How to create life-changing moments image of man proposing to woman with Eiffel Tower in the background
Mindset, Happiness
September 26, 2017

How to create life-changing moments

Understanding the four key elements of impactful memories

We all have defining moments that stick in our memories forever. Whether it’s a wedding day, a specific birthday party or our favorite college class, some moments hold more weight in our subconscious than others.

While the importance of some moments may be obvious, the significance of others can be more fleeting. Regardless of whether we realize each moment’s significance or not, there is a science behind why we remember some better than others. What if we used what we understand about that science to intentionally create moments and experiences to enhance our lives?

In this episode of the Tony Robbins’ podcast, you will meet Dan Heath, bestselling author, speaker and Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center. He was also a researcher and case writer for Harvard Business School and co-founded Thinkwell, an innovative publishing company in the educational space.

Together with his brother, Chip, Dan co-wrote a column for Fast Company magazine from 2007 until 2011. The Heath Brothers also co-wrote four books together: Made to Stick, Switch, Decisive and The Power of Moments. Each of these books have made various bestsellers’ lists. Their books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into over 30 languages.

In 2020, Dan released his first solo book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen.

At the time of this interview, the Heath Brothers were preparing to release The Power of Moments. In this bestselling book, they reveal the four elements shared by each of our positive defining moments.

Dan explains that when we truly understand these elements, we can then use them to intentionally create positive and memorable experiences that will stay with us forever – both in our personal and professional lives.

Bestselling Author & Co-founder of Thinkwell Dan Heath

Bestselling Author & Co-founder of Thinkwell Dan Heath

Understanding and using the four key elements of positive memories has a powerful outcome. Businesses can also take advantage of these elements to create positive and impactful memories for their employees and customers. Teachers can use these elements to create lasting educational experiences. Families can create more meaningful memories together.

The key elements will help you to reprogram your mind and start to build a life of fulfillment, joy and passion. All you need are the right tools, tactics and insights to create defining and memorable moments to enrich your life.


[01:30] Episode introduction
[03:50] Welcome Dan Heath
[04:10] The moments that bring meaning to our lives
[04:50] Reframing
[06:20] Short experiences that are both memorable and meaningful
[06:50] People’s positive moments share a lot in common
[07:30] The 4 elements of defining moments
[07:45] Elevation – an experience that rises above the everyday
[08:20] Moments of insight – clarity
[08:40] Pride – moments of recognition, courage
[08:55] Connection – between individuals, groups
[09:50] Examples of these 4 elements
[10:30] The Magic Castle
[11:50] The concern for moments
[13:30] Great experiences are often mostly forgettable and occasionally remarkable
[14:00] The “peak end” rule
[14:15] Why we remember what we do about our experiences
[14:30] The Disney paradox
[16:30] The opportunities in mini events
[17:00] Southwest Airlines
[21:00] Creating a culture that allows employees to create peak moments
[22:20] Two of the best motivators – autonomy and creativity
[22:40] A healthy culture honors employees
[22:50] The loyalty card example
[24:20] Breaking the script – “Joshie the Giraffe”
[27:00] The script we follow in our personal lives
[28:30] Service recovery
[29:20] Finding a nail in my oatmeal
[31:00] Opportunities to connect with customers during key times
[31:50] Customer relationships
[33:10] In an ideal world that celebrated moments
[34:50] How pride can create defining moments
[35:30] Recognition is an underutilized powers of many organizations
[36:30] The recognition gap
[38:00] The importance of specificity
[41:00] The Hillsdale High School example
[44:30] Purpose, passion and performance
[47:00] Pursue work that makes you feel part of something
[47:20] Look for the purpose in what you are doing
[49:00] As a leader, purpose is something you can help build
[50:15] Creating a moment of purpose
[52:00] Dan’s upcoming book

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