Do the Opposite



Sometimes your best strategy is to do the opposite.

I was having lunch with a friend, when he made the comment that sometimes the best strategy is to do the opposite.ย  Doing the opposite can be a great way to differentiate (aka a “differentiation strategy.”)

You might know some people that do the opposite well.ย  Warren Buffet and his investment strategy come to mind.ย  So does Muhammad Ali and his fighting strategy.

Here are some examples of doing the opposite:

  • Try simple Web pages over crazy busy ones.
  • Try focus over fanning out.
  • Try quality over quantity.
  • Try small instead of big.
  • Try specific instead of general.
  • Try Jack-of-All-Trades, instead of master of one (all hail the Renaissance Man.)

If all else fails, there’s one strategy you can always fall-back onย  …

You can always do the opposite of what doesn’t work.

Photo by Shandi-lee.


  1. I’ve always leaned towards jack of all trades – seems to fit me better or something. Maybe that’s why I my answer to “what do you do?” has always been something like “I’m a musician, studying for medical school, internet marketer, caddie, etc.etc.

  2. Quality over Quantity is the best policy. The more potent your information is, the stronger your influence and the more people you can effect in a postive way.


  3. @ Graham — In an age of micro-niches and specialization, the Jack-of-all-Trades can help make meaning across the niches or stay flexible and be what’s next.

    There’s also something powerful about cross-pollination or taking your skills to a new arena where the contrast shines. Edward de Bono really elaborates on this point in his book, Tactics (a great read.)

    @ Jonathan — During my cross-country road trips during the economic downturn, I noticed that restuarants that focused on quantity survived and thrived, in sharp contrast to their low-quality counterparts that folded.

    @ Vitaly — Sometimes my best lessons is simply another way how NOT to do something ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi JD,
    This is an excellent tip. In life, if we want progress, we have got to do the opposite of what is not working to get different and better results. I like it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing

  5. I’ve always been a fan of doing whatever makes you happy…many times that’s the “opposite.” Yeah, there’s always going to be someone to try and deter you, but that’s where the greatest have succeeded. Taking things where no one thought possible.

  6. @ Dia — I’ve been surprised by how powerful it is, but I’m liking the freedom to dare to be different.

    @ Nick — Indeed it is. I like the way you spin the deterrent, as a test to rise above.

  7. Just want I needed to hear this morning – I keep trying to tell myself baby steps
    but JD I can not get my phone system to work, and I am not understanding how the newsletter program works, and the puppy had emergency surgery and the Credit card is charging me double and I just have to keep going to walks and trying to look forward to the new business adventure coming together and working…will I ever have any subscribers to Wise Ears? Is everyone gone for the summer…

    And I was working at manifesting $5k this quarter in income…I manifested 5K in extra bills…I did the opposite!

    It always works if I can just get someone to walk me step by step through “how to” and making up 3×5 cards – cheat sheets for me to follow. I was hoping I could find a computer literate HS student who could help me – I can not afford the folks on line…IT Girl is on vacation and writing her thesis..

    Happy 4th!

  8. @ Patricia — Success really is a numbers game and it does a lot of experimentation.

    You might notice my problem solution approach is casting wide nets and testing results, before binding to a path. I too have found that “how to” is a crucial part of success. Strategies and tactics are game changers.

    The short-cuts to success are mentors, pairing up with the right people, and growing our own skills to make the most of what we’ve got.

  9. Hi JD .. great point .. so simply put. I hate doing the same as anyone else and one day it will pay off! .. have had lots of interesting experiences and learning curves not following the trend.

    Thanks .. cheers and Happy 4th July .. Hilary

  10. I favor jack of all trades over master of one. And that’s my experience too as it is like creating more opportunities in the market.

  11. @ Hilary — The trick is to find the ways to make it pay off. Sometimes it means changing the problem, the approach, or the implementation. Sometimes it means changing your arena.

    @ Soofian — I think we flourish more when we round ourselves out, especially when we find things inside us, we didn’t know we had.

  12. Hi Shandi-Lee,

    Doing the opposite and thinking outside the box is all great.
    I did a post not long ago about the out of box thinking that way to few people do!

    Personal effectiveness is a key ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have fun!

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