Nobel-Prize Winning Productivity Strategies From A Whacky Physicist

richard_feynmanRichard Feynman was one of the most creative and iconoclastic scientists of the past century. A glimpse inside his approach to productivity is provided by Samuel Bacharach:

For Feynman, productivity was less about getting tasks done and more about exploring problems that intrigued him.

1. Don’t worry about what others think
“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish,” Feynman asserted. “I don’t have to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”

By adopting this attitude, you free yourself from paralyzing second guesses, doubts, and uncertainty. Work in your own way and don’t let other people’s criticisms delay you.

2. Don’t think about what you want to be, but what you want to do
“Fall in love with some activity, and do it!” Feynman advised. “Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn’t stop you from doing anything at all.”

3. Stop trying to be a know-it-all
“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong,” Feynman said. “We should try to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we make progress.”

4. Get off the computer
Feynman avoided computers whenever he could because they were distractions that dulled his ability to investigate the world.

“There is a computer disease,” he said. “It’s very serious and interferes completely with creative work.”

5. Have a sense of humor and talk honestly
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool,” is one of Feynman’s most famous quotes.

Nobel-Prize winning productivity strategies from whacky physicist Richard Feynman