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Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill Nobody Ever Taught You

The "kill the company" strategy

The idea is to identify challenges and points of failure so you can develop a plan to prevent them ahead of time.

Imagine the most important goal or project you are working on right now. Then fast forward 6 months and assume the project or goal has failed. Tell the story of how it happened and ask yourself, “What could cause this to go horribly wrong?”

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Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill Nobody Ever Taught You

Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill Nobody Ever Taught You

https://jamesclear.com/inversion#

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Inversion

Is the way of thinking in which you consider the opposite of what you want.

Inversion puts a spotlight on errors and roadblocks that are not obvious at first glance. What if the opposite was true? What if I focused on a different side of this situation? Instead of asking how to do something, ask how to not do it.

The "kill the company" strategy

The idea is to identify challenges and points of failure so you can develop a plan to prevent them ahead of time.

Imagine the most important goal or project you are working on right now. Then fast forward 6 months and assume the project or goal has failed. Tell the story of how it happened and ask yourself, “What could cause this to go horribly wrong?”

Inversion and productivity

Applying inversion to productivity you could ask, “What if I wanted to decrease my focus? How do I end up distracted?” 

The answer to these question may help you discover interruptions you can eliminate to free up more time and energy each day.

Inversion and decluttering

Marie Kondo uses inversion to help people declutter their homes, by asking them to choose what they want to keep, not what they 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.

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Inversion

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.

Avoiding failure

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.

Project Management

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? 

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Live Every Day as If It Were Your Last

Death doesn’t make life pointless, death makes life worth living. Sometimes the discussion about the meaning of life serves no purpose besides distracting you from the answer, which is found...

Food as a Test Of Self-Control

Although eating food is pleasurable, digesting it is our main purpose. We should eat to live rather than live to eat.

To practice this principle, one can eat plain foods without sauces or try intermittent fasting.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

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Marcus Aurelius

"You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

Marcus Aurelius
Premeditate

Premeditation is one of the most powerful of the Stoic tools for coping with stress. Is involves visualizing the future and imagining all the bad things that could happen

This puts things in perspective. We tend to blow things up in our minds and make them appear much larger than they really are. By imagining all of the worst things that could happen, you come back down to earth and realize the present isn’t so bad.

Act Like You’re Not Stressed

Stoics thought that, when experiencing a heavy emotion or mental state such as anger or stress, adopting the behavior of someone who feels the opposite way can actually help us alter our state.

Scientific evidence indicates that things like body language and forcing a smile can actually change our mental state, making us happier, less stressed, and more confident.

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