Create Your Own Aha Moment

Waiting for lightning bolts, shooting stars or other high-drama moments of inspiration before making that big life change? Stop waiting.


As legend has it, the first “Aha Moment” in recorded history took place in ancient Greece, when Archimedes, the leading mathematician of his day, was soaking in communal baths. He’d been struggling to find answers to a puzzle that plagued him: how could he determine whether a crown presented to King Hiero II was pure gold, or a counterfeit? Brooding, he sank lower in the baths, noticing as he did so that the water level rose. He realized that submerging the crown in liquid would displace an amount of water equal to its volume, and could determine its density and composition. Inspiration from the Gods! He bolted out of the baths and ran down the city streets naked, screaming “Eureka!” (Translation from Greek: “I got it!”)

Centuries later, we all still crave those seemingly heaven-sent moments of crystalline clarity and insight to solve the most vexing challenges in our lives (preferably without the public nudity part). But what do you do if the golden shaft of light doesn’t shine on you? The walls don’t rattle. The lightning never strikes. But you’re still itchy, knowing that you need something more.

The good news: You don't have to wait for the sky to fall in a splendiferous epiphany before taking action. Whether it's buckling down to lose those 30 pounds, writing the novel you’ve been dreaming of for a decade or trading in your corner office for an online antiques business, you can summon up the motivation for transformation without a classic forced call to action—a layoff, a red-alert from your doctor, or running across an old photo when you used to be thin. Yes, you can create your own aha moment.The no-epiphany route begins by looking inward and gaining perceptions into yourself and what you want, says Andrea Davis, who does therapeutic work on the art of insight and counts Hollywood powerbrokers and psychologists among her clientele. "Your aha moment is what you would you do if you weren't afraid.” When we're blocked due to fear and a lack of trust in the future, we remain in old jobs or relationships that may not feel right for us, she believes.

     See also: How to Try Things Out

But Davis, who is certified in Family Constellation Work—a therapeutic model developed by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger based on the idea that present day difficulties may be influenced by traumas suffered by previous generations—believes there are ways to break through. “Both moving ahead and staying where we are can be fraught with fear, depression and anxiety," she says. So why not plow forward? Here's an action plan for creating your own epiphany: