Inversion is another framework around problem-solving. This one is self-explanatory, where you flip a problem on its head and focus on what not to do. It may be self-explanatory, but it’s also hard to put into practice for some problems.
One example of inversion is the concept of anti-goals — results you don’t want to have. Anti-goals help you avoid things that will make you miserable. Creating both goals & anti-goals provides a clear direction on where to go (and where not to).
A few months ago I wrote a post related to inverting the path to happiness. I wrote about all the different ways to make yourself miserable, like eating unhealthy foods, sleeping at irregular times, and avoiding social interaction. The responses to that post highlighted how uncommon this approach is.
Luckily, inversion can be applied to all sorts of areas, so it’s easy to practice.
One question I’m currently thinking through is “how do I not get hired during an interview?” A few answers I thought of include:
- Asking bad questions (or none at all)
- Low energy & excitement
- Poorly selling yourself and the value you can provide
The reason inversion can be so powerful is because it helps you avoid mistakes & adds new perspectives when thinking about problems. Inversion fosters creativity, and by approaching problems through different lenses, you’ll be more likely to find better answers.