First principles thinking can be easy to describe, but quite difficult to practice.
One of the primary obstacles to first principles thinking is our tendency to optimize form rather than function.
The human tendency for imitation is a common roadblock to first principles thinking.
When most people envision the future, they project the current form forward rather than projecting the function forward and abandoning the form.
Be wary of the ideas you inherit. Old conventions and previous forms are often accepted without question and, once accepted, they set a boundary around creativity.
Optimize the function. Ignore the form.