In the first part of this blog “On Being Positive” from June 17, 2019, I said I had no formal training regarding how to be positive. Rethinking the topic I realize I actually have and I’d like to share my source with you: Dr. Edward de Bono https://www.edwddebono.com/
Renowned psychologist and consultant, Dr. de Bono is known worldwide for his ideas and works on strategic and creative thinking, originating the term ‘lateral thinking’. In the late 1980s, I had the privilege of attending one of his two-day seminars in Toronto. The man is pure genius! Even though his presentation was methodical and dry, one could hear a pin drop when he spoke. He didn’t need a fancy PowerPoint accompaniment or pizzazz in his speech because the content alone was fascinating.
While much of his work with corporations and governments; what has stuck with me eternally is Dr. de Bono’s tool of the Six Thinking Hats. The concept is simple enough for children to use and yet captivating and practical enough for adults. Although De Bono teaches it for groups to solve problems (so everyone is on the same page), I like to use it personally particularly when I find myself thinking negatively or struggling with an issue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGfUroHvduM
Each hat has a different colour, representing different perspectives: white for information collection, black for critical analysis, yellow for positive analysis, red for emotion, green for creativity and blue for overview or summation. What struck me as most brilliant is the concept within the concept – the ‘rules’ De Bono created for Six Thinking Hats – the most important one being: only wear one hat at a time. Wearing only one hat at a time channels our thoughts to its purpose. No opinions are allowed when wearing the white hat. Use logic only when wearing the black or yellow hats. Logic isn’t necessary while wearing red or green hats. You can wear each hat in any order you please, but it’s recommended to think with your blue hat only when you’ve worn all the others. It’s okay to think negatively about an issue. After you’ve thought of all of the negative points, imagine replacing the black hat onto its shelf and donning, say, the red hat. Now, how do you feel about the issue?
Teaching this approach as sort of a game to children reaps major benefits. Imagine being able to suggest to a little one that he or she should perhaps remove their black hat and try on the yellow one. This teaches children not only that it’s okay to react negatively but also that they can limit their negativity and that they have the power within to resolve problems themselves.
Dr. de Bono has shared his concepts widely on the Internet. Meeting Edward de Bono set me on the path of finding and celebrating the positive things in life. I urge you to ‘google’ his teachings. Happy surfing!