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The Click of Life

Those sudden insights that shine a spotlight on a new perspective.

Key points

  • The click is commonly experienced and known by different names.
  • The click arrives when we develop new insights and perspectives about a problem or situation.
  • We can’t make a click happen, but there are things we can do to encourage it.

You know what I mean, don’t you? I bet, as soon as you read the title, you had some idea of what this article was going to be about. Perhaps you’re not so familiar with this particular term, but I’m sure you’ll know very well the thing that I’m referring to. The click of life is so important, such a key to successful living, that I’m surprised I haven’t written about it before. To be honest, thinking about it as the “click of life” is something that, ironically, only just clicked for me. As soon as I uttered “the click of life,” I knew what my next blog article would be.

I was just having a conversation with my son about finding what works. He’s in the process of improving his tennis serve by getting better at hitting the ball in the same place each time. I’d used different examples and even showed him with a racquet and a ball the area of the ball to focus on, but when I talked about the inside and the outside of the ball (as in the surface closest or furthest away from the server), he said, “Oh! That’s what you mean.” It clicked!

We then chatted about the way in which different things make sense to different people. A coach might use an example to explain a particular technique, but that explanation might not click with some people. If it doesn’t click, it doesn’t click. Nothing clicks with everyone. A clever coach or teacher will cast a wide net and use different ways of explaining the same thing so that one of the ways might click.

The click is such a common phenomenon we have lots of ways of describing it—“the penny dropped,” “the lights went on,” “an Aha! moment,” “a lightbulb moment,” “it all came together,” and so on. The click is the heralding of fresh perspectives and the announcing of new insights. It’s that “Ahhh, now I get it!” feeling.

You can’t fake a click. Well, not to yourself, anyway. Before a click happens, it can be hard to understand what someone else is talking about. Then after the click, it’s hard to understand why you didn’t see before what seems so obvious and clear to you now.

Source: rolfimages/123RF
Source: rolfimages/123RF

The click is a byproduct of one of nature’s genuinely astounding gifts. The process that organizes and reorganizes the mind and constantly tinkers with our conglomerative selves so that we keep on keeping on. When we’re stumped, puzzled, or bewildered, reorganizing ramps up and messes around with different connections and configurations. When we’re betwixt opposing goals and in conflict, the same reorganizing occurs.

But clicks won’t be forced. Insisting on a click or demanding it occurs will be futile. Giving it a timeframe won’t work either. It doesn’t even help to say the click marches to the beat of its own drum. The click doesn’t march to any drum. The click prefers cavorting to marching. The click won’t be tamed. It is as ancient and durable as life itself.

Perhaps the best thing we can do to encourage a click is to understand its nature.

We can nurture it and encourage it, but bossing it around will be counterproductive. Appreciating the relentless tenacity of the workings that deliver the click might help you relax in the midst of your turmoil. We can also feed it and face it to help coax it along. Read widely, watch movies, browse the web, and talk to people. Consider different views and perspectives. New information might offer unfamiliar angles and fresh material to add variety to how your inner world is knitted together.

Ignoring your dilemma or doing what you can to block it out can actually be unhelpful in conjuring a click. It seems that the best routine is to alternate periods of scrutinizing the tangle you are in and times when you are busying your mind with other tasks. Even sleeping. It really is the case that “sleeping on it” can help. It seems to be the case that when we turn our attention elsewhere, our click-producing problem solver sticks to the task and keeps churning through possibilities.

Help is always on its way. Or, perhaps more accurately, help is underway. We are far more durable than we often believe. The click might not be around the next corner or the next one, but it is around a corner. It’s our job to stay on the road long enough to get to that corner. You’ll know it, and enjoy it, when you arrive.

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