FEEDBACK: From SOT Members … 2009

Every year we invite SOT Members to give feedback on how they have applied the universal brain software – cvs2bvs – and any other SOT training they have thought about and experimented with in their own lives. And, what have been the results?

After reading the some of the previous comments of members please consider enlightening us on your own experience as a member. If you wish, post your comment below …

Here is a sample of feedback comments from SOT members. These are some of the subjective assessments of their online daily training experience by SOT members worldwide.

There’s nothing special about these comments nor are they sanitised or selected, it’s just a sample of members comments coming back from DFQs. There are thousands more like these commenting on how they use the lessons to help them in their life, careers/jobs, relationships, sporting activities and other typical applications.

In skill training, getting transference to life applications is always the bottom line at SOT.

Because SOT is quite a different model to the familiar education one it can be difficult, at first, for many educators or parents or employers to see how these short daily reinforcements can produce worthwhile results over time. They may rush to judgement too soon.

The online daily training is being taken by a wide range of people from diverse cultures, backgrounds, careers and age groups. While some race through it on a superficial level, others pore over it slowly and thoroughly and there is every other utility in between.

Like a smorgasbord, members take from the training what they are ready to take and they apply the brain software in their own way, in their own business/career and on their own terms. Nothing is imposed on them, however, they do get their thinking training from lessons sent out every day …


Your thinking lessons are quite addictive. The most enjoyable and worthwhile use of the internet I have experienced.
Neville (teacher)

Your training has given me a new view on life, a constant reflection on what’s going on. Have always been fairly positive and focused but this has heightened or re awakened this passion. You are never really there even when you think you are. Thanks for a sensational journey. Can’t believe the impact it has had on my thought patterns.
Karl (sales executive)

The most important point(s) I will take away from this training is that our ‘old’ norms or memes influence what we think to the point where they can constrain our ability to grow. What is possible is endless and as a company we need to keep pushing the boundaries. For example we need to search for more time with the customer – without always pushing for the sale. I believe the daily training method has been very effective at reinforcing the X10 concept. I would feel comfortable recommending the course to at east 10 people!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks – Kylie (business consultant)

For me the “total sum” of all the lessons has provided me with a platform for growth and continuous improvement. Focus, simplicity and repetition of business tools for immediate integration. The understanding that it is possible for me to X10 my business which I would have previously thought was not even remotely achievable. Also, the daily routine becomes daily habits.
Have a great week . . . .Jennelle (sales)

This has really got me thinking about the business l am in. Training is a key to the success of our business yet we only have 2 days a year. They are extremely beneficial days but are rarely put into practice. I can now start prioritising daily training to try and get a better result. I can also take some of the valuable concepts that l have learnt from you and start talking with other staff members and trying to get them to look at it. The thing that l like most about this training is the fact that l work for a new company that has only been selling for 6 months. I feel l have a real opportunity to apply this now into the business as we have been told we have to have 10% of the market by the end of next year. We have 1% at the moment and 10% seems daunting.

Hello Michael,
I’m sorry it took me so long to send you an answer for lesson 32. As I have written to you in the past, my company is installing new software and it took more time than expected with more glitches to fix than thought of initially. Following your course and implementing your suggestions have been the greatest rewards of my life. The problem is that it seems that the path of self-transformation is also a path of loss. Let me explain. I applied your suggestions in my job and I have improved my productivity at least 20 times over. What is interesting is that I have attracted not rewards or accolades but terrible displays of jealousy from my “former” colleagues and even my immediate supervisor! I have even received a pep talk from a colleague that my newfound “zealousness” is making the others look bad and I was warned to tone it down. Imagine! Initially, my supervisor was happy with the results until her supervisor asked that I be part of a task force and not she. Since that time, my supervisor seems to be on a warpath to find mistakes in my work. To the point that her supervisor has noticed the harassment….

