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A Big Bang! Penny has an epiphany.

Big Bang's Penny had a life-changing "aha" moment.The sitcom The Big Bang Theory is very popular with certain members of my family, namely my husband. (David worked for a while on the Caltech campus in Pasadena and appreciates geeky.)

David was catching up on reruns last week when he saw The Closure Alternative from last six. In this episode Penny (the aspiring actress, girlfriend of experimental physicist Leonard, and neighbor of theoretical physicist Sheldon) experienced an epiphany.

OK. I know that Penny is just a sitcom character. And I know that sitcom characters don’t have epiphanies, unless of course the writers write them into the script. That said, I found Penny’s realization insightful and thought you might too.

Penny had noticed the passion that her friends on the show felt for life — passion for television shows, for science, for technology. Penny wished she could experience the same enthusiasm in her life, but she couldn’t even muster enough excitement to go look for it.

Over dinner one evening, Penny explained to Leonard that she had experienced an epiphany. She realized that there was something that she was passionate about — her friends. “I’ve always had these plans. I’m going to be in movies and live this glamorous life and anything less than that wasn’t worth getting excited about,” she explained. But the insight delivered a new perspective. “I shouldn’t wait. I’ve got you. I’ve got Sheldon. These wonderful friends. My life is exciting right now.”

How true. How often do we lose sight of the excitement right in front of our noses because we’re so focused on something else somewhere else? I know I do. Thanks, Penny, for sharing your epiphany.

What Could an AHA! Teach a Psychologist About Psychology, and Life?

aha moments transformed the lives of psychology experts

Alice Boyes recently asked 15 experts in the field of psychology to describe a personal “aha” moment that was sparked by knowing what they know about psychology. They’re fascinating stories. (Click here to read Alice’s post.)

Barb Markaway’s story stood out for me. She told Alice that while she was in therapy she was generating all kinds of “aha” moments. The problem was that nothing was changing in her life. It wasn’t until she stopped going to therapy that she had an realization that made all the difference.

Barb’s story is such great illustration of something that I’ve found with insights. Not all insights are created equally. A logical insight will change what a person thinks, and may not have any impact on a person’s actions. My guess is that the insights that Barb was experiencing when she was in therapy were logical insights.

A core insight, on the other hand, changes a person’s subconscious mental models. When a person’s view of reality changes, her behavior naturally changes, because “that’s just the way the world works.”


Researcher Finds the Secret to Successful Dieting: An AHA!

Recently I’ve blogged about the role of AHA!s in weight loss. If you’d like to read more, check out this Consumer News article by Karen Jaffe, Ph.D., at

According to Karen, “One thing I learned from my long years of research is that the best time to start a diet is when it feels right for you. That was a common theme among all of the successful dieters I interviewed for my dissertation. The dieting attempts that came after an “aha” moment were their most successful: they lost the most weight and kept it off the longest.”

"aha" moments are key when it comes to weight loss

Last-Minute Gift Ideas

What gifts are women talking about this holiday season?

I’ve been surprised at how many people have bought The AHA! Handbook for gifts this holiday season. That got me wondering what are the other gifts people, women in particular, are talking about this year. So I put my ear to the wall and discovered some really cool last-minute gift ideas ranging from a wine sippy cup to decorative, all-purpose serving platters. Click here to read more…