Six Thinking Hats Theory and How to Apply It to Problem-Solving

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Critical thinking is used to solve problems. The six thinking hats theory looks at these same problems from all angles, thus making a better decision.

Everyone has instincts, with some taking a positive approach to problem-solving while others are more acquainted with a critical standpoint. Both ways of making decisions are useful. Both also have their downfalls. The six thinking hats theory takes points from both these views.

In fact, this theory separates thinking into six defined roles. With these roles, you can formulate the best possible solution to any problem. Take a look.

The Six Thinking Hats Theory

It’s about coming from different angles or approaching any given problem from a certain specific standpoint or strategy. The six thinking hats, categorized by color, are important when used alone or together.

I will be honest, I think I have naturally used them on several occasions, and until my head hurt. Maybe overthinking didn’t mix with building strategies. Anyway, here are the six thinking hats and what they represent. Remember to use them wisely. 😉

1. White hat

The white hat represents just the facts in any given situation. This hat is used first and foremost to state the obvious and the material. Factual information, looking at what you have and noticing what is absent can be used to help find a solution.

In fact, it can be the best scenario to a fault. After the facts are stated using the white hat of critical thinking, then you will need to become a bit more creative. If you’re coming from this standpoint and only this standpoint, you will be limited to what exists and what does not.

2. Red hat

This hat is utilized when an emotional way of thinking is present. This is where your intuition comes into play, as you start to judge things by the vibes you get from them. Although the red hat goes by this powerful emotion, you have to be careful to keep a certain amount of control over the red hat mentality.

3. Yellow hat

On a positive note, the yellow hat is optimistic, making us see the best and nothing less. This mindset tries to see all the good things in certain situations. Even if it’s a severe problem, those who think with this mindset will see something that benefits them or others, even in its most minute form.

One of the best things about the yellow hat is that it has the power to keep you going when things get unbearably tough.

4. Black hat

On the flip side of the yellow hat thinking model, you get the black hat. The way the black hat works is by forcing you to think negatively in order to weed out potential future problems.

For instance, would you really want to head into a situation thinking in only a blind positive manner? It’s important to understand that things go wrong, there is always fine print, and you must have a plan B. This is exactly how the black hat theory works.

5. Green hat

The green hat allows you to do something interesting in the midst of your problems or specific situations. This hat governs all creative thoughts that could help you alter, fix or accept the given issues.

This creativity is needed in order to see things outside the box. Without it, you may miss some of life’s most extraordinary and unlikely solutions.

6. Blue hat

This hat is used for process control. When you’re facing a problem and utilizing logic and positive thinking, the blue hat mentality will be able to lead you over to creative ideas with the green hat or even your “worst-case” scenarios navigated by the black hat mindset.

The blue hat may even suggest you use your basic intuition while wearing the red hat when all avenues have been exhausted. The blue hat is so important in that it helps you stay in control during the whole decision-making process.

So, let the problem solving begin!

Although you were probably aware of all these ways of thinking, you may not have labeled them as “colored hats”. Not all of these hats are popular ways of thinking either.

In fact, a huge flaw in problem-solving is usually not to think negatively or not to follow emotions. However, leaving these gifts out of the equation can limit your abilities and goals.

In order to see dangers ahead or possible failures, we must have a bit of negative critical thinking. In order to trust our intuition, we must use it a bit as well. As far as creativity goes, some of the greatest achievements have come from unconventional thought processes, wouldn’t you say?

I hope this has enlightened you a bit and allowed you to see just how important each of the six thinking hats are in the decision-making process.

The next time you are faced with life’s changes and options, make sure you exhaust the six thinking hats and reap the best possible outcome from your situation. Good luck and good thinking!

References:

  1. http://sites.nd.edu
  2. https://www.tennessean.com
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About the Author:

Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.

2 Comments

  1. Gary Hynous August 22, 2018 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Oh, me, oh my, which hat shall I wear today?? Remember to put your brain in gear before you engage your mouth. All joking aside, this is really good advice. We all have lots of choices to make every minute of every day. Chose carefully and wisely today and your future will definitely brighten up. Thanks for this presentation.

    • Sherrie September 5, 2018 at 4:24 am - Reply

      Personally, if we could gather all the hats together when big decisions must be made, I think we would find the best possible solution.

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