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Wear the ‘thinking hat’

india Updated: Apr 02, 2013 22:48 IST
MN Kundu

Most of our problems originate from erroneous thinking just as right solutions spring from right thinking. Thinking determines success and happiness in life. But we think that thinking is as natural as breathing.

We take the myth for granted that intelligent people think well and others can’t. Thinking is a skill and does not have much to do with intelligence. It is a fundamental human skill which can be cultivated, developed and sharpened with simple knowledge, practice and, above all, willingness.

Usually erroneous thinking giving rise to problems is based on partial or selective way of perception. Edward de Bono, author of more than 60 books in 40 languages, developed the concept of lateral thinking. He taught the subject in universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and delivered talks amongst a host of Nobel laureates. Let us take a lesson from him.

Bono has developed a five-stage process or framework of thinking- TO, LO, PO, SO and GO. TO refers to where we are going, or the aims, objectives and the purpose of thinking which determine the direction of thinking. LO involves looking into the information needed, available and accumulation of the same. PO refers to the stage of generating every alternative possibility and solution. SO involves selection of the best from the available alternatives. Finally GO involves going ahead or action steps. Evidently the emphasis is more on perception and information from which decisions flow.

Our thinking is influenced by positive or negative emotions. So, he developed the concept of ‘six thinking hats’ to identify and use requisite emotions and eliminate the wrong ones. Hats represent diverse emotions. White hat exclusively focus on information with open mind. Red hat infuses warmth of feeling for acceleration. Black hat is calculative and evaluative. Yellow hat infuses optimism, values and benefit analysis. Green hat is creative and energetic with new ideas. And blue hat overviews for perfect orchestration.

Thus the outcome of thinking becomes a product of systematic process involving logical flow and requisite emotions.