How do you feel when you suddenly, or finally, get it–when you clearly understand something that had been perplexing? For me, it’s the a-ha moment when the light comes on and I feel like a mystery has been revealed.

girls spyglass

The Greek scholar, Archimedes, shouted, “eureka,” when one day he noticed the water level rise in his tub as he stepped into it. It was his sudden realization that the amount of water displaced by his foot and leg equaled the volume of his foot and leg that was submerged. Eureka means, I found it, or I find. Archimedes had an a-ha moment.

There is an INPowering energy in a-ha. We experience a surge of enthusiasm that propels us even further into exploration and discovery. The more we learn, the more we want to know.

An INPowering leader helps make that happen for you. A dis-empowering leader wants you to think like he does and spends a lot of energy trying to keep you from learning on your own. That leader wants you to take their word for it and check your ability to think for yourself at the door. Beware of that so-called, leader.

The enemy of a-ha is propaganda

I had a recent encounter with a new acquaintance over a difference in opinion. They would hurl an opinion they had heard at me as if it were a fact. I would go research the opinion and, where warranted, cite facts refuting what they claimed. This happened several times, and on a couple of points I gave them back a fact providing information that either directly contradicted their assertion or revealed their conclusion was more exaggerated than the facts logically allowed.

When they objected to my replies, I simply asked them to provided the facts that supported their opinions. Our discussion ended with them insulting me and accusing me of being closed minded. No “a-ha” for them.

You are under no obligation to agree with me

To be an INPowering leader, you are obliged to explain your conclusions with verifiable facts. And you can take it to the next level by insisting others go learn for themselves.

A fact is verifiable. You can seek independent information that affirms the fact or dispels it. An opinion is one’s conclusion about what a fact means to them. You might disagree with my conclusion about a fact, but the fact should, itself, be verifiable.

Propaganda is information that has been intentionally slanted to promote a point of view. They spin the information, often distorting facts, to convince you of their opinion. Just know that most of the information you hear on cable news is spin.

Be an “a-ha” maker.

Here are some ways to promote a-ha possibilities:

Be a guide to knowledge instead of a propagandist. Point others to information. Ask them what they think the information means to them. Have discussions about what they learned from the information.

Seek counter points of view. Just because you are willing to listen to contrary information does not mean you are wishy-washy or flip-flopping. Others might cause a shift in perception and open your mind and eyes to other possibilities.

Take the fear out of changing your mind. It’s not a character flaw to shift your opinion or conclusion based on learning something new. Celebrate revised opinions as a sign of vibrant thinking.

To INLarge the expectations of living in yourself and in others, you must be an “a-ha” maker. The greatest compliment I ever receive as a teacher is, “you made me think today.” They might even say they are not sure they agree with me. That’s OK. They are thinking, and that’s what matters most.

Promote the power in “a-ha,” and be

Leadership training, leadership development, Garland McWatters

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