Why do some memories remain vibrant while the rest of our days whirl past in a blur of dullness? Brothers as well as business and leadership consultants, Chip Heath, 54, and Dan Heath, 44, answer that question and more in their new book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. It follows previous best-sellers, including Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, which offers examples of successful ideas and analyzes what made them work, and Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, about how to overcome the conflict between our rational and emotional minds that's an obstacle to change in both our business and personal lives.
While the authors are university academics at Stanford (Chip) and Duke (Dan), The Power of Moments is aimed at all who are looking to deepen connections through memorable experiences, whether between boss and employee, business and customer, teacher and student, or grandparent and grandchild. It's a book about making the most of the moments and the transitions of our lives, whether they are major or minor.
We talked with Dan Heath, who offers a few tips:
Break the Script
Ask yourself, why are the years between the ages of 15 and 30 so memorable for most people? Because they are filled with firsts, says Heath. “First kiss, first time away from parents, first job, first apartment, first marriage, first baby.” Although routines can be comfortable, novelty makes moments memorable. That’s why time seems to slow down when we travel. “New place, new bed, new food, doing new things. … When you disrupt your normal routines, you lay down a richer set of memories.”
Heath’s advice: Mix up your usual weekend routine or tweak your holiday traditions. If you usually go for brunch and take a nap on a Saturday, consider a day trip to a nearby city. Contact old friends. Find a new park to visit. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be different.”
There's no need to take memory making to extremes, however. "A little bit of variety can go a long way," he says. "You want enough novelty to keep things fresh and to keep creating new memories without feeling the need to generate some kind of dislocation. ... It would be very easy to create a really memorable experience by divorcing your spouse and moving to Botswana and herding cattle, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea."