The case for doing the opposite

During World War II, the Hungarian mathematician Abraham Wald was asked to help the British decide where to add armour to their bombers. 

After analyzing the records, he recommended that the RAF add more armour to the parts of the aircraft where no damage had been incurred.

Wald had data on the planes that returned safely to Britain, so the bullet holes that Wald saw were all in places where a plane could be hit and still survive. 

The planes that were shot down were in all probability hit in different places to those that returned safely, so Wald recommended adding armor to the places where the surviving planes were lucky enough not to have been hit.

The next time you consider what feels like a logical and orthodox choice, take a moment to consider the opposite. In life, we are often blinded by convention – to our considerable cost.