There I was, having an “a ha moment” – right in front of everyone.

It’s kind of like a hot flash, but not.  If you’ve ever had a hot flash, then I’m going to bet that your ears just perked up, since it’s pretty rare that we compare those suckers to anything positive at all.  Truth in all humor aside, there’s not much positive about a hot flash unless you happen to be standing naked in a field in central Russia in winter, so we can clear that part up straightaway.

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I was walking through the museum the other night (first Friday, so it’s open until 10pm), kind of minding my own business, kind of not – my usual if you know me – when all of the sudden I had an a ha moment.  I can’t go into the details, since it was a very personal moment for me, but it was like a beam of shining light popped out of the sky (ceiling, whatever), and while I may have been confused by the spotlights, I still had my little revelation.

Does an “a ha moment” happen the same way for all of us?  I am not really sure.

Just like a hot flash, I have a sneaking suspicion that we each choose different ways and different words to describe our moments.   I used to call it the lightbulb going off; but I heard it described as a ha once and it’s stuck with me every since.  With that said, I can’t guarantee you that we all think about them the same way, but I am fairly certain that we all have them.  I also think my dog has them but that’s another story for another day.

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These moments are not always earth shattering…  For example, I was replacing the solar garden lights in my back yard when I realized that the easiest way to do it is to replace just the light unit – don’t pull the stake out of the ground, and don’t try to swap the unit by changing the vertical tube on a stake that is still in the ground.  We live in the desert so it can be like finding a needle in a haystack if you pull the upright off the stake and then try to find the little tiny plastic stub that’s protruding from the dirt… and sometimes you find a scorpion before you find the stake.

I mean seriously, how hard is it to figure out that if you just pop the top off the entire apparatus and plop it down on the stake/tube that are already in place, you can make your life so much easier.  Who knew?  Certainly not me, but I surely do know now.

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What’s the lesson to learn here (aside from don’t be so cheap, buy some solar garden lights that last longer than one season) you might be wondering, so let me explain it to you.  It’s not about solar garden lights, it’s about the fact that I have figured out that it’s much, much easier, faster and all around more efficient to keep a stable foundation and just tweak the upper layers.  We do this all the time – you don’t buy a new car when you need to get gas, you don’t install a new ceiling because you replaced the coolant in your air conditioner (it’s 107 here today and the A/C repairman just left) unit outside, and so on, and so on, and scooby doobie doobie…

File that, but not in the round file

We all go through life having a series of a ha moments, except for the totally oblivious among us.  Storing these little nuggets of wisdom up for future use, or as building blocks (more important!) is critical, at least in my mind, to taking back more time in life.  Our best short cuts happen because of these moments, and if we can’t capitalize on them, then we will waste valuable time on tasks that could have been completed much more efficiently.

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I have an entire library of a ha moments stuck in my subconscious, and they make their way – probably kicking and screaming – to the surface at the times when I seem to need them the most.  Of course the other explanation for this scenario is that I’m certifiably insane and really don’t have any clue whether the voices I hear are words of wisdom gained from previous advice or if it’s actually the voice of the devil trying to trick me into getting myself into even more trouble than normal.  Could be six of one, half dozen of the other, perhaps?

Oh, just got two sailboat masts twisted together and one fell down?  Here comes the voice of my friend Mike, recounting a story of what he did when he had that problem.  A ha!  Now we have a solution.  Oh shit, have a presentation in ten minutes and just realized you don’t have your slide deck on your laptop?  Right, got six copies of that thing stored all over the web, just in case.  Lookout, you’re trying to make dinner, everything is in the oven, and you realize that you forgot pick up the baby from daycare?  Ha, just wanted to see if you were paying attention, since there’s obviously no baby in daycare at that time of night, unless you happen to be a stripper!

What about the folks that are too stupid to recognize?

I get really aggravated with people who dismiss or belittle the a ha moment experience.  If you fail to recognize the value these moments add to your life, then shame on you.  Education is one of our most valuable gifts, and when it comes without being beaten into us the hard way, it’s that much more amazing.

There are plenty of people out there who would not understand an a ha moment if it hit them in the face like the branches of the idiot tree when they fall from the top.  That’s just life, and frankly, we need those people in the world, since they certainly go a long way towards making us look better.  Doesn’t reading that statement make you feel better already?

So take your tiny little gifts from above, the ones that sprinkle down like rain in June in the desert, which is to say not all that often and not all that much when it does happen, and pack them away in your heart and your head so they will be ready to jump out and come to your aid when you least expect it but most need them close at hand.

 

Whatever you do, don’t toss them away as inconsequential nothings.