What are the benefits of being backwards?

by Molly Cantrell-Kraig on May 2, 2012

When I was a kid, one of the things that you wanted to avoid at all costs was to be accused of doing something “bassackwards,” which was a term my grandmother used to mean slipshod or “backwards” in a pejorative way. We grandkids were taught logical, linear methods for problem solving and being backwards was seen as being inefficient at best and stubborn at worst.

Yin and yang represent opposites that balance each other.

That being said, as I’ve grown, there have been many times in my life where doing things backwards has actually saved me time in the long run and helped me to stand out in a good way. There are at least three reasons I recommend operating in the reverse and here they are:

1. Establishing or revealing options. “Begin with the end in mind.” ~ Stephen Covey Whether determining a spending plan, your destination on a map or making a cake from scratch, having a concept of what it is you mean to achieve as an end result before beginning helps you to get there. What are the elements needed in order to get where you want to be? What is the “end” or finished result going to resemble?

Keeping in mind that sometimes the trip you take is not the trip you plan (chance and the interactions of others within your path may alter your original vision), thinking backwards in this manner helps you to flip your perspective.

2. Strengthening or identifying “muscles” which may have gone unknown. When I want to expand the results from a traditional workout, I simply reverse the order in which I do my regular routine. Have you ever walked up a flight of stairs backwards? Give it a shot. You’ll work the hamstrings instead of your quads more. The glutes will engage in a different sequence in order to propel you upwards.

You’ll move more slowly and be more mindful of your ascent. Having this awareness will make you a stronger person and help you to navigate more quickly when you revert to going up the stairs “the right way.”

3. Being goofy. “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” ~ Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Folks who follow me on The Twitter will notice that I reference one of my favorite comic strips, Calvin and Hobbes regularly. One of their favorite pursuits is a nonsense game called Calvinball, a ‘no-holds-barred-anything-goes’ game whose only rule is that there are none. Another Calvin invention is Opposite Day, which is the sort of day that the name implies.

Calvin & Hobbes comic strip creator Bill Watterson is in good company with his celebration of chaos as a foundational element of creation. Fellow artist Theodore Geisel was also a big proponent of nonsense, saying, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. …Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

When are times in your life when you’ve done something backward and benefitted from the experience? What are some lessons that would have gone unlearned? What can you do to make changes in your life?
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Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” us on facebook.

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