To keep questioning myself and others around me, assessing my behaviour and to never assume that best solution has been reached – there’s always a better one, no matter how good the current view is. Thanks Michael, I have found this course extremely interesting and challenging.
Regards, Kellie (sales manager – primary customers)

I am going to change the way I start my day at work and work back to front, by changing the order of the work I do during the day. With this experiment I will see if I can fit everything in and still have time to take a minute or two out for myself.
Wendy (office administrator)

Since our sales are down and we are thinking about different sales campaigns l will go through our database and see who the most potential people for buying our product are and instead of just limiting the number to about 20 – l will x10 and endeavour to get about 200.
Robyn (sales)

I could bring some more business activity by doing 10 more checks using different means to contact my customers. This would have the added benefit of pleasing my employer equally, not that they would necessarily acknowledge this of course, but who cares I’d know.
James (postal services)

I think the most important thing in this training is that it teaches you the successful behaviour of increasing customer contact as an alternative to closing the sale’. This takes the pressure off the customer. At the same time, the more customer contact, the more chance of people saying YES to what I’m selling. It means putting a focus on the interaction with customers rather than stress on the decision of the customer. Just knowing this, I have done a more focused, complete job of interacting with the customer.
Adrian (recruitment consultant)

I would love to continue to get as much knowledge from you as I can. I also ordered your book but unfortunately have not received it yet. Your course has really changed the way I think and do things and brought me into a great turning point in my professional life.
Thank you from the deep of my heart

Hi Michael,
The last two months have enlightened me in a way that is both amazingly practical and ‘dangerously’ clever. I have to admit that I do not regard myself as a business but I do know that the businesses I work for are most surprised with my increased thinking power. Not to mention my personal life which has developed radical new insights and possibilities.

I understand that you choose the members of your X10 Club. Know that I chew on every word you write and that each e-mail from you is received here with great joy and considered mighty usefull and valuable.

Dr. Michael, your course is heaven sent but you should warn, at the very outset, that transformations do not only occur at the personal, psychological level but also at the social level. CVS to BVS… you should also include Current Social Position… to Better Social Position… When you change… you don’t know how much you change.
Thank you Dr. Michael for everything.

Without any doubt whatsoever, CVSTOBVS combined with 10X is just about the most powerful concept I have ever come across. When I first read about this concept, it was like a very bright light switching on in my mind. I intend to make this a permanent part of my everday life.

Your PTV ideas are fascinating too… Very similar to the concepts developed by Frank R. Wallace, who’s work, I’m sure you are aware of. And as you say, possibly the most important part of any new training is repetition… So, I’m going to take the course again, maybe 10X times.
All the best
Craig J. Hawkins

You definitely got me there. I have been procrastinating for ages. I have set up a web design/IT training company and I haven’t even bothered to put an ad in the paper. How sad but after reading this lesson, I am going to do something about it.
Jean Beeko

Since it is a last lesson I want to thank you Michael for this inspiring informative and extremely useful set of lectures. I also want to commend you on your high humanitarian standards which were expressed by your doing it all for free. I am convinced that it was a valuable experience for me. I am sure I will come back to your lectures in the future refreshing them in my mind. Very well may be that your personal guidance will be sought again. That is why I do not say “Farewell”, I say: “Till we meet again”. With gratitude
Sincerely yours,
Kim Kogan
P.S. Stranger things happened, so if you ever in Riga, Latvia please do let me know. I could be of help in many ways around here.

I’m a copywriter and forever looking for new angles on the same old stories, so I can easily see how applying CVS to BVS would be very useful. Today, I’m in the process of writing some direct mail letters for a large company offering a pretty standard service – I’ll use the old CVS to BVS for that.

I also used it (quite successfully) in the car today when I was just about to have a little go at my husband for something he did in the traffic – I used CVS to BVS to see that he (instead of being distracted and not seeing something coming up) is a very capable driver with very quick reactions – able to get himself out of sticky situations!

Well, good friends….
I see you as a highly intelligent person with his heart at the right place. The method you have developed is an excellent way of empowerment, it cuts the crap from the real issues and is a perfect way of leading ones life now and in coming years. A very honourable brainfuck (in the good sense of the word).

Indeed, the feedback replies are those things that keep one on track. As speaking for myself, I didn’t experience the feedback replies as ‘a pain in the arse’ for me it was more a delight and I was somewhat disturbed by your halt on the lessons in the week of the Bali-bombing. Yes, it was a horrible act of terrorism and needed to be cared for in terms of overthinking and mourning but for me, being on the other side of the world, it wasn’t such fortitude as it was for you so a few more explaining words for your international students on the subject would have been useful. Then again, I can fully understand your reaction to the happening and that it was important to you, as my mentor, to stop and continue one week later (very honourable time of mourning.) Respect.

