First principles is a way thinking initially taught by Aristotelians and Kantians. In the video below, Elon Musk has revealed that he has adopted this way of thinking in order to innovate more rapidly.
For most people, our thought process generally works on the basis of our ideas, experiences and then a comparison of both. However, this is not how Elon Musk’s thinking and perception pattern works. He believes that there is always a better way for innovating.
Elon Musk is one of the boldest entrepreneurs in the world. With PayPal, he revolutionized the concept of online payments. Today, he runs three premier companies:
SpaceX: Space Exploration and Tourism
Tesla Motors: Electric cars
Solar City: Solar energy.
Elon Musk shared his belief on First Principles Thinking in an interview conducted by Kevin Rose. This is his core philosophy that has provided him with guidance during his entrepreneurial journey.
He believes that one should not use analogies but first principles to reason and think. If we use the analogy for reasoning we are only following a routine.
First principles are more of a physics-based theory to perceive the world. We find reasons for every fundamental truth:
“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.”
Watch the video to find out what first principles thinking is and how it can better your innovation skills: