What is the most difficult feat in human thinking?

According to Edward de Bono, “The most difficult feat in human thinking is to escape from your point of view”.


Two main reasons. One is biological and the other is cultural. That uniquely human brain feature, the Pre Frontal Cortex (PFC) is a patterning system. It stores thinking in patterns, like how to get dressed or how to remember your password. Otherwise, if we had to re-invent breakfast every morning life would be too difficult. So we repeat and then store patterns of thinking to use again and again. In that sense patterns are very useful but the downside is that patterns, by definition, are difficult to ESCAPE from.

The PFC has evolved to cognise patterns in order to be able to re-cognise them. Even one repetition can be enough to create a strong pattern in the PFC.

The other reason that ESCAPE is difficult is a cultural one. In the middle ages the Church re-discovered the Greek ideas of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. It developed these ideas into a thinking methodology – GrecoRoman Logic – and over subsequent centuries it spread this system around the world in a vast and largely successful global missionary education campaign.

Even today we still send kids to school giving them the impression that there is such a thing as RIGHT and WRONG and that their job is to get the RIGHT answer and “Don’t make any mistakes!”. It’s a crippling cognitive inhibitor and makes them very slow binary thinkers. All the thinking effort gets devoted to “I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong” creating conflict, anger, stress and lack of creativity. We can watch how this slow-thinking anger spreads like a plague across social media.

Lateral thinking is different from logical thinking.

Logical thinking defends the box. Lateral thinking offers an escape from the box. That is why, in the School of Thinking, we teach x10 Thinking as a powerful lateral provocation for offering an ESCAPE from the box of our own point of view.

x10 Thinking is not natural. It’s not easy. It’s not for everyone. But, like volleyball or chess, it has been learned and practised and found to create value by those who are interested.

For example, Jack Welch of GE said, “I wish I had a management team that really understood Michael’s x10 Thinking because it’s the value-added part of the management process”. And Larry Page of Google says, “I live by the gospel of 10x”.

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