Saturday, January 17, 2015


A writer must be a thinker. Many, myself included at one time, naïvely concur that thinking occurs naturally, but thinking is a process that can be taught, and often must be taught. You can broaden your thinking, and hence enhance your writing, by stretching the horizons of your thoughts. Below is a short excerpt about my experience in holistic thinking from my new book "10½ Sketches: INSIGHTS ON BEING SUCCESSFUL RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE which was released on Jan 1.

"In his book, Six Thinking Hats, de Bono describes the tool that is effective for both group discussion and individual thinking, using six differently colored "hats". Our brains think in a number of ways and we learn in a variety of ways, thus de Bono identifies six directions in which our brain can be challenged.

Insight : One can mentally switch hats for every decision, conversation or meeting to redirect thoughts more productively.

The Blue hat manages the thinking process. When wearing this hat, one asks questions like: What is the topic at hand? What are we thinking? What are the goals?

The White hat focuses on information: What are the facts? What information do we have right now?

The Red hat represents emotions: What are the gut feelings, the loves and hates, the fears?

The Black hat symbolizes judgment: What are the cautions and difficulties?

The Yellow hat shows the bright side: What are the positive aspects, the benefits?

The Green hat signifies creativity: Where's the growth? What are the possibilities, options and new ideas?

The six hats are associated with parallel thinking, that is, there is no overlap of thought.
Insight: Regular use of the hats makes it an unconscious process. Engaging in the symbolic act of removing a hat and putting on a different one while naming the color aloud helps one switch focus.
You can generate holistic thinking in a group or individual setting by use of the hats. You can become a more effective writer as you deepen your thinking.

Insight: Caution - Since an individual does not think one way all the time, it is important to keep in mind that each hat must be used for a limited time only. In the natural way of thinking, one can easily overlook certain important considerations, and wearing the hats allows that person to ensure that he has given conscious thought to areas that may have been overlooked."

An excerpt from "10½ Sketches: INSIGHTS ON BEING SUCCESSFUL RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE" released on Jan 1, 2015. Available at Amazon worldwide.
Susan Harris is a former teacher and the author of six books.


Glynis said...

Interesting post, Susan. Well no wonder I am tuckered at the end of any given day changing all those hats! I am not sure if I could ever consciously change them, however. I'd be dizzy.

Tracy Krauss said...

very interesting Susan

Peter Black said...

Thanks Susan. What a neat way of ensuring - or, at least increasing the likelihood - that thought is given comprehensively to a given matter or course of action.
Hmm, I think I'd soon be a mad-hatter if trying to keep all those hats rotating! :)
Points well-taken though.~~+~~

Susan Harris said...

You make me laugh, Glynis. I can assure you that it is much easier than it sounds, and the habit settles on unconsciously. Tracy, I used this method to teach my students to think. In fact, that is the context in which I wrote the chapter in the book. Divvy a group into six areas each focusing on one hat, and the results are amazing.

Susan Harris said...

That's a cute spin on the mad hatter, Peter. All smiles at the puns. Even as I write I'm using the hats in a big decision. That's for your thoughts, friends.

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