Do you still have your kaleidoscope?


“The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.”                                            James Edward Allen, American Artist

I’ve been experimenting. Not again you might say. But yes, why stop? Life is full of opportunities to explore and investigate. Anyway, my experiment has to do with perspectives and ways of thinking.

I’ve noticed I’m a black hat thinker. Have you heard of the six thinking hats developed by Edward de Bono? De Bono identified six ways of thinking and to help maximise the potential of these styles in classrooms, the boardroom and beyond he labeled them with a coloured hat. A hat you could literally or figuratively wear as called for in different situations.

The image below provides a quick summary (sourced image ).


So, as I was saying. When in new situations or faced with new challenges and potential obstacles I more often than not go straight to black hat. I identify all the possible problems, threats, dangers and risks. I used to lament this quirk in my nature. However, I’ve noticed, that as I’ve accepted my mental model more that it isn’t all negative. I do this instinctively so that I can manage potential issues to ensure success is more likely.

I recently complimented a work colleague on his yellow hat thinking. He says yes, immediately. He sees potential and is ready to make magic happen. No task is too big or too small for him. We are total opposites in our initial reactions. From his wonderfully yellow position he shared with me that the strength of a team relies on all types of thinkers. That we compliment each other with our differences.

What a beautiful perspective.

I thought then that life is like a potpourri, its richness and wonder comes from ingredients of different colours, shapes and textures. Then I remembered the wonder of a childhood toy, the kaleidoscope. Life is like that too. It’s true beauty is revealed when we are aware of other perspectives, when we are open to accepting them and challenging ourselves to try on different ‘hats’ so we too can view the world differently.

In my work as a facilitator of teaching and learning I’ve challenged my adult learners to use different hats in given scenarios. They’ve been intrigued and delighted. Personally, I’ve been using my green hat to explore creative alternatives, at home and at work, and it’s so much fun.

Can you identify the hat you wear most? Does it need a little holiday? Are you willing to try on another hat, or two or three this coming week? I encourage you to change things up for, in the words of Sharon Salzberg, “life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.”

Have fun,


4 thoughts on “Do you still have your kaleidoscope?

  1. I will be using my green hat this week and probably every week . The yellow hat ,not just because it goes with my outfit , but because a spoonful of optimism helps the medicine go down . Oh and the red hat on Tuesdays …I’m an emotional sort .
    Love the concept .
    I adore colour . It has always been important to me . I have this brightly coloured raincoat that on rainy grey days …out it comes to cheer me and others around me up .
    Plus I have taken to doing Zen Colouring books , have you seen them ? I am sure you have . When I have a few minutes I’m colouring in like a five year old . Will I ever grow up ? I hope not .

    • Oh Cherry, that’s gorgeous. I love your humour. You wear some great hats.
      Just today I bought a friend a Mindfulness colour book and I bought myself an Enchanted Forest one. Let’s never grow up!

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