There’s never been a better time for lateral thinking …

Lateral thinking gives you more. Much more.

More options. More hope. More choices. More solutions. More value. More ideas. More opportunities. More futures. More mindfulness. More wellness. More resilience.

Training is available from SOT.

The numerical synonym for lateral thinking is x10 thinking. Although x10 thinking is not natural for humans it can be taught and learned and applied.

Lateral thinking (x10 thinking) is our best tool for creating value, our best hope for solving wicked problems, our best defense against imagined fears, fear of mistakes, fear of failure in career, business or job-related situations, fear of family crises, relationship conflicts, social media, fear of political or global issues.

Intelligence we are born with. Lateral thinking is a skill that must be learned. – Edward de Bono

Lateral thinking is hard. That’s true. But, there’s nothing on Earth more powerful than lateral thinking. – Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

Ten Emotion Emojis

“You can, if you wish, go fully frontal. You can use your PFC to do the better thing when the better thing is hard to do“.

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, author, The Fourth Brain

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Anger.png

Be angry

Fight or flight? This is a basic stress response to problems that arise that may threaten our well-being or even survival. If we have to choose fight then anger helps us. Be angry.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Fear.png

 Be fearful

In any fight one party, or both parties, may lose. Become injured. Or, even face destruction. Fear has saved many lives. Be afraid. Fear can help us flee from danger. Be fearful.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Determination.png

Be determined

Determination is the emotion to help overcome obstacles. It’s the deliberate and skilled use of PFC willpower. Practise and repetition of mental tools and heuristics can build determination. Be determined.

Be ashamed

To minimize giving offence to others we have evolved the emotion of shame. Frontal disinhibition may block this valuable emotion. Be ashamed.



This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Joy.png

Be joyful

How do we know what’s important in life, not just urgent. Some things are so important that they fill us with joy. And, then we are reminded of what is more valuable than just making a living. Music helps. Be joyful.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Sad.png

Be sad

Sadness connects us with those we love. And, those who love us. We don’t grieve alone. We need to get comfort and give support. Be sad.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Anticipation.png

Be anticipating

To increase our chances of survival and growth we need to plan and look ahead into the possible futures. This is an adult emotion that can be honed through knowledge and training in skills like lateral thinking. Be anticipating.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Surprise.png

Be surprised

That was then. This is now. Things change. All the time. Surprise is a very useful emotion to help focus on new situations as they arise. Humour, one of the most important faculties of mind is linked to this emotion. Be surprised.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Trust.png

Be trusting

Trust builds co-operation. We work better with those we trust. We trade better with those that trust us. Some people are value-fountains. These are the ones to trust. Others are value-drains. These are the ones to avoid. Be trusting.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Disgust.png

Be disgusted

Many things are unhealthy in this world. Not just spiders and snakes. The emotion of disgust helps us to avoid and repel what is unhealthy. The emotion of disgust can help to discern toxic scenarios. Be disgusted.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-05-18-at-4.16.30-pm.png

The Limbic Games

You think of the ways we respond emotionally to situations and how we can go fully frontal and use our cvs2bvs thinking to manipulate or change our emotional responses in our mammal brain, our limbic system.

I call these ways to change, The Limbic Games.

For example, the 4 following limbic games can involve switching:

from Anger to Surprise … cvs2bvs

From Sadness to Trust … cvs2bvs

From Fear to Anger … cvs2bvs

From Trust to Joy … cvs2bvs

NEW: Lateral Thinking Advanced training ‘at home’ …

Not for everyone.

Lateral thinking is x10 thinking. Lateral thinking is hard. It’s not for everyone. In fact, most people most of the time are thinking inside their box. That’s just the way it is. That is the natural way and it’s hard to escape. Lateral thinking is thinking outside the box. It’s not easy. It takes strategy. It takes effort and skill.

Zoom Masterclasses with Michael in July: (Dates to be announced end of June)

If you think you would like to be considered for ‘mentoring at home’ you can now apply to School of Thinking (SOT) for special advanced training in lateral thinking aka x10 thinking.

