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How to Become Unstuck Using the 6 Thinking Hats.

Stuck on your path forward?

Start your own creativity crash course with these techniques from Success Magazine. Reading through these 6 “hats” will open up new ways you process your business strategy, leading to the creation of ideas.


Created by Edward de Bono, M.D., Ph. D., and published in the 1985 book Six Thinking Hats, this exercise forces your brain to move outside of its habitual way of solving problems. Each thinking hat represents a different style of thinking. It works like this:

  • White hat: Focus in on the available data. Look for past trends and attempt to fill in any knowledge gaps. (What do you know about your market? What have historically been the paths that businesses in your space have taken?)

  • Red hat: Use your intuition, gut reaction and emotion. Also consider how others might react emotionally. (What do you believe at your core level is the future of your business/the industry that you are apart of?)

  • Black hat: Consider all the ways this idea might not work. Take a critical view. (Worse case scenario - write it out - you fail and lose all your money, you lose your biggest client, etc. etc…see Tim Ferriss’s TedTalk on Fear Setting for more on this)

  • Yellow hat: Conversely, look at the problem with a positive eye, What are the benefits of the decision? (What is the best case scenario? What would be the ideal scenario in your mind?)

  • Green hat: Get crazy with your ideas. Let your creative spirit run free, and imagine the most unusual solutions to the problem. Don’t hinder your thinking. (Turn the business model upside down - write out key thoughts/phrases/words that come to mind - use the “kill the company to save it” mindset - if the current industry model for your business is dead, how would you reinvent it?)

  • Blue hat: This represents thinking-process control. Imagine yourself as the leader of a brainstorm group. How would you assign others to find a solution? (When we teach others by speaking out - it gives us a chance to clarify our direction. The practice of directing others will force us to identify the steps necessary to move forward.)

Implement this:

  1. Take 15 minutes and sit down with a blank sheet of paper and these 6 thinking hats printed out.

  2. Read through one at a time and write down key questions that you want to explore from these 6 different angles.

  3. After listing key questions, develop action steps associated with each “hat”.


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