What’s an “Aha” or “Ah-ha” moment?
Merriam-Webster defines “Aha” as “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension”.
In critical thinking we designate the Aha moment
as that time when you go from being unclear to clear. Moving from unclear about a problem to clear about the problem. Progressing from not knowing what to do to knowing what to do.
The oversight a lot of us have, me included, is that we assume Aha moments need to be those momentous occasions when we have such a huge awakening that it changes everything. Like when becoming clear that you are in love with the person you are dating, or when you decide to look for another job, or when you create a solution that will half the time to complete a project.
Here’s a thought.
Every time you learn something new, even if just a small thing, you should consciously declare an Aha moment. Here’s why.
We learn new things every day
. In our automatic mode, we don’t stop to acknowledge the learning. We don’t even ask if what we learned is actually new learning. We just go on to the next thing. This often results in us forgetting the learning. What a waste! If it’s learning that would avoid a future problem, then we aredestined to repeat it. If it’s learning that has value, but we don’t recognize it, then it’s worthless.
, what if we were to cherish these little Aha moments by recognizing thelearning. Ask, “What did I learn from this incident?” Consciously recognizing the little Aha moments can go a long way in remembering them. This will allow us to avoid anerror or recognize an opportunity in the future. Acknowledge all the Aha moments, no matter how small. In this way, the next time you are in a similar situation, you won’t haveto re-learn what you already know.
Examples of little Aha moments:
- You discover a shortcut to work. (Aha - maybe there are other shortcuts in other things you do)?
- You realize that you have never changed the LED bulb in your lamp. (Aha - what other investments might you make that can save you time and money over the long term).
- You ask for help for something you would normally not ask for … and got the help... And it made a difference. (Aha #1 - asking for help is OK… Aha #2 - When you learn from the help of others you should make it an Aha moment so you won’t have to ask again !)
Suggestions to preserve Aha moments:
- At the end of the day ask, “What did I learn today?”.
- Don’t take “Nothing” as an acceptable answer to the above question. You learn something new every day, so dig for it.
- Keep a daily log to write your Aha moments down.
- Ask others “what did you learn from this experience?”
- Ask “Where can I apply my learning from today in other situations?”
- Quantify your learning … Will it save you time or money? Will it make youhealthier? Will you be happier?
- If you had learned what you learned today a year ago, what difference might it have made?
- If you don’t learn from this Aha moment, what difference will it be a year from now?
(An Aha moment?). We learn little things every day. Don’t brush them off. Acknowledge the moment, pat yourself on the back for knowing that the learning will allow you to capture a future opportunity or avoid a mishap. Make every learning an “Aha” moment. Ask, “What have I learned today, and where/when can I apply this learning in the future?”