How to Go From Failing Student to Rocket Scientist | Olympia LePoint on Impact Theory
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How to Go From Failing Student to Rocket Scientist | Olympia LePoint on Impact Theory

January 14, 2020

Tom: Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You are here my friends because you believe
that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not
the same as actually doing something with it, so our goal with the show and company
is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your
dreams. All right, today’s guest clawed her way
out of failure [inaudible 00:00:25] to become an award-winning rocket scientist who helped
NASA launched 28 [00:00:30] space missions, by working her ass office despite a brutal
childhood that saw her stabbed in the face by a young gang member, abused, and at times
eating only ice because her family couldn’t afford food, and failing at high school algebra,
geometry, calculus and chemistry. She was still able to transcend her circumstances
and ultimately went on to graduate in the top five of her college class with a degree
in mathematics. But her struggles didn’t stop there. [00:01:00] Hired by Boeing at 21 she found
herself very out of place as a young woman of color in a male-dominated world. Often the only woman in a room full of roughly
200 men she had to endure hazing and discrimination on an almost a daily basis. Despite that, however, leveraging her talent
and drive she managed to rise up the ranks and have an astonishingly successful career. She won the Modern Day Technology Leader award,
and in 2004 she was awarded Boeing’s company professional excellence award. [00:01:30] Her achievements have landed her
on countless high-profile shows, including NBC and CBS news, Dr. Drew’s Life Changer,, PBS, and her TED talk on Reprogramming the Brain to Overcome Fear is incredibly popular. Since leaving the world of rocket science,
she’s applied her mathematical skills to banking and education alike, ultimately founding
her own company and she’s now the CEO of OL Consulting Corporation and Publishing where
she is inspiring and educating the next generation as a popular speaker [00:02:00] and creator
of science-based entertainment and education. Please help me in welcoming the woman people
magazine named the “modern-day hidden figure,” the author of Mathaphobia, and most recently,
Answers Unleashed, The Science of Unleashing Your Brain’s Power, Olympia LePointe. Welcome, welcome. It’s so good to have you on the show. Olympia: Thank you. Oh wow. Tom: Your story is crazy. Olympia: [00:02:30] Thank you. Tom: There’s growing up hard, and there’s
growing hard. You definitely overcame a lot. Walk us through that a little bit, because
I think that what you accomplished even if you’d come from an upper-middle-class family
would’ve been extraordinary, but to have really had the struggle the way that you did. It’d be so hard to capture here the way
that it is in the book, how just so many things are going on at once, but you managed to fight
through that, but give a little taste. Olympia: Tom, thank you so much. I’m just so, so [00:03:00] happy to be here
on your show and to share my story and to inspire your audience. What I really want to get across to people
is that no matter what type of circumstances that you have been raised in or have experienced
you always have the ability to find a way out and create success for yourself. I had to do that in my own life and it was
not easy. When I look back, my childhood was very rough. I grew in south-central Los Angeles. I was a person who [00:03:30] was in a single-family
home, as my mother took care of four of us by herself and she struggled. We were on welfare. We didn’t have money and sometimes we didn’t
have food to eat. We didn’t know any different, but what the
difference was was when we would go passed, at the time USC was close by us and I’d
see all the college students go towards the campus. I thought to myself, “Where are they going? What are they doing? Why do they look different than the rest of
people there in the group?” That always kept in the back of my head. [00:04:00] Our mother said, “Whatever you
do, in order to change your circumstance you’re going to have to get an education.” I kept that in the back of my head. No matter what I had to educate myself. I had to get a degree. So people that I saw going to the school down
the street, that’s something I could do. I had that vision. Through a series of circumstances … It was
very rough. When I was 10 years old I was sitting next
to this boy in this classroom [00:04:30] and he and I got into an argument. We’re two kids in the same position, same
location and time, but our choices were different. At that moment in time we got into an argument,
and I always had a smart mouth. I always had a way to be able to push buttons
because … I didn’t know the power of my words back then. Now I do. Now I actually embrace that. But at the time I was a 10-year-old child. I was pushing buttons. And he got upset and he stood up and he hit
me [00:05:00] right underneath my eye. I remember all of my entire vision going dark
and hearing screams. That’s when I felt the wet on my face, and
