The Power of Inversion
Shine a spotlight on the potholes that you want to avoid on your road to success
Thank you to all the thousands of people that have taken time to read the first 2 lessons. I love all the feedback and kind emails that I’ve been receiving. It motivates me to share even more:)
So far we’ve discussed the Brick by Brick mentality click here for lesson 1, and we’ve defined winning click here for lesson 2.
Let’s keep things rolling as I continue to mentor my younger self…
Good morning Mike!
Last lesson we talked about our goals, anti-goals and how to define your win. As wonderful as that is, always remember that success has no life until until you breathe life into it.
Too many people sit around waiting for magic to happen and have difficulty getting started. It’s human nature to procrastinate and to overthink - and overthinking gets in the way of creating momentum… and momentum is the vital spark that’s needed for any goal we set.
The truth is many people get stuck in their own head because they think of all the things that they “have to do” to reach their goals. After all, this is how most of us have been taught to solve problems.
In order to achieve A… I need to do XYZ
As you’re probably discovering, I like to challenge conventional thinking and look at things from a different perspective.
The Inversion Thinking Process
A powerful mental model that I learned along the way is called Inversion. The Inversion Thinking Process challenges you to think differently. It forces you to think about what you want to achieve in reverse. So instead of only thinking about your goal or challenge the way that you’ve been trained from a young age to solve things - we flip it around and think about it backwards.
It’s almost like your own super power that highlights the things that could stop you from reaching your goal.
Charlie Munger, who is the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corp. and one of the greatest minds around says:
Invert, always invert: Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward. What happens if all our plans go wrong? Where don’t we want to go, and how do you get there? Instead of looking for success, make a list of how to fail instead – through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, all the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities and you will succeed. Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
The goal = become a better coach.
Thinking forward, you’d think about all of the things you “need to do or have to do” in order to become a better coach.
Using inversion, you would think about all the things you could do that would make you a terrible coach. Avoid those qualities!
The goal = improve the culture within your team/organization.
Thinking forward, you’d think about all of the things you could do to create a better culture.
Using inversion, you would think about all the things you could do that would create a terrible culture within your organization. Avoid those things!
The goal = win the hockey game.
Thinking forward, you would think about all the details that your teams “needs to do” in order to win the game.
Using Inversion, you would think about all the things your team could do that would cause them to loose the game. Avoid those things!
To add to that last example, NHL coach Glen Gulutzan would use this inversion technique with his teams from time to time.
Gully would walk into the dressing room and would say, “This is how we lose the game tonight… Don’t start the game with a big hit. Don’t get pucks in deep and do not funnel pucks towards their net today.”
“I said that to all the teams I coached. Just to get them thinking differently. - Glen Gulutzan
Take 4 minutes to watch this clip on how Charlie Munger uses the Inversion Thinking Process in his life. Trust me… It’s worth it!
So as you can see, the Inversion Thinking Process provides you with a valuable tool to challenge your own assumptions and to provide you with a different point of view.
It will shine a spotlight on the potholes that you want to avoid on your road to success.
It’s certainly not common to think differently from the herd. It’s not common to question how things have been done year after year.
But always remember Mike - that’s where the advantage sometimes can be found!
PS: If you enjoy the newsletter it'd be amazing if you could hit the subscribe button and maybe forward it to a pal. Thank you!
Feel free to follow me on twitter @coachvalley