The Great ‘Escape’

I was in Sri Lanka last week conducting a series of masterclasses in a leadership retreat for Marie Stopes International and their country leaders.

In one session I was asked the following excellent question: “If you could only ever teach just one thing about ‘thinking’ what would it be?”

Based on my experience, I’m quite clear on that question and my answer was one word, “Escape!”

When I first put forward the idea of designing a selection of ‘thinking caps’ to teach thinking the strategy was that in order to use, say, Cap #2 the thinker first had to remove (or escape from) Cap#1. This is one of the most difficult skills in thinking and is indeed what defines a skilled thinker: someone who can escape from their current point-of-view.

Escape! Escape! Escape!

Recently I was asked to teach a class at Brighton Grammar how to use the Thinking Hats (based on Edward de Bono’s six hat version) so I selected two hats–the black and the green hats–and drilled the students in the skill of removing the black hat first. Once you are able to remove the hat you are wearing (usually the black hat) then you are free to select any of the other hats. But, if you cannot escape from your current hat then you are not free to use a different one.

The same strategy applies to the Universal Brain Software–CVS to BVS. If you cannot escape from your CVS then you cannot move to a BVS.

Yes, thinking skill is all about ESCAPE.

15 thoughts on “The Great ‘Escape’

  1. Thank you for your comments about escaping the black hat. I was laid off today (non-profit ran out of money) and am refreshing and refining my skills to get into the mode of getting to use my brain again. Yipee!

  2. It is very hard to escape from CVS black hat cause everything I go to do its without thinking so its CVS . I know its practise that will change to BVS, but if there is a speedeer way please tell me at my ens witt

  3. I read an interesting story about Bruce Lee. He was teaching a new student who had been studying martial arts for a very long time. During training the student kept reverting back to his old teachings and was having difficulty from escaping from this. Bruse then stopped the trainning session and invited the student to share a cup of tea. When they sat down Bruce began serving the tea. He started filling a cup and continued to fillit until it began overflowing. The student looked bemused and asked what he was doing. Bruce replied that the cup represents the student and the tea represents the students new knowledge. Until the cup is emptied new ideas cannot be taken in by the student. Once the cup had been emptied of all its contents only then could new contents be poured in.

    Since hearing this story I have always tried to empty my cup. Its the same concept as the 6 hat version above.

  4. Correction. In the below story re Bruce Lee I have typed something incorrectly. Where it says, the cup represents the student and the tea represents the students new knowldege, it should actually say the tea represents the students old knowledge. Sorry for any confusion.

  5. How can you show people that escaping the current view doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning it or condemning it….?

  6. I believe that by escaping from cvs you are evolving and actually improving your life with the biggest obstacle being fear. Instaed of focusiing on the fear, focus on what could be, the possibilities. Its all about moving from one level to the next level eg from crawling to walking to running analogy. This is the adventure of it all, this great thing we call life!

  7. I dont have a problem with practicing CVS2BVS at all. It is becoming a second nature to me now.
    Thus everytime I have to do and think of something, I ask myself to think first what to think.This process organise my line of thinking step
    by step.

  8. I think another huge problem is to know when escape and when stop to do it and just go along. Because you may be on the best way and further escape can harm you.

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