Oprah Winfrey’s famous phrase, ‘the aha moment’ has been added to the 2012 edition of the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. An aha moment is defined as ‘a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition of comprehension.’ How can we make our own aha moments work for us beyond just a fleeting thought?
We’ve all seen it in the movies – the part about one-third through the movie where the main character captures an incredible inner strength to empower herself to conquer the obstacle/sports competition / illness / goal / bad-guy / handsome man that is the backbone of the story line. Of course, we love these stories and return home, quite satisfied from our outing, to then plop in front of the TV with a box of cookies and return to our own reality.
We can relate to aha moments, we’ve had them before, and we even know which aha moments would be fantastic to have if they were just strong enough to get us to the gym every day. The power that these insights hold can be very strong, inspiring us to lasting action in the face of all odds. Or they can be very fleeting, like aha’s cousin willpower who never seems to be around when you really need it.
3 Ways to Turn Around Your Aha Moment
1) Defend your aha moment, your insights, your newfound inner truths. When we know something, really know it deep inside, that voice can be too easily overpowered by limiting belief systems. Waking up in the morning to the inspiration of running a marathon to raise money to cure cancer will ‘aha’ propel you to losing those 20 pounds and training every day. Or will it?
The limiting beliefs and insecure inner conversations are all too ready to step in with phrases such as ‘you’ll never be able to do this,’ or ‘remember what happened last time,’ or ‘look how it is raining today – much too cold to go out running.’ Standing up for your deeper value of being your very best self takes concentration and effort!
2) Recognize that moments of true inspiration are just that, and nothing more. Negative feelings of guilt, telling oneself ‘I should’ go to the gym, a sudden scare, regrets about the past, worries about the future, exaggerated concern about what others think, judging oneself and others, feeling victimized by the state of affairs…..these do not constitute the kind of creative and generative energy that our heroes have in the movies or that we need in our lives.
Your inner insights will sound clear to you, like the warrior god/goddess who has faith and courage to fight for what is right in the face of all odds. Listening and honoring new and profound insights is a lot different than listening to the negative chatter. Having the ability to control one’s thoughts (yes, it is possible) brings you to the place of using the thoughts you need and turning them into positive action.
3) Don’t wait for an aha moment to appear out of nowhere. We tend to see our goals and inspirations as a separate item somewhere out there in the future, for example, quitting smoking on January 1 next year, or losing 20 pounds as a project to get around to sometime. Taking action in little ways, now, today, in any way we can, will start to generate the aha moment of ‘yes! I can do it!’ That is the biggest inspiration of all.
Take an example of burning extra calories every day. Sounds tedious. Not much aha about it. A strenuous hour of aerobics burns around 300 calories. Still sounds tedious. But, an hour of moving about around the house or garden instead of sitting, will burn around 140 calories per hour! This is much more inspiring. So we can create our own version of ‘I can do it’ by simply looking for ideas to get out of our chairs by pacing while on the phone, playing with the dog in the yard, baking for the community fundraiser, cleaning out the garage, playing hide and seek with the kids. The aha moment is that our goals are not far away and out there, but are right in the here and now. We can free ourselves up to live life carrying a lighter mental, emotional and physical load.
The more you act on your inner truths, even in little ways, and the more you quiet the overprotective inner voices, the more you’ll be inspired, inspiring to yourself, and an inspiration for others.