The Difference Between the “Ah-ha” and “Well, Duh!” Moment

Recently, I found that I was experiencing a lot of moments of insight — epiphanies — but instead of saying “ah-ha,” I was saying, “Well, Duh!” .

In an “ah-ha” moment, it is as if there is a sudden leap of understanding that occurs in your brain.  Something that was previously unknown suddenly becomes clear, often without any real understanding of where the insight came from.  It’s that lightbulb-going-off moment.

But a “Well, Duh” moment is different.

There’s the same excitement as the insight occurs to you.  So in this way, it feels like an “ah-ha” moment.  But this is where the similarities end.

For in a “Well, Duh” moment, the insight that suddenly occurs to you is something that you’ve actually known for some time. 

It feels like a new insight.  And in some ways it is.  It’s a way of seeing something that you already knew in a different way.  Here are some of my Well,  Duh!” moments:

  • Using a credit card’s balance transfer option to buy equipment for my business at 3.9% interest (until it was paid off!) instead of a business loan at 6.5% that required a complete business plan.
  • Seeing the name of my newsletter as the perfect umbrella to put my new business under.  Something I struggled with for over a year, although I’ve been sending out the newsletter for a year and a half!
  • Seeing a website header graphic that I was already using as “perfect” for my new business.  And then loving how it looked.
  • Resisting moving to the south end of King County because I lived here with my ex-husband, only to find the “perfect” house and grudging move,  and discover that I LOVE it here.

In my experience, I like the “Well, Duh” moments better than the “ah-ha” moments.  Mostly because in the “Well, duh” moments, I already have the tools at my disposal to act on this insight immediately.  This lets me get into action asap.

But an “ah-ha” moment often requires a lot of prep-work first.  After all, “ah-ha”s often skip some of the logical progression of a standard idea.  They often take you to fun, exotic locals, but the road to get there can be treacherous.

And the “ah-ha” moments are few and far between.  But the “Well, Duh” ones only require you to stop trying so hard to figure everything out.  You already have figured it out.  You just have to relax and see it.

May you have more “Well, Dub!” moments in your life.  I’d love it if you’d share some of them here.


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