Invert, Always Invert - [225 and Beyond #006]

It’s not always clear what to do to achieve a goal.

A useful thing to do in this situation is to flip the problem on its head.

If your goal is to graduate school as quickly as possible, instead of thinking what you should be doing and instead think of what you would do to take the longest possible to graduate.

You might come up with a list that looks like this:

  • At all costs, avoid practising every day

  • Practise only easy material so practice isn’t too draining

  • Spend lots of time on Facebook groups reading negative posts written by unmotivated students

  • Juggle as many responsibilities as possible—ideally a job, a new baby, kitten, et cetera

All of a sudden, by inverting the problem, it’s clear as day what you shouldn’t be doing—and, therefore, what you should.

It might seem obvious, but most of you probably won’t apply it to yourself.

What about if you want to advance your court reporting career? Okay, let’s flip the goal on its head and think about how not to advance.

You’ll want to:

  • not network and make any new contacts in the industry

  • only learn about your software when something goes wrong with it

  • never touch your machine unless on a job (definitely don’t practise regularly)

  • stay well and truly inside your nice, cosy comfort zone

What’s great about this way of thinking is that oftentimes, it’s not clear what the perfect course of action is, but it’s normally all too clear what you shouldn’t be doing. By not doing those things, you can go a long way without having to come up with some super-duper plan backed by a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and the recommendations of two—or preferably three—neuroscientists. It’s easier to avoid stupidity than to be brilliant.

Quote of the Week:

“All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”—Charlie Munger