Element 3, Moments of Insight
Want to Be Stretched?
- Sometimes we wish our pants would stretch after a heavy dinner.
- Or that a family member would stretch their political views.
- Or that we could stretch past our same old fears.
So how can we stretch others or ourselves?
Stretching often comes from moments of insight, a third element in The Power of Moments.
Moments of Insight – Deliver realizations and transformations.
But we can’t exactly create an insight; we can’t manufacture an epiphany.
However, we can set up the environment for an insight to happen.
“Often, what looks like a moment of serendipity is actually a moment of intentionality.”
If you’ve ever wanted someone to understand your point of view, but you can’t get it across, or wanted an aha! moment to help you make a decision, here are some tips that can help you.
To Stretch Others, Show Something
If there’s something you want another person to see, telling them doesn’t always work. They need to see it for themselves.
Authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath suggest this:
Set up an environment so the person trips over the truth.
First, make the problem really clear. People need to understand a problem before they’ll look at the solution. When a group of researchers wanted a remote village in India to understand that their poor sanitation practices were creating sickness, they staged a walk with the villagers to all the places they used as public restrooms.
They had to discover the problem themselves to believe it.
Second, only through a series of activities along the way, did the villagers finally see for the first time how devastating their hygiene habits were, and were thus open to a solution.
Likewise, if we have something we want to teach, we also would be more successful if we could do this:
Design activities so they’ll catch their foot (or brain) on something and then stumble over the truth themselves.
Don’t just share findings; replicate the discovery.
To Stretch Yourself, Take a Risk
But if we’re the ones in the dark, we can’t replicate the discovery if we don’t yet know what it is.
So how can we stretch ourselves? The Heath brothers suggest this:
Put yourself in a situation that exposes you to a risk of failure.
We’re more likely to have an aha! moment outside our comfort zone. We don’t grow from only head knowledge; we need to take action.
“Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action.”
We don’t have to do it alone. We can invite other people to push us outside ourselves: trainers, coaches, mentors, pastors. They can hold us to higher standards, assure us when we doubt, give us direction and support when we’re uncertain.
“What may be counterintuitive is that self-insight rarely comes from staying in our heads. Research suggests that reflecting or ruminating on our thoughts and feelings is an ineffective way to achieve true understanding.”
But ultimately the decision is still ours:
To grow, push toward risk, not away.
Taking risks don’t always pay off in the way we’d like. The result may not be a success as we’d normally define it. But even a failure can teach us something.
“Better to take a risk, try something, and distill the answer from experience rather than from navel-gazing.”
This story is shared in The Power of Moments about a child remembering her father’s question at the dinner table:
“When Blakely and her brother were growing up, her father would ask them a question every week at the dinner table:
‘What did you guys fail at this week?’”
‘If we had nothing to tell him, he’d be disappointed,’ Blakely said. ‘The logic seems counterintuitive, but it worked beautifully.’”
Blakely’s father wanted to normalize failure as proof that at least his kids were trying new things. And that failing was okay.
“His attitude taught me to define failure as not trying something I want to do instead of not achieving the right outcome.”
Trust God with Your Moments
Although The Power of Moments doesn’t speak directly to faith issues, as believers in God we can see this spiritual truth: when we step out in faith, we show God we trust him. Not just trust him for successful outcomes, but trust him with all our moments. And that grows our faith.
No one wants to stagnate; we all want to grow. But growth requires us to put ourselves out there. Experience more, go in new directions, enlarge our circles.
By learning to stretch for moments of insight, we can influence the lives of others and our own.
“The promise of stretching is not success, it’s learning.”
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What’s an aha! moment you’ve had? Have you had a mentor who helped you grow? Please share in the comments.
The Four (EPIC) Elements of Marking the Moment:
- Intro – How to Mark the Moment
- E – Moments of Elevation
- P – Moments of Pride
- I – Moments of Insight
- C – Moments of Connection
- On the Blog – October 2017
- Links, Books, and Things I Love – November 2017