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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

The Six Thinking Hats.


I came across Edward De Bono's The Six Thinking Hats when listening to The Model Health Show, one of my favourite podcasts to keep up to date with. Jim Kwik, the ultimate brain guru, was enlightening us about how we should look at problems as 'puzzles' - just thinking about them in a playful way, something to solve creatively, already reduces the stress load and the burden you mind & body have to carry.


This led them to talk about Edward De Bono's concept of The Six Thinking Hats. I found it so profound in terms of how you are able to view challenges we are presented with daily, that I wanted to share it with you.

The concept.

The Six Thinking Hats is a technique created by Edward De Bono, a Maltese physician, psychologist & philosopher in 1986. We are all programmed in a particular way from our childhood, experiences, people around us, ..., which leads us to look at the world in a certain way. We may also have a dominant narrative or personality trait that makes us consistently perceive things from a more narrowed view point. This unique technique allows you to broaden your thinking when you are looking at a situation, decision, or issue - as you put on the different thinking hats, you are asked to consider the situation at hand from different perspectives in a clear, non-conflict way. After you have tried all the hats, you will have a well rounded, rich collection of insights that will help you make decisions as you move forward.

  • the white hat = the factual hat - when you put on the white hat, you are looking at the situation in a factual, logical way. You gather information, and analyse the situation based purely on fact, without emotion.

  • the red hat = the feelings hat - red is for passion, so this hat represents the heart, feelings & instincts. You will look at the situation emotionally, asking yourself how you feel about the situation, being elaborate about the emotions that arise, without limitations.

  • the yellow hat = the optimist hat - think of this as the sunshine hat. With this hat on, look at the situation in the most positive light possible, and accentuate all the benefits & values that can come from this. Go crazy in your optimism!

  • the black hat = the cautious hat - when you have this. hat on, you look at the situation using critical judgement. Be cautious, and contemplate the risks & what can go wrong. Explain why you have these concerns in detail.

  • the green hat = the growth hat - green signifies growth, rebirth & creative thinking. It allows you to explore a range of ideas & opportunities that may arise, thinking outside the box.

  • the blue hat = the manager hat - this is the "blue sky thinking' hat that brings all other hats together. It takes all of the outcomes from wearing the other hats in to consideration, weighing them up, to make a decision,


Benefits of The Six Thinking Hats.

More organised thinking - as you are looking at a situation, decision or problem from every angle, you can be sure that you have considered every angle. It also helps you weigh up the information effectively & accurately.

Improved creativity - the different ways of thinking forces you away from your default thoughts, positions & approaches, opening you up to creative, new ways of thinking. This allows you to combine and/or compare different perspectives and spark novel thoughts & ideas.

Better decision making skills - curiousity, creativity and judgement are all tapped into, strengthening these skills the more you do this! When these are tapped into well, you will end up making better thought-through decisions in all aspects of your life.

More self-awareness - tapping into the different parts of you means you will have more awareness & knowledge of who you are, more understanding of your strengths, limitations, needs, & boundaries, and will set you on a growth path.

Stronger interpersonal skills - when using this technique in groups it encourages you to practice listening, questioning & answering, seeing things from a different perspective, being more persuasive, and being more confident to resolve conflicts that may arise.

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