Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, written by Tina Seelig, is an excellent book that I read earlier this year.

  • Funny enough, I'm more than a few years past 20,

  • but I found great value in reading it and I am going to share the key points with you all.

  • So regardless of your age,

  • I'm confident you will find some valuable nuggets of information from this book summary.

  • Stay tuned.

  • What's going on guys,

  • J from MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • Like my other book review on the Subtle Art,

  • I will be summarizing the author's points but also inserting my own commentary on things I agree

  • or disagree with, along with relevant examples from my personal life.

  • This is a longer video, but there is a lot of information jam-packed here.

  • I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I did making it.

  • The premise of this book as is as follows:

  • major life transitions, such as starting college, or graduating college and starting a career,

  • can be daunting.

  • There are an infinite number of possible paths to take,

  • and no one is able to tell us whether we are making the right choice.

  • Success, no matter how you define it, is not part of a simple equation.

  • While there are common traits among those we deem successful,

  • there is no clear delineated path or recipe for success.

  • Tina Seelig is a faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program,

  • and received her PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford School of Medicine.

  • She is an excellent teacher and has won several accolades in recognition of her education work.

  • This book summarizes her model for reaching our highest potential and her life philosophy.

  • That being said, this information is relevant regardless of age.

  • Tina sets the tone early on by jumping straight into what makes an entrepreneur.

  • I love her definition, which is as follows

  • an entrepreneur is someone who is always on the lookout for problems that can be turned into

  • opportunities and finds creative ways to leverage limited resources to reach their goals.”

  • Note that her definition does not mention anything about businesses, finances, or money.

  • Being an entrepreneur means seeing the world as opportunity-rich.

  • Tina argues that entrepreneurship is important for just about everyone to develop.

  • After all, itcultivates a range of important life skills, from leadership and team building

  • to negotiation, innovation, and decision making.”

  • A common mindset that most of us fall into is to frame a problem or situation too tightly.

  • In one of her lessons, Tina challenges the students with the following:

  • earn as much money as possible in two hours starting with just five dollars.

  • They had time to plan their approach, but once the envelope was cracked open,

  • they only had two hours to generate as much money as possible.

  • Standard responses would be to start a car wash or lemonade stand,

  • using the $5 to purchase the starting materials.

  • However, teams that made the most money didn't use the five dollars at all.

  • They realized that focusing on the money framed the problem too tightly,

  • so they reframed the problem aswhat can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?”

  • The teams found incredibly innovative solutions, some bringing in upwards of $600.

  • Some of my favorites included offering a service to sell reservations to restaurants,

  • so customers did not have to wait around in line on busy nights.

  • As a cycling enthusiast, I also enjoyed hearing of the story

  • where a team set up a stand to measure bike tire pressures for free.

  • If the tires needed air, they would inflate the tires for one dollar.

  • When then they switched from charging a fee of one dollar to becoming donation-based,

  • and their income soared.

  • Next, school is not an accurate representation of the real world.

  • I am in no way saying that competition is a bad thing.

  • However, the current educational system often hinders collaborative team efforts.

  • In school, students are evaluated as individuals and graded on a curve.

  • This means when one student wins, someone else loses.

  • This adds unnecessary stress and is not an accurate representation of how the real world works.

  • Outside of school, people work on teams with a shared goal, and when they win so does everyone else.

  • Another great point she makes is how students learn.

  • I'm sure all of you can relate to being assigned a textbook chapter,

  • carefully reading and taking notes, and being tested on the material later.

  • After college, however, you become your own teacher and must figure out what you need to know,

  • where to find the information, and how to absorb it best.

  • Tina calls life theultimate open book exam.”

  • The doors are thrown wide open, allowing you to draw on endless resources around you

  • as you tackle open-ended problems related to work, family, friends, and the world at large.”

  • We have been taught all our lives that problems are to be avoided and are something to be complained about.

  • By removing ourselves from these situations, we will view problems as opportunities in our everyday lives.

  • Learn to fail.

  • In contrast to school, most situations outside of school have a multitude of answers to every question,

  • many of which are correct in some way.

