“Can you recommend a book for…?”
“What are you reading right now?”
“What are your favorite books?”
I get asked those types of questions a lot and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.
I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.
On the flip side, I also believe there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.
So, if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for good reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of reading, this book club for you.
The idea here is simple: Every month, I’ll share a book that I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and several of my key takeaways from it.
I’ll also keep things short and sweet so you can quickly decide whether the book is likely to be up your alley or not.
Alright, let’s get to the takeaways.
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
5:52 – What are the six different thinking hats?
8:46 – Takeaway 1
10:40 – Takeaway 2
16:10 – Takeaway 3
18:37 – Takeaway 4
19:59 – Takeaway 5
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello and welcome to Muscle For Life. I’m Mike Matthews, your host. Thank you for joining me today. And quickly, please do subscribe to the show in whatever app you are listening to this in, because then you won’t miss any new episodes and it will help boost the rankings of the show on the various charts, which helps me because then more people can find me and my work.
What is one thing. Super fit people all have in common? No, it’s not exceptional discipline, drive or durability, nor is it excessive neurosis, narcissism, or smugness. Those would be good guesses though. The factor that is most responsible for their success is just this consistency in. They’re just the ones who miss the fewest workouts and make the fewest dietary mistakes, and they’re far from perfect.
They’re just good enough most of the time. enough and often and over the long run, that is the special sauce of the fitness elite. They stick to the fundamentals. They show up, they spare no effort. They approach their fitness as nature approaches her work. Adam, by Adam, little by little, never in. Because it is simply astonishing what you can build if you just don’t stop.
And so what’s the key to consistency? It’s not having a lot of time, nor is it having the right mindset or the right motivations. It’s just establishing and keeping a routine. It’s just deciding what to do every day and when to do it, and then doing it exactly that. At exactly the same time, regardless of how we feel.
And that type of orderly march is the cardinal hallmark of the professional. They’re not always the brightest. They’re not always the most talented. They’re just always locked into forward gear. Always think with your stick forward. Those were the words Amelia Earhart painted on the side of the plane that she flew across the Atlantic, and her message is, Air speed over all, even when the ride is bumpy, even when the engines splutter and threaten to stall.
Even when you lose your bearings never sacrifice your momentum, and that’s why the essence of my new book, Muscle for Life, which is coming out in January, is action. The sooner we can get moving, the more likely we are to. Going because when we’re in motion, the roots of doubt and despair cannot ensnare us by doing things.
We can’t be stopped by thinking things. And by the end of this book, you will have the will, you will have the wherewithal, and you will have the way to win in the fitness game regardless of your age, regardless. Circumstances and your abilities if you commit to the program that I give in the book. And there are several programs to choose from.
Beginner, intermediate, advanced, if you commit, results will follow as sure as Split P soup will satisfy. So if you want a fail safe roadmap to your best body ever, regardless of your age, regardless of your current ability, regardless of your current fitness, Go to muscle for lifebook.com and preorder your copy now.
All right. I am excited to do this episode because I haven’t done a book club episode in some time because I am a lazy degenerate who has just been collecting stemmy checks for the last year and. Ranting on Twitter about the horrors of capitalism. Okay, fine. That’s not why. It’s just a matter of priorities, I’ve had a lot of urgent and important stuff to work on over the last several months, and I’ve had book club on my list of things to get to. But always seemed to have something else more pressing that I had to give my time to, but I finally got around to it, and that is gonna be today’s episode. It’s going to be my key takeaways and my thoughts on those key takeaways from the book.
Six Thinking Hats by Edward Deb. And I almost didn’t read this book because I generally don’t read self-help slash self development books anymore because I’ve read a lot of them in the past and they just became very redundant. I was coming across the same ideas in these books again and again, just couched differently, however.
Is a book that was written by a prominent psychologist and it is a classic and it’s short and easy to read, so I figured I’d give it a go and I really liked it. Now the premise of this book is pretty simple. When most of us think about something, we try to do too much at the same time. We look for information.
We consider our feelings. We want new ideas. We want options, alternatives. We play devil’s advocate. We seek out benefits. We come to conclusions about things and that is the mental equivalent of trying to juggle six balls, which is doable, but it’s difficult. However, if we can deconstruct this process and we can monotask instead, if we can just toss one ball up at a time, we can markedly improve.
Quality and the efficiency of our thinking and of our deductions. And as the title of this book implies, the author spotlights six types of thinking, and he uses colored hats to symbolize each. So we have the white hat, and that’s concerned with objective facts and figures. We have the red hat, which gives the emotional view.
We have the black hat, which is cautious and careful. So this one points out the weaknesses in an. There’s the yellow hat, which is optimistic, and it covers hope and positive thinking. There is the green hat and that indicates creativity, new ideas. And finally we have the blue hat, which is concerned with control the organization of the thinking process and the use of the other hats.