then I heard, “Oh my god. There’s blood. There’s blood.” I’m like, “Is that what the wet I feel?” I couldn’t see anything. Part of it was kind of a blurred out because
anytime we go through traumatic experiences sometimes the brain actually just hides it. I remember being brought to the hospital where
the surgeon put five [00:05:30] layers of stitches in my face. He said, “Had this been any higher you would’ve
lost your eye.” I remember just being kind of shocked. Here I was this 10-year-old child there not
necessarily knowing what to do it. The surgeon said something that I’ll always
remember. He said, “I’m going to sew your face so
well that all you’ll see is a line. And then when you get on TV in the future
[00:06:00] all you’ll see is a line. If you ever want to get rid of it you can
have plastic surgery. But I’m going to sew this up so well that
when you get on TV in the future to tell your story that’s all they’ll see.” Here I was this 10-year-old child listening
to this, and suddenly for me to be laying there getting stitches in my face, I wasn’t
thinking about the stitches. I was thinking, “Oh, I’m going to be on
T.V. I’m actually going to be able to do something.” That was like the exciting part. Later on after that my mother pulled me out
of that school to keep me safe, and then she [00:06:30] put me into the school completely
on the other side of town. It was a gifted school, Gifted Magnet. I was with people who were brilliant. They were geniuses. I was nowhere near how brilliant these people
were. I remember finding myself having to listen
to what they were saying because how they said it was in different words than I used. I spoke with a broken English, and that was
the type of environment that we were in because we weren’t taught [00:07:00] the proper
way of speaking English. I even had an accent before. I remember being around these individuals
and I remember just listening to their voice and thinking, “They’re using words differently
than how I use it.” I studied how people spoke. Tom: I was going to say; I have a theory about
the inner cities. I went to USC and did some big brother like
work in the inner cities and really got a sense of what-
Olympia: Thank you for doing that. Tom: [00:07:30] Oh, for sure. That’s a whole nother story for another
day, which doesn’t touch what you’ve done. Being there and seeing that you begin to get
a real sense of the adversity that has to be overcome. I believe that most of the people that the
inner city touches it destroys, but every now and then it creates somebody extraordinary. What was it that made you listen? What was it that made you say, “I’m going
to adopt that, I’m going to learn that, I’m going to get out of this like? Why doesn’t that happen to everybody? Olympia: You pose such a [00:08:00] good question. When you’re expected to succeed by your
mentors or parents or teachers, when there is an expectation on your life to do well,
at an early age you adopt it, you address it, you adhere to it, you create it. But if you’re never given that opportunity
to know what you are capable of doing, if you are never given that word, that encouragement
that says, “You know what, you can be [00:08:30] good at mathematics even though you failed
algebra and geometry and calculus and chemistry,” which I did. “You can actually do well in mathematics.” If there is not someone showing you your worth
when you can’t see it, you’ll forever be looking in the mirror thinking that you’re
not worth what you are. For me, every single time I went to that school
across town … It was around two hours away from where I was. Every [00:09:00] time I would come back it
was a wake-up call. I would go to this school that was in a predominantly
well-off area and everyone had books and paper and really nice shoes. I remember looking at this thinking, “Oh,
I don’t have any of that.” Every time I could come back into my neighborhood
I would see the graffiti, and I’s see the trash. I thought to myself, “What makes a difference? Why are there people here in this situation,
versus here in this situation?” [00:09:30] Every single day I would come back
and it came down to this, it was the thinking. How we think, how we look at situations, whether
or not we see ourselves doing well and being successful, or versus if we see ourselves
as a not successful person in an environment. Our thinking defines our life. When we can take hold of our thought and see
[00:10:00] it for what it is, and change it, and transform it, and change it to convert
it into an energy that unleashes a brainpower that allows us to change a situation, that
my friend is how we change our lives, and that’s how we change everyone else’s life. Tom: Do you know who Luther Campbell is? Olympia: Tell me who Luther Campbell is. Tom: He was the lead singer of 2 Live Crew. He had a very similar situation. He grew up in South Florida, I think just
outside of Miami. He used to get bused from the inner cities
into a wealthy neighborhood to play football because he [00:10:30] was good. He had a very similar experience. It was interesting hearing you describe that. You didn’t go into as much detail in the
book about the back forth, back and forth, back and forth, but hearing that that would
be such a visceral reminder of the change. When I was big bothering I used to do that. I would take him to Beverly Hills to watch
