On Approach and Richard Feynman

This week’s learning draws inspiration from ‘Surely you’re joking, Mr Feynman’ by Richard P Feynman.

When I began reading Richard Feynman’s autobiography, I expected to understand what made this Nobel Laureate tick. Of course, I expected to hear his life story and all his accomplishments in the field of Physics.. but I wasn’t prepared to hear about his expertise in..

1. Drumming: While Feynman was a guest lecturer in Brazil, he learnt how to play the Brazilian drum. He was so good that he was considered a role model drummer for his marching band at the world famous car-na-val. Even while he was lecturing, he did drumming on the side and recorded music.

2. Art: Feynman learnt to draw while he was at CalTech. As an amateur artist, he painted many a model and even sold many of his paintings. He was so much in demand at one point that he was even paid in advance for a work of art.

3. Safe cracking and Lock picking: While at New Mexico for the famous atomic bomb project, Feynman became an expert lock picker and safe cracker. He was so good that he was called on any time a colleague was on vacation and had left their safes locked.

And all this aside from being one of the most celebrated Physicists of all time. The point here is that he used his in-depth learning approach as a student of Physics and applied it to become an accomplished student of drumming, art and safe cracking.

While Feynman’s genius in Physics might have extended to safe tracking and lock picking (logic being the base..), his expertise in Art and Drumming came from his ‘approach.’

True top performers are not good at just one thing alone. Being best in the world at something means they can apply their learning ‘approach’ to anything they try!

Here’s to working towards being ‘best-in-the-world’ at one thing!