Episode: 368 |
Will Bachman:
12 Favorite Problems:


Will Bachman

12 Favorite Problems

Show Notes


Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman had a trick of always maintaining a list of his twelve favorite problems. Anything new he learned he tested whether it could be used on any of those twelve, and he attributed his success to this technique. 

This episode gives a short overview of Feynman’s approach and how you can apply it.

I learned of this tip from Tiago Forte’s course, Building a Second Brain.


Key points include:

    • Richard Feynman’s path to becoming a genius
    • The dormant state of ideas
    • Passive problem solving


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Will Bachman 00:02
So here’s a tip that I learned from Tiago Forte’s course, Building a Second Brain, which I highly recommend, include a link to that course in the show notes. I took the course last fall. And Tiago took this idea from Richard Fineman. So, Richard Fineman, I’ll just read this quote. So here’s a quote from Richard Fineman, “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, each time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your 12 problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit and people say, “How did he do it, he must be a genius.”” So the idea, that’s the end of the quote, so the idea of this Fineman method is, you should create your own list of your 12 favorite problems and write it down, put it in your notes app, save it to your desktop, put it someplace that you’ll see it regularly, make it the homescreen on your phone, and constantly keep these 12 ideas in mind these problems.

And then occasionally, as you’re going through your day, if you know, counter some idea, test that against those who have ideas, one of them might be: How do I stay more Top of Mind with my clients? You know, some other ideas that from participants in the course that I took were: How can I spend 75% of my time doing work that inherently gives me joy? Or, what actions can I take as a dad to develop resilient, clever and kind children? Or, how can remote health monitoring help patients manage chronic diseases? Or, what am I going to do once my purchase agreement employment contract ends with the company we sold our business to. So those are some from participants in building a second brain.

So I recommend this approach. It’s fun to come up with your list. And if you’re willing to share your list, send it to me at unleashed@umbrex.com. If you’re willing to share it, you can go to umbrex.com slash unleashed and sign up for our weekly newsletter, where I send out the list of all the recent episodes of this show, you can decide which ones you want to listen to. And if you are inclined to give this show a five star review on iTunes, that would be greatly appreciated. It helps people discover the show and again, you can email me at unleashed@umbrex.com Thanks for listening

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