movies because I wanted him to see something beautiful. That was like this driving thing in me. I was like, “This kid can’t be all that
he sees is this literal concrete jungle.” They only thing he saw going from home to
school was concrete. There’s [00:11:00] like literally three
trees and there’s nothing. So just trying to get that visual. Was that something that you thought about
in real time? Were you like I need to get out of this? Like this is going from something beautiful
that I want, to something that is painful that I want to get out of? Olympia: Every place has its pros and cons. Really great places will still have a con
to it. Really horrific places will have a benefit
to it. It’s all how we see a situation. [00:11:30] Every time I was bused into that
school I thought, “Oh wow, I get a chance to learn,” but at the same time I realized
how superficial it was. Everyone looked at each other based on what
they owned versus what their character was. I saw the benefit and the detriment of that
situation. Then when I came back home and was bused into
the area immediately when I came off the bus it was like, “All right, how do I make sure
I’m not shot down.” [00:12:00] This is literally what went through
my head. Tom: Your mom used to make you guys sleep
with your feet to the street side. Olympia: Yeah. When I say this now I realize the character-
Tom: Tell people why. Olympia: When I’d get off that bus and then
I come home there was a lot of gain violence. I was very thankful to be able to get home. Once we got inside the door and [inaudible
00:12:22] we’re like, “Okay, we’re somewhat safe.” But there was a crack house next to our house. My mother had decided to [00:12:30] go back
to school shortly before they had moved in. She went to night school. When she was found out that there was a crack
house she had to drop going to night school to stay at home to keep us safe. She put up this metal on the side of the wall. She had us sleep in the bed in a certain direction. She said, “I’m having you sleep this way
and I’m going to put this metal up so if a bullet comes through the wall hopefully
it’ll hit the metal first, and if pierces through the metal [00:13:00] at least it will
hit your feet and not your head.” This is where we grew up. I remember making a note to myself, “I will
do anything and everything to make sure I am not going to place myself in a situation
like this, and I’m going to get an education so I can encourage other people to be able
to succeed in life.” That was my decision because no one should
have to go through that. But the beautiful part about going through
that is no matter what [00:13:30] type of situation I faced in the future, if I can
get through that, I could get through anything. Tom: Yeah. Knowing your story it’s like that was already
insane to be able to get over that, but going from that … In your TED Talk the way that
you told the story was really interesting. You’re like building it up, and in 11th
grade I finally meet this tutor and he teaches me how to do calculus, and I’m finally getting
it, I realize I can do it, and I take the AP test and I want to tell you that I passed
but no. Olympia: I know [00:14:00] I failed it. I was a [crosstalk 00:14:01]. Tom: How do you go from that to fifth in your
class and graduate with a degree in mathematics when people are telling you to quit by the
way? Olympia: Oh yeah. Tom: What’s going on in your mind? What are the mindset pieces that you’re
putting together to not let people stop you, to not let naysayers slow you down? What are you doing mentally? Olympia: It was a mental challenge, I must
tell you. What happened was I was failing algebra. I failed algebra, I failed geometry, I failed
calculus and chemistry. [00:14:30] There was this calculus teacher
that said, “All right, I’m going to offer calculus tutoring for anyone who’s willing
to come to the campus during the winter break.” I thought everyone was going to go. I didn’t even have money to go at the time. I thought, “This is an opportunity. Someone’s going to tutor me. This is great.” I remember specifically it cost $1.35 to get
the bus there and back, and I didn’t even have that. I will never forget. It was the gas [00:15:00] attendant. It was a local gas station. It was a gas attendant. He knew I was so dedicated to go to school
he loaned me … Not loaned me; he basically gave it because I never had a chance to pay
him back for it. He gave me $1.35 each way so I could catch
a bus two hours to get to the campus and sit there. I thought everyone’s going to show up. There was only myself. I thought to myself, “This is such a blessing.” I sat there and I [00:15:30] picked his brain. “How do I look and what does an integral
mean? What does the tangent mean? What does the instantaneous rate mean?” These are all words for derivatives in calculus,
and I got to just sit down with him. That was the first time ever that I realized
I was smart. When I sat with him it was amazing because
I realized what was stopping me was my own fear. It wasn’t anything with my educational [00:16:00]
aspect. It was me thinking I couldn’t do well in
mathematics. When I learned to remove that fear and think,
“I’m going to do this no matter what’s going to happen. I may fail it. I may not fail it. I’m going to do well at this and I’m going
