Not Doing What You've Always Done

Certainly the title of this book is somewhat upsetting to some people.

Certainly the title of this book is somewhat upsetting to some people. People who like to think what they think, always and everywhere. People who have a severe, thoroughgoing consistency of view. People who are, in a word, in a rut.

Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite.

Yet Paul Arden provides an apt description for going one’s own way as opposed to the way that most everyone else is going (i.e., those in ruts tend to be accompanied by several others in the same, parallel, or intersecting furrows): Dick Fosbury, the high jumper of the 1968 Olympics, the man who went over the bar backwards, not forward, as was the status quo. The man who set a new record. The man of the Fosbury Flop.

This is a pithy book. A book that can be read in about 30 minutes. But which you’ll probably think about for a long time. The texts Arden composes (or artfully steals) are short. A headline then a few explanatory lines accompanied by a provocative illustration. Here’s the entirety of page 101:

For a creative person starting out
on a career, try not thinking about
film or media or whatever.
Think about money. It’s honest.”

In a word: Yikes!

Trouble at work? “Just imagine that you were fired ten days ago. Since you had no choice but to accept it, you might as well look upon it as a good thing. You will have to arrange your life differently. You hated your situation anyway. You must begin again. It’s a wonderful opportunity for you.”

Faced with decisions? “We try to make sensible decisions based on the facts in front of us. The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else.”

So think opposite.—GSV