Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill Nobody Ever Taught You
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Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, uses inversion to help people declutter their homes.
Her famous line is: “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” This shift in mindset inverts decluttering by focusing on what you want to keep rather than what you want to discard.
It is a mental model, a way of thinking backward about what you don’t want to happen. It is about taking an idea upside down and thinking about what could go wrong.
Inversion is a powerful thinking tool because it puts a spotlight on errors and roadblocks that are not obvious at first glance.
Applying inversion to productivity you could ask, “What if I wanted to decrease my focus? How do I end up distracted?”
The answer to that question may help you discover interruptions you can eliminate to free up more time and energy each day.
Failure Premortem/ Kill the company: one of the applications of inversion, in which you imagine the most important goal or project you are working on right now, then fast forward six months and assume the project or goal has failed.
Tell the story of how it happened. What went wrong? What mistakes did you make? How did it fail?
Inverting a good marriage can show you how to avoid a bad one.
Ask yourself what behaviors might ruin a marriage ( Lack of trust, not respecting the other person, not letting each person have time to be an individual, etc.)
Ask yourself how could you destroy your financial health.
Before you worry too much about how to make more money make sure you have figured out how to not lose money. If you can manage to avoid these problems, you'll be far ahead of many folks and save yourself a lot of pain and anguish along the way.
Avoiding mistakes is an under-appreciated way to improve.
In most jobs, you can enjoy some degree of success simply by being proactive and reliable—even if you are not particularly smart, fast, or talented in a given area. Sometimes it is more important to consider why people fail in life than why they succeed.
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For every question, there is an answer. For every problem, there is a solution. For everything else, there is an explanation.
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