watch his reaction here i was very sad to see that because those guys are yeah you know those guys are heroes of mine so it’s really tough you know i i wish they would come and visit and and see the hardware that we’re doing here and i think that would change their mind elon is clearly hurt by their lack of support but it never stopped him from pushing forward with spacex you’re likely to face something similar as you try to pursue your dream some friends or family are going to tell you it’s a bad idea just know that that’s a part of the process when you achieve something extraordinary try to limit your downside as much as you can but don’t let someone else prevent you from pursuing your dream once you succeed they’ll say they supported you all along the last mental trick to achieve your massive goal is to celebrate small victories elon is still many years away from achieving his goals of terraforming mars or powering the entire world with renewable energy but he’s made great progress and is happy to celebrate each benchmark along the way similarly in your own life’s big goals they may take years or decades to achieve if you don’t give yourself permission to celebrate small wins along the way you’re much more likely to get discouraged and quit but if you can take pride in your little wins it will energize you to keep going and before you know it you’ll have made massive progress towards your goal now if your dream is to start a business that lets you live wherever you want work whenever you want and do something you’re actually passionate about there’s one more tip for you i highly highly recommend checking out the four hour work week charisma on command wouldn’t exist without it and you can get it for free thanks to our sponsor for this video audible the 4-hour workweek is a bit of a step-by-step guide for starting a business but beyond that it’s the single best resource i’ve ever seen for opening your mind to the possibilities that are out there as an entrepreneur if you hate your job the four-hour work week will excite you and it can give you that concrete vision to take action if you want to check it out for free you can go to charisma or text charisma to 500-500 audible is my favorite audiobook platform and something i personally use all the time it’s a great way to take time that’s normally dead time like doing errands around the house or driving and transform it into productive time where you’re learning and improving yourself by joining audible you get a credit every month to use on any title in their premium selection regardless of price and you also get access to their plus catalog which has thousands of audio books podcasts and guided meditations that you can listen to for free with your membership again if you want to try it out you can go to charisma or text charisma to 500 500 and get a free 30-day trial including any audiobook you want and i highly recommend the 4-hour work week either way i hope you liked this video and i want to thank our video editing team andre therese and ivan for working so hard to edit it i also want to thank you so much for watching it hopefully we’ll see you in the next one [Music] you



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  1. Great video! But it would have been much much better without the ad at the end. It really ruins my impression of the video! In other words, it's not a good "dessert" after having a top "main course, if you know what I mean. Maybe have it right at the beginning or make a clear conclusion about the topic of the main video just before the ad coming at the end? Other than that, excellent content on this channel!

  2. He hires a ton of extremely smart people to solve solutions to problems on the premise of furthering humanity while also working them to the bone (he expects people to be workaholics and neglect their families like he does) and underpaying them.

  3. The way I see it right now I've already failed at life so it has freed me from failing, basically because I'm a restarter within life there is nothing that can stop me.

  4. What if you're not passionate about anything and you don't give a flying fck about anything and everything is just boring af?
    Asking for a friend.

  5. I don't know who, but someone actually needs to hear this, you've got to stop saving all your money. Venture into investing some, if you really want financial stability.

  6. The crazy thing is 40 hour workweeks aren’t even that common at all. So many careers require more, although I’m really grateful to Cintas for doing 4 day work weeks, early shifts, and usually less than 40 hours.

  7. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour work week, is like a modern sage. Attempting to guide each and every one of us who are willing to listen to the open our minds to the doors that await us should we seek to open them.