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July 31, 2019

Podcast #530: How to Get More “Aha” Insights

You’ve probably experienced a few aha moments in your life. Moments where an idea for a new business or piece of art, or a solution to a sticky technical, relational, or philosophical problem, suddenly popped into your mind.

What causes these proverbial light bulbs to go off over our heads? What’s going on in your brain when you experience an insight? And can you do anything to encourage more “aha” moments?

My guest has spent his career researching the answers to these questions. His name is John Kounios, and he’s a professor of psychology and the author of the book The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain. We begin our conversation discussing how researchers define what an insight is, and examples of how scientists and musicians have experienced them. John then walks us through the stages that lead up to getting an insight and explains what is going on in our brains right before and at the moment we experience one. We end our conversation discussing ways you can increase your chances of receiving insights, including the kind of environment and even color that encourages them most.

Show Highlights

  • What really is an insight or “aha” moment?
  • Why you can’t “will” yourself to an insightful moment
  • The stages that lead to insight 
  • Why showers lead to so many great ideas 
  • How the slinky can teach us about insights 
  • What’s going on in the brain when people have an “aha” experience?
  • Where do insights come from? Were they always there? 
  • How to nudge yourself towards more insights
  • Why your mood matters 
  • Is there a time of day most conducive to creative ideas?
  • Can alcohol help you have insights?
  • Which color can you surround yourself with to encourage “aha” moments?
  • Why does sleep lead to such great insights?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With John

John on Twitter

John’s website

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Coming soon!