Six Thinking Hats – Wear’em!!



Communication is the tool for development is a common saying. When two or more people meet they often exchange pleasantries and start talking and on finding a common topic get into a discussion. Group discussions are getting increasingly popular and are not only as a part of the curriculum but also an integral part in the entrance exams of prestigious institutes and also have a share in selection for a job as a part of the interview.

The De Bono Hats system (also known as “Six Hats” or “Six Thinking Hats”) is a thinking tool for group discussion and individual thinking. Combined with the idea of parallel thinking which is associated with it, it provides a means for groups to think together more effectively, and a means to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way. The method is ascribed by Dr. Edward de Bono.

We all know how our brain functions but we rarely know about the real facts. Most of us live under the misconception that our brain does all the thinking for us whereas it is our mind which does the thinking. We have three states of mind the conscious, unconscious and the sub conscious.

The human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways which can be identified, deliberately accessed and hence planned for use in a structured way allowing one to develop strategies for thinking about particular issues. It may be put to use for personal as well as professional help. Dr. De Bono identifies six distinct states in which the brain can be “sensitized”. In each of these states the brain will identify and bring into conscious thought certain aspects of issues being considered (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgment, neutral facts).

We all have been through this in our lives just that we never realized it. The power of our mind is immense. It can do so much. If without realizing the power of our mind we live such amazing lives if we actually can understand our mind and put it to use and make our lives and our surrounding better we would be creators and not the destructors of our world. There lies a deep magic in us and this magic is the beauty with which our mind functions. Let’s lead magical lives and create magic with the power of our minds!!!

Dr de Bono has identified six different states and assigned colors to it which we call the six thinking hats. Colored hats are used as metaphors for each state. Switching to a state is symbolized by the act of putting on a colored hat, either literally or metaphorically. All of these thinking hats help for thinking more deeply. The six thinking hats indicate problems and solutions about an idea or a situation you might come up with.

The white thinking hat is based purely on what information is available, what are the facts? Thus white thinking hat meant information. Red thinking hat symbolized emotions. It showed instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification). The black hat applied logic to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch. It is a judge to the bad points. Whereas the yellow hat identifies benefits, seeking harmony and is a good points judge. Green hat symbolizes creativity and blue hat symbolizes thinking.

The key to a successful use of the Six Thinking Hats methodology is to deliberate focus on the discussion. Using a variety of approaches while thinking and problem solving allows the issue to be addressed from a variety of angles, thus fulfilling the needs of all individuals concerned. So what are you waiting for? Hook on to one of these thinking hats and solve your problems on your own. It’s your mind which creates a problem by identifying a situation as a problem so it your own mind which can solve the problem. I wear these hats and change these hats in all situations so give it a try and wear one of these.

Do write to by leaving a comment below and let us know your favorite thinking hat or share your experience.


– By Anjani Nautiyal



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