Opposite thinking

by Admin
Updated: July 15, 2018

Opposite thinking is the simplest and most useful tool for business, life, the universe, everything!

Unlike free thinking (brainstorming), opposite thinking has a single straightforward mechanism: You consider (and maybe experiment with) the opposite of any given situation or idea.

Opposite thinking is one of my favorite tools. But it is still only a tool and the opposite is not always better or even useful. Sometimes it simply confirms that the current way is the best.

Either way, opposite thinking usually provides quick and often profound insights.


An especially good example of opposite thinking is the success of Snapchat.

It can be very difficult to supply enough original content with an app to make it successful. Opposite thinking suggests creating a framework where the users supply the content.

This is an established principle and the primary basis of social media apps. After a while your app has huge amounts of content - YouTube for example.

The genius of Snapchat was to apply another layer of opposite thinking and produce an app which had discarding user content as its primary feature.

Life (perception & psychology)

Many people have an initial fear of public speaking. Positive thinking sometimes (often?) has a reverse effect whereby saying out loud “I can do this” is answered by an inner voice that says you’re useless and will fail.

With opposite thinking, you say to yourself you’re useless and will fail to which your inner voice responds, “Hold on a minute, you’re not that bad, in fact you’re really good, you can do this!”

The physical universe

A good example is from the Chinese martial art known as Tai Chi (tàijíquán; 太极拳). During the 19th century, skilled pugilist Yang Lu Chan discovered that, in a fight between two strong opponents where the outcome would normally be determined by which one was the most forceful, it was possible to pull instead of push.

Everything else (magick)

When highly focused attention to goals doesn’t seem to be working, opposite thinking suggests that completely forgetting about them might be worth a try.

I have personal experience of working very hard at something without success only to have it happen without effort shortly after I’d finally given it up as a lost cause.

More info

“If you want to solve a problem - forget about it” at newatlas.com.

“The Surprising Power of Contrarian Thinking” at inc.com.

“5 Rules Of Contrarian Investing” at forbes.com.

“The First Seinfeld Episode You Should Re-Watch” at esquire.com.

Internal links

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