As you drive up to a crowded shopping plaza, your blood pressure rises quickly. Circling the parking lot, you search for the closest possible space. It quickly becomes a fierce competition, filling you with stress and sometimes anger if someone beats you to that one spot that should have been yours. Several laps and minutes later, you land in a mediocre spot and still have to hike to your destination.
We’ve all been there. But is there a better approach? What if we flipped it and decided that the absolute best spot is the one farthest from the door? I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me…
If you target the farthest spot, your wait time is zero. Absolutely zero stress, no competition, and smooth sailing, as if the perfect spot was reserved just for you. Walking a few extra feet may actually save time compared to wasting 10 minutes seething up and down the lanes.
What appears like a bummer outcome actually has additional benefits: you get some much-needed exercise, and you also build mental toughness. You now are the person that seeks out challenges, rather than runs from them. You get to forge your own path and refuse to run with the masses. You now enter the building with a spring in your step, realizing that you’re the rare breed that does things your own way.
As you may guess, what works for parking spots also works in business and life. When we challenge ourselves to flip the obvious approach in order to discover a better alternative, we unlock fresh possibility. Sometimes, the very thing that appears the most difficult actually becomes the most rewarding. In fact, embracing the opposite approach has been the foundation of progress — and greatness — for generations.
Now that you’ve scored the ideal parking spot, look for other areas where you can apply the same oppositional thinking in order to win. Do it your own way, and the rewards will be abundant.
In the words of legendary football star Roger Staubach, “there are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”