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INVERSION - One and only Mental Model that can enhance Wisdom and Productivity by 100x

Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

Image by Author - Inversion

Whether applied to business strategy, personal performance, creative productivity, or any one of life’s domains, a healthy dose of defensive pessimism can improve how you think, make decisions, and solve problems.

Have you come across following words such as:

  • For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  • Black and White.

  • Tit for Tat.

  • Every picture has two sides.

  • Karma.

  • Flip

All phenomenon branched out from one mental model “Inversion”. It’s simple, practical and objective when applied. Inversion thinking is a mental model that encourages us to ask not, “How will this go right?” but, “Why might this go wrong?”

INVERSION: a reversal of position, order, form, or relationship. It used to revert face value of given information about reality.

Inversion should be taken seriously in every decision making as it is being used everywhere from beginning of Time.

Charlie Munger, who, along with his partner Warren Buffett, is one of the world’s most successful investors, is a contemporary advocate for inversion thinking:

“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.” — Charlie Munger

Inversion thinking in practice

“Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.”

Easier said than done. Why? We’re taught from a young age to approach challenges from an affirmative starting point.

“What can I do to solve this problem?”

“What steps can I take to reach this goal?”

Our culture celebrates the power of positive thinking. So much so that it feels unnatural to seek out, much less embrace, our flaws and limitations. In the truest sense of the word, it’s simply counterintuitive.

But in the quest for success, doing fewer things wrong can be just as powerful as doing more things right.

List of Top Inversion Examples

#1 RECIPROCITY — (Inversion of Psychology)

When you get something from someone, psychologically you are bound to pay back in some form.

#2 BINARY — (Inversion of Computer Algorithm)

World’s most advanced machine ‘Computer’ operates on simple 1 and 0. Quantum Computer make it to next level by merging 1 and 0 together as Continuous called Quantum Superposition.

#3 RECIPROCAL OF FRACTION — (Inversion of Mathematics)

Number ‘2’ can be written in Reciprocal Fraction as 1/2 or One Half.

#4 SPACE & TIME — (Inversion of Astronomy)

Nothing can be escaped from the control of Space and Time.

#5 LIFE & DEATH — (Inversion of Biology)

Death is an event when become obvious, it changes the human mind from 0 to 180 degrees.

#6 KARMA — (Inversion of Religion)

What you sow you reap.

#7 PARADISE & HELL — (Inversion of Moral Behaviour)

These are used in religions to manage the moral of society.

#8 ALPHA & OMEGA — (Inversion of God)

God was always there from beginning and will stay till end of Universe.

#9 TIT FOR TAT — (Inversion of Circumstances)

Equivalent Retaliation of one’s action.

#10 PRIMAL DESIRES — (Inversion of Behaviour)

Fear and Greed runs (stock, crypto, forex and real estate) markets and business world. Sane investor understands both Fear (Bearish) and Greed (Bullish) and react objectively.

#11 NEWTONS THIRD LAW OF MOTION — (Inversion of Physics)

When two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

#12 CONVERGE & DIVERGE — (Inversion of Productivity)

First Diversify to learn many things and then focus to become expert which you like the most and feasible to do.

“Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed.” — Naval Ravikant

#13 POSITIVE & NEGATIVE — (Inversion of Numbers)

Plus (+) and Minus (-) are the building block of universe.

#14 OPTIMISTIC AND PESSIMISTIC — (Inversion of Thinking)

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the

sails.” — William Arthur Ward

#15 ENTRY & EXIT — (Inversion of Decision)

If someone ask you to join a business opportunity or subscription, always ask and look for the exit strategy.

“Invert, always invert.” — Carl Jacobi

#16 ANODE & CATHODE — (Inversion of Chemical Reaction)

All electronics are working on this simple chemical reaction batteries which has two poles moving ions from anode to cathode.

#17 REVERSE ENGINEERING — (Inversion of Engineering)

Hacking the physical product by un-assembling or decompiling the code.

#18 CONTRAST — (Inversion of Graphics)

Different from the rest.

#19 TURNAROUD — (Inversion of Strategy)

Sometime losing battle suddenly become winning battle.

#20 MALE & FEMALE — (Inversion of Family Unit)

Most important model to be preserved for the growth of human society.

#21 YES & NO (Inversion of Decision Making)

“If you cannot decide the answer is no.” — Naval Ravikant.

#22 YIN & YANG (Inversion of Philosophy)

In Chinese Yin Yang called Dark-Light.

Practical Case

Imagine you want to run a marathon. What steps would you take?

Thinking linearly, you might:

  1. Buy a nice new pair of sneakers.

  2. Research a beginner’s training routine.

  3. Commit to regular endurance workouts.

  4. Change your diet.

Now, invert your thinking. Why might you fail on your path toward this goal?

  1. Lack of motivation.

  2. Lack of accountability.

  3. Lack of time.

  4. Injury.

There’s nothing wrong with the first set of answers. But the second reveals issues that the first elides.

In your excitement at the start of an ambitious new journey — as you’re lacing up that clean new pair of Nikes — thoughts of losing motivation or getting too injured to carry on couldn’t be further from your mind. But a few weeks in? Those improbable ideas can suddenly become all too real. When you apply the inversion model, though, you’re forced to reckon with both possibilities from the very start. The early acknowledgment and articulation of these potential adverse outcomes is the first step toward building your armour against them.


Inversion helps you to solve the opposite problem or consider how you’d make a terrible decision, by helping you to invert your ideas and know what valuable insights you can discover. This framework enforces objective analysis by articulating flaws and limitations and applies across many disciplines, including politics, sports, business, investing, and law. They say that often, doing less wrong can be as productive as doing more right.

“Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.” — Charlie Munger

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