SOT Pedagogy: What is Mastery?

Q What is the ratio of KNOWERS to DOERS?

A In our experience not better than 250:1.

The School of Thinking (SOT) is for mastery in lateral thinking.

One of the foundational concepts of the School of Thinking, since 1979, has been a focus on the difference between KNOWLEDGE and SKILL. The gap between Knowing and Doing. The choice between Talk and Action. The performance between Mediocrity and Virtuosity. In other words, mastery. And, we have prescribed the way to bridge the gap between KNOWING and DOING as … PRR.

How to Measure Mastery

We have invented a training metric for mastery called the DFQ. To successfully complete the SOT Master of Lateral Thinking the trainee must complete 400 DFQs. That is, 200 DFQs in year one plus 200 DFQs in year two. This elite kind of mastery training is not for everyone. Most people only want to know about things and they don’t want to actually practise. That’s perfectly normal. This training is for the super-normal.

In SOT training PRR stands for Practise, Repetition and Rehearsal.

PRR is the strategy behind all SOT training and the currency is hours. The metric is hours. The investment is hours of PRR. This focus on PRR is how SOT has achieved such a remarkable reputation for x10 results over the years.

It is PRR which differentiates SOT from other online training programs like Coursera and Udacity.

Here is an exerpt written in 1982 by SOT co-founder, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, in the Learn-To-Think Coursebook (Capra New, Santa Barbara 1982):

Just as a pilot’s operating ability can be assessed by the hours he has logged in his Pilot’s Log Book, the same applies to thinking skill.

In a recent survey conducted by SOT to find the training hours needed to acquire a basic skill and confidence in that skill in the following areas, the experts at the Julliard School in New York estimated the following:

Piano ………. 450 training hours

Singing ………. 900 training hours

Alto Sax ………. 600 training hours

Cello ………. 900 training hours

Flute ………. 900 training hours

Viola ………. 1200 training hours

Violin ………. 1200 training hours

Trumpet ………. 300 training hours

Trombone ………. 600 training hours’

Guitar ………. 150 training hours

Harmonica ………. 50 training hours

Read Music ………. 150 training hours

Kung Fu ………. 600 training hours

It was pointed out that this level of training would not give a virtuoso ability, but would give a good operating or performing ability or SKILL.

Not surprisingly, the same applies to acquiring an operating skill or performing ability in the skill of thinking. Until you have logged a minimum of 50 training hours in thinking as a deliberate skill, do not criticize yourself if you find you are still on the downside of KNOWING versus DOING.

On Mastery

Albert Einstein

Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.

Bruce Lee

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Susan B Anthony

She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.


If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.

Gary Zukav

The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life – in firmness of mind and a mastery of appetite. It teaches us to do as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a color.