As Compass finishes selecting our newest class of Fellows, we’ve been enjoying reviewing the “wow moments” that our applicants created for people in their communities. What is a wow moment? In short, it’s a moment that you create for someone that makes him or her stop what he or she is doing to say “Wow!” For the past few months, we’ve been trying to infect our whole community with “wow”. All of us at HQ, our Mentors, and our Fellows have been working on our wow skills, trying to think adventurously and commit unreasonably to helping people we care about.
In the past few weeks, our applicants really have ran with the wow moment concept and went around their communities breaking social norms and making people feel valued. Some students at Georgetown prepared intricate thank-you notes, gifts, and dances to the security guards on campus. Other groups tried to spread some cheer by giving out free food.
We’ve found that creating and sharing these wow moments have been great bonding experiences for our organization. They’re contagious. When one person did a wow moment, others were inspired to do more. People who did one wow moment thought of other ones to do and made habits of creating wow moments for other people. And the more wow moments we did, the more we noticed and appreciated the incredible things people do for us everyday. The Beatles were onto something when they sang, “And, in the end, the love you take / Is equal to the love you make.”
Reflecting on wow moments, I am reminded of a book I just finished called The Happiness Hypothesis. The author, Jonathan Haidt, mentions that people with strong social networks who do things for others are generally happier than people who are part of weaker communities and choose to indulge their own desires. In light of this theory, what will you do to make other people say “wow”? And what can we do to wow you?