Following up yesterday’s post on the creativity boost working from memory can provide, winning results can also unveil themselves when you break away from what appears to be strategic common sense to pursue and implement an unconventional strategy.
The working from memory post got me thinking about a similar high school experience at a regional math competition. Fellow students Jeff Bernasky, close friend Dale Romme, and I were entered in a timed, competitive segment called, “Calculations with Calculators.”
I don’t frankly remember why, but none of us actually had a working calculator when it came time for the competition. As a result, we devised an alternative strategy. We’d each scan through the test and work only the easiest math problems – the ones which clearly didn’t require a calculator to solve.
When we implemented our strategy, it allowed us to answer more questions than any of the other student teams, since one can surmise, they were solving the equations sequentially using calculators every step of the way.
We won the competition in our sophomore year. And when we entered the competition the next two years, guess what? Yep, we didn’t use calculators and earned the threepeat!
Are you facing similar instances where employing the completely natural strategy makes sense but doesn’t yield the same winning results as an unconventional strategy could? You’ll never know what the possibilities are until you give the unconventional strategy a try! - Mike Brown
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