to just see where it goes. I’m going to put my all into it and find
out.” And I put my all into it and I failed. I put my all into it and I failed, [00:16:30]
but something inside of me shifted. I realized failing wasn’t that bad. If I can spend a little bit more time at it
I can actually do really well with this. That was a shift in thinking. I’m like, “All right, I’m just going
to spend some more time in it and I’m going to actually get this.” I went to Cal State Northridge. I’m very thankful. That was the best school I could’ve gone
to for me personally. I went to Cal State Northridge, and my first
job [00:17:00] that I had was a math tutoring job. Because I had taken calculus and I’d taken
those classes over I scored relatively high on the placement test. This is how ironic life is; the only job that
I got first when I was in college was a math tutoring job. Tom: That’s ironic. Olympia: I know. Isn’t it? I remember telling the boss that hired me,
the late [Miss Jane 00:17:26] Pinkerton, God bless her, and told her, “I don’t know
half this stuff.” [00:17:30] She said, “That’s all right. Just sit down with them and just read the
book with them.” I looked at her and I’m like, “Are you
sure?” She said, “Yeah, just sit down and read
the book with them.” I’m like, “Okay, if I get paid to do this
sure.” So I sat down with the students. It was stressful too because I didn’t know
half of the terminology or anything was in the books. I would sit down with them and like, “Okay,
I’m here to tutor you.” You’re like, “Well, how do you do this?” I would just tell them the truth, “I [00:18:00]
have no idea. I’m going to read the book with you.” They thought I was joking. We literally sat and read the book together. I found myself reading the algebra books,
reading the geometry books, reading the calculus books, reading the statistic books, literally
reading and studying. I thank Jane Pinkerton because had she not
hired me into that role I would not have graduated top five out of a [crosstalk 00:18:27] class. It was because I sat [00:18:30] down and worked
with those students. When I overcome my own fear it was when I
was working with someone else and recognizing that person next to me was the exact mirror
of myself. As I could help that person right next to
me, I was helping myself at the same time. It became this teamwork. Every single person on the campus needed mathematics
and so I got a chance to know everybody on campus and became one of the most popular
people because everyone needed mathematics. That confidence [00:19:00] that was built
from taking something that I failed at before and shifting my thinking about it and embracing
it to actually create a new reality for myself, that’s what empowered me. That’s what allowed me to graduate top of
my class, which later opened up the door to launch rockets. Tom: It’s incredible. We’ll get to the launching rockets in a
second, but let’s talk about neuroplasticity. One of the things that you talk about in your
TED Talk is literally re-programming your brain to overcome [00:19:30] the fear to deconstruct
it. I think you said fear is a choice, if I’m
not mistaken? Olympia: Yeah. Tom: So walk us through that. Why is fear a choice? How do we use neuroplasticity? What does that look like? What’s the real process to make that happen? Olympia: That’s such a great question. I love being on your show because you ask
great questions. Tom: Thank you. Olympia: You ask questions that hit home. Through a series of events I learned the power
that we have in our brain. When I overcame so many [00:20:00] challenges
when I was launching rockets of being a woman, and being a person of color in a predominant
area that was different than myself, I had to think differently. I had to think, “All right, I’m going
to stand out. Everything that I do is going to have to be
twice as good. That’s just the nature of it.” I had to change the way in which I was thinking
in order to do that. How am I going to be such a contributing force
to this environment that [00:20:30] whenever I leave I’ve made a difference? When I realized that, and then when I coupled
that with the aspect of mathematics, where the same type of math that we used to launch
to Mars it’s the same type of math that we use to literally reshape our own brain,
I realized the power of our thoughts. Tom: I’ll push a little bit on that. When you say that, one, I don’t think most
people know chaos theory. Chaos theory basically, and you’ll check
me if I’m wrong, chaos theory basically [00:21:00] states that the beginning circumstances
matter a lot. It’s also known as the butterfly effect. A butterfly flaps its wings in Shanghai and
there’s a storm in Australia. Now in fractals, ever repeating patterns in
nature, which are fractals, so that played a huge part in chaos theory. Are you saying that that what’s happening
in the brain and that’s key part of neuroplasticity? Olympia: Yes. Chaos theory is the study of chaos. When two [00:21:30] things happen at the same
time one will have a completely different effect than the other person. Let’s show you an example. There’s two twins born. One twin ends up with cancer, the other one
ends up living an entire long life. What was the difference if they had the same
