Today, we're diving into a concept that can supercharge your midlife creativity and decision-making. Because in midlife, we have to make a lot of decisions for our lives, for our families, our retirement and more. When you're using your creativity to do this, it can help you get to those decisions faster and more easily.
I want to introduce to you a method that was developed by Dr. Edward de Bono quite a while back, and it's called "Six Thinking Hats." It's aimed at encouraging different perspectives and creative thinking during discussions.
When you're making decisions, instead of approaching a problem with just one point of view, you put on different hats. Each hat represents a different way of thinking. There was a book published on this method in 1985, and it looks like it was revised in 2000. A lot of businesses use this method, but it can also help you individually.
I must admit, when I first heard about this concept I thought, "Seriously? Put on a hat? Yeah, okay." But when I started looking at it more deeply, I thought it was a fantastic way to intentionally and specifically update your perspective so you can experiment with different ways to approach it.
We're going to explore these six hats one-by-one and see how you can apply them to your creativity and decision-making. But I also want to let you know these are just ideas. If you decide you don't want six hats and you want four hats, and you want them to be different colors like chartreuse and magenta, you can do that too.
This is your neutral objective hat. When you're wearing the White Hat, you are all about facts, information and what you know. Let's say you're thinking about starting a new business. When you're in White Hat mode, you're researching the market, analyzing the financial data, and getting the cold hard facts about the industry that you're thinking about going into.
You do this so you can make informed decisions based on reality, not wishful thinking. A lot of people think creativity is this floaty, nebulous thing but when you're working on an idea or a project, you generally need some objectivity to evaluate specific parts of it, don't you? So put on your White Hat when it's time to be neutral and objective.
This one is all about emotions and intuition. When you put on your Red Hat, it's time to tap into your gut feelings and let your emotions guide you. That's because trusting your instincts and listening to your heart can play a huge role when you're making a decision.
For example, if you're thinking about making a career change, the Red Hat is going to help you explore your feelings about the shift. You can ask yourself questions like: Am I excited? Am I anxious? Am I confident of this change? How does the change make you feel? And what are your feelings telling you?
This hat is fantastic for identifying potential problems because it's all about judgment and caution. When you're in Black Hat mode, you're spotting the pitfalls and asking some really tough questions. You're being realistic about the challenges that you might face.
For example, if you're considering retirement, put on the Black Hat and think about things like financial security, and health and medical insurance, and your long-term plans.
What are the risks? How can you mitigate them? Do you have enough to retire? How many years will you need to pay for insurance before you can apply for Medicare? These are the types of questions that the Black Hat is going to help you figure out.
The Yellow Hat is almost the complete opposite of the Black Hat. The Black Hat is actively looking for potential problems, while the Yellow Hat is actively seeking out opportunities and looking for the positive things in a situation. It's all about optimism and looking for the sunny side of things.
Let's say you're thinking about traveling more. Put on your Yellow Hat and envision the adventures you're going to have, the new friendships you're going to make, and the new perspectives that are going to come from being away from home more. This is the hat that helps you stay positive and open-minded.
The Green Hat is the symbol of growth and creativity. It's all about brainstorming and generating new ideas and thinking outside the box.
For example, if you're thinking about starting a side hustle or a new creative project, the Green Hat can help you come up with innovative concepts, new strategies and different approaches that you may not have otherwise thought of. Don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild and explore untapped potential when you're wearing your big ol' Green Hat.
This is the organizer and facilitator hat. The Blue Hat keeps the thinking process on track. It manages time, and it helps with decision-making. I look at the Blue Hat as your personal project manager, somebody who's in charge of all the details. The Blue Hat is going to help you if you're planning an important event, maybe a family reunion.
And let's be honest, sometimes family reunions are similar to herding cats. It's such a big, huge thing, right? But the Blue Hat will help you create a structured timeline, an agenda. It's going to help you delegate tasks and ensure that everything runs smoothly. It's even going to help you actually enjoy the event without any stress because things are running so smoothly. So think about the Blue Hat when you need your own personal project manager.
So that's the "Six Thinking Hats" by Dr. Edward de Bono. Pretty simple, right? By embracing these different perspectives and thinking styles, you can enhance your creativity, make better decisions, and embrace all the incredible opportunities that midlife has to offer you. All you have to do is pick the hat that's appropriate to the situation.