Personal Development

How to solve the worlds biggest problems, from healthcare to education


In his second appearance on Tim Ferris’ podcast, Dr. Peter Diamandis talks about his new book BOLD, and how his organization, X Prize Foundation, is focused on solving the biggest problems in the world: from privatized space flight, to literacy, to healthcare.

[Podcast: How to Think Like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos]

Funded by the Ansari family, the Ansari XPRIZE challenged teams from around the world to build a reliable, reusable, privately financed, manned spaceship capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface twice within two weeks. The prize was awarded in 2004 and along with it, a brand new private space industry was launched.

The Global Learning XPRIZE challenges teams from around the world to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within the 18 month period of competition field testing. Our goal is an empowered generation that will positively impact their communities, countries and the world.

(Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE) Imagine a portable, wireless device in the palm of your hand that monitors and diagnoses your health conditions. That’s the technology envisioned by this competition, and it will allow unprecedented access to personal health metrics. The end result: Radical innovation in healthcare that will give individuals far greater choices in when, where, and how they receive care.

In each case, Peter reached out to world leaders, entrepreneurs, and more recently the general public, to determine what the biggest problems are facing the world. Then, he and his team at XPRIZE developed a contest to solve them; and if you listen to Peter in either podcast, “there isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved.”

[Related: Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis (XPRIZE) on the Magic of Thinking BIG]

Why is this lesson important?

20 years ago nobody dreamed that space travel could be privatized, except Peter. He stood on the steps in St. Louis and announced to the world that he was going to award $10 Million for the first team to privatize space flight. The media attention was incredible, it graced the front page of almost every newspaper in the world. The only challenge was he had no backer for the $10 Million – YET.

“If you want to take the island, burn the boats”

If you want to be successful, and change the world, you need to remove what’s holding you back, prevent the retreat – “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.” This saying held true for Peter, and the future of XPRIZE Foundation. It meant that he had passed the point of no return. He had knew that if a team was going to fly into outer space, then he would get a sponsor. That fundamental belief is what drives XPRIZE to continue to create worldly impactful contests.

This should serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs and individuals, alike, to believe that anything is possible, whether it is a personal dream or business aspiration. With the growth in technology and crowdfunding, we are at a point where any idea can be validated quickly and funded almost immediately – whether that means privatizing space flight, conquering world literacy, or even the COOLEST COOLER (click here to see this crowdfunded campaign).

“Technology is democratizing the power to change the world.”

There are no longer any limits to your potential, DREAM BIG!




Doug Foley
Doug Foley is a podcast host, content marketer, and problem solver. He is also the youngest of 7 brothers and sisters, a proud father of 2, and is on a mission to help people find their passion, take action, and build the life they want to live. He frequently writes about entrepreneurship, personal development, and motivation.
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