I shall be frank and forward with you. Although I ate your lessons with great enthousiasm and feel that already now I pick the fruits of this seven week labour, I find it hard to find anyone else to try this course as well. My little research shows that although people are always looking for easier ways of obtaining their goal, they are also very afraid of setting their brainfunctions in a different order, even, or especially when they are given the tools to do it themselves.

So, good friend, you are probably laughing out loud for me taking this so serious, and you may, I found the last weeks an enjoyment and I will stick around. Whenever you need help, I am great in serving coffee, send me an e-mail. I feel honoured to have met you. Wish you lots of succes with this trainingprogram (Of which I will tell people I think they would be interested and good students.)
Have a mighty great day!
Thank you Sir,

Here are some of my results:
1) A stronger measurement of productivity at work. My email and phone statistics have increased.
2) I am more accepting of other people’s opinions. I allow others to have opinions that differ from my own. I am much less argumentative and it is difficult for others to bait me into an argument.
3) I have become much more participatory in Toastmasters. Through my repetition of participation, I am improving my public speaking skills.
4) I don’t get stuck in my CVS nearly as often as I used to. I have been transforming my CVS to a BVS with effectiveness.
5) I have a better understanding of why people are the way they are; i.e. PTV. Hence I am much more accepting of other peoples traits.

This is just damn fine writing! No wonder Dr de Bono is pissed off! This is playful, fun, imaginative, compelling, current, and in the lingo of our times. It runs circles around him in three dimensions. Bravo!

It is like good journalism, perceptive cultural anthropology. I am dazzled. Hot stuff! It has “Wild Success” written all over it. Have a nice day, Y’All…

My name is Jet Tribolet. I’m 16 years old and live in Simpsonville, South Carolina. I’m currently a student at Greenville Technical College with plans to transfer next fall to UNC-CH to get a PhD in computer science. My general interests include increasing my abilities and intelligence, altered states of consciousness, martial arts, and computers. The School of Thought sounds very interesting and seems promising. I look forward to the coming lessons.
– Jet Tribolet

Brain vs Supercomputer?

Henry Markram says the mysteries of the mind can be solved — soon. Mental illness, memory, perception: they’re made of neurons and electric signals, and he plans to find them with a supercomputer that models all the brain’s 100,000,000,000,000 synapses.

— Click here to watch his exciting TED talk …

Henry Markram is director of Blue Brain, a supercomputing project that can model components of the mammalian brain to precise cellular detail — and simulate their activity in 3D.

••NEW•• Senior Instructor SOT Program

On 17 November 2009 the School of Thinking celebrates its 30th Birthday! As part of these celebrations we have launched The SISOT Society.

A SISOT is a Senior Instructor SOT. There will be one SISOT in each postcode/zipcode–eg SISOT Buckhead, GA or SISOT Hobart, SISOT Monte Carlo etc–who will be authorised to host regular meetups and do SOT Consulting for fees.

To be invited into The SISOT Society an SOT member must have completed his/her Thinking Instructors (TISOT) training and have his/her name registered on the SOT Roll of Thinking Instructors.

The SISOT Society is to be the leadership group of the School of Thinking around the world. There are three main rights and responsibilities for members of The SISOT Society.  They are:

1. SISOT Postcode
– SOT will authorise only one SISOT for a postcode (zipcode).
– The SISOT must live or work and have his/her mailing address in the postcode.

2. SISOT Monthly Meetups
– The SISOT will host a meetup in the postcode each month.

3. SISOT Consulting
– SISOT members will be trained and authorised to conduct SOT consulting in their postcode.
– SOT Consulting Fees are AUD$100 per hour.


— If you would like to be considered for a SISOT position you may contact the Principal SOT to apply.

The World’s Fastest Supercomputer …

The Cray XT5 supercomputer known as Jaguar has claimed the top spot on the 34th edition of the closely watched TOP500 list.

Jaguar, which is located at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and was upgraded earlier this year, posted a 1.75 petaflop/s performance speed.

Jaguar roared ahead with new processors bringing the theoretical peak capability to 2.3 petaflop/s and nearly a quarter of a million cores. One petaflop/s refers to one quadrillion calculations per second.

