October 25, 2017

How to Solve Problems & Make Better Decisions Fast

Be too optimistic to scare, too positive to doubt, and too determined to be defeated.

Jim Kwik

We all have to solve problems in life - but very few of us have a process for doing so. In this episode, I share a technique you can use for both group discussion and individual reflection.

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Show Notes

Our life is a function of how well we solve problems, but very few of us have a process for solving problems. In order to solve a problem well, we need to look at it from several different perspectives.

Most people can't make good decisions because they attack the problem from the same perspective.

When I woke up in the hospital after over-exerting myself in college, a nurse handed me a mug of tea. On the mug was an Albert Einstein quote: "The same level of thinking that's created your problem won't solve your problem."

According to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a lot of major advances in various industries have come from outsiders because insiders adopt the same education and levels of belief. Outsiders are able to think 'outside the box.'

Renowned music producer Quincy Jones once told me, "I don't have problems. I have puzzles."

Edward De Bono developed a tool called the 6 Thinking Hats to help you look at a problem from 6 different perspectives.

Many people are overwhelmed by information when making decisions, and this technique allows you to consider just one perspective at a time.

To get the most of this episode, pick a problem or decision you need to make and apply the technique. Start by imagining you have 6 hats in front of you. Imagine you are putting on one hat at a time.

The 6 Thinking Hats

The white hat is the hat of logic

  • When you wear the white hat, ask yourself: what is the information available? What are the facts? How can I look at this objectively?
  • To remember the white hat as the logical one, imagine a scientist in a white coat.

The red hat is the hat of emotion

  • When you wear the red hat, ask yourself: how do I feel? What emotions come up? What is my intuition telling me?
  • To remember the red hat as the emotional one, imagine a fire.

The black hat is the critic

  • When you wear the black hat, ask yourself: what could go wrong? Why won’t this work? Why do I need to be cautious?
  • To remember the black hat as the critic, imagine the robes of a judge.

The yellow hat is the hat of optimism

  • When you wear the yellow hat, ask yourself: what could go right? What are the benefits? What is the upside?
  • To remember the yellow hat as the optimist, imagine the sun.

The green hat is the hat of creativity

  • When you wear the green hat, ask yourself: how can I be creative? What are the possibilities? Is there a different alternative I’m not considering?
  • To remember the green hat as the creative one, imagine green grass.

The blue hat is the manager

  • When you wear the blue hat, listen to the other hats, think about the big picture, and make your final decision.
  • To remember the blue hat as the manager, think about the sky.

What problem did you use this technique on? How did it work for you? Let me know on social media by tagging @jimkwik and #KwikBrain.

What's Next?

How to Solve Problems & Make Better Decisions Fast

How to Solve Problems & Make Better Decisions Fast

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