Do you know why we sometimes struggle to convince people to see what we see? Have you had an “Aha!” moment?
What we are referring to here is “Insight;” A shift in our minds and consciousness that either means we see something others don’t, or that recognition when we, ourselves, ‘get it’.
I was fortunate this week to spend an hour and a half with a gentleman by the name of John Freeth. John lives in Cape Town, and in 2010, wrote a PhD on the experience of insight. In his research, John interviewed and studied the insights made by such people as Desmond Tutu and Sir Roger Penrose (who is famous for cosmology and specifically understanding the workings of black holes – if ever there was insight needed, that’s a great example!).
It turns out that the experience of insight always follows specific steps, which forms the basis of John’s PhD and which I have attempted to share below. What struck me, was how relevant this is to my work with coaching financial planners AND how financial planners relate to their clients – both of which require the recipient to experience “insight”
Step 1. The Unresolved Issue
The experience of insight arises out of a person’s awareness of, and engagement with, a problem, unresolved issue, question or tension
We must identify the fact that we have a problem, before we can think about dealing with it.
Step 2. The Openness Required
The experience of insight concurs with the person’s way-of-being-in-the-world, where there is a sufficient disposition of openness: affective, cognitive and behavioural
We must be prepared to engage at an emotional level and must not be closed to it. This happens best in a state of relaxation, and we probably feel a sense of excitement about it, even though we may not know what it is. This is a state of mind
Step 3. The Unresolved Issue needs to be ‘Confronted’ and ‘Contained’
The experience of insight requires that the unresolved issue and the raw material for insight be adequately ‘confronted’ and ‘contained’ by the person, so that the issue involved can be clarified in a sufficiently reflexive way.
This is an important moment. The reality must be faced and if it is to be faced with an adviser, there must be empathy and trust for it to be contained. Confidence and skills in framing things are important here
Step 4. The ‘Impact': A Passive Experience
The experience of insight involves ‘impact’ which comes suddenly and unexpectedly. It is the influence of the life-world on the self: A passive experience.
“It suddenly hit me.” It was a realisation or a shock. It happens TO you and you have no control over it.
Step 5. The ‘Interpretation': A Reflexive Experience
The experience of insight requires ‘interpretation’ or empathetic understanding of the ‘impact’, which may take time but becomes conscious suddenly. It is the influence of the self on the life-world: A reflexive experience.
What are the implications? What is nagging away? This is where meaning and understanding sit
Step 6. The “A-ha!” Experience
The experience of the ‘moment of insight’ releases the tension of enquiry in the “A-ha!” experience and motivates, enables and empowers action. It is the key to a self-actualising process: An active experience.
This is the lightbulb moment. It records a fundamental shift in thinking, and one’s vision of reality and what might be possible.
Step 7. The Changed Perspective
The experience of insight involves transcending the usual or dominant way of seeing things
We are now prepared to see the world differently. This is where change takes place.
Step 8. The Self-Authenticating Experience
The experience of insight is self-authenticating: The result of insight is tested in the public realm and is historically validated or rejected.
Let’s test this and see if this works. We need evidence to help us continue.
Step 9. The New Understanding
The experience of insight results in an understanding which possesses a significance greater than its origin and a relevance wider than its original application
We experience the world differently. We start to focus on other ideas and aspects differently too.
Step 10. The Recurring Quality
The experience of insight not only occurs but keeps recurring; It is not an end in itself, but rather a fresh beginning; At each recurrence, understanding develops and action is enabled… until a new problem, unresolved issue, question or tension emerges, requiring fresh insight.
Once you get one insight, others follow. Multiple pieces of the jigsaw start to fit and yet new questions are asked, problems are identified and tensions emerge which require more thought, and we return to Step 1.
The text above in bold and italicised is a summary from John’s work directly. The rest are my rambling thoughts and interpretations, which I hope are useful, but more importantly, the sharing of John’s work will add something to your thoughts for your business and your clients.