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August: The Power Of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath

Explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work...

While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later? What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children?

This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.” And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth.

Readers discover how brief experiences can change lives, such as the experiment in which two strangers meet in a room, and forty-five minutes later, they leave as best friends. (What happens in that time?) Or the tale of the world’s youngest female billionaire, who credits her resilience to something her father asked the family at the dinner table. (What was that simple question?)

Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck—but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.

Fuel For Thought Questions:

1. The Heath brothers describe a hypothetical day at Disney. The “average” of the ratings was 6.5, but in memory, it felt more like a 8. Similarly, at the Magic Castle Hotel, many of the hotel’s amenities are unimpressive, but people look back on thWe experience with great fondness because of moments like the Popsicle Hotline. Have you had an experience like this, where the moment-by-moment experience may have been mixed (or even negative), but in memory you remember it fondly? Describe the experience you’re thinking about.

2. The Heath brothers make the case that there are many “missing moments” in our lives—that we aren’t paying enough attention to transitions, milestones, and pits. In the first Clinic, they point out all the moments that are missed by banks—for instance, a customer who closed on a new home could be celebrated with a gift, or another who lost a job could be offered a “pause” on their mortgage. Did any “missing moments” come to mind as you reflected on this section? Are there opportunities in your organization to create new defining moments?

3. What did you think of the concept of the “reminiscence bump”—that period from roughly age 15 to 30 when our life is filled with so many “firsts”? If you are 25 or older, does it bother you that, in some sense, your most memorable days are behind you? Does that idea seem natural and untroubling to you, or does it make you anxious? (Or are you determined to fight the trend and ensure that your older years are as memorable as your younger ones?).

4. Michael Dinneen was shattered when his patient committed suicide, but he learned something about himself: I can endure. Have you ever lived through a difficult or traumatic experience and drawn strength from the idea that, “If I can survive that, I can survive anything?”

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