Whatever is TRUE,
Whatever is NOBLE
Whatever is RIGHT
Whatever is PURE
Whatever is LOVELY
Whatever is ADMIRABLE
If anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY
Think about such things
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990) argues that optimal experience has little to do with one’s circumstance, social status, intelligence, or career choice, but an inner control of consciousness. Therefore, being mindful of our thinking is essential.
The apostle Paul encouraged us to focus our thinking on matters that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. What we think about leads to how we approach our daily encounters, and they are crucial to our witness for Christ and our optimal experience.
To deepen our thinking process during group discussion and individual reflection, Edward de Bono (1985) introduced a tool he called “Six Thinking Hats”. Each hat represents a way of thinking about an issue. It is not meant to be used to categorize people. In a group setting, it directs people to focus on one thing at a time. It provides clarity and avoids confusion. Hopefully, it also diminishes unnecessary clashes.
- With the white hat, one presents facts in a combination of data and figures, without the necessity of interpretation or analysis.
- With the red hat, one expresses his/her intuition, hunches, feelings and emotions, without the necessity of justification.
- With the black hat, one assesses the risk and weakness of an idea.
- On the contrary, with the yellow hat, one highlights the advantages and strengths of an idea. Yellow hat thinking is constructive thinking – optimistic and hopeful – and it is a launching pad for green hat thinking.
- With the green hat, one embraces growth with new ideas or solutions, especially those that are out-of-the-box possibilities. It puts aside any judgment of validity but supports the free flow of creativity.
- The blue hat is like the conductor of an orchestra. It guides and organizes the application of other thinking hats.
When one puts on different thinking hats in a cohesive way, he/she can develop a comprehensive view of the situation at hand. Because of our personality and experiences, we have a tendency for a particular style of thinking. It is beneficial to switch out of our usual track and think differently about a matter.
Mind-fullness is stressful and it can lead to confusion, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness is peaceful and it leads to inner serenity and optimal experience. Difficult or pressing events happen around us all the time, but we can choose not to dwell on negative thoughts. The Six Thinking Hats is a useful, systematic way to think through any situation thoroughly. One learns to become a flexible thinker with a growth mindset. Therefore, what we allow our minds to focus on has serious implications on our spiritual, mental, psychological, and social health.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
De Bono, E. (1985). Six Thinking Hats. Boston: Little, Brown and Company