Inversion thinking goes like this >> What would things look like if everything went wrong tomorrow & how would you prepare for that today?
** Inversion Thinking: an Oxymoron also called Negative Visualization **
There’s a powerful tool developed over 2,000 years ago by ancient stoic philosophers, where people were told to imagine the negative – an opposite to the usual narrative of visualizing the desired outcome.
Inversion thinking may seem counterintuitive. It’s not an obvious strategy to think about the opposite of what you want. But, by imagining a worst-case scenario ahead of time and identifying the steps it would take to get there, you can take take proper precaution and implement a preventative plan.
While most people were focused on how to achieve success, the stoics went one step further and considered how they would manage potential failure and strategize a new plan of action.
What would things look like if everything went wrong tomorrow?
What does this tell you about how you could prepare for it today?
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”– Mike Tyson
Inversion is not about seeking good advice, but rather about finding the anti-advice.
It points out what to avoid and puts a spotlight on errors/roadblocks that might not be obvious at first glance.
Thinking outside the box is crucial for effective success.
You can learn as much (or perhaps more) by identifying potential mistakes and mishaps rather than by miscalculating perfection.
Imagine a scenario:
Let’s say you have a project deadline and your timeline requires efficiency and productivity.
Inversion thinking presents questions such as:
What must occur to ensure missing the deadline?
What things would you need to be doing in order to be wasteful of time?
By identifying the things which may derail you, you will be better prepared to avoid them.
The logical way to get from point A to point B is to take the appropriate steps toward that desired outcome. An equally important aspect of high-level performance is to train yourself to be ready for obstacles before they occur.
Slow down, take tiny steps, put action over perfection, and even moving backward can often be the best ways to achieve the success that appears to be directly ahead of us.
Your ability to anticipate what could go wrong in the future & visualize how to avoid it before it occurs is a high-level leadership skill that will differentiate you from the masses.
Successful entrepreneurs are experts at mitigating risks. How you will manage failure is an invaluable mindset strategy. Inversion thinking prepares you for today.
Try this exercise:
Imagine the most important goal or project you are working on right now. Now, fast forward six months and assume the goal or project has failed. Tell the story of how it happened. What went wrong? What mistakes did you make? How did it fail?
In other words, think of your main goal & ask yourself, “What could cause this to go horribly wrong?”
Now you know what to look for and what NOT to do.
If you find yourself going down a path you had identified in the beginning, you can now reroute and get back on track quickly.
While it’s easy to become paralyzed by fear of failure, it is possible to overcome this. Face it head on. Identify what to avoid. Think forward and backward and see your goals come to fruition.
You can do this.