Welcome to the more than sound podcast. In this episode, Daniel Goleman discusses the “aha moment” with Anthony Gell.
Anthony Gell- Daniel, can we talk about the “aha moment” which you talk about? As you said, we’re in a knowledge world, the currency out there is potentially ideas. So how can we manufacture that “aha moment” where we can come up with…
Daniel Goleman- Well the “aha moment” is very paradoxical, you can’t manufacture it. It happens on it’s own. But you can allow for it, you can create the circumstances where it’s more likely, so, for example, if you’re facing a creative problem, we’re rebranding, we have to come up with a new logo or something like that, whatever it may be, first you pursue it as diligently and broadly as you can, and gather whatever information you might need. Really fill your brain with that.
But then the next step is really paradoxical. Then you let it go. And the reason you let it go is that when you’re very focused on “What’s our logo gonna be?” or whatever the problem is, you’ve activated the left half of the brain. Which is task oriented. And there’s two things about the left hemisphere. One is that it excludes other things to focus on the task at hand, the focus at hand. The other is that it doesn’t have many connections to other parts of the brain as compared to the right hemisphere. When you let go and you turn the problem over to the right hemisphere, the right hemisphere day dreams, it’s the source of creativity, and it also has very far flung connections throughout the brain. And the innovative aha arises when original connections are made. And they’re more likely to happen during that reverie state. While you’re in the shower, while you’re walking the dog, doing yoga, rather than when you’re sweating trying to solve the problem. And so the aha occurs when you let yourself go into a reverie, after having pursued the problem.
AG- Mmm. excellent. I can see a lot of people now going for long walks and saying to their boss they’re waiting for the aha moment.
DG- You can’t make it happen but it’s more likely to. Don’t promise your boss ever.
AG- Yeah, one innovative disruptive idea per walk. That’s a lot of pressure. Speaking of pressure, can you put yourself under pressure to come up with an idea by 3:30 this afternoon? Does that really work?
DG- Well of course you can but it may not be your best idea.
AG- OK, got you.
DG- Take a weekend for that.