The Aha moment is that period of enlightenment when you realize a profound truth. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines it as, “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension.” The concept is everywhere, ubiquitous if you will. Business conversations around the water cooler, comments made in meetings, and words printed in business literature and popular magazines focus on the aha moment.
Today’s aha moment is only one interpretation of the word that I encountered when I was growing up in the city of Chicago, Illinois. My first perception of the aha moment was not the classic definition around a moment of illumination. I was not trying to solve a problem and the solution eluded me and then out of the clear blue sky, presto! The answer appeared.
I would like to talk to you about aha moments of a different kind. Aha moments in my early days could have easily referred to the word that was shouted at me whenever I was caught. Someone jumped out of the bushes and screamed aha with the emphasis on the second syllable. It was a gotcha moment. I was busted, found out. It was a sound of discovery. My friends had cornered me in a game of hide and seek. I can hear him saying I got you.” I guess you can say my aha moment meant that I was discovered. I did not have a personal revelation, I was the personal revelation. I was the object of a surprise attack and my assailant screamed loudly to punctuate their victory.
In the first aha moment we discussed, equal weight was given to each of the syllables. The second aha moment had a greater accent on the second syllable. I am proposing a third aha moment where the stress is on the first syllable. This is the aha that was used when people laughed at me or ridiculed me. I can still hear the strident sound on the first syllable as they yelled out, “aha!” I heard this mocking sound several times during my childhood. Many times I was the new kid on the block and there was always something about me that caused others to laugh. Additionally, I remember low levels of disrespect occurring early in my college days. Whenever someone wanted to make fun of me, I would experience one of those aha moments which did not elicit fond memories.
There may be value in the three interpretations of the aha moment. In the classic sense, when did you encounter enlightenment and insight when searching for a solution to your problems? If you are constantly focused on your problems and screening potential solutions, you may have the Eureka moment and scream aha!
Secondly, you may recall the times you were caught performing a positive or negative activity. You may successfully devise a strategy to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Strategic planning of this nature can ensure that you stay far ahead of the competition and your adversaries.
Thirdly, you may remember when you were intimidated by those in control who wanted to stifle your influence. This awareness of competitors will keep you on your toes and cognizant of those who want to replace you or thwart your efforts. This awareness can lead to the appropriate counter response to gain credibility and respect.
In our age of seeking clarity in our communications, it is always critical that we are on the same page with the same interpretation of words, concepts and strategies. When we say an aha moment, we have to make sure that people have the same understanding to match our intentions. I know, in most instances, people are generally speaking of an aha moment as filled with profound insight and inspiration. However, in the back of our minds, we may find value in thinking about aha moments of a different kind.
Copyright © 2014 Orlando Ceaser