DNA? What changes them to have two different outcomes? Chaos theory is like, okay, you could be in
space, you can go towards one destination, but any slight change in position will completely
stall your vehicle or it will throw you to Mars. Depending [00:22:00] on what your movement
is chaos is the type of mapping that gets you there. Tom: So how do you take that into account
mathematically, which will make this analogy just really powerful? Olympia: When we have thoughts neuroplasticity,
self-directed neuroplasticity, is the ability to change our own structure of our brain in
our head by being aware. How chaos theory affects our [00:22:30] brain
is that when we are aware of where we are, what we’re dealing, and more importantly
the decision that we have in front of us, the choice in our thought in a situation whatever
decision that we make in that full awareness, that decision in itself is a fractal moment
in chaos that literally changes the brain at that very moment to restructure it inside
of your head so you can [00:23:00] unleash your power. Tom: So okay, neurons are fired together,
wired together. I understand the process of myelination well
enough to sort of know a little bit about the architecture of what’s happening. So if you’re thinking a thought and you’re
practicing let’s say, which is a great example of neuroplasticity, so I’m going to practice
it over and over, over, those neurons are going to fire together continuously. They’re going to literally rewire like you’re
talking about in sort of that chaos moment. The myelination makes things travel more quickly. So now I’m actually getting better, meaning
faster and more capable [00:23:30] of thinking that thought. What can people do on a daily basis? When you are having one of these moments,
I’m glad you say you start with awareness, right, what am I trying to do. If they know what they want to do, but they
don’t know how to get there, and they don’t know how to trigger the neuroplasticity, what
advice do you have? Olympia: When you look at how are my thoughts
going to align with where I want to go and you decide that moment in time where you decide
this is a thought that’s going to get me to being a rocket [00:24:00] scientist. This is a thought that’s going to get me
to be a doctor. This is a thought to get me to be a host of
my own show. Whatever it takes, I’m going to have all
the type of thoughts that’s going to get me closer to where I want to go in the future. When we realize that we have a choice in how
we think about things, where we have a choice, are we going to be scared about something,
or are we going to go for it no matter what’s going to happen, that is when we unleash this
power to here. Tom: [00:24:30] What was the thought that
you had that let you become a rocket scientist? Olympia: The thought was back in 1986 when
Challenger exploded. I saw on the TV, and some of the younger crowd
that’s looking at this. If you have an opportunity go to … I actually
write about this on the Huffington Post. It’s one my articles out there. Google Challenger explosion. [00:25:00] It was January 28, 1986. All of us were young kids and we were looking
on the TV. Tom: I remember this. Olympia: You remember that too? Tom: Yes. Olympia: It was horrible. Schools all across the entire United States
was looking at the first teacher going up into outer space. She was going with a group of astronauts. There was a series of events that happened
that created the o-ring [00:25:30] to freeze and warp. So when they lit the rockets the solid rocket
booster literally tilted and it ruptured the external tank. The external tank for the space shuttle was
like the gas tank. It punctured the gas tank with this fire. There was just fire. The entire explosion killed everyone but it
didn’t kill the astronauts. They were actually in a pressurized chamber
that was supposed to withstand that type of explosion. [00:26:00] I remember their capsule went into
the ocean, and when the capsule actually went down into … It hit the ocean. It cracked open like an egg. They died drowning. Tom: Whoa. Olympia: Yeah, yeah. People don’t necessarily know that. When I found that out, I was just so in shock. Gandhi has a quote. It says, “You must be the change that you
wish to see in the world.” I remember seeing that and I’m thinking,
“ [00:26:30] Shouldn’t somebody have done something so that wouldn’t have happened? “ I didn’t realize that at that very moment
when I looked and saw that I thought, “I’m going to be a person to help prevent that.” It wasn’t until … I think I was nine when
that happened, eight or nine. The moment in time where I realized, “Oh
my god, my dream of being a [00:27:00] rocket scientist actually came true,” it wasn’t
when I became a rocket scientist. I actually didn’t remember that I made that
decision when I was eight or nine like I was going to do this. I was actually sitting at my desk at work
and I looked and I thought, “Whoa, I’m doing rocket science work.” I was in the exact same department to prevent
the type of failures that I saw when I [00:27:30] was nine years old. Tom: I was going to say that became your job,
right? You were the one that had to dissect whether
something was going to blow up or not. Olympia: I signed engine tests. They couldn’t test the space shuttle main