It’s a new no-nonsense, no BS course for grown-ups.

There are ten lessons in the at home mentoring course. This is a new SOT course designed in 2020. This full course includes cutting-edge cognitive theory and instruction about the potential of your PFC. That’s the theory and we call it Warm-up Week. Then comes FutureThink Week which focuses on real life application of your PFC potential. The life results are bespoke to you personally, they are tangible and will be measured.

You can read this new fastbook (about 10 mins) on the brain and your PFC potential …

The SOT Certificate

If you can complete these ten lessons, and the ten questions, you’ll qualify and attain your personalised Lateral Thinking Certificate-Advanced (LTC-A) from School of Thinking (SOT). In a recent class of 29 businesspeople only 5 finished to receive their certificates so to add their qualification to Linked-In.

This performance result is quite usual for real lateral thinking skills. About 1 in 5 get through to the end of the ten lessons.

Current feedback from participants

• FEES: Lateral thinking is not for everyone but anyone can apply for the SOT training. The training is priceless. There are no fees.

• CERTIFICATE: For those who qualify the personalised certificate will cost AUD$80.

• APPLICATION: To apply register your name and email address on this page, or by return email. You will receive a Confirmation from SOT.

• TESTIMONIALS: Feedback and commentary from others:

Leaders

Teachers & Students

Media

• HISTORY: ‘The Clever Country’

The Clever Country

Saturday marked the 32nd Anniversary of the School of Thinking (SOT) in Australia.

The SOT Mission:

To engage 10% of the population

Prime Minister Bob Hawke in Canberra, 1988, with SOT Co-Founder Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

On 30 May 1988 in Canberra the School of Thinking was officially launched in Australia by Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson in the presence of the then Governor General of Australia, His Excellency Sir Ninian Stephan AK GCMB GCVO KBE, at the Bi-Centennial Convention of 600 of Australia’s commonwealth, state and municipal statespeople.

On 30 May 1988 in Canberra the School of Thinking was officially launched in Australia by Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson in the presence of the then Governor General of Australia, His Excellency Sir Ninian Stephan AK GCMB GCVO KBE, at the Bi-Centennial Convention of 600 of Australia’s commonwealth, state and municipal statespeople.

After his foundation address, in which Dr Hewitt-Gleeson challenged that “critical thinking” as a school subject should be put on the curriculum for every school in Australia, Sir Ninian stood and said to Dr Hewitt-Gleeson, “You have just given the best keynote address I have ever heard!”

Sir Ninian was then presented with a Clever Brainusers Software Kit by Dr Hewitt-Gleeson.

Sir Ninian amused by his Brainusers Kit

Next to speak was the Prime Minister of Australia at the time and Rhodes scholar, The Honourable Robert J Hawke AC, GCL who commended Dr Hewitt-Gleeson for this initiative and agreeing,

No longer content to be just the lucky country, Australia must now become the clever country!

Prime Minister Hawke was then presented with a School of Thinking certificate by Dr Hewitt-Gleeson proclaiming him to be “Australia’s Number One Clever Brainuser” and to symbolise the vast potential of the power of Australia’s 16 million brains.

PM Hawke accepts his SOT certificate

The historic event was reported in Australia’s largest circulation newspaper, The Sun – (Melbourne, Australia, Fri May 27, 1988): “The education for 600 of Australia’s notable statesmen will begin on Monday (30 May 1988) when Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson delivers the keynote address “TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING IN AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS” at the Bicentennial National Congress in Canberra.”

“The Clever Country” mission of the School of Thinking has been to get critical thinking taught on the Australian school curriculum as a core subject.

“If Dr Hewitt-Gleeson has his way, Australian schoolchildren will, by 1992, have the study (of thinking) as much a part of their curriculum as the traditional subjects of maths and English,” recorded Australian author, Peter Fitzimons, in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wednesday September 5, 1990).

