Most of the time, the obvious way around an obstacle isn’t the only way.
Looking for another option is called the unconventional strategy—when you have the same goal as anyone else, but you find a different way to achieve it.
It works in education, career, personal finance, social causes, politics, relationships, etc. Oh, and it can even work in sports and contests too.
Take 27 seconds today to watch this video of a middle-school American football team that adopted an unconventional strategy to achieve a traditional victory.
Note: If you’re not from North America and don’t understand this sport, it’s OK; I don’t really follow it either. As far as I can tell, the object is to move the ball down the field without getting a concussion. Normally when you are trying to do that, the players on the other team are trying to stop you—but in this example, the kid with the ball manages to confuse everyone by walking through the defense instead of running and pushing. Nice.
Some people feel that adopting the unconventional strategy is cheating. “That’s not fair!” they say, when you succeed without the struggle. It’s not fair to adapt to your surroundings or find a creative solution—and it’s not fair to create an entirely new playbook, because that throws the existing one into chaos.
It’s only natural that some people feel this way. If you spend your whole life taking the long road, of course you’ll be resentful when someone finds a shortcut.
But some rules were made to be broken, and other rules have loopholes. In both cases, there is almost always more than one way to accomplish something.