engine without my signature. That was one of the most stressful jobs that
I’ve ever … You have to know every bolt, you have to know every weld, you have to know
every single pressurized system, how long of hot fire each engine has been through,
the ISP, ISP is [00:28:00] like the horsepower of the rocket, and you had to know all of
this to authorize that. Your signature meant nobody’s life was going
to be in danger because you’ve done all that checking. Tom: You’d likened it to having to look
into the future. To be able to look at a schematic and know
what happens in the future. I found that pretty interesting. In fact, I think I have a quote about here
about it. “Your role was devised in a way to pick
the future that would ensure flight.” I [00:28:30] really like that concept of you’re
picking a future. So you’re going through this schematic. You’re looking at everything; the bolts,
the way that the rings fit, everything. You kept saying nooks and grannies. You have to know every, every inch of these
things, and then in your mind, construct a vision of the multiple ways that it can play
out. How does that apply to normal life, because
I think that very akin to what we’re all doing? Olympia: Yeah. It applies 100%. [00:29:00] The key thing is that you have
to put into your head exactly what it is. You have to envision it before it happens. Then you have to envision what you don’t
want to happen. You have to do both. Tom: You we’re saying that in the book and
I was so surprised. I took a note of that. Because normally when you talk visualization
you tell people don’t think about the thing you don’t want. The hands follow the eyes, I think is a phrase
in racing. So it’s like wherever you look, you’re
going to go. So if you’re looking to the things you don’t
want, you’re going to self- [00:29:30] destruct. But you were saying that you guys really had
to think about just how exactly does this go right and how exactly does this go wrong. Olympia: Yeah, you have to do both. Tom: How does that help you? Olympia: When you see exactly what you don’t
want, if you can take the exact opposite of that, that’s how you find out what you do
want. For example, when we launch rockets we knew,
okay, we didn’t want there to be an explosion out the jacket, which is was like the side
of the rocket. We wanted the explosion to go down. So [00:30:00] we thought, “Okay, what is
the worst case scenario.” And the worst case scenario is, “Okay, there
will be flames blowing out where we don’t want it to go.” So we’re like, “How could we prevent that? How can we focus on where we do want it to
go? Where’s the ideal part for it to go?” The ideal part is for all the flames to go
down the tubes and go through and create a plume. What we had to do in that aspect is literately
envision exactly what we didn’t want, and figure out the chain [00:30:30] of events
that could possibly get us there to what we don’t want and then go backwards. Tom: The fascinating thing about that is it’s
not just theoretical. This is actually what you did. So tell us the story of [Zhou 00:30:42]? Tell us how that helped. That seemed to really be an important moment. Olympia: Zhou … Zhou is his name. He was a man from China. He was brilliant and is brilliant. I’m still fascinated by how his brain works. The beauty about working [00:31:00] in rocket
science is that I had the [inaudible 00:31:04] deserve genius brains. I realized that any of us can gain a genius
brain no matter what age you’re at. It doesn’t matter. Forget what anyone’s ever told you. You can gain a smart brain at any age, at
any age. Tom: I want to dive into that for a second
because you said something really important. In the math class they were telling you, “You’re
not going to succeed.” You keep doing it. “Oh, we don’t really have time to go deep
on this.” Your mom had a very traumatic brain injury,
[00:31:30] and you said, “You have to decide you’re going to heal no matter what the
doctors are telling you.” That point of decision is a recurring theme
with you, which I find very, very interesting. Olympia: Yes. Decisions reshape the brain. Every decision that you make reshapes your
brain. The more powerful you are in making decisions
after decision after decision, the more powerful your brain becomes. Tom: Does that make you really careful about
what decisions you make? Like, are you super aware when you’re when
you making decisions? Olympia: [00:32:00] I’ve learned to become
aware. I’ve learned to become aware to see, “All
right, this is where I want to go. How is this decision going to help me get
there?” It’s always keeping that in the back of
the head like this is where I’m going to go. I made the decision very early in life that
no matter where I was I was going to change it. I was going change it so I would leave my
mark to be able to help in a very powerful way so people after I leave would be able
to make their own mark and build it in a way [00:32:30] in which was going to be very powerful
for their life. The reason why I love Zhao and I’m so thankful
for him, he took me underneath his wing. I didn’t know anything about rockets at
the time. I knew math. I didn’t know anything about rockets. He was overworked and he had tons of paper
on his desk. He helped me understand my graduate school
