Thoughts and reflections from

Alternatives (from Edward de Bono ‘s book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind”)

Why are alternatives so very important?

1. Alternatives are opposite of rigidity.

Being unwilling to look for alternatives indicates a very rigid mind that does not seek a better view of the world or a better way of doing things.

It is a rigidity based on arrogance and defensiveness.

[So, how do we counter a rigid mind? There are many mothers out there who are looking at alternative education for their children, because they see the need for children to have more space for playing, thinking and exploring their interests, as compared to the regimented approach of exam-oriented schooling. But they lament that their husbands are not receptive nor supportive of the idea. What can they do to change their husbands’ minds?]

2. Alternatives are the opposite of complacency.

If you are happy where you are and cannot imagine any improvement then you make no effort to find alternatives – or even to listen to them.

Progress, energy, change, improvement and simplification are all based on the search for alternatives.

Where do alternatives come from?

The first step is to bring to mind the known alternatives. If there are none or you have exhausted these, then you need to generate new alternatives.

[eg alternative schooling, alternative college, alternative careers and alternative lifestyles]

The first approach is to find an existing way of doing something and then to identify the concept.

Then you ask: What other way might there be of carrying out this concept?

[Alternative schooling: parent-run community centers? Alternative college: mentoring system? Alternative careers: self-employed specialists? Alternative lifestyles: buckling the trends? Living a simpler life? Enhancing your self-value by magnifying your personal talents or skills?]

Alternatives of actions and of ideas are about the future. We cannot be certain if a course of action or an idea will work out in practice. Success might be probable or merely possible. But once the idea has been put forward it can be examined and even tried out in a test situation.

For alternatives, possibility is enough to begin with. We then seek to work forward from the possibility framework to approach certainty.

[To learn in different ways that harnesses one’s strengths and talents. To build one’s skills in different areas, like drawing and designing, singing and song-writing, cake-decorating and modeling, dancing and choreographing ….these are skills that can be built upon from a young age. When time is utilized to better oneself in any of one’s talents or interests, the future will be promising because there will always be demand for highly skilled, expressive and creative workers and thinkers!]

Bracketed [words] are mine 



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