10 Hugely Practical Aha’s I Wish I’d Learned Sooner
Oprah, the queen of aha moments, said, “You can’t have an aha unless you already knew it. So, the aha is a remembering of what you already knew, articulated in a way to resonate with your own truth.”
Let that sink in. Leave it to Oprah to give us a deep and profound truth about aha’s.
Let me simplify. Aha’s are our inner knowing made visible. We already know this stuff. It’s wisdom locked within us. We just need a moment to unlock it and then we say, “Aha! Now I get it.”
The sudden revelation of aha moments brings to mind the legend of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under the apple tree. Upon seeing the apple fall from the tree, his aha moment, he suddenly discovered the law of gravity.
It’s obvious I believe in aha’s. My personal website, podcast and private Facebook group all bear this term used to express unexpected and welcomed insights. I believe aha moments are catalysts for raising our consciousness. They provide us with insights to solve problems and discover new things about ourselves, others and the world around us. Aha’s help us to expose deeply held beliefs, assumptions and even false interpretations, and to overcome challenges or setbacks.
I’m thankful for the many aha moments I’ve had in my life and continue to have.
Here are 10 hugely practical aha’s I wished I’d learned sooner, and you probably do too.
#1 – Change is the only constant.
Whether a thing is good or bad, don’t get too fixed on it because it will change. Our best remedy is to be present and adaptable. As someone who likes to be in control of my environment, this has been a hard, but welcome lesson.
“The only constant in life is change.” ~ Heraclitus
#2 – Asking for help is a sign of strength.
It takes a wise and humble person to ask for help. We all need help from others at different times in our lives. It’s the strong person who understands her limits and knows when to call in reinforcement. We were never meant to navigate life alone.
“Ask for help not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong. ~ Les Brown
#3 – Trust your intuition and it will become louder.
The whisper of the inner wisdom will not compete with the louder voices in our ears. It will wait its turn because love doesn’t insist on its own way. It’s there for us when we’re ready. And the more we turn to her, the more we’ll recognize the sound of her voice. Check out Listening to the Voice Within.
“Intuition is the whisper of the soul.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
#4 – You can’t please everyone, so stop trying.
Growing up a people pleaser was tough. I wanted people to like me, and I wanted to know that I made people happy. One day I realized I couldn’t please everyone, and it’s not my job anyway. Focus on what’s best for you and what makes you happy. The rest will take care of itself.
“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” ~ Ed Sheeran
And one more, just because I love it so much…
“Stop trying to make everyone happy. You’re not chocolate.” ~ Unknown
#5 – You’re not a leader if no one is following.
It’s the egoist who believes he’s a leader simply because of title or position. People may comply, but they won’t willingly follow. A person can lead without a title, position, or formal authority. Learning to serve others is the greatest act of leadership. I learned this lesson as a middle school teacher fresh out of college. There’s a story there. Check out my podcast.
“If you think you are leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.” ~ Afghan Proverb
#6 – Your decisions determine the quality of your life.
If you look up and don’t like your lot in life, trace back to your decisions. If you look up and love your lot in life, trace back to your decisions. Every decision has a consequence. Make good decisions. I recognize that there are some circumstances that befall a person not of their choosing. However, even in dire circumstances, we know stories of people who, through their decisions, were able to change their lives for good. Oprah is a great example. We don’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we will respond. This is a lesson I’ve tried to teach my children and live by example.
“Decisions are the frequent fabric of our daily design.” ~ Don Yaeger
#7 – More than anything else, it’s death that teaches us to appreciate life.
Memento Mori is a Latin phrase which means “remember death.” The inevitability of death can lead to morbid thoughts and fear or it can inspire an appreciation for life and the determination to live each day to the fullest. It had the latter effect on me when my mother died 37 years ago and most recently when one of my dearest friends died. Tomorrow is not promised. This present moment is all we have. Cherish it and make it count. To love life is to lose the fear of death.
“There’s something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate your life now.” ~ Angelina Jolie
#8 – The purpose of life is not happiness but meaning.
Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Hmm, I disagree with the wise philosopher. The soul yearns for more than happiness. We want to know we matter and that the world is a little better off because we’re in it. Think about our great leaders, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela. Happiness did not compel them. Making a difference in the lives of others did. We gain fulfillment through meaning. It’s one of the core foundations of the Aha! Life.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
#9 – Questions are fateful.
We move in the direction of our questions. That’s why it matters what questions we’re asking ourselves and others. Questions have energy. They create destiny. I discovered this through using appreciative inquiry in my work with individuals and teams. Inquiring into strengths yields possibilities, positive energy, creativity and innovation.
“Questions are fateful. They determine destinations. They are the chamber through which destiny calls.” ~ Godwin Hlatshwayo
#10 – You are enough.
We spend so much of our lives believing we are inadequate, that we don’t have what it takes, or we are not as smart, or pretty, or as talented as someone else we’re comparing ourselves to. Wherever the lies came from, know that you were not born with them. As sure as you accepted them, you can now reject them. You are enough. You always have been, and you always will be. This truth is a game changer!
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ~ Maya Angelou
What aha’s have you discovered? What moments led to your discovery? Write them down. Aha moments and the insights they gift us with are like lanterns on the pathway of what would otherwise be a dark and mysterious journey. Once you have an aha, it transfers your inner knowing from an unconscious to a conscious state and helps you to lead a more enlightened life, Your Aha! Life.
If you’re interested in hearing more about these aha’s and the personal moments that led to them, check out my podcast episode, “10 Incredibly Practical But Life Changing Aha Moments.” I added two more as a bonus. Also, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter at Your Aha! Life and join my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community.