In his book, Clever (1993), Dr Hewitt-Gleeson wrote,

If we are to become a clever country and ensure our economic future and our stability as a nation, we may have to focus more on the productivity and potential of Australians as individual thinkers. As a national service, to provide training in thinking to every Australian would be less than the cost of one army tank!

The motto of the School of Thinking is

Nemo Nascitur Sapiens Artifex

“No-one is ever born a skilled thinker”

How it all got started in New York in 1979 …

SOT’s original mission was the Learn-To-Think Project began in 1980 “to teach critical thinking as a skill in schools”.

SOT’s long-term, sustained effort has meant dealing in the USA and Australia with many foundations, government and educational institutions, corporations publishers and media in Washington and Canberra and also with individual educators, parents and students in 45 countries around the world. It’s an interesting story.

Here’s how the ‘critical thinking’ meme actually went viral in the USA in 1983.

At that time, an invitation arrived from the University/Urban Schools National Task Force to speak at their last quarterly conference in San Francisco.

This was a task force of school district superintendents from major American cities – Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Chicago etc. and was headed by CUNY’s Dr. Richard Bossone.

Dr. Bossone told me that their grant had run out and San Francisco was to be their last meeting as they had lost their raison d’etre and after the San Francisco conference, the task force would fold. He invited me to talk about the SOTs activities and our idea of ‘teaching thinking in schools’.

Our presentation was a big hit and as a result they passed a motion that their new raison d’etre would be to promote the teaching of thinking skills and they would apply to have their grant renewed.

Dr. Bossone was successful in getting the University/Urban Schools National Task Force grant renewed and he immediately convened a special conference In San Juan, Puerto Rico to focus only on teaching thinking in US schools.

I was once again invited to open the conference and give the keynote address, “Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in Schools”.

At this conference the leaders of education in the US including Dr. Frank Macchiarola, Chancellor, New York City Public Schools, and Mr. Gene Maeroff, President, New York Times Foundation and Dean of Education Journalists. Gene Maeroff’s presence was strategically important because his was the top voice on education trends in America.

In a long afternoon discussion by the pool in San Juan I explained to Gene how metacognition can actually be taught as a skill in ten hours of training and showed Gene the cvs2bvs brain software which we were using with corporations like GE and IBM. Gene became genuinely excited by the idea of teaching kids to think critically for themselves.

This later turned out to be a highly valuable conversation.

Like the New York Times theatre critic who can make or close a Broadway show in one article, what Gene Maeroff writes in the Education Supplement of the New York Times, inevitably comes to pass. Gene was very impressed with the San Juan discussions and also the financial commitments given to the task force so in a special two-full page pull-out feature he subsequently wrote:

“Teaching to think: A new emphasis at schools and colleges A major new effort to teach thinking skills is planned by the University/Urban Schools National Task Force, which will soon initiate a program in the public schools of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis. The College Board will provide $300,000 for the project… The School of Thinking in New York is the base in this country for teaching de Bono’s theory, disseminated from its headquarters in London, which includes breaking out of traditional thinking patterns. This means trying to devise new ways of looking at problems … it affirms the belief that without specific efforts there is no assurance students will learn to think laterally.”

(New York Times: Education Winter Survey. January 9, 1983.)

This was the story that was taken up by the press around the nation and a new fad was created – teaching thinking as a skill.

The media have been generous in supporting SOT and its activities, and as a group, journalists deserve a lot of the credit for SOTs success in achieving its mission.

Within a year from that New York Times story, we had accomplished our mission of getting thinking into US schools.

NEW: Lateral Thinking ‘At Home’

Not for everyone.

Lateral thinking is hard. It’s not for everyone. In fact, most people most of the time are thinking inside their box. That’s just the way it is. That is the natural way. Lateral thinking is thinking outside the box. It’s not easy. It takes effort and skill.

If you think you would like to be considered for ‘mentoring at home’ you can now apply to School of Thinking (SOT) for special advanced training in lateral thinking aka x10 thinking.

It’s a no-nonsense, no BS course for grown-ups.

There are ten lessons in the at home mentoring course. This full course includes cutting-edge cognitive theory and instruction about the potential of your PFC and real life application of this potential. The life results are tangible and will be measured.

You can read this new fastbook (about 10 mins) on the brain and your PFC potential …

If you can complete these ten lessons, and the ten questions, you’ll qualify and attain your personalised Lateral Thinking Certificate-Advanced (LTC-A) from School of Thinking (SOT). In a recent class of 29 businesspeople only 5 finished to receive their certificates so to add their qualification to Linked-In.

This elite result is quite usual for real lateral thinking skills. About 1 in 5 get through to the end of the ten lessons.

• FEES: Lateral thinking is not for everyone but anyone can apply for the SOT training. The training is priceless. There are no fees.

• CERTIFICATE: For those who qualify the personalised certificate will cost AUD$80.

• APPLICATION: To apply register your name and email address on this page. You will receive a Confirmation from SOT.

• TESTIMONIALS: Feedback and commentary from others:

Leaders

Teachers & Students

Media

• HISTORY: ‘The Clever Country’

WWIII – The War of the Codes: Human Genome vs Covid19 Genome

I recently stayed with a family of five cousins, including three kids, who kindly shared their wonderful home while I had a new uber knee installed. During the 6 month interstate sojourn I became increasingly aware of how much everyone’s attention is commanded by screen time. I’ve also observed that more and more of my own attention has been commandeered by screens, particularly by my smartphone. I also noticed the bingeworthy preference for war games, war movies and the staying power of the warfare metaphor in the modern human brain.

Again, this year, I noticed on ANZAC Day that the memories of WWI and of WWII are still strong in the current mindset.

I watch a lot of Netflix and especially am hooked on hours of binge streaming of geopolitical shows and events. If Netflix deployed a thousand cameras – handhelds, drones and satellites – and produced an annual series called WWIII: The War of the Codes, I’d bingewatch it every year just like I’m currently bingewatching Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

So here’s a thought experiment …

Thought Experiment #138:

The biggest problem on Earth now threatening the Human Genome is the attack of the coronavirus. A better strategy for us to survive this global plague is to protect ourselves with the time-tested strategy of warfare, with particular attention to the ideas researched and developed by the Roman Army two millennia ago.

The metrics used and accountable every day are those used in previous World Wars and include: killed in action, engaged in battle, enemy losses, the leaders of the world, cost to treasury, cost/benefits to economy, weapons development, territory captured, deployment of assets etc etc.

Many humans living today own decades of theoretical and practical experience in the metaphor of war. For our survival we may need to arm ourselves with that bellicose wisdom.

Action Step: that the current war is globally recognised and declared, in writing, by the UN to be a global digital battle of codes between the Human Genome and the Covid19 Genome.

What do you think? Would you bingewatch WWIII, too?

cvs2bvs: How To Change Your Mind

Edward de Bono, the author of Lateral Thinking used to say, “If you cannot change your mind what is the point of having one?”

In the human PFC (Pre-Frontal Cortex), no particular firing of neuronal pathways can ever be the best possible one. There is always a better way the brain could have gone. In other words, in the mind, no current viewpoint can ever be the best possible one. There is always a better point-of-view.

How can we escape from the current pathway to a better one? How can we change our mind?

The cvs2bvs switch is a simple (not necessarily easy) skill that many people around the world practise and use every day to get a much better performance from their brain. They use cvs2bvs to change their mind. To think outside their box. That’s why, the First Law of Thinking is this:

The Current View of the Situation (cvs)

can never be equal to

the Better View of the Situation (bvs).

or

cvs≠bvs

Here’s a 59 Second Course on cvs2bvs …

Van Gogh on fear of mistakes and ‘having a go’ …

Photo at age 18 of Vincent van Gogh

In a letter to his younger brother Theo on October 2, 1884, Vincent Van Gogh wrote about the fear of mistakes:

If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that.

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: The Value of Embracing Mistakes