What could you make with these three things?
Imagine you have three things:
A motorboat with a skier behind it
A military tank
Now, let’s break these items down into their constituent parts:
Motorboat: motor, the hull of a boat, and a pair of skis.
Tank: metal treads, steel armor plates, and a gun.
Bicycle: handlebars, wheels, gears, and a seat.
What can you create from these individual parts? One option is to make a snowmobile by combining the handlebars and seat from the bike, the metal treads from the tank, and the motor and skis from the boat.
This is the process of first principles thinking in a nutshell. It is a cycle of breaking a situation down into the core pieces and then putting them all back together in a more effective way. Deconstruct then reconstruct.