One cold Saturday in March, I partook of a workshop led by Claire Perez, a member of my Lansing Writers’ Group, at Lansing Community Library. When we made it to the audience participation part, she had us go through three writing exercises. The CoRT Thinking exercise is the one I’m sharing with you below. Claire ran into this exercise at an education conference.
In the website, “CorT Thinking Online, 60 Lessons in Thinking,”an Irish-based registered multimedia company called Devine media, explains the steps in Edward de Bono’s process.
de Bono designed this system as a means of practical thinking that leads to practical solutions, not so much as a way to demonstrate intelligence. He thinks emotions are positive but that they should never take the place of “good thinking.” He feels that the showing off of intelligence often does not lead to practical solutions to problems. I’m not sure that I fit into his system exactly because I immediately shifted to philosophy when I moved to the “Interesting” part of the evaluation. Looking for plus and minus points though is a way to make sure that the options available to you are broad enough. They worked well for me and I felt that I was within the program.
Claire started out by saying, “Take a decision you’re ambitious to take. Then look at the pluses, minuses, and the interesting possiblities that can be available to a person making that choice.”
I chose “losing weight.”
Plus, Minus, Interesting
1) I would take up less space.
2) I would feel better.
3) I would have to buy new clothes.
4) I would be happier.
1) I might have to give up desserts.
2) I would lose my breast size. I used to be as flat as a board.
3) I might be hungry all day.
4) I would be giving in to all the advertising to stay thin.
1) I could see what I’d look like at a thinner 63.
2) I could think about other things besides my weight.
3) When I become thinner, will I become a different person?
My third question led me to thinking about Alice from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and her changes in size: “I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ (What Do I Know About Me Quotes) Ah, that’s the great puzzle! The value to me in losing weight is not that I will demonstrate my will power, which was part of my goal when I had anoerexia years ago, but the promise of becoming a healthier, honed version of myself, both physically and mentally.
A question for later analysis: Going even further, when are you you and when are you not you?
Practical Reasoning Behind Use of CoRT thinking:
I found a practical application of de Bono’s approach to thinking in Graeme Allan’s blog https://graemeallan.wordpress.com/entitled “It’s Time for New Thinking.” Allan says that [sic] “there are two key reasons why the exploration of interesting possibilities, or alternatives, is such an integral part of the PMI tool. If we like the new idea to begin with, by looking for interesting possibilities, we can broaden our view of the idea, find more reasons to like it. According to Allan, “Dr de Bono insists this is only possible if we give deliberate attention to looking for interesting possibilities in an idea we already like.” He also states the reason that de Bono uses an acronym is because “[sic]his reasoning is simple and clear: It is much easier to say: Let’s do a PMI on that idea, rather than: Let’s do a Plus, Minus, Interesting on that idea.” Allan has been working with de Bono’s PMI tools since 1975.