The most exceptional people are able to think independently without succumbing to society's immense pressure to conform.
Elon Musk believes we need to think like a scientist, cut through all the conventional thinking, and start with only the information you know to be scientific fact.
"It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, like the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to"
The people who are at the top of their fields have the same thing in common: They insist on precision and have an eye for the tiny, obscure details. That's because greatness is about the unrelenting pursuit of perfection.
"You keep going until you get it right, and then you keep going until you can’t get it wrong"
Many high-performers adopt alter egos to summon confidence when they have to perform under extreme pressure.
Adopting an alter ego is an extreme form of “self-distancing,” a psychological tool that helps people reason more objectively and see the situation from a slight distance.
"At a time when people were chanting "Kobe sucks," I was using an alter ego to give myself emotional distance from my real self. "I was able to switch my mind to something else,
When I make the mental switch [to the Black Mamba], I know its go time"
Do you know who you are after running for 19 hours straight with no sleep? The most mentally resilient people do.
Ultra-marathoner Courtney Dauwalter has managed to stay calm even through bouts of severe nausea, a bleeding head injury, and temporary blindness. She talks about pain as an actual place: she visualizes herself entering "the pain cave." The reason it’s helpful to personify pain is that it serves as a reminder that you’re in control when you enter and equally as aware that you can leave.
"When we get uncomfortable, our brain gives us a way out ,usually quitting or taking the easier route.
When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done."
The ability to bounce back after failure is what sets apart the great from the exceptional.
When you grow, you get better. And if you get better, you eventually win. That’s why most of our biggest successes often come after our most devastating failures.
"As crazy as it may sound, in my mind, I’m always a week away from getting evicted, and that’s what keeps me motivated, not the material things."
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