Elon Musks' "3-Step" First Principles Thinking: How to Think and Solve Difficult Problems Like a... - Deepstash
Elon Musks' "3-Step" First Principles Thinking: How to Think and Solve Difficult Problems Like a...

Elon Musks' "3-Step" First Principles Thinking: How to Think and Solve Difficult Problems Like a...

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Elon Musks' "3-Step" First Principles Thinking: How to Think and Solve Difficult Problems Like a...

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Elon Musk

"Well, I do think there’s a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles reasoning

(...) What I mean by that is, boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there, as opposed to reasoning by analogy.

Through most of our life, we get through life by reasoning by analogy, which essentially means copying what other people do with slight variations."

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  • First principles thinking: actively questioning every assumption you think you know about a given problem or scenario  and then creating new knowledge and solutions from scratch.
  • Reasoning by analogy: building knowledge and solving problems based on prior assumptions, beliefs and widely held ‘best practices’ approved by majority of people.

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Elon Musk's 3 Steps Principle Thinking

  1. Identify and define your current assumptions: When next you’re faced with a familiar problem or challenge, write down your current assumptions about them.
  2. Breakdown the problem into its fundamental principles: These fundamental principles are basically the most basic truths or elements of anything.
  3. Create new solutions from scratch.

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Elon Musk

"It is important to view knowledge as sort of semantic tree

Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.

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Assumption: “I just can’t find enough time to workout and achieve my weight loss goals.”

First principles thinking:

  • What do you really need to reach your weight loss goal? I need to exercise more, preferably 5 days a week for an hour each time.
  • Could you still lose weight exercising less frequently, if so how? Possibly, I could try 15 minute workouts, 3 days a week. These could be quick high intensity full body workouts that will speed up my fat loss in less time.

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Mortimer Adler

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.”

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