I first heard about Sam Altman was when he accepted his honourable doctorate degree from University of Waterloo, Canada. University of Waterloo is most famous for combining their education with entrepreneurship. Therefore, university recognized and honoured Sam’s big contribution to the entrepreneurs’ world. At the award ceremony, Sam seemed restless, sitting there seemed like sitting on the needles for him. Maybe his time was tight, or maybe he had a lot things on him mind. He gave me an impression that he was in his hurry to leave. He rushed to stand up from his chair; rushed to walk to the podium; rushed to deliver his speech and rushed to leave. Sure, time certainly is the most valuable thing in the world.
Long time ago, I read his well known blog ” The days are long but the decades are short” . That blog is his reflection on his 30th birthday. Recently I read his another blog “How To Be Successful”, which is also very very good and insightful. His blog is not a thing you only want to read once. There are certainly a lot of valuable thoughts in there. In his blog, he gave 13 advices on how to achieve outliner success. Following is a much shortened version of his blog.
1. Compound yourself – Move towards a career that has a compounding effect. And your rate of learning should always be high.
2. Self-belief – Believe in yourself to the point of delusion.
3. Learn to think independently – Learn to figure out what to do in situations that seem to have no solution.
4. Get good at “sales” – Be able to convince other people of what you believe. This requires an inspiring vision, strong communication skills, some degree of charisma, and evidence of execution ability.
5. Make it easy to take risks – Most people overestimate risk and underestimate reward. You have to try many things and adapt quickly as you learn more.
6. Focus – Focus is a force multiplier on work.
7. Work hard – You can get to about the 90th percentile in your field by working either smart or hard, which is still a great accomplishment. But getting to the 99th percentile requires both. Hard work compounds like interest.
8. Be Bold – Don’t be afraid to work on what you really want to work on.
9. Be willful – A big secret is that you can bend the world to your will a surprising percentage of the time—most people don’t even try, and just accept that things are the way that they are. People have an enormous capacity to make things happen. A combination of self-doubt, giving up too early, and not pushing hard enough prevents most people from ever reaching anywhere near their potential.
10. Be hard to compete with -The best way to become difficult to compete with is to build up leverage by building a strong personal brand, or by getting good at the intersection of multiple different fields.
11. Build a network – Developing a network of talented people to work with.
12. You get rich by owning things – You need to own equity in something, instead of just selling your time. Time only scales linearly.
13. Be internally driven – The most successful people I know are primarily internally driven; they do what they do to impress themselves and because they feel compelled to make something happen in the world.