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#45 Evil Genius


Let’s play another game today. The game is called Evil Genius and is based on a technique called inversion thinking. Our brains are hard-wired to find problems, and inversion thinking uses that to our advantage.




If you write down the ways you can most effectively mess up or sabotage your goals or dreams (like an evil genius would do), you get clarity both on what not to do and action steps on what to do instead.

You can play the evil genius game in any area of your life where you feel stuck. For example, if you are struggling with motivation because your company isn't growing at the rate that you feel it should be, a good inverted question might be, "What can I do to sabotage the growth of my company?" Then use the inverse of those answers as clues for actions you can take to grow your company more effectively.


Let’s play the game with another example. If I am stuck in my relationship with my teenage son, let's answer, “What can I do to sabotage my relationship with him?”


For example:


  • Interrupt his stories and tell him I am not interested.

  • Criticise his friends.

  • Make negative comments about his clothes and hairstyle.

  • Bring our cellphones to the dinner table.

  • Match his anger with my own anger.

  • Shout at him when I get angry.

  • Constantly tell him what to do and how to do it.

  • Try to talk about his feelings when he is hungry and tired.


You can also get creative and really evil:

  • Wake him up at 5 am on weekends.

  • Go to his sport matches and scream like a crazy person.

  • Make fun of him in front of his friends.

  • Phone all his teachers and friends and tell them how he cried last night.


Now take this list and flip every statement over.


Don’t simply write the same statement in the negative, like “Do not criticise his friends” or “Do not interrupt his stories”. Rather rewrite the statement completely in positive language.


For example:

“Shout at him when I become angry” can become “keep my voice low and calm, even when I become angry with him”. Or “wake him up at 5 am on weekends” can become “let him sleep in on weekends”.


When you have flipped all the statements in your evil genius list, you should end up with a list of actions that you can take to get unstuck from the status quo.


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