Richard Feynman used this mental framework to give life meaning and purpose. In his own words,
You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state.
Every time you hear a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while, there will be a hit, and people will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”
In essence, your favorite problems are questions that help you get into an explorer mindset. When you read through other people’s ideas, you’ll unconsciously make connections to your favorite problems. Day by day, you’ll make progress on finding solutions.
I spent my weekend jotting down my favorite problems. In order of importance, they are:
- How can I enjoy life more?
- How do I sustain my child-like curiosity about everything?
- How can I meet folks who are more ambitious than me?
- How can I help others make more money?
- How do I maintain my lifting routine?
- How do I become a better storyteller?
- How can I help change our education system to have more hands-on learning?
- How do I engineer serendipity in my life?
- How can I increase my optionality?
- How do I build a team of inspiring people with shared values and long-term vision?
- How can I spread Adlerian psychology to more people?
- How do I build a brand that outlasts me?
Once you know your favorite problems, you don’t need to work on them constantly. Your mind will look for answers while you’re focusing on something else.
What are your 12 favorite problems?