Mira Murati, the 34-year-old CTO of OpenAI, is super secretive.
So, it was a somewhat surprise when she opened up about her life during a podcast with Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott recently.
In this revealing conversation, Mira dived into the defining moments and driving forces behind her meteoric rise, from her time at Tesla to becoming the CTO of the company that’s making waves in the tech world.
We’ve collected the best takeaways from her interview below for your inspiration.
You will notice that Mira keeps things simple, but she’s all about consistency.
1. Power of Boredom
Mira flips the script on her childhood boredom growing up in Albania, seeing it not as a dull and negative time, but as a dynamic force that sparked her into action.
Here are some books we suggest to learn more about this concept:
|“The Power of Boredom: Why Boredom is Essential for a Meaningful Life“||Dr. Mark A. Hawkins||Dr. Mark A. Hawkins explores the concept of boredom as a powerful human emotion and explains how embracing it can lead to personal growth, creativity, and a more mindful way of living.|
|“Yawn: Adventures in Boredom“||Mary Mann||In “Yawn,” Mary Mann challenges the negative perception of boredom and takes readers on an engaging exploration of its hidden depths. Mann reveals how embracing boredom can spark curiosity, introspection, and fresh perspectives.|
|“Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self“||Manoush Zomorodi||Manoush Zomorodi presents compelling research and practical exercises in “Bored and Brilliant,” illustrating how embracing moments of boredom can enhance creativity, focus, and overall well-being.|
2. Tap into Childhood Passions
Mira’s love for math began at a young age. Her passion was fueled by doing math problem sets and participating in Olympiads. Her sustained interest in math and physics underscores the importance of nurturing childhood interests, as they often lay the foundation for future career paths.
Here are some books (aside from Robert Greene’s infamous Mastery) we suggest to help you develop and stick to your passion:
|“The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything“||Sir Ken Robinson||This book explores the concept of finding your true passion and how it can transform your life. It provides practical advice and inspiring stories to help readers discover their own passion and live a fulfilling life.|
|“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance“||Angela Duckworth||In this book, Angela Duckworth emphasizes the importance of perseverance and resilience in achieving long-term goals. It offers insights on how to cultivate passion and develop the grit needed to overcome obstacles and stay committed to your passions.|
|“The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles“||Steven Pressfield||This book delves into the challenges faced by creatives and provides strategies to overcome self-doubt, procrastination, and resistance. It offers valuable insights and practical techniques to help individuals pursue their passions with confidence and consistency.|
3. Competition for Knowledge
Under the communist regime in Albania, when everything was equal, there was a fierce competition for knowledge, making education paramount. This environment fostered Mira’s hunger to succeed.
Here are some books we suggest to help you understand these dynamics:
|“The Virtues of Cooperation, Complementarity and Competition in Higher Education in Time of Crisis”||Various Authors||This book explores how tension and challenges can push individuals to adapt, cooperate, and find innovative solutions in higher education during times of crisis. It delves into the dynamics of competition and cooperation, emphasizing their importance in fostering resilience and adaptability.|
|“Nicomachean Ethics“||Aristotle||In this classic philosophical work, Aristotle discusses moral virtue and its relation to education, competition, and the human spirit. He examines how tension and challenges can shape character and emphasizes the importance of finding balance and virtue in one’s actions.|
|“Happy Idle Hours Become a Rat Race“||Sloan Wilson||Sloan Wilson critically examines the tension created by societal pressures in education and competition. The book explores the effects of these pressures on individuals’ resilience, adaptability, and overall well-being, shedding light on the pitfalls of a relentless rat race mentality.|
4. Grounded by Scientific – thinking
Mira grew up in Albania during its transition from a totalitarian communist system to liberal capitalism. This backdrop influenced her gravitation towards truth and science, seeing them as stable sources of knowledge in uncertain times.
Here are some books we suggest to help you with critical thinking skills:
|“Thinking, Fast and Slow“||Daniel Kahneman||In this book, Daniel Kahneman explores the two systems that drive our thinking: the intuitive, fast-thinking system, and the deliberate, slow-thinking system. It offers insights into how biases and heuristics affect our decision-making processes and provides strategies to enhance critical thinking skills.|
|“The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark“||Carl Sagan||Carl Sagan’s book is a passionate defense of science and critical thinking. It encourages readers to adopt a skeptical mindset and embrace scientific reasoning, offering tools to detect pseudoscience and debunk myths. It promotes the development of critical thinking skills in navigating a complex world.|
|“Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know“||Adam Grant||Adam Grant explores the importance of intellectual humility and the willingness to reconsider one’s beliefs and assumptions. The book emphasizes the value of critical thinking in challenging conventional wisdom, questioning biases, and embracing diverse perspectives to foster personal growth and development.|
5. Understand the unique way you learn to be able to adapt to new interests
Mira studied Mechanical Engineering at Dartmouth College, and had an interest in sustainable transport (she was the head product manager for the Model X at Tesla).
However, at Tesla, her interests then gravitated toward AI and computer vision programs. She was able to adapt because she understands the best way she, personally, learns new information.
Thus, she is able to learn very quickly: “I don’t think I learn exactly the same way that other people learn. And if, like, I can get the right conceptual hook on something, then I’ve got it,: she says.
Mira’s recommendation promotes using ChatGPT to help you learn in the way unique to your style of understanding concepts. Here are some resources for you:
6. Broader Perspective
For Mira Murathi, immersion in details is essential, but it’s equally crucial to maintain a broader perspective. It’s about holding two opposing ideas simultaneously — believing something while also questioning it. This cognitive flexibility is essential for innovation and problem-solving, as it avoids confirmation bias and encourages critical thinking.
Here are some books we suggest to help you remain adaptable:
|“Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability…Separates |
the Best from the Rest”
|Keith Ferrazzi et al.||This book introduces the concept of radical adaptability and offers a sustainable model for leading continuous change in the corporate world. It provides insights into how individuals can develop their adaptability skills to stay competitive and thrive in an ever-evolving work environment.|
|“Adaptability: Summary Review“||Unknown||This book provides practical advice on how to develop adaptability skills and thrive in an uncertain corporate landscape. It explores the importance of embracing change, being open to new ideas, and cultivating a mindset that supports agility and resilience.|
|“Individual Adaptability to Changes at Work: New Directions…”||David Chan||Written by David Chan, this book focuses on individual adaptability in the context of organizational changes. It explores various strategies and approaches that professionals can employ to enhance their adaptability skills and effectively navigate the challenges faced in a corporate environment.|
7. Pursue your passions in your Career
Mira believes in chasing your passions when it comes to your career. She’s always followed her own curiosity, focusing on what mattered most to her at any given moment. Why? Because when you’re tackling challenging tasks, it’s that burning passion and genuine curiosity that keep you going and help you push through.
8. Focus on one / a few things
The AI field is growing at an incredible pace, and it is easy to get dragged into trying a tonne of things. But for Mira: to truly make an impact, you need to work on a few key “bets”.
9. Get in touch with nature
Mira Murati’s got a high-pressure job, but makes the time to go hiking to clear her head. There’s something about walking in nature that just hits the reset button for the brain.
10. Use ChatGPT to finish work on time?
Does Mira use ChatGPT in her day-to-day role? They didn’t ask her, unfortunately. But, we bet she does. And if you’re looking to join her, and learn how to use ChatGPT to enhance your work productivity and get time to go on hikes – check out our ebook: “Become a Superhuman at Work with ChatGPT“. We’ve crafted 60 use case walkthroughs that will guide you step-by-step on how to apply this technology in various aspects of your work and personal life.