It’s metacognitive. It is thinking about how you’re going to go about thinking now. This hat image signifies the book teaches you how to wear each of these different hats in your thinking by explaining how and why to think in different directions one at a time. So for example, if you wanted to discuss with your partner whether you should take a job, offer, or start a business of your own, you might start with the blue hat and define your current situation and what you want to achieve in this think.
Session. Do you want a specific next step, for example, or do you just want to make a sounding of the situation? Do you just want to explore initially some information, some benefits, some downsides, some feelings, and then see where that lands you? So that would be blue hat thinking. And then let’s say next you dawn the red hat and you share any feelings that may get in the way of other modes of thinking, like how you feel about your current job or about the idea of starting a business.
Maybe you’re afraid, for example. And then you might want to put on the white hat and start looking at data and information and statistics relevant to your situation. And then maybe the green hat for some ideas, some possibilities, and then maybe the yellow hat and the black hat to look at the potential benefits and advantages and potential downsides of the alternatives that you’ve come up with.
And then you may want to wrap up with another. Blue hat thinking to put together an overview of what you have achieved in this thinking session and what the next steps are, if there are any next steps. Now, if you are going to read this book, just know that it is written primarily for use in group settings, and many of the examples relate to business because I guess the author has worked with many businesses, done a lot of consulting with big corporations to help their people make better decisions.
But I’m featuring it here on the podcast because I found the information and the approach very valuable in my individual non-business personal deliberations. So let’s get to the takeaways. First one is, quote, Thinking is the ultimate human. Resource, yet we can never be satisfied with our most important skill.
No matter how good we become, we should always want to be better. Usually the only people who are very satisfied with their thinking skill are those poor thinkers who believe that the purpose of thinking is to prove yourself right to your own satisfaction. And my note here is that the ability to. Is one of the most important meta skills or master skills that we can develop because it activates and it magnifies so many other important skills.
Even other meta skills like observing, learning, remembering, imagining, deducing. Communicating and thinking is also a creative activity. It is on the same order as artistic activities, and that means that perfection in our thinking is impossible. Just as a painting or a song or an essay can always be more precise or more beautiful or more evocative.
So can an idea or a plan or a solution. Always be more insightful, more practical, more elegant. But unlike painting, singing, or writing, our prospects in life depend greatly on our ability to think unless we are a professional painter, singer, or writer, we don’t have to be great at those things if we want to have a great life.
But we do have to be great at thinking because great. Think. Is conducive to making great decisions, and those great decisions are conducive to living a great life. And so if we want to maximize our ability to live well, we must continually work to refine our ability to think well. And that requires regular study.
It requires regular calculation, regular reflect. Okay, let’s move on to the next takeaway quote. Life has to proceed. It is not possible to check out everything with the rigor demanded of a scientific experiment. So in practice, we establish a sort of two-tier system, believed facts and checked facts. So my note here is this distinction between believed and checked facts is vital to good thinking.
Consider for a moment how many things you know because of firsthand verification rather than secondhand instruction. The truth is, if we’re gonna be honest with ourselves, many, if not most of our assumptions about. Just about everything are believed. Facts not checked ones, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Of course. We only have so much time and so much energy to put into fact checking everything, right? Justice Holmes famously said, The art of life consists in making correct decisions on insufficient. Evidence that said, serious problems arise when we can’t distinguish between believed and checked facts.
When too many believed facts are misfiled as checked ones. And when we refuse to review and revise them, no matter what we see, what we experience. Or even worse, when we carefully filter what we see and what we experience to preserve our cognitive status quo, we can lose our. To successfully navigate reality.
So take the COVID vaccine for example. Here’s a common conversation I’ve had with many zealous members of the Church of the Mast cdn. So one will say, the vaccine is safe. And I say, Oh, what do you mean by safe? The chances of serious side effects are extremely low. How do you know that the science.
How do you know that? How do you know what the science says? Have you reviewed it yourself? No, but I trust those who have reviewed it. Okay. So you believe the vaccine is safe based on the information that has been presented to you? No, the vaccine is safe. The science says so. But you didn’t review the scientific data yourself, let alone participate in the investigations that produced the data.
So how do you know what the science says? The experts who investigated it said it’s safe. Okay, so you believe the vaccine is safe based on the claims of certain experts? No, it’s safe. I trust the science now. Such stupid. Is gobsmacking to me, really? And it says volumes about how unwilling many people are to even attempt to think critically about anything other than maybe who to draft in their fantasy sports ball league, or which wine to pair with their dinner or what to watch next on Netflix.
And I’m sure there are various reasons that we are all prone to this type of dog. Thinking, but the desire to avoid uncertainty, it has to be a big one, right? Because yes and no. That provides security. That provides comfort, whereas maybe, or probably, these things are slippery. These things are treacherous, but they are also a more accurate reflection of.
