The tech entrepreneur turning science fiction into reality teaches his kids 3 lessons to help them dream big

The tech entrepreneur turning science fiction into reality teaches his kids 3 lessons to help them dream big

peter diamandis

Mike Blake/Reuters

Serial entrepreneur Peter Diamandis said he's made a career of fulfilling childhood dreams, and it's factored into how he raises his own children.

  • Peter Diamandis is a serial entrepreneur behind the XPRIZE, Singularity University, and Human Longevity, Inc.
  • He had a childhood love of space, but his parents wanted him to become a doctor. This shaped his career trajectory.
  • He believes that his own passion has motivated him far more than anyone else ever could.
  • He teaches his twin 6-year-old boys to find their own passions, remain curious, and always be persistent.

Not many people can say that they've made a career of fulfilling their childhood dreams, but Peter Diamandis likes to see his 9-year-old self as the driving force in his life.

Diamandis is a serial entrepreneur who's founded the XPRIZE entrepreneur competition series, the tech research center Singularity University, and the life-extension company Human Longevity, Inc. - all companies essentially making science fiction reality.

The privilege he's had to pursue his childhood passions has influenced the way he's raised his own children, 6-year-old twin boys Dax and Jed, he told us in for an episode of Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It."

"So I've thought about this a lot, and the realization was, there are three things that I think are important right now for anybody to teach their kids," he said. "I don't care if they're 3 years old or 23 years old."

They're lessons that can help you think of your own life, as well, even if you're not a parent.

You can subscribe to the podcast and listen to the episode below:

1. Help them find their passion

Diamandis' father was a doctor and his mother ran operations for his dad's office. It was a life that brought them success as Greek immigrants in America, and so they wanted their son to become a doctor, too. Diamandis' passion, however, was space, and nothing would change that.

As an extreme overachiever, he decided to compromise by getting his master's in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and his MD from Harvard - and he actually did find aspects of the medical field he loved, but in a way that tied back to his childhood passion for sci-fi. He'd rather his sons find what they're excited about and pursue it, without a mandate from him.

"I'd love if they followed my footsteps on any of these areas, but what's more important is for them to find their passion," he said. "And to support them in that passion, because when they find that passion, they will self-educate, like I did in space. It drove me more than my parents could drive me; my own passion drove me."

2. Foster their curiosity

Diamandis said he believes "curiosity is the single most important attribute for success."

It inspired him to create a routine with his boys.

"And so when I drop my kids off at school, when I'm there, I say, 'Ask great questions today.' And when I pick them up, or when they come home, it's like, 'What questions did you ask? What questions do you have for Dad?' Getting them into this comfort level of asking crazy questions. Because I think that's the differentiator."

3. Teach the importance of persistence

Diamandis said that his biggest accomplishments have seemed like "overnight successes" after repeated failures. For example, he had the idea for the XPRIZE, to open up space flight to private industry, back in 1993 but didn't fund the winning flight until 2004.

It's why he instills in his kids an appreciation for "grit."

"There's a motto in the household of saying, 'We never, ever, ever, ever give up,'" he said.