How People Think: What Color Is Your Thinking Cap?
People commonly confuse innate intelligence or IQ with the ability to think. But clear thinking is not the same thing as being smart, according to "Lateral Thinking, Six Thinking Hats and Masterthinker" author Edward de Bono.
Good thinking is not a matter of intelligence nor is it a gift; it is a skill that can be practiced and developed like any other. Among the ways he encourages people to think more effectively is by using the image of six hats. Think of them as thinking caps of different colors, each representing different questions to help you make better decisions.
Here's the rainbow of hats you might use.
White hats represent facts, figures and information. Think of a scientist dressed in a white lab coat. The white hat questions you ask yourself are, "What facts will help me make a decision? Where and from whom can I get them?"
Red hats symbolize emotions and feelings, hunches and intuition. The red hat questions: "How do I really feel about this? What's my gut reaction to the situation?"
Black hats represent a negative outlook, playing devil's advocate, using your judgment and thinking why it won't work. Ask yourself: "What are the possible downside risks and problems? What is the worst-case scenario?"
Yellow hats symbolize opportunities, optimism, and constructive thinking. Questions: "What are all the possible advantages? What would be the best outcome?"
Green hats represent creative, fertile thinking. Questions: "What completely new, fresh, innovative approaches can I come up with? What creative ideas can I dream up to help me see the problem in a new light?"
Blue hats signify control. The blue hat is to allow you to review your thoughts and sum up what you have learned.
Once you have identified what your thinking cap's color is, or what colors are combinations of the way you think, the easier and faster it will be for you to make sound decisions. How you think is reflected in how you act toward other people and face certain situations. You can change your thinking cap's color if you want to. These are not carved in stone.
Like many of our human characteristics and attitudes, our thinking caps can be modified according to how we want them to develop. Just because we identify with one particular color, that doesn't mean we are destined to ask just the questions associated with it for the rest of our lives. Remember, we own our destinies. Thus, we can change the way we decide by altering the way we think and view things.