  • More importantly, it is acceptable to fail.

  • Tina actually encourages more failing, as failure is an important part of life's learning process.

  • Just as evolution is a series of trial-and-error experiments,

  • life is full of false starts and inevitable stumbling.

  • The key to success is the ability to extract the lessons out of each of these experiences,

  • and to move on with that new knowledge.”

  • I have been in this situation, and I am sure many of you can relate.

  • There are times where I have felt like I need to pick the one right answer

  • when there is a wall of choices in front of me. It can be overwhelming.

  • And although family and friends will be happy to give advice,

  • it's ultimately up to us to choose our own direction.

  • But the important part to remember is that we don't have to be right the first time.

  • Life presents us with many opportunities to experiment with

  • and recombine our skills and passions in new and surprising ways.

  • For example, I would have never guessed that I would combine my passions for medicine,

  • education, and technology into this Youtube Channel.

  • Tina requires her students to write a failure resume.

  • That means they craft a resume of their biggest screw-ups -

  • personal, professional, and academic.

  • For each failure, the student describes what he or she learned from that experience.

  • This forces students to come to terms with the mistakes they have made along the way,

  • and reminds them that these are opportunities for growth above all else.

  • Many successful people believe that if you aren't failing sometimes then you aren't taking enough risks.

  • In some cultures, the downside for failure is so high that individuals are allergic to taking any risk at all.

  • This is in sharp contrast to the Silicon Valley,

  • where failure is acknowledged as a natural part of the process of innovation.

  • On the most basic level, all learning comes from failure.

  • Think of a baby learning to walk.

  • He or she starts out crawling and then falling,

  • before finally mastering the skill that as an adult we take for granted.

  • The entire venture capital industry essentially invest in failures,

  • since the majority of the companies they fund eventually go under.

  • Many of you have probably heard Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford in 2005.

  • He explained getting fired from Apple, the company he started, and how devastating that experience was.

  • He was a very public failure,

  • but then something began to dawn on him

  • he still loved what he did.

  • He had been rejected, but he was still in love. So, he started over.

  • He said that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.

  • The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again,

  • being less sure about everything.

  • He entered one of the most creative periods of his life, during which he started NeXT,

  • Pixar, and found the woman who later became his wife.

  • Pixar became the most successful animation studio in the world,

  • Apple bought NeXT and used its technologies at its core,

  • and he married Laurene and they started a family.

  • He was pretty sure that none of that would have happened if he had not been fired from Apple.

  • It was awful tasting medicine, but the patient needed it.

  • When we think of career trajectories on a graph with time on the X-axis and success on the Y,

  • we imagine a line steadily pushing up and to the right.

  • But in reality, life is riddled with failures and ups and downs.

  • As you move further along in your career, you will have great successes but also great failures.

  • Take Steve Jobs' story as an example.

  • Most individuals' paths are riddled with small and enormous failures.

  • The key is being able to recover from them.

  • For most successful people, the bottom is lined with rubber as opposed to concrete.

  • When they hit bottom, they sink in for a bit and then bounce back,

  • tapping into the energy of the impact to propel them into another opportunity.”

  • Failures can serve as incredible opportunities in disguise.

  • They force us to reevaluate our goals and priorities,

  • and often propel us forward much faster than continued success.

  • Failure is the flip side of success, and you can't have one without the other.

  • Remember, if you do take a risk and happen to fail,

  • you are personally not a failure.

  • The failure is external.

  • This perspective will allow you to get up and try again and again.

  • Have the right attitude.

  • Attitude is perhaps the biggest determinant of what we can accomplish.

  • True innovators face problems directly and turn traditional assumptions on their head.”

  • And I don't mean this in a lets-start-a-business sort of way or lets-make-money way either.

  • Problems are really just opportunities yet they go unnoticed more often than not.

  • Problems are abundant and are waiting for those willing to find inventive solutions.

  • This requires observation, coordinated teamwork, the ability to execute a plan,

  • willingness to learn from failure, and creative problem-solving.

  • But above all else, it requires having the right attitude;

  • the attitude that the problem can be solved.

