Thinking under different hats

Starting a philosophical conversation at home is like striking a match ... and there is the flame! But then, within minutes everybody is in his or her usual role and the conversation slides back into the same old groove. The topic may be different, but the course of the conversation is as predictable as dogfood is for the dogs. Pretty bland!

In the eighties, Edward de Bono, famous for the phrase “lateral thinking”, introduced six different hats we can wear in a conversation. For all of us, different hats may feel more natural than others. Have a look! Click on the image to see a clearer original.


The conversation starts with the question “where is my hat?”. No problem if some of the hats are not chosen, or if two of you want to wear the same hat. Just imagine what will happen if the conversation is among four red hats and one black one. But it’s a matter of ‘fair play’ to wear a different hat next time. Stay out of the old groove!


Preferably, choose a practical topic, where some kind of decision must be taken like:

  • Shall we have pizza tonight?
  • Oh, by the way, I’m at … <name of your best friend> all weekend, so I can’t … <participate in a planned activity>
  • I think it’s time for a new floor mat in the bathroom
  • Who is making dinner today? Remember, it’s Mother’s Day!

The illustration is taken from:


                                                                                                [Pieter Mostert, 22 March 2020]

Posted by Steve Hoggins on 22nd March 2020 at 12:00am


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Posted by Taniya sharma on 8th December 2020 at 05:33am