Reality, which seems to function almost like a quantum computational machine that just continually manifests actualities that are selected from a multitude of mutually exclusive and often contradictory future possibilities with ever shifting probabilities. Or put differently. The reality that unfolds before us is just one state of circumstances, one state of existence out of innumerable other possible states of existence that simply didn’t actualize.
And so my point with that philosophizing is that the only yes or nos that we really can be certain about are things that have already actualized, things that have happened in the past. But if we are looking to the future, we are now looking at probabilities. Likelihoods. And so if we want to physically interact with the reality that we are in and with the future more effectively, we have to strive to mentally interact with it more effectively.
And that requires moving away from the monochromatic. Yes and no thinking toward the polychromatic maybe. And probably. Thinking. Oh, and as a quick note regarding the vaccine conversations, I’m not even claiming the vaccine isn’t safe. Only that we don’t know whether it is or isn’t safe in the same way that we know what we had for breakfast.
Today. Instead, we believe, or I think it’s more accurate to say, we choose to believe the vaccine is or isn’t safe based on many different factors, including our own observations, our preferred sources of information, our attitude toward officialdom, our attitude toward covid, our social groups. Desire to conform our religious beliefs, our social and political inclinations and more.
Okay, let’s move on to the next takeaway, yet any good decision must be emotional in the end. I place the emphasis on that phrase. In the end, when we have used thinking to make the map, our choice of route is determined by values and emotions. And my note here is ultimately we only take decisions and courses of actions that we.
Our right, and so there’s no sense in trying to smother the emotional component of thinking and attempt pure thinking. In fact, if we believe our thinking is supremely rational and uni influenced by emotion, that only means we are supremely unaware of how much our feelings actually mold our thinking, and how much we probably use quote unquote logic to rationalize our emotion.
Compulsions. And so the problem then isn’t allowing emotions to influence our thinking, but to use the metaphor of the book, it’s allowing the red hat, our emotions to dominate our thinking and to automatically overpower and override the contributions of the other hats, including data and information, right?
That’s the white hat. Dangers and obstacles, that’s the black hat benefit. Possibilities. Yellow hat and plans and alternatives, Green hat. And if we short circuit our thinking like that, yeah, we can avoid the psychological discomfort of having to face facts and considerations that are contrary to our often cryptic desires.
And we can even delight in the perver. Of proving to the rational critic in us, just how impi it is to really do anything to influence our actions. I’ll show you, I’ll do whatever I want, but that is merely self sabotage and something that I strive for in my own thinking and ideal I strive toward that I know is.
Unachievable in an absolute sense, but it is something that is worth working toward, and that is maximum alignment between my emotions and rational ideas that when acted upon will result in the maximum amount of good for me and my family, and my groups, and just other people at large, the environment and everything else that my behavior can influence even if indirectly and remotely.
All right. The. Takeaway is quote, Intuition can be treated as one might treat an advisor. If the advisor has been reliable in the past, we are likely to pay more attention to the advice offered. If intuition has been right on many occasions, we may be more inclined to listen to it. And my note here is I personally, I’ve always tended to downplay or not even consult.
Intuition in my thinking. Instead, I’ve tended to focus on imagination, on data, on analysis, perspective taking, and other mental processes that Aiden thinking, and maybe that’s because when I was younger I just didn’t place much value or trust. In my emotions until they had been subjected to a lot of skepticism, and I suppose I just felt my intuition was warped.
Sometimes it worked well, sometimes it didn’t work well, sometimes it didn’t work at all. It just wasn’t. A reliable guide. Now that I’m a bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser and a little bit more emotionally and psychologically mature, that has changed. I probably should allow intuition to factor a little bit more into my thinking.
I don’t see any harm now in allowing it to at least add some brush strokes to the cognitive canvas, so to speak, so long as it is not allowed to run a m. The fifth and final takeaway quote. The final decision is based on a combination of white hat facts, yellow hat benefits, black hat caution, and red hat intuition and feeling.
And my note here is I think that’s a pretty good summary of decision making or at least of good decision making because it involves generating ideas based on verified facts and data that have clear. And likely benefits that clearly outweigh the likely disadvantages and that produce positive intuitions and feelings that minimally include confidence and hope in those ideas.
And that last point of producing positive feelings is something that I’ve learned to appreciate more in my own thinking, because while sometimes you know you have to do, or you know you should do something that doesn’t make you. Good. It’s gonna make you feel bad, but you need to do it. You should do it.
You gut it out and you do it. However, in many cases, there are many different ways to skillfully solve setbacks and exploit opportunities. And if we choose a plan that doesn’t kindle us even a little, if we choose a plan that’s just soggy, we are not going to execute it nearly as well as another. That does, and that is something that applies to diet and training as well, because no matter how scientifically optimal a diet plan is or a training plan is, if you dread every day of it, you are not gonna be able to give it the level of effort that’s required to produce the optimal results.
And that’s why I place a lot of emphasis on finding diet and training plans that work for you, that fit your goals, that fit your preferences, that fit your lifestyle. I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes.
And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share.
Shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.