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APC lesson workcard

6 APC lesson workcard

APC = Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices


When you have to make a decision or take action, you may at first think that you do not have all the choices at your disposal. But if you look for them, you may find that there are more alternatives than you thought. Similarly in looking at a situation there are always obvious explanations. But if you look for them, you may find that there are other possible explanations that you had not thought of.


A car is found in a ditch and the driver is dead. What could have happened? 

  • The driver had a heart attack or fainted.

  • The car had a puncture, blow-out or mechanical failure. 

  • The driver was drunk. 

  • The driver misjudged the curve of the road. 

  • The driver was attacked by a wasp and lost concentration. 

  • The driver fell asleep. 

  • The driver was murdered and then placed in the crashed car. 


1. A man goes into a bar and asks for a drink of water. The woman behind the bar gives him a drink of water and then suddenly screams. What possible explanations are there?

2. You discover that your best friend is a thief. What alternatives do you have?

3. The Post Office is losing a lot of money. If you were running it, what alternatives would you have?

4. The brightest girl in class starts making mistakes in her work on purpose. What possible explanations are there?

5. Fewer people want to be scientists. What possible explanations are there for this and what possible action can be taken?

6. Do an APC on all the different ways in which you could listen to music.

7. You want to get to sleep but a neighbor is playing very loud music. Do an APC on your alternatives. (a) What can you do right at the time? (b) What can you do to prevent it happening again?

8. A factory owner knows that if he pays the wages his workers demand and probably deserve he will lose money and wlll have to close the factory and then there will be unemployment in that area. What choices does he have?

9. A boy wants to get married but he has to stay at home to look after his aging father. What alternatives does he have?

10. In dealing with pollution, what alternative courses of action are there?


  • What is the point of looking for more alternatives?

  • How do you tell which is the most likely or best alternative?

  • When do you stop looking for other possibilities?

  • When is it most useful to find new choices?

Learning Points

A. If you cannot think of any alternatives yourself, you should ask someone else.

B. You go on looking for alternatives, even after you find one that you really like.

C. There is almost always an alternative, even if there does not appear to be one at first.

D. You cannot know that the obvious explanation is best until you have looked at some others.

E. To look for alternatives when you are not satisfied ls easy but to look for them when you are satisfied requires a deliberate effort.

These de Bono Thinking Lessons are free to use by parents, guardians and teachers. (This means on this website, or to print and use in home or in the classroom. Not for further distribution or commercial use). 

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