The benefits of making bad decisions

The followings are excerpts from the most recent book I am reading, named Whatever you think, think the opposite.

I could not put it into words better. The stories are short, straight to the point, clear, motivational and inspirational. It would be a shame for you not to benefit of these.

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So here they are:

“Until the Mexico Olympics of 1968 the customary way for a high jumper  to cross the bar was with his body parallel to it, in a technique known as the Western Roll. But that was about to change. A little known athlete approached the bar, which was set at a world record height of 7ft 4 1/4 inches. He took off, but instead of turning his body towards the bar, he turned his back on it. He brought his legs up and flipped over the bar backwards. His name was Dick Fosbury, and his method of jumping became known as the Fosbury Flop. It is still used today. He jumped higher than anyone before, by thinking the opposite from everyone else. This example is just a technique for thinking, but here the technique for thinking became a technique for jumping, turning a flop into a success.”

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Photographing Flowers

“Firstly we will pick a perfect specimen, then we will arrange it carefully, light it beautifully, and spray on some dew. It will probably be beautiful, but only up to a point, because we have seen thousands of pretty flower pictures before. So how are we going to make out picture memorable ? In the 1930s Andre Kertesz took a picture of a wilted tulip. Once you have seen it, it is impossible to forget.” Here is an example I found on the web:

Tea Time How to Drink your Tea

It is a wrong way to answer but it is a beautiful solution to the problem. 

“There is a story of a professor who was bathing in the River Cherwell in Oxford, at a place called Parson’s Pleasure, in which it was the custom to swim naked. As the professor got out of the pool a punt of undergraduettes glided by, whereupon he grabbed his towel and wrapped it round his head.”

It’s not because you are making the wrong decisions, it’s because you are making the right ones. 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.

the benefits of making bad decisions on

the benefits of making bad decisions on

It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t.

Many people reach the age of 40, only to realize they have missed out of life. In many cases they had everything going for them, except when the gauntlet was tossed their way, they lacked the courage to pick it up. No one is going to cut off your right hand, take away your motorbike or put you in jail if you do not succeed. Even when we want to be timid and play it safe, we should pause for a moment to imagine what we might be missing.

“It’s the goal of every Englishman to get to his grave unembarrassed”, John Cleese.

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You can’t afford the house of your dreams. That’s why it is the house of your dreams. So wither find a way to get it or be satisfied with dissatisfaction.”

“The corporate non-risk taker rises fast on the freshness of youth; an open mind, a pleasant demeanor and good looks will accelerate the rise. His superiors are pleased to promote him since it reflects well on them. The candidate reaches a platform of responsibility, not something to be treated lightly. After all he is now a manager, albeit a junior one. His salary raises in accordance with status, not ability, and he reaches board level. It is now time to appoint a joint or deputy managing director. Our man is considered to be a good company man, but he is a bit dull. He doesn’t produce innovation: he doesn’t do anything for the image of the company. There’s a very good young man in his department earning a third of his salary, who younger members of staff respond to. Our man at 40 is moved sideways, and at 47 he is out. He didn’t reach the top of the ladder, he has fallen and there is no climbing back. He’s finished, yet he has done nothing wrong. That is the problem. He has done nothing wrong.”

the benefits of making bad decisions on

“Let’s look at reckless Erica. As a youngster she doesn’t have the charm of the previous character. Not the corporate type. She’s irritating but enthusiastic and popping with daft ideas. So they keep her on. Most of her ideas are regarded as impractical, too adventurous or plain silly. But somewhere in the company someone picks up on one of her wilder thoughts and promotes it. It gets noticed because it is different and fresh. For the next 3 years she produces a series of unusable ideas. She becomes increasingly irritating and she is fired. Now the odd thing is that it is not as difficult for her to get a new job as she thought, because a number of people remember that rather good idea she produced 3 years ago. They prefer to gloss over the failures. Her name on the payroll adds a bit of glamour to her new company. But the same process happens again. Once more she is fired, but now there are 2 pieces of work that make her memorable. She’s not just a one off. Her whole life is lived like this, a series of ups and downs, more downs than ups. But when she reaches the age of 40 she has a track record. She has become a respectable person. Still reckless Erica, but more in demand than ever because she failed to conform.”

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“The age of unreason – Old golfers don’t win (it’s not an absolute, it’s a general rule). Why? The older golfer can hit the ball as far as the young one. He chips and putts equally well. And will probably have a better knowledge of the course. So why does he take the extra stroke that denies him victory? Experience. He knows the downsize, what happens if it goes wrong, which makes him more cautious. The young player is either ignorant or reckless to caution. That is his edge. It is the same with all of us. Knowledge makes us play safe. The secret is to remain childish.”

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“How you present yourself is how others will value you”. 

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Oscar Wilde.

What’s your opinion ?

“What is a good idea ? One that happens is. If it doesn’t, it isn’t.”

“Ideas are a matter of taste. A good idea is a clever solution to a problem, one that I have never seen before. But if an idea is not taken up and used as a solution to a problem it has no value.”

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“Steal from anywhere that resonates with your inspiration or fuels your imagination. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable. Originality is non-existent. Remember what Jean-Luc Godart said: It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

“Don’t go to University. – Going to university usually means I don;t know what to do with my life, so I will go to university. A gap year confirms this. They are delaying tactics. Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do early in life. The majority have great difficulty in putting their assets to useful purpose. Going to university is not going to solve the problem. Whereas going to work will.

“Good marks will not secure you an interesting life. Your imagination will.”

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Go to work. – If you start work at 18, you are 5 years ahead of someone starting at 23. At 23, for all your education, you will still be the office junior. If you get your career decisions wrong when you are young, you can alter the course, but at 28 it is a bit late to find out you are in the wrong job. So don’t go to university unless the subject of your learning is close to your heart. Got to work and do your learning in the school of life.

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An interviewer with a wooden leg said to Frank Zappa With your long hair, from where I am sitting you could be a woman. Frank Zappa replied From where I am standing you could be a table.” 

“The best piece of advice ever given was by the art director of Harper’s Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch, to the young Richard Avedon, destined to become one of the world’s great photographers. The advice was simple:


Bear these words in mind, and whatever you do, will be creative.”

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P.S. : Thank you for taking the time to visit, and here’s to your journey of growth !