If I was given $1000 to go from New York to Washington DC, I would just take a limo service to drive me there.

If I was given $300 to get there, I could go by Plane, Acela Express, Car Rental etc.

If I was given $50 to get there, the only possible option is perhaps the Chinatown Bus.

Now, If I was only given $5 to get there, then most people would say its near impossible- but there are always ways to get there, we are just not thinking about this HARD ENOUGH, CREATIVELY ENOUGH and not RESOURCEFULLY ENOUGH.

Imagine facing such resource constraints day in and day out from when you were a little kid and having to think creatively and resourcefully for 20+ years.

What do you think it does to your brain?

10,000+ Hours of struggling and becoming more creative every time. And ultimately your brain Snowballs into being intuitively creative & being able to see around corners.

The struggle teaches you to be creative within constraints & relentlessly resourceful.

The struggle makes you reason from first principles.

The lack of struggle also explains Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. The first generation had nothing, was relentlessly resourceful because of the struggle, the second generation didn’t struggle as much & the third generation didn’t struggle at all & lost it all.

That’s the theory of natural selection. The less you struggle, the less fit you are. The more you struggle, the more fit you become.

Everybody needs to go through the “Beatles in Hamburg” phase.

Thought Experiment for parents: Is the role of the parent to provide as comfortable a life as possible (Elite Education et al) or make the child struggle (i.e. The School of Hard Knocks)

Even Bruce Wayne, who was born into a wealth family, had to struggle, before he became Batman:


Update: Aug 25 2014:

Great Salman Khan Article on teaching kids the value of Struggle. Here is the excerpt:

My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a “growth­ mindset.” But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.


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