work. I would finish my work early in the one department
that I [00:33:00] was in first and I looked at him and I did something that no corporate
person ever does. I said, “Oh, do you need help? I’ll stay after and help you.” I was just so fascinated with what he was
doing. He became my mentor. I was just sitting next to him to watch how
his brain worked. It was a similar thing to when I went to bus
into those schools and how I had to listen and see how people were communicating. They were communicating differently. Here that was again. That situation was repeating [00:33:30] in
my life. Here I was next to this man and all these
other people who were brilliant at what they were doing, I had to observe. I wasn’t raised like that. I had to find out how they communicated, how
they saw things. Each time I could get inside their brain I
understood my brain more. As I was working with Zhao and I could get
inside his brain, I was looking at how he interacted with people, how he handled work. I’m like, “How does that work for him. How can I tailor that for [00:34:00] myself?” That’s where Zhao and I became the most
helpful. This is the funniest thing. He had spoke with a really deep accent. It was really, really deep and nobody could
understand him. I could understand him just fine. We thought ourselves a team. He would introduce me to other people, and
when he couldn’t do a project he says, “I’m going to recommend Olympia. She can do exactly what I can do and she can
help you too.” We built this network. It was this connected network where we were
all supporting each other. Even though there were other people that out
there that we’re going, “I’m [00:34:30] trying to push her buttons,” I knew I was
connected. I knew I had people who had my back and I
had their back. We all took ownership and integrity in what
we did, and we always were honest with one another. Tom: That’s amazing. That notion of camaraderie and finding people
that have your back and you have their back is really, really, really important. What advice do you have to women who are contemplating
going into STEM? Olympia: If you’re a woman interested [00:35:00]
in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, do it. Study it. Learn it. We need you. Do it. I would love to have you. If you’re a person in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics, that word STEM, go and do it. There is such an overwhelming need for you,
because you have the ability to see the big picture. You have the ability not only to do the mathematics,
but you have the ability to seeing the big picture [00:35:30] and use your communication
skills in order for people to see how important concepts are. That is the gift that you bring. If you have the opportunity to go into that
STEM, do it. And find me on Facebook. Let me know that you’re going to STEM, I
will love to hear about it. Tom: Awesome. All right, tell everybody before I ask my
last question. Tell everybody where they can find you online. Olympia: All right, you can find me on I have my own show, and it has all these different
tips for people [00:36:00] to go into science and how to reshape your brain. You can always find me on There’s always the main website Olympia
LePointe. So you can find me in all the different ways. Tom: Nice. All right, the final question. What is the impact that you want to have on
the world? Olympia: The impact that I want to have on
the world is to use media for people to realize that their thoughts have power. Tom: [00:36:30] I like that. Fantastic. Olympia, thank you so much for being on the
show. What an absolute pleasure. Guys, this is such an amazing story of somebody
overcoming the odds. I cannot tell you how much I was inspired
by this. If you enjoy hearing tales of somebody that
really has to put in the work … It reads like a Hollywood story. I’m not kidding. It’s absolutely crazy. From starting in poverty, from the struggles
that her mom went through. At every turn it’s a story of somebody who
can see [00:37:00] the fermentation of her future, make the decision, and always be moving
forward, going towards them, never making excuses, understanding that fear is a choice,
understanding that at the end of the day it comes down to you, it comes down to the work
that you’re willing to put in, and maybe most beautifully the team that you’re able
to gather around you by helping them also make their dreams come true. It’s an incredible story. Guys, this is a weekly show, so if you haven’t
already, be sure to subscribe. Until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Thank [00:37:30] you so much. It’s a pleasure to have you on. Thank you. Thank you guys so much for watching. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe. For exclusive content be sure to sign up for
our newsletter. All of that stuff helps us get even more amazing
guests on the show and helps us continue to build this community, which at the end of
the day is all we care about. So thank you guys so much for being a part
of Impact Theory community.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thanks so much for the inspo ! You guys are literally rewiring our brains for success show by show and it's amazing. Is there any chance that you could bring RSD Tyler aka Owen Cook on the show ?

