It’s the same in business, in negotiation, even in storytelling. You have to be unpredictable because if you’re easy to figure out, you lose.
But being unpredictable is not the same as being crazy. You don’t have to grow a beard, mumble to yourself and develop a signature tic. Unpredictability is to be sought in action not in appearance.
Being unpredictable means not following a discernible pattern. Acting crazy could form part of your strategy, but only ever a small part.
Instead, vary your timing. Alter your tempo. Change your route. Move between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Switch between the expected and the irregular.
Think of someone cycling on the road. When cars and lorries pass by they have to give the cyclist room. One to make sure they don’t hit them. Two, because legally the cyclist is allowed to wobble.
In your own conduct, wobble.
By deviating intentionally from the most obvious path, you are given a wider berth. People are less likely to figure you out if mixed into your conduct are glimpses of unusual behaviour.
If a pattern can be read it can be effectively countered.
In the animal kingdom, if prey is predictable they end up dead. Thankfully, the stakes are not as high for us.
Nevertheless, when you go about your business, wobble.