Click for the whole article.

From BLACK to GREY …

FROM BLACK TO GREY is all about the escape from judgmental thinking to wisdom.

Judgmental thinking is black hat thinking. Judgmental thinking is authoritarian thinking. Judgmental thinking is the 2500 year old Greek logical thinking. Judgmental thinking is the I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong thinking. Judgmental thinking is inside-the-box thinking. Judgmental thinking is slow thinking. Judgmental thinking is intellectual fundamentalist thinking. Judgmental thinking is destructive, inhuman and deadly thinking.

Escape from Black

We can escape from black hat judgmental thinking and move to grey hat thinking.

Wisdom is grey hat thinking. Wisdom is humour. Wisdom is tolerance. Wisdom is plural. Wisdom is human. Wisdom is independent. Wisdom is fact not fiction. Wisdom is I-am-right and-you-are-right thinking. Wisdom is outside-the-box thinking. Wisdom is fast thinking. Wisdom is intellectually inquisitive and flexible. Wisdom is constructive, green and life-enhancing thinking.

NOTE: The above strong statements are not always true. There are, of course, many exceptions. However, in the context of thinking about thinking there is value in comparing these modes and using tools like hats, to develop skill in differentiating cognitive modes. See also Greyscale Thinking.



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


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.

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 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.

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

Grey Hat Thinking is the ability to see consequences, immediate, short term and long term. It is the ability to look back over history and to see forward into the future. To understand cycles, passages of time, the passing of fashions, eras, eons and the many possible futures including extinction, the possibility of no future at all.

My mentor, Professor George Gallup, was acknowledged worldwide as one of the greatest leaders of change. George was also a wonderful American gentleman and a very nice man. He was 84 when he died at his place in Switzerland in 1984.

He was the inventor of the Gallup Poll at Princeton and the designer of market research. He was the first to map the Human Meme Pool. George Gallup’s great personal wisdom was supported by his long experience of measuring, in scientific detail, the opinions of more people around the world than anyone else in history. In The Miracle Ahead he wrote that:
Change cannot be brought about easily by leaders, except in those situations in which the changes advocated do not disturb present relationships. In fact, it is the leaders who typically become the most bitter and the most effective foes of change. The public, therefore, must take the initiative and assume responsibility for progress in the affairs of man. The public must force change upon its leaders (who) command more respect today than perhaps they deserve… The leader is expert in his small world as it presently exists, not expert in the world as it might be. Although he plays an important role in modern society, it is not realistic to expect him to advocate change. This is the surest way for him to lose his status … The hope of the future rests with the citizen. To be effective, he must be well informed, and he must discover ways of making better use of his own great capacities and those of his fellow man. He cannot expect his leaders to give him much help in his upward march.

Grey Hat Thinking also means the wisdom to see other points of view. It includes the sagacity of patience to see beyond one’s own immediate viewpoint and the wisdom to see the viewpoints of others involved in situations: your partner’s viewpoint, your children’s, your children’s children, your neighbour’s, your customer’s, your enemy’s.

The wisdom of Grey Hat Thinking comes from long term survival.

Elizabeth II says: “One of the features of growing old is a heightened awareness of change. To remember what happened 50 years ago means that it is possible to appreciate what has changed in the meantime. It also makes you aware of what has remained constant. In my experience, the positive value of a happy family is one of the factors of human existence that hasn’t changed. The immediate family of grandparents, parents and children together with their extended family is still the core of a thriving community. When Prince Philip and I celebrated our Diamond Wedding Anniversary last month we were much aware of the affection and support of our own family as they gathered around us for the occasion.” – click to view her Christmas Message 2007 here.

It is the wisdom that emerges from the hard won, labour-intensive experience gained from having to solve life’s wide range of problems through multi-changing environments over several generations and for an extended period of time.

One of the well-known paradoxes of wisdom is expressed by Mark Twain’s admission: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years”.

Even though we may not be able to teach children to do Grey Hat Thinking we can still teach them to understand what it is–to recognise it–to appreciate it, to consult it, and to seek it out wherever it can be found.

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

Wisdom, wrote Albert Einstein, “is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it … The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while … How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of goodwill! In such a place even I would be an ardent patriot.

