Sometimes going the opposite way works best

July 26, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Creativity, Tips

A pattern I’ve noticed works a lot in life: When everyone is going in one direction, try going as far as you can in the opposite direction.

Some examples:

When car companies kept making bigger and more dominant SUVs, the Prius did well. In retrospect it seems obvious, but the car appeared nearly alone and successful in the U.S. market for years before other cars competed meaningfully. Now Smart Cars and related little cars seem to be doing well.

The other day I wrote about how boxed cereal companies try to offer as many kinds of flavors, textures, and box designs. I prefer simple oats with a few toppings.

When mp3 players first came out they looked technical and complex with lots of buttons. The iPod looked like simple, with almost no buttons.

While the main shoe companies designed running shoes with more and more technical “solutions” to foot problems, Vivo and Vibram came out with minimal shoes with no such solutions like arch support or padded heels. I find the Vivos more comfortable and will never run in non-minimal running shoes again.

When you have more obligations than you can handle and feel you have to do things all the time, often meditation — something that will directly achieve none of your obligations — helps most.

These are just a few examples off the top of my head. I like when the pattern works because it gives solutions that feel liberating, refreshing, and often creative.

Have you ever noticed this pattern in your life? Try it.

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