“The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath

Duration neglect: When people assess an experience they tend to forget or ignore its length. They seem to rate the experience based on 1) the best or worst moment, known as the peak and 2) the ending 

Defining moments are created from one or more of the following elements. 

  1. Elevation. Defining moments rose above the everyday. They provoke not just transient happiness but memorable delight. 
  2. Insight. They require our understanding of ourselves or the world. 
  3. Pride. Defining moments capture us at our best- moments of achievement, moments of courage. 
  4. Connection. Defining moments are social. These moments are strengthened because we share them with others. 

We must understand when special moments are needed. We must learn to think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of investment. 

Mentorship can take a high form. High standards + assurance is a powerful formula, but ultimately it’s just a statement of expectations. What great mentors do is add two more elements: direction and support. I have high expectations for you and I know you can meet them. So try this new challenge and if you fail I will help you recover. 

How do you make moments of pride? The recipe seems clear: you work hard, you put in the time, and as a result, you get more talented and accomplish more, and those achievements spark pride. 

Regardless of how skilled we are, it’s usually having our skill noticed by others that sparks the moment of pride. 

Events together should have the benchmarks of: This is important. This is real. We’re in this together. And what you’re doing matters. 

People will choose to struggle- not to avoid or resist it- if the right conditions are present. The conditions are: The work means something to them; they have some autonomy in carrying it out; and it’s there mor choice to participate or not. 

There is a distinction between purpose and passion. Purpose is defined as the sense that you are contributing to others, that your work has broader meaning. Passion is the feeling of excitement or enthusiasm you have about your work. 

Purpose is something people can share. It can knit groups together. Purpose isn’t discovered; it’s cultivated. 

Who is the beneficiary of your work and how are you contributing to them? When you understand the ultimate contribution you’re making, it allows you to transcend the task list. 

Responsiveness to a partner encompasses three things: 

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. 

Art Aron’s 36 questions to create instant intimacy. 


  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30- year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?


13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


   25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

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