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Made You Think

Nov 21, 2017

We all have these things in our life that we accept as a first principle while having no scientific basis or reason for believing in that thing.

Today we do a deep dive of the world’s raddest man: Elon Musk. We’re exploring the wildly popular Elon Musk series by “Wait but Why,” focusing on the last article titled “The Cook and the Chef: Elon Musk’s Secret Sauce” which explores just how Musk might be able to do all the things he can do. And most importantly, we discuss how any of us can use these tools to enhance our own thinking and work. How any of us can be more chef than cook.

We cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Emulating Musk’s way of thinking for extreme advantages
  • Musk’s businesses and how he began them
  • How Musk thinks compared to the way most people think
  • Challenging your existing beliefs and redefining your perspective
  • A strategy for designing your reality and pursuing your goals
  • How the way that you think is much more influential than your natural-born talents
  • Shedding dogma-based thinking and instead, thinking based off of first principles
  • Turning fear into excitement

And much more. Please enjoy and be sure to check out the article!


Mentioned in the show:

Books mentioned:

People mentioned:

0:00 - Perspective challenging, introductory quote and an outline of what the discussion will be about. Also, some information on giveaways, upcoming episodes, the mailing list, and the podcast notes.

3:31 - How the Wait but Why article is outlined and some talk about challenging your existing beliefs. Some examples of challenging your beliefs, as well.

9:40 - The first section on us being constrained by existing beliefs and then, some examples of how Elon Musk thinks.

11:48 - The possible benefits of being on the Asperger or autistic spectrum in regards to life and business. Also, some thoughts on Elon’s companies, his deadlines, and the huge scale of the things that he does.

15:50 - Some discussion on how Musk may allocate and divvy up his time, and the many different projects that he has going on.

18:06 - The software versus hardware idea, how a different way of thinking is more powerful than your natural-born intelligence or talents.

20:08 - How where you’re born can have very little impact on your success, and some examples of very successful people born or raised in poor situations.

26:12 - Discussion on the strategy for designing your reality and pursuing your goals from the article (diagram here). Also, some examples of various companies operating using this system and being successful.

34:21 - How Elon uses this thinking strategy, continually adjusts it, and tests everything.

36:56 - Learning to not become attached to any of the goals and be willing to let it go if something better comes in. Also, being honest with yourself and be willing to invalidate things, instead of validating them. Some examples of doing this and lying to yourself.

40:50 - The story of Musk when he was in college, and how he thought “What would most affect the future of humanity?”. Also, how he focused mostly on expanding the list of things that were possible, instead of focusing on his wants at the time. Musk’s thoughts on engineering being preferable to science, as well.

45:06 - Elon’s first companies and how he was able to fund his next companies.

47:28 - (Tangent #1) The possible health benefits of blood transfusions from younger people. Also, some discussion on various trees of people who are either all successful or not.

50:46 - The history of PayPal, some of its original goals, and some of the feats that the company has accomplished. Also, what came next for Elon after PayPal.

58:12 - The comparison between most people’s way of thinking compared to Musk’s and the importance of always asking “Why?”.

1:02:23 - Some discussion on The Great Depression mindset and how it may be negatively affecting most of us, as well as our future generations. Rooting out these negative beliefs that are passed onto us by our peers, environments, parents, and more.

1:07:37 - The problem with learning things based on dogma, rather than on first principles. Making your way of learning and thinking more antifragile. Also, some examples of these things based on dogma.

1:13:30 - Thoughts on tribalism in political parties, life, social circles, and religion. Some discussion on blind versus conscious tribalism and universal based income, as well.

1:20:59 - Testing people on how tribal they are and challenging their core beliefs. Also, some more talk on tribalism and various issues in the world like rights, cultural differences, health care, and laws.

1:29:22 - Some examples of us not using first principles in our judgment, and some thoughts on various events that completely change your perspective on something.

1:36:20 - Some core heuristics from the Cook and the Chef article for improving your thinking and life. Also, thoughts on growing a business and how you can be the Chef instead of the Cook. “The Chef creates, while the Cook, in some form or another, copies.”

1:45:39 - The necessary need to become the cook and develop intuition before you become the chef. Also, how Musk is the chef and how this all relates to his way of thinking.

1:54:39 - How the ability to become a Chef is infinitely greater now than it was a hundred years ago. How easy it is to try things risk-free currently and the large number of things that we can now try.

1:56:58 - Explaining the three types of cooks and then, the chef. Where most people lie in regards to these four types and recognizing these types, as well.

2:02:45 - Obtaining an accurate view of reality and the benefits of an extreme honesty policy within a company.

2:04:16 - Two mental tricks to overcoming public speaking anxiety and some details on these tricks. Also, how the chef doesn’t give into rational fear and turns fear into excitement, and how the chef doesn’t get tied up in their own identity.

2:10:39 - How a misplaced identity and getting caught up in your history can affect what you allow into your want pool and your view of reality. Thinking things are a lot riskier than they are and the selection bias within stories.

2:13:21 - The final part regarding us essentially playing Grand Theft Life. Us taking much more risks and going after the largest opportunities if our life was inside of a simulation, similar to Grand Theft Auto.

2:15:18 - Wrap-up, some closing thoughts on the article, some bits on the future of the podcast, where to contact us, and information on what our newsletter offers.

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The more I learn about Musk and other people who seem to have superhuman powers—whether it be Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Genghis Khan, Marie Curie, John Lennon, Ayn Rand, or Louis C.K.—the more I’m convinced that it’s their software, not their natural-born intelligence or talents, that makes them so rare and so effective. - Tim Urban