What’s the big deal about an insight?

Photo by Jeff Isaak on Unsplash

My dad was a big smoker. When I was a kid, he’d have several cigarettes lit at the same time in different rooms of the house just for convenience.

He was a smart guy. I know most every son says that about his dad, but I’m being objective. My dad was no dummy. He was one of the first computer programmers back in the 60’s. So I know he was intellectually brilliant.

He saw all the commercials and the data on how horrible smoking is for one’s health. He knew it could potentially kill him.

But he kept smoking. 
Until one day, he had an insight.

I remember the day because I was with him. I was in my early 20’s and we went out to play golf together. Well, he didn’t really play, he just drove the cart and ‘coached’ me.

That particular day, he was filming my swing. So we (or, I) played 9 holes and went home to check out the tape (yes, it was a VHS tape) of my swing (I was a golf pro and took this very seriously, as you can tell).

During the playback, it was apparent how horrid my dad’s breathing was. Since he had the camera viewfinder up to his eye (yes, the good ole’ days before the iPhone), his breathing was being intimately recorded. And it was bad. Really bad. Like, holy-shit-are-you-going-to-have-a-heart-attack bad.

That day, he quit. 
Cold turkey.

I didn’t believe him at first. A few months later, I asked him if he’d smoked at all since that day and he told me no. When I asked him how he did it — how, after 40-something years of smoking a ton of cigarettes daily — here’s what he told me…

After I saw that video, I saw how it was literally killing me. I felt it at a visceral level that I had to stop.

Amazing. That’s the power of an insight.

Insights effect us on a visceral, not intellectual, level.

Getting something intellectually doesn’t often lead to change.

Getting it via an insight brings clarity, shifts understanding, and leads to transformation.


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