Life advice from a Stanford professor

Tina Seelig teaches at Stanford and is adored by all the students. Her course is one of the most popular at the university. Tina also has a son, Josh, for whose 20th birthday she prepared a gift. Tina wrote a book where she shared what she herself would like to know in her 20s. The book instantly became a bestseller. In this article, we will tell you about its main ideas.

Behind any problem is the possibility

The first thing Tina advises her son is to learn to see the opportunity behind any problem and to look at all tasks more broadly.

For example, her course at Stanford begins with the fact that on Friday she divides students into several teams and gives them envelopes with $ 5. On Sunday night, they have exactly two hours to create a startup and make money from it. And on Monday, all the students get together. Each team has a 3 minute presentation to share what they have done.

What ideas do you think students come up with?

One team bought a bicycle pump and started inflating flat bicycle tires on campus. Another team made reservations at popular restaurants and sold reservations around rush hour.

But most of all - as much as $ 650 - was earned by the team that came up with this. The students looked at the conditions of the problem even more broadly and found out that the most valuable thing in their situation is not even $ 5, but 3 minutes of presentation time on Monday. The guys found a company that would like to hire Stanford students, and sold them those same 3 minutes. Great move.

Plans cost nothing

Management father Peter Drucker said, "Plans are worthless, but planning is priceless." Scientist Nassim Taleb has a black swan theory, according to which all the good (and negative) events in our life happen unplanned.

Tina is also sure that planning, of course, is necessary, but only in order to set the direction of movement.

“Remember your last trip to an unfamiliar city or a new country? No matter how carefully you plan it, all the same, the most memorable things happen to you completely unplanned: you suddenly meet an interesting person showing you places that are not on the map. Or you turn the wrong way and discover some interesting sights that are not in the guidebook, - writes Tina. - I advise you to plan your career as well as planning your trip. To designate some points for yourself, but at the same time always be ready to grasp and recognize a new opportunity. "

A million dollars awaits you every day

Carlos Vignolo of the University of Chile is confident that every day you can go out and find a million dollars there. A million dollars is, of course, a metaphor. It means the world is full of opportunities to take.

Leaving home, you meet interesting people every day, some events happen to you, opportunities open up that can change your life.

If you are wary of the world, with apprehension and closed to the fact that itself knocks on your life, then you are almost guaranteed to lose a million dollars every day.

With eyes wide shut

Tom Kelly, author of the book Art of Innovation, says that every moment we have to act like a traveler in a foreign country or a child who has just been born. We must take off our blinkers and actively explore the space around us.

James Barlow, head of the Scottish Enterprise Institute, does this exercise with students. He breaks them up into several groups and gives them a puzzle consisting of 500 pieces. Then he turns on the timer to find out which group will complete the puzzle first. The secret is that each piece of the puzzle is numbered from 1 to 500 on the reverse side. Knowing the unique number of each piece, the puzzle can be assembled pretty quickly. However, students are so preoccupied with theories of how to get the job done faster than anyone else that they overlook this "minor" detail.

Our life is a puzzle

Another lesson is that we never know where we might need certain knowledge. “Even if you think that, for example, a calligraphy course will never be useful to you in your life, but for some reason you are very attracted to it, study it! Don't look at how rational it is or not, ”writes Tina and recalls the story of Steve Jobs.

When Jobs dropped out of college, he might not have taken mandatory classes. Then he - as Jobs himself said - a guy who had absolutely no idea what he wanted from life, went to calligraphy courses.

He later said: “I learned about serif and sans serif fonts, the right space between different letter combinations, and what makes typographic art so great. I never thought that this knowledge would be so useful for my future life!

However, 10 years later, when we designed the Macintosh, we used them to build the Mac. And if Windows hadn't copied the ideas of the Mac, it's unlikely that such fonts would have been on other personal computers. If I hadn't left college, I would never have gotten into calligraphy classes, and computers might not have had the great typography they have now. Of course, while I was in college, I couldn't match what I knew and what I wanted. However, when I look back 10 years later, my path seems to me quite clear and correct. "

What ideas are like

To develop metaphorical and creative thinking, you can do the exercise that is practiced at Stanford. Take any concept. For example, "ideas".

Now write:

Ideas resemble ______________________________ because ___________________________________, and therefore _______________________________.

And come up with as many options as possible, for example:

Ideas are like sex because they excite too, and therefore you need to come up with ideas more often!

Ideas are like a crystal glass because they are just as fragile, so they must be protected.

Ideas are like mirrors, because they reflect everything around, so there is nothing to blame on the mirror if the face is crooked!

I wish I knew it at 20!

“I would call every chapter of this book 'Allow yourself.' Give yourself permission to challenge assumptions, see the world in new ways, experiment, fail, chart your own path, and test your limits. In fact, this is what I wanted to know when I was 20 and 30 and 40 ... I have to constantly remind myself of this even now, when I am already over fifty, ”says Tina.

So allow yourself to step outside the box and see new opportunities.