In April 2010 SOT will accept the first intake of qualified Esquires into the School of Chivalry. The motto of the School of Chivalry is QRH.

There will be ten candidate Esquires in the First Intake.

The purpose of the new school will be to provide coaching in the strategies of chivalrytraining and service – to qualified candidates. Qualified candidates will be those who are on the SOT’s Roll of Thinking Instructors.

More information next week.


Caravaggio – Knight of Malta

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610)
Portrait of a Knight of Malta, Fra Antonio Martelli, 1607-8
Oil on canvas
Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

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Australian Wisdom

All cultures have their unique perspective and Australia is no exception.

While humans all share the same gene pool there are many different human meme pools and many different human cultures.

Australia’s unique history and isolation has sometimes been a source of fascination for others around the world. Soviet Russia’s Vladimir Lenin once observed: “What sort of peculiar capitalist country is this in which the workers’ representatives predominate in the upper house….and yet the capitalist system is in no danger?”


Those Australians who have been clever enough and lucky enough to survive 50 years or more (400,000+ hours) of life have learned a thing or two. Here are some examples of their Grey Hat Thinking from Australians, old and older:


Kerry Packer – billionaire: Never complain, never explain.

Australian proverb: The bigger the hat, the smaller the property.

Elizabeth Blackburn – Nobel Laureate: I got it for curiosity.

General D.M. Mueller: As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures.

Jack Lang – Labor premier: Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It’ll be the only one trying.

Ann Daniel – Emeritus Professor of Sociology: Be gentle, become creative.

Henry Lawson – poet: I’ve never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment.

Douglas Mawson – scientist and polar survivor: It’s dead easy to die; it’s the keeping on living that’s hard.

Dame Nellie Melba – opera singer: The first rule in opera is the first rule in life: see to everything yourself.

General Sir John Monash: Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs … the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline.

Australian Aboriginal saying: May as well be here we are as where we are.

Danielle Wood – Author:  My grandfather, the remarkable man who inspired my first novel, The Alphabet of Light and Dark, once said to me: “There’s no such thing as biting off more than you can chew–you just take a big bite, and then chew like buggary”.

Bob Hawke – Prime Minister: Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don’t exude morality.

Ian Kiernan – organiser of Clean up Australia Day: Ordinary people need to lead and not sit there and think that governments are going to spoon feed them.

Saint Mary McKillop: Never see a need without doing something about it.

Harry (Breaker) Morant – executed soldier and poet: Shoot straight you bastards. Don’t make a mess of it.

Joan Kirner – Labor premier: There is no such thing as being non-political. Just by making a decision to stay out of politics you are making the decision to allow others to shape politics and exert power over you.

Convict saying: The law locks up the man who steals the goose from the common, but leaves the greater criminal loose who steals the common from the goose.

Ned Kelly – bushranger: If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away.

Errol Flynn: Flynn is not always in.

Sandra Cabot – physician and author: Real women don’t have flushes, they have power surges.

Arthur Calwell – politician: It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies.

Oenone Wood – Champion cyclist: As a child my mum told me I could do anything. I believed her.

Australian observation: If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he’s probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably, a wharfie.

Australian observation: There is nothing more Australian than spending time in somebody else’s country.

Anon: It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

Dame Edna Everage: Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.

Sir Robert Menzies – Prime Minister: A man may be a tough, concentrated, successful money-maker and never contribute to his country anything more than a horrible example.

Tom Dystra – Aboriginal man: We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it.

Phillip Adams – journalist: The most intense hatreds are not between political parties but within them.

Australian Aboriginal proverb: Those who lose dreaming are lost.

Australian proverb: Its like the axe that’s had two new blades and three new handles but otherwise is just as it was when grandfather bought it.

Geoffrey Blainey – historian: Nationalism is both a vital medicine and a dangerous drug.

Don Bradman – cricket player: When you play test cricket, you don’t give the Englishmen an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind them into the dust.

Janet Holmes à Court – CEO: The company was quite hierarchical. I often think it was like a pyramid with Robert (husband Robert Holmes à Court) at the top and lots of us paying homage to him. I try to turn the pyramid upside down so that I’m at the bottom and bubbling away and encouraging people and energising them so that they are all empowered so that they can do what they need to do, now that’s the dream.


DFQ: What is your favourite example of Grey Hat Thinking?
Post your comment below …

In a 2007 interview I was asked to add one more hat to the original ‘6 thinking hats’ developed by SOT in 1983.

I have designed the 7th Hat for Wisdom which is the Grey Thinking Hat.

Of all the original 6 Thinking Hats–White, Black, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue–the Grey Hat is also the Senior Hat.

(Master Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Grey Hat, Paris, 1887)

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EXPERIENCE + KNOWLEDGE = WISDOM

wisdom n. experience and knowledge together
with the power of applying them critically or practically
Oxford English Dictionary

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FROM BLACK TO GREY

is all about the escape

from judgmental thinking to wisdom.

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Survival is clever and requires intelligence. Long term survival endows wisdom and this is a very clever thing, indeed

From the hard-won accomplishment of longevity emerges broad experience and special knowledge. It cannot be taught. It also offers a deep appreciation of the role that sheer random luck plays in long term survival.

My father was one of the wisest people I have ever known. He had a great deal of experience. In WWII he had served and survived in two theatres of war. He received a classical education, was widely read and had a great deal of knowledge and common sense. He was also very lucky. He survived bowel cancer, completely, and other narrow escapes. He’s used to say, “Nobody’s perfect”. How right he was!



The Grey Thinking Hat is for Wisdom.

The experience of surviving for a complete generation through childhood, adolescence and adulthood endows knowledge and perspective that a young brain simply cannot match.

To achieve 50 years of survival, through two or more generations, allows the brain to build a database of experience which offers a perspective of history, an understanding of long term consequences, a faculty for prediction and a wisdom that cannot be acquired in any other way. It takes half a century.

— Click through for the rest of this article …

Wikipedia: A Rube Goldberg machine is a deliberately over engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction.

The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg. Since then, the expression has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system.

Here’s a recent example, a 2010 music video by rock band OK Go entitled This Too Shall Pass