NOTE: I am writing a book called The Seventh Hat For Wisdom. If you have any suggestions or comments on this topic, please post your ideas below and if your comment is included in the book you will be given appropriate attribution and a free copy of the book.

See also: The Original SOT Thinking Caps Concept …

The Chinese character for Wisdom …


What is science?

“Science is the most subversive thing that has ever been devised by man” … “Science runs on ignorance” … “There is no philosophical high-road in science” ….

This might not be what you thought science is like but, when you think about it, it’s exactly what science really is. Dark, blind and messy! Here are four posts I have chosen to discuss the question: What is ‘science’?

After you read them, have a think and then you can add your own post below.

Matt Ridley, 1999 Genome: the autobiography of a species:

The fuel on which science runs is ignorance. Science is like a hungry furnace that must be fed logs from the forests of ignorance that surround us. In the process, the clearing that we call knowledge expands, but the more it expands, the longer its perimeter and the more ignorance comes into view. . . . A true scientist is bored by knowledge; it is the assault on ignorance that motivates him – the mysteries that previous discoveries have revealed. The forest is more interesting than the clearing.

Max Born (1882-1970), Nobel Prize-winning physicist, quoted in Gerald Holton’s Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought:

There is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our roads behind us as we proceed. We do not find sign-posts at cross-roads, but our own scouts erect them, to help the rest.

Philip Morris Hauser (1909-), Demographer and Census Expert, as quoted in Theodore Berland’s The Scientific Life:

Science is the most subversive thing that has ever been devised by man. It is a discipline in which the rules of the game require the undermining of that which already exists, in the sense that new knowledge always necessarily crowds out inferior antecedent knowledge. . . . . This is what the patent system is all about. We reward a man for subverting and undermining that which is already known. . . . . Man has a tendency to resist changing his mind. The history of the physical sciences is replete with episode after episode in which the discoveries of science, subversive as they were because they undermined existing knowledge, had a hard time achieving acceptability and respectability. Galileo was forced to recant; Bruno was burned at the stake; and so forth. An interesting thing about the physical sciences is that they did achieve acceptance. Certainly in the more economically advanced areas of the Western World, it has become commonplace to do everything possible to accelerate the undermining of existent knowledge about the physical world. The underdeveloped areas of the world today still live in a pre-Newtonian universe. They are still resistant to anything subversive, anything requiring change; resistant even to the ideas that would change their basic concepts of the physical world.

Elizabeth Helen Blackburn (1948-), Australian born Nobel-prize winning biological researcher:


I’m also hoping that if more women stay in science, they will reshape how science happens. I don’t think that the way science has happened for the last 100 or so years is necessarily the most successful model. I’d like to see an infusion of new ways of doing things.

SOT will be 30

On Tuesday 17th November the School of Thinking will celebrate its 30th birthday!

Since my time in the Army in the 60s during the Vietnam War I had become increasingly aware of the need to improve thinking skills through deliberate training and practise. The first time I was formally taught to think was in the Australian Army by instructors at Scheyville Officer Training Unit. These instructors taught a method called The Appreciation of the Situation using various methods and techniques primarily one called SMEAC which is a problem-solving technique still widely taught and used by NATO allies.

In New York on 17 November 1979 and based on my military experience, I presented my plan to Edward de Bono to create Thinking Instructors to teach thinking skills in schools, businesses and families around the world. Edward and I had a consulting business in New York at the time and so I invited him to partner with me on my idea.

For the past 30 years this idea has spread around the world and has now become the second largest program for the teaching of thinking in the world. In 2009 School of Thinking–now based on the internet at–exported over one million Thinking Lessons from Australia to 46 countries worldwide.

Of course, the Vatican’s 500-year mission–using missionaries to export its own European thinking system known as logic–is still easily the largest thinking program in history.

Senior Instructor SOT

Since its inception SOT has been pro bono and will continue to be so in 2010. However, there is a need (and a demand) for deeper and broader offerings in this field of study which will require fees and greater commitments from trainers and trainees.

To help meet this need we will be launching the Senior Instructor SOT (SISOT) program later this month.

Further details will be released on November 17. If you are interested in getting further involved with SOT click here: Senior Instructor SOT (SISOT).