The Feynman Technique

To learn anything:

Step 1: Identify a topic
Step 2: Try to explain it to a 5-year-old
Step 3: Study to fill in knowledge gaps
Step 4: Organize, convey, and review

True genius is the ability to simplify, not complicate.

Simple is beautiful.
Intellectual Sparring Partners

Most of us need fewer friends and more intellectual sparring partners.

Friends are easy to come by.

Intellectual sparring partners are harder to find.

They will call you on your BS, question your assumptions, and push you to think deeply.
Boredom Alpha

Experiencing regular periods of boredom is a competitive advantage.

Your most creative moments come during bouts of boredom.

In the shower, on a walk, at a dinner by yourself.

You’re bored, your mind wanders, and creative insight strikes.

Boredom creates alpha.
Paths Open vs. Closed

Black Lines = paths closed
Green Lines = paths open

We spend too much time focusing on what might have been (black) and not enough time focusing on what may be (green).

Never underestimate the density of opportunity that lies ahead.

(h/t @waitbutwhy)
Luck Surface Area

Much of what we call "luck" is the macro result of 1,000s of micro actions.

Your habits put you in a position where luck is more likely to strike.

If you want to create more luck, increase your luck surface area.

Open up the aperture to let more luck in.
The Cobra Effect

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Fearing the cobras in India, the British offered bounties for cobra heads.

So locals bred cobras to turn in their heads.

A policy designed to reduce the cobra population had the opposite effect.
Fermi Paradox

Where is everybody?!

The basic logic is as follows:

• Billions of stars
• Many will have Earth-like planets
• Intelligent life would rise on some
• Tech would advance to interstellar travel on some

So why haven't we encountered any alien life?

Are we alone?
Time Billionaire

Time is our most precious asset.

When you're young, you are a "time billionaire”—rich with time.

Too many people fail to realize the value of this asset until it is gone.

Treat time as your ultimate currency—it’s all you have and you can never get it back.
Hedonic Treadmill

Humans have a tendency to quickly return to a baseline level of happiness after positive or negative events.

We believe that "more" will make us happier.

It won't.

We get there, feel a moment of happiness, and reset to thinking about the next "more" ahead.
The Locksmith Paradox

As the locksmith improves at his craft, the customers become increasingly upset by the lower time input required to deliver a fixed output.

The results are the same, but the perception of value has changed.

The locksmith is penalized for proficiency!
The Peter Principle

Employees in hierarchies are steadily promoted for competence—until they reach a level where they're incompetent.

People are promoted up to the level of peak *incompetence*.

Devised as satire, it may explain a lot about senior management at large orgs…
Parkinson's Law

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Work longer, get less done.

When you establish fixed hours, you find unproductive ways to fill it.

If your goal is to do inspired, creative work, work like a lion instead:

Sprint. Eat. Rest. Repeat.
The Cantillon Effect

The early recipients of new money entering an economy will benefit more significantly than those it trickles down to.

In other words, the "flow path" of the new money matters.

New money creates distributional effects based on where it enters the system.
BS Asymmetry Principle

The energy required to refute bullshit is much larger than the energy required to produce it.

This is why BS spreads so easily—especially on social media.

It's also why we need to make a deliberate effort to fight back against it.
Entrepreneurial Golden Age

It’s the best time in history to be a builder—the 2020s are a golden age.

Things in your favor:
• Abundance of no code tools
• Open, accessible internet
• Cracking walls of credentialism
• Decentralization of hiring hubs

The time is now.
Fundamental Attribution Error

Humans tend to:

(1) Attribute someone else's actions to their character—and not to their situation or context.

(2) Attribute our actions to our situation and context—and not to our character.

We cut ourselves a break, but hold others accountable.
The Effort Paradox

You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless.

Effortless, elegant performances are often the result of a large volume of effortful, gritty practice.

Small things become big things.

Simple is not simple.
Second-Order Thinking

Imagine a rock is thrown into a lake.

The splash is the first-order effect. The ripples are the second-order effects.

The world is filled with first-order thinkers—it’s easy.

Dig deeper.

Always ask "and then what?”—consider the layers of consequences.
Free Time as a Call Option

You've incorrectly been told that free time is bad.

The reality: Free time is a call option on future interesting opportunities.

When you have free time, you have the headspace to pursue exciting opportunities.

Free time creates non-linear outcomes.
The Persuasion Paradox

Have you noticed that the most argumentative people rarely persuade anyone?

The most persuasive people don’t argue—they observe, listen, and ask questions.

Argue less, persuade more.

Persuasion is an art that requires a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.
Those are 20 ideas I can't stop thinking about—on careers, startups, technology, and life.

Follow me @SahilBloom for more threads on interesting ideas and frameworks.

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We also cover many of these topics—and their applications to startups, tech, and business building—in our new podcast.

Check out Where It Happens on Apple, Spotify, and Youtube.

Don’t miss our upcoming episodes with @morganhousel and @waitbutwhy!

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