‘Aha’ … a ‘light bulb moment’ … the ‘penny drop’ … an ‘insight’. Whatever you choose to call it, when it happens to you, it’s a real game changer.
One of the aspects I enjoy most about coaching is seeing a client have an ‘aha’ moment. If I’m working face-to-face, the moment is obvious as the clients face lights up with fresh new thinking and they nod their head in a “Yes, I see it!” kind of way. Over the phone, the light bulb moment is a bit harder to discern but evident nonetheless. Often clients will verbalise it slowly, luxuriating in the comforting feeling of ‘knowing’, and there is a remarkable shift in energy within the individual which impacts the entire conversation.
Understanding the Science
Thinking about insight and the way it reveals itself, got me curious. What is the science behind it all? How do we sometimes answer some of our most perplexing questions, in just one second of inspiration?
Well, neuroscientists have been trying to work out how insight works, using word problems. Subjects are given problems to solve and just milliseconds before the answer pops into their head, scans reveal a surge of activity in a very obscure part of the brain known as the superior interior temporal gyrus. They also discovered (through measuring the levels of electricity produced by the brain) that they can predict, eight seconds in advance, if you are going to produce an insight (or not). This was done by measuring the number of alpha waves produced. And alpha waves are produced when we are in a state of relaxation. [See Science of Insight Creation]
So, scientists have proven that insight occurs when our minds are quiet and calm. Like the famous story of the famous Greek scientist Archimedes soaking in his bathtub and the Eureka (‘I found it!’) moment that followed, many insights occur when we are in the bath, shower or out for a peaceful walk in nature. These relaxing moments, when we don’t have a lot on our minds, create a quiet space which enables us to hear the moments of inspiration produced by our brains. Ironically, the moments that we are not looking for the answer, is when the answer actually occurs!
Encouraging insight through quiet reflection
In a coaching conversation, insight occurs through the creation of a quiet, reflective frame of mind. The moment when all the busy thinking drops away and from this space an emerging understanding develops. This new understanding or fresh new way of thinking is always attached to a strong sense of certainty, there is a ‘feeling of knowing’ - we just know it’s the right answer.
I have seen clients have these flashes of inspiration, and from that understanding radically shift their perspective and ultimately an aspect of their life. The power of an ‘aha’ is truly transformative.
Interested in getting more out of life? Contact me for a chat and find out how you can get started.