RED THINKING – ANALYTICAL THINKING
At this stage we continue to bring our grand idea down to earth. We stop and review everything. Red thinking has to do with changing gears, into a cautious, more practical mode of thinking. We review the facts, do the figures again, and allow others to offer constructive criticism.
Thinking Red is about slowing down to smell the roses. Patiently reviewing all that we’ve researched, judging our ideas in the cold hard light of day. Robert Schuller, the author of numerous books concerning possibility thinking, calls criticism, quality control. In the pursuit of truth, this is where we expose our precious new ideas to those who are brutally honest, butwill treat them with respect.
With the discipline of a world-class scientist we test the idea again and again, viewing the hypothesis from every angle. Like a crime scene investigator, we go where the evidence leads, leaving no stone unturned. Red thinking engages in critical, analytical thinking to uncover hidden dangers and the seeds of failure.
Thinking Red requires the ruthless application of logic (left-brain thinking) in order to construct an accurate view of reality. What we perceive as true does not always agree with reality. We must search for the contradictions within our thinking. We must allow others to become our mirror, asking questions of those who will give honest feedback. Geisler and Bocchino, in their bookUnshakeable Foundations point out that, “All thinking (whether about physics or about metaphysics) is alike to the extent that it is governed by this foundational first principle of logic – the law of non-contradiction. Can opposite truth claims both be true?” 1 I deal with the concept of logic in greater depth in my book Life by Design, in both chapter one and the appendix.
The word science literally means knowledge. It has its origin in the Latin term scire, to know. Scientific thinking involves the laborious task of compiling all of the facts. All of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are needed in order to paint a correct picture of reality. This knowledge picture must be as complete as possible before we can make accurate conclusions. Black and white thinkers are wise in their own eyes – they don’t seem to need all of the facts. They mumble, “don’t confuse me with the facts: I’ve made up my mind.”
The honest scientist (and we can all engage in scientific thinking) goes where the evidence is leading.
“The first principle of science is a philosophical assumption upon which the discipline of science rests: it is known as the principle of causality.” 2 This principle states that every event has an adequate cause [cause and effect]. Geisler and Bocchino point out that “Homicide detectives use this method to investigate murders, asking questions such as: What was the cause of death? Was it an accident or was it a planned event? Did it happen by chance or was it the result of an intelligent agent?” 3 Forensic scientists think in Red with such questions. Then they shift gears and think in yellow: generating a range of alternative scenarios, brainstorming all of the possibilities. They then create movement, and switch to green thinking, gathering everyone involved together to construct a plan of attack. To create a clear picture they set goals and priorities, assign tasks, and build strategies. Like a well-organized Napoleonic army, they build a plan to discover the truth. At any given point, the leader of the investigation may pull everyone together to engage in some further Red thinking; such as reviewing the evidence, analyzing the new information, looking for connections that may lead to a clearer picture.
True to any good crime story, the lead character usually possesses a trait that sets them apart; a sixth sense that leads them to people and places that no one else had thought of. The skills of analytical thinking are limited in that they can only lead you as far as the physical evidence dictates. However, beyond the knowledge gained through the five senses, there is the spiritual realm of intuition and wisdom. Understanding the voice of wisdom and intuition will give you the edge, and is what “thinking in Blue” is all about
BLUE THINKING – PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING
While on a speaking trip in the Gold Coast of Australia, I was invited by a businessman to join him and his son on a parachute jump, something I had never experienced. An adrenaline junkie’s dream, myself and five others jammed into a tiny aircraft, and climbed to the maximum height of 16,000 feet into the clear blue skies over Byron bay. This was my first jump, and I wondered how long I could keep my nerves under control before fear kicked in. Amazingly, I kept mind, over-the-circumstances, in tact, that is until the door was opened and I had to jump out into thin air.
Adrenaline flooded my system as I edged my way to the door and jumped out. As I adjusted to falling through the air at 120 miles per hour, I captured the awesome beauty, a bird’s-eye-view of the bay and the surrounding countryside. Time seemed to slow down and my mind and all of its cells were on full volume capturing the exhilarating view; the thin strip of golden sand, the ocean waves, the arid landscape, the roads and the little cars and houses below.
