When You Feel Like You Are Stuck, Consider the Reversal

Wang Yip
2 min readFeb 3, 2022

One of my friends has a peculiar habit. When asked about what he wants to eat, he has no idea. For example, I’ll ask him if he wants Chinese food? Nope. Japanese food? No. Greek food? No. Well, what do you want to eat, I ask? I don’t know what I want to eat, but I know what I don’t want to eat, is his reply.

I found this to be annoying. I mean if you know what you want, it’s easy enough to decide on a restaurant or cuisine.

But I decided to use this same approach whenever I’m in doubt.

For example, what does it mean to be rich? Or healthy? Or full of life?

Consider the reversal:

Don’t be poor

  • Find a job and do your best to rise up in the company and get more responsibilities
  • Identify and create alternative sources of income so you’re not reliant on one source
  • Make money. Save money. Invest money.
  • Spend less than you make.

Don’t be unhealthy

  • Avoid unhealthy foods.
  • Be active. Exercise regularly.
  • Don’t eat too much. Don’t eat too little.
  • Invest time into your mental, physical and social health.

Don’t be full of death

  • Avoid negativity. Avoid negative people.
  • Don’t just be positive. Be so positive that you have no room in your head for negative thoughts.
  • Don’t watch the news — there’s a significant amount of negativity there.
  • Fill your spare time with reading great books.

Although considering the original statement might be great, I always like to consider the reversal to generate more creative ideas.

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Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at www.wangyip.ca