"Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill for Becoming a Polymath"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 02, 2023

4 min read


"Inversion: The Crucial Thinking Skill for Becoming a Polymath"


In our quest to become successful and well-rounded individuals, we often find ourselves seeking advice on how to achieve our goals. However, what if we approached this from a different perspective? What if instead of focusing on how to succeed, we asked ourselves how to avoid failure? This is where the concept of inversion comes into play – a powerful thinking tool that can enhance our problem-solving abilities and lead us on a path to becoming a polymath.

Understanding Inversion:

The Stoics were proponents of inversion, as they believed that by imagining the worst-case scenario and planning accordingly, they could overcome their fears and make better decisions. Inversion involves looking at a situation from the opposite side, considering what doesn't work rather than what does. This approach shines a spotlight on errors and roadblocks that may not be immediately apparent, allowing us to navigate challenges more effectively.

Applying Inversion to Unconventional Thinking:

Great thinkers, icons, and innovators often employ inversion by challenging the status quo and breaking the rules. They recognize that the key to unconventional thinking lies in flipping the script and considering alternative perspectives. By inverting our thinking, we can uncover surprising insights and learn just as much from identifying what doesn't work as we can from spotting what does.

Inversion and Personal Growth:

Inversion is not just a tool for problem-solving; it is also an essential skill for leading a logical and rational life. By stepping outside our normal patterns of thought and considering the opposite side of things, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Inverting our perspectives allows us to challenge our biases and preconceived notions, fostering personal growth and intellectual development.

Becoming a Polymath through Inversion:

To become a polymath – someone with a wide range of knowledge and skills – inversion can be a valuable approach. By combining atypical combinations of skills and domains, we can create a unique skill set that sets us apart from others. The key steps to becoming a polymath include:

  • 1. Mastering one specific skill: Start by becoming the best in one area, achieving expertise and deep knowledge.
  • 2. Developing competence in multiple areas: Aim to become very good in two or more skills, placing yourself in the top 25% of performers.
  • 3. Embrace creativity and atypical combinations: Breakthroughs occur when we combine skills in unconventional ways. Look for opportunities to merge different domains and explore new possibilities.
  • 4. Pioneer a new field or industry: As knowledge expands, the potential for creating new combinations of skills increases exponentially. By pioneering a new field or industry, you position yourself as a trailblazer and open up unique opportunities for growth.
  • 5. Future-proof your career: In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and manage change is crucial. Embracing inversion allows you to stay ahead of the curve and ensure your skills remain relevant.
  • 6. Solve complex problems: Polymaths thrive in complexity. By developing a diverse skill set, you can tackle multifaceted challenges that others may struggle with.
  • 7. Stand out in the global economy: In a competitive global economy, standing out is essential. Inversion enables you to think differently and approach problems from unique angles, setting yourself apart from the crowd.


Inversion is a powerful thinking skill that can revolutionize the way we approach problem-solving and personal growth. By considering the opposite side of things and exploring what doesn't work, we can gain valuable insights and avoid potential pitfalls. To become a polymath, incorporating inversion into our thinking process is key. By combining diverse skills and domains, we can create a world-class skill set and stand out in an ever-evolving world.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace inversion in your decision-making process: Before making any important decision, consider the opposite side of things and explore potential pitfalls. This approach will help you make more informed choices and mitigate risks.
  • 2. Seek out atypical combinations of skills and domains: Look for opportunities to merge different areas of expertise and explore new possibilities. This will enhance your problem-solving abilities and open up unique career paths.
  • 3. Continuously adapt and learn: Inversion thrives in an environment of change. Stay curious, embrace new knowledge, and actively seek out opportunities to expand your skill set. By being adaptable, you can future-proof your career and stay ahead of the curve.

By incorporating inversion into our thinking process and embracing the polymath mindset, we can unlock new levels of creativity, problem-solving, and personal growth. So, let's challenge ourselves to think differently, consider the opposite side of things, and become the best versions of ourselves in this ever-changing world.

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