Viewing things from this perspective you gain a snapshot of everything at a moment in time. You can see where everything is and how it all fits together. This is thinking in blue.
Thinking Blue has to do with the big picture: purpose, values, character, intuition, conscience, our worldview, beliefs and spiritual insight. Blue thinking involves flying high, so as to gain a bird’s eye over-view of a subject or problem. It has to do with the re-evaluation process of thinking itself.
This mode of thinking will involve some in-depth philosophical thinking that may even lead to a complete paradigm shift. It’s where you test what you believe. The Little Oxford dictionary defines philosophy as, “the pursuit of wisdom or knowledge, of ultimate reality or general causes and principles.”1 As C.S. Lewis asserted, everyone in life has a philosophy – the only question is, whether it is a good one or not.
Geisler and Boccino show that, “The word ‘philosophy’ comes from two Greek words: phileomeaning love, and sophia, meaning wisdom.” 2 It is interesting to note that the word phileo signifies the kind of love that one has for a friend. The true philosopher, as King Solomon points out, loves wisdom as if it were a close friend.
He wrote, ” Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” 3
Friends spend time talking over every aspect of a subject, unafraid to explore, and secure about placing their wild ideas or new theory’s on the table. Friends spend a lot of time chatting about seemly small stuff; they just love hanging together. To be a friend of wisdom means to be at home with our thoughts, to spend time mapping those thoughts–to love the process of thinking itself. To be at home with our thoughts is a strange concept in a world where much of our thinking is done for us. Wisdom is no stranger to those who take the time to think, chewing on a thought like a cow crews its cud.
To be a friend of wisdom also means to have friends that are willing to engage the thinking process with you. Solomon teaches throughout Proverbs that friends, family, and wise councillors where his greatest source of wisdom. Blue thinking draws on the mind and experience of others, encouraging conversation and philosophical debate in the search for wisdom. The key to wisdom, Solomon taught throughout the Book of Proverbs, was to possess knowledge and understanding amidst the “multitude of wise counselors.” 3 He stated that these attributes: knowledge, understanding and wisdom were worth more than gold or silver because they lead to wealth in every area of life.
Blue thinking gives leadership to our thinking, asking the big picture questions such as:
What is our vision or dream?
What is the big picture?
What are the key departments?
Why? What? Where? When? Who?
Do we possess all of the facts or knowledge needed?
Who is best qualified to give me council on this subject?
Do we understand how these facts fit together?
Why are we doing this?
Where do my belief systems come from?
Where did those out-of-control emotions come from?
What philosophy or worldview underpins my thinking and why?
Who can action this task?
Should we out-source this task, or keep it in-house?
What mode or thinking color should we engage next?
Blue thinking taps into the spiritual dimension at a number of levels. The wisdom of the Creator is discovered in a number of very simple ways, and is not as mystical as we may think. We were designed to hear the Creator’s voice, and like a kind of spiritual DNA, we receive the instructions for success in every department of life through a wide range of voices. For example, we hear the voice of conscience when we violate the laws of love and design.
These voices of Spiritual DNA include conscience, intuition, instinct, character and wisdom. They will help us think in blue and walk the path of design, wisdom and love.
Blue thinking brings spiritual insight to a subject by asking:
How does this align with our values?
What are our values?
Is this consistent with our worldview or belief systems?
Is this ethical?
Are we really passionate about this?
What is the Creator saying through the voices of conscience and instinct?
Does this fit our culture?
Do they have our chemistry?
Do they possess good character?
Who should we include in the discussion?
What is our Creator saying through the multitude of councilors?
What is the still small voice of intuition whispering?
Where did that thought come form?
What are my motives?
What do the principles of Scriptures reveal?
What books can give me guidance?
The right questions are gold when it comes to thinking blue.
In the following few chapters I expand on the skill and art of thinking in blue, green and red.