Why Being Grey Means You’re Not Being Stupid

You don’t need to stand out to make progress

Darren Matthews


Photo by JC Dela Cuesta on Unsplash

What is it about being grey?

I mean pretty much every decision you make is to deliver an outcome you see as certain.

Our choices become binary by definition. It’s either yes or no, or black or white.

But, there is a problem here.

Our world doesn’t work like that. Entropy — the name we give uncertainty, randomness, and disorder will influence our lives.

So making black or white decisions seems foolish. Hell, some might even say it’s reckless to be so bold when the future is so uncertain.

Our challenge is we want to be certain.

Nothing brings us more comfort than knowing what lies ahead.

So, how do we overcome this?

The answer comes from doing the opposite.

We need to invert.

Inversion is a mental model that enables us to escape the limits of binary decision-making. But inversion doesn’t just work with decision-making, it works everywhere.

Looking for the opposite — inverting a problem — brings new perspectives. It allows us to see non-obvious solutions traditional thinking prevents us from realising.

Here, I will explain how trying to be great isn’t always the best approach.

Stop Trying to Be Stupid

Trying to stand out will often leave you disappointed.

I used to think trying to be great was the way to get ahead. If I could be the best salesman I could be the next sales manager — and if I can be a great sales manager I could be a great sales director.

Oh boy, what I fool I was.

I won a national sales award but was often late getting to my first call. I hit my sales targets, but frequently held my end-of-day wrap-up call on my driveway. And with a subtle sniffle, I would take time off sick.

Yes, I thought being great — as in being the best salesman — was enough.

It wasn’t.



Darren Matthews

I’m utterly curious about decision-making | Sharing lessons learned from the thousands of decisions I’ve studied and made | Founder https://www.resolve.blog