December 06, 2017
Why AHA and HAHA Are So Related


I don't think it's an accident that "aha" and "haha" are both almost spelled the same way. Indeed, there is a deep relationship between the Eureka moment and humor -- which is one of the reasons why Isaac Asimov once said "The most exciting phrase in science is not 'Eureka', but 'That's funny!'" And why? Because when something strikes you as funny it is often an indication that your assumptions are being challenged, as in what you were expecting to see was nothing more than a false conclusion cobbled together by the habitual ways in which you interpret the "data."

When a person has a Eureka moment (i.e. Archimedes in the bathtub, Newton under the apple tree), he or she experiences something that surprises them -- something beyond their logic and expectations. In a word, they are "dislocated" from their normal reality and it is this dislocation that sparks a new kind of perception.


It's the same with humor. When a person laughs upon hearing a story or a joke, it is usually because the storyteller or comedian, "dislocates" the listener. The listener is "set up" so to speak, lulled into believing the story or joke is going in one direction, only to have the logic of what they are listening to veer off in another direction. This unexpected moment of surprise often results in an involuntary reaction called "laughter." Indeed, it is the unexpected left turn or right turn that the storyteller makes -- via a well-told punchline -- that triggers a great release of laughter in the listener.

Bottom line, the AHA moment and the HAHA moment are both powered by the same phenomenon -- an unexpected turn of events... a surprise... a dislocation... and a sudden perceptual shift that opens the mind to new ways of seeing and feeling.

If you want to see your team, department, or organization be more innovative, consider bringing more humor into the workplace -- more opportunities for people to play with possibilities instead of being stuck in the "nose to the grindstone" position -- which, by the way, may give the appearance that people are working when, in fact, they are merely surviving. People who are laughing on the job are not necessarily slackers or goofballs. They may, in fact be out-of-the-box thinkers on the brink of a breakthrough.

A CEO, an ice skater, and proctologist walk into a bar...

Idea Champions
What's funny about Ravel's Bolero

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 6, 2017 06:46 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Authorized Reseller Logo –
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN