Receive and You Shall Give

Do you recognize this man? I was just turning five years old when Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom debuted on television. Marlin Perkins was the host and he quickly became one of my grandfathers.  A question I had, but was embarrassed to ask my parents was: What is Mutual of Omaha? I understood why the show was called Wild Kingdom—those were words I could figure out. But what was a “Mutual of Omaha?”

As a child I was intensely interested in language—where did words come from, how did people come to call this with that name? At age 5, I distinctly remember holding a door open for a woman and as she passed by me and looking in my eyes, said, in a slow and deliberate manner, “Thank you.” It dawned on me. Thank you was not ‘thankyou’—a nonsense sounding phrase that people said—it meant she was thanking me.

This was an early Aha moment for me. I have them daily. How does one develop the capacity for Aha moments? Should one even attempt to analyze Aha moments? Is it like training to be spontaneous?