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Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact?

Insights from book The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Rajasekar Elango
May 16, 2018 · 6 min read

About the book

We all have experienced wonderful moments in our lives that stand out in our memory. This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience and tries to answer the question “Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, and forget the rest?”

This book will help us create meaningful experiences to

  • To Enrich our life.
  • To connect with others.
  • To make beautiful memories.
  • To improve experience of customers or patients or employes.

Some examples of how this can be useful in our practical lives:

  • What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later?
  • What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers?
  • What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children?

Key Message of the Book

Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories. Many of the defining moments might be result of a accident, But this book shows that we can ourself create richer experiences instead of giving it to chance or luck.

Our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements:

1. Elevation

Defining moments should rise above the everyday. They should be peak and a memorable delight.

2. Insight

Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world. In a few seconds or minutes, we realize something that might influence our lives for decades. For e.g Realizing now is the time for me to start this business.

3. Pride

Defining moments capture us at our best — moments of achievement, moments of courage.

4. Connection.

Defining moments are social: weddings, graduations, baptisms, vacations, work triumphs, bar and bat mitzvahs, speeches, sporting events. These moments are strengthened because we share them with others.

We can be the designers of moments that deliver elevation and insight and pride and connection. These extraordinary minutes and hours and days — they are what make life meaningful. And they are ours to create.

Actionable Advices from the book

Let’s see things we can do to create those fundamental elements of defining moments.


Create memorable moments for employees

In an organization, make the transition moments of employees memorable. Potential transition moments we can capitalize are:

  • First day of Work : The first day shouldn’t be a set of bureaucratic activities on a checklist. Instead, it can be a delightful lunch with the team.
  • Promotions : Celebrate the promotions. Make it memorable.
  • Transition to new role : Make the transition to a new role painless and comfortable.

Elevate the positives for happy customers

If you want to take actions after reviewing customer satisfaction survey results rated at scale of 1 to 10, you should focus on elevate the positives (i.e move customers from 5–9 zone to 10), instead of investing in eliminate the negative (i.e move customers from 1–4 zone to 6).

Because, Research shows that happy customers tend to spend more money on the service than dissatisfied customers on average. Furthermore, there are dramatically more people in the “feeling positive” 5–9 zone than in the “feeling negative” 1–4 zone. So, you’re creating more financial value per person and reaching more people at the same time.

Break the script and create strategic surprise.

Break the script of routine procedures and stereotypical experiences. Introduce a surprise, not just a cheap and easy, but a strategic surprise. For e.g don’t send a gift for Thanks giving or a Christmas day, but on a unexpected day.


Psychologists call this self-insight — a mature understanding of our capabilities and motivations — and it’s correlated with an array of positive outcomes, ranging from good relationships to a sense of purpose in life.

Self-insight is an excellent method for psychological well-being.

Stretch yourself out of comfort zone

If you always do what you are comfortable with, you will lose opportunity get self-insight. The promise of stretching is not success, but it’s learning about yourself better. It’s self-insight to answer most important questions of our lives:

  • What do we want?
  • What can we do?
  • Who can we be?
  • What can we endure?

Find a good Mentor who will motivate you to stretch

The good mentors can push you by telling something like this:

I have high expectations for you and I know you can meet them. So try this new challenge and if you fail, I’ll help you recover.

It’s powerful way to transform you.


The moments of pride capture us at our best — showing courage, earning recognition, conquering challenges.

Recognize others personally, not programmatically

For e.g When you want to recognize employees, you should not aim for one employee per month! The proper pace of recognition is weekly or even daily, not monthly or yearly. It should be authentic and done at the right time he or she deserves.

Set up Milestones for your Goals

The victory of achieving small milestones is what drives us to reach our goals. The desire to hit milestones elicits a concerted final push of effort. So create milestone steps when setting up your goals. For e.g If you want to lose 30 pounds in 6 months, your milestone could be losing 5 pounds this month.

To identify milestones like these, ask yourself: What’s inherently motivating to keep it going?


Create a shared mission when leading a Group

Defining moments arise when we create shared meaning — highlighting the mission that binds us together and supersedes our differences. Working together for greater mission is memorable than individual accomplishments. It instills not the pride of individual accomplishment, but the profound sense of connection that comes from subordinating ourselves to a greater mission.

Invite a meaningful shared struggle

If you want to be part of a group that bonds like cement, take on a really demanding task that’s deeply meaningful. All of you will remember it for the rest of your lives.

Relationship doesn’t deepen with time, but with right kind of moment

We are accustomed to thinking about relationships in terms of time: The longer the relationship endures, the closer it must grow. But relationships don’t proceed in steady, predictable increments. There’s no guarantee that they will deepen with time. But a single powerful moment can create a deep relationship between people.

Be more responsive to foster relationship

If you want more moments of connection, you need to be more responsive to others. To be responsive, you need to be:

  • Understanding: My partner knows how I see myself and what is important to me.
  • Validation: My partner respects who I am and what I want.
  • Caring: My partner takes active and supportive steps in helping me meet my needs.

Inspirational Quotes

“The reason we remember our youth so well is that it is a . . . time for firsts — first love relationships, first jobs, first travel without parents, first experience of living away from home, the first time we get much real choice over the way we spend our days.”

Failure is not “not achieving the right outcome” , but it is “not trying something you want”

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear. — Mark Twain

The best career advice is not “Pursue your passion!” It’s “Pursue your purpose!” (Even better, try to combine both.)


The “occasionally remarkable” moments shouldn’t be left to chance! They should be planned for, invested in. They are peaks that should be built. And if we fail to do that, look at what we’re left with: mostly forgettable.

Target a specific moment and then challenge yourself:

  • How can I elevate it?
  • Spark insight?
  • Boost the sense of connection?

Life is full of “form letter in an envelope” moments, waiting to be transformed into something special.

If you want to read the book, you can buy it from amazon.

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