  • So why is it that most of us don't always focus on the opportunities that surround us each day

  • and take full advantage of them?

  • The reason is that most of us are not naturally good at identifying and challenging assumptions.

  • We follow the herd mentality,

  • meaning people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors.

  • Often times the status quo is so entrenched that those closest to the situation

  • cannot imagine anything different. Tina calls thisproblem blindness”.

  • A brilliant way Tina approaches this issue is to have her students identify a problem,

  • and then pick a random object in their environment.

  • They then need to figure out how that object will help them solve the problem.

  • There is considerable research showing that those willing to stretch the boundaries of their current skills

  • and willing to risk trying something new are much more likely to be successful

  • than those who believe they have a fixed skill set and innate abilities that lock them into specific roles.

  • This goes back to the fixed mindset vs growth mindset that many of you have probably heard about.

  • Those who have a fixed image about what they can do

  • are much less likely to take risks that might shake that image.

  • But those with a growth mindset are typically open to taking risks

  • and tend to work harder to reach their objectives.

  • They are willing to try new things that push their abilities, opening up entirely new arenas along the way.

  • Embrace the impossible.

  • By not limiting ourselves to the status quo,

  • we are able to take on grand projects, make choices that seem radical,

  • and carve out a new path that leads us to unchartered territories.

  • And that's where the magic really happens.

  • Instead, we watch these people, like Elon Musk,

  • in awe and limit ourselves from ever taking the risks or thinking in a similarly radical way.

  • Here's another ingredient to the secret sauce -

  • the more experience you have tackling problems,

  • the more confident you become that you can find a solution.

  • It's difficult to figure out when rules are just suggestions, and when suggestions morph into rules.

  • On a daily basis, we see physical signs that tell us what to do, written instructions direct us on how to behave,

  • and social guidelines urge us to act within specific parameters.

  • We also make a lot of rules for ourselves,

  • which are in large part encouraged by others.

  • These rules become woven into our individual fabric as we go through life.

  • Once you whittle away the recommendations, you realize there are often many fewer rules than you imagined.

  • Larry Page, co-founder of Google and badass-extraordinaire,

  • gave a lecture where he encouraged the audience to break free from established guidelines

  • by having a healthy disregard for the impossible.

  • Think as big as possible.

  • It's easier to have big goals than it is to have small goals.

  • Why?

  • Because with small goals, there are very specific ways to reach them and more ways they can go wrong.

  • With big goals, you are usually allocated more resources and there are more ways to achieve them.

  • All the cool stuff happens when you do things that are not expected.

  • The well-worn path is there for everyone to trample.

  • But the interesting things often occur when you are open to taking an unexpected turn

  • and question the rules that others have made for you.

  • It's easier to stay on the prescribed path, and that's why many stay to it,

  • but it is more interesting and exciting to discover the world of surprises off the beaten path.

  • Here's another brilliant exercise that Tina uses.

  • First, teams come up with a problem that is relevant for the group.

  • For example, a group of executives in the utility business may be trying to find a way to save energy.

  • Then each small team is come up with a best idea and a worst idea for solving the stated problem,

  • and write each on a piece of paper.

  • She then takes the best ideas, shreds them, and redistributes the worst ideas.

  • Each team now has an idea that another team thought was terrible.

  • And they are instructed to turn this bad idea into a fabulous idea.

  • After looking at this horrible idea, they realize it isn't so bad after all.

  • It's all about reframing perspective and embracing the impossible.

  • I love this exercise because it demonstrates that most ideas,

  • even if they look silly or stupid on the surface,

  • often have a least a seed of potential.

  • Ideas don't have to be feasible to be valuable.

  • Sometimes the craziest ideas, which seem impractical when initially proposed,

  • turn out to be the most interesting in the long run.

  • There is a lot to go over and cover in this book,

  • so thank you so much for watching part one.

  • Please move on to part two for the rest of this video.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, written by Tina Seelig, is an excellent book that I read earlier this year.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 tina failure problem success successful life

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 | Secrets to Success [Part 1/2]

  • 7 0
    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
Video vocabulary