  2. Wow she really is beautiful and her personality is really magnetic! She's really inspiring too! What a wonderful woman and awesome interview Tom, as always! Also, I've never noticed the Impact Theory branded cue cards before.. are they new? It felt like you were just like "Hey cool an excuse to show my brand new cue cards!" Haha

  3. Such a powerfull interview!!! Tom Bilyeu you have helped me changed my mind set. Iยดm a collage drop out, I have decided to finish my carrer for real. Thanks man. I have been watching your show for a long time. I see it when I wake up and when I go to sleep.

  4. I really Love her ! She is so motivating and inspires me to do better in School ๐Ÿ˜‰ โค๏ธ
    Thank you Tom for having her on your Show ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. OMG that was sooo good!!! I was supposed to study HTML and have this interview in the background, BUT!! I found myself glued to the screen and I can't believe it's over!!! She has such a beautiful brain! Her words about "training" our brains no matter what age we are gave me hope! Thank you Tom & Olympia!

  6. As a black female in computer science that has honestly been doing subpar(3.0), I needed this. I was forgetting why I picked my major. Why, despite being seen as someone with little talent(which I know isn't true, I just had no more love for school in general), I love my major. I love and believe in the power of technology to change and better the world for all.

  7. WOW! I love how you put things in perspective and words! I stumbled across your video a few days ago and became a subscriber. I am a true "Hidden Figure", literally, but not limited to one endeavor. I help troubled kids escape their fears of failure so that they can pursue their dreams and stop contemplating things that compel them to attempt suicide, commit crimes, or even kill someone. We all have to do this for the next person who is struggling and suffering far worse than we are. We have to become that hidden figure so that we can help them conquer their fears or that factor which is causing their failures. That makes me happy!

  8. This women is the shit and tom is probably one of the best interviewers I've ever heard. He really let's the people talk

  9. How this channel doesnโ€™t have 1M subscribers i have no idea! People are seriously missing out on the most transformative channel!

  10. Tom, really loved her! Thanks for doing an interview with her! I would love to see u do an interview with James Lawrence, the 50/50/50 Ironman guy! It would make for an incredible story

  11. Tom, you have do the best interview, you ask great questions, your questions to your guests gives us great insight.

  12. Mind blowing, I actually want to watch it one more time after I finished.
    Thanks so much Tom, what an awesome interview!

  13. Such an incredible and inspiring woman. <3

    โ€œNo matter what type of circumstances that you have been raised in or have experienced, you always have the ability to find a way out and create success for yourself.โ€ โ€“ Olympia LePoint

  14. Yet again an inspiring show! Wow… Olympia, you are a superwoman and Tom, your show is making me see and think in a totally different way. The words โ€œthank youโ€ just arenโ€™t enough!

  15. Holy Shizzel!! This lady is the real deal!! She's the real wonder woman!.. More so, the one who can build wonder woman's invisible airplane!!

  16. Right now I have not really accomplished much, but I've always dreamed of being able to tell my story. I have faith that I will find it in myself to overcome my own adversities and help other people do the same.

    I value her sharing her story.

  17. This video has changed my life. I will never be the same. I totally can relate. Its time to enable the afterburner.

  18. every time people talking about math I'm so scared want to run away. but i like physique,and chemistry.๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

  19. I am doing a Diploma in Electrical engineering, would like to further my studies. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ i appreciate this video . Thank you so much

  20. She has said the most wonderful words I have listened to today, the wit and that laugh, I am touched. That, "No matter what type of circumstances that you have been raised in or have experienced, you always have the ability to find a way out and create a success for yourself and it won't be easy." wonderful!

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