Vuja De

You’ve heard of deja vu… but what about vuja de?

This is a concept I’d heard of previously that resurfaced while reading Adam Grant’s Originals, where he writes:
“The starting point [of originality] is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We’re driven to question defaults when we experience vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we’ve seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse -  we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems. [...] When we become curious about the dissatisfying defaults in our world, we begin to recognize that most of them have social origins: Rules and systems were created by people. And that awareness gives us the courage to contemplate how we can change them.”

Perspective is invaluable to all of us, yet it is so often overlooked. We can spend hours, days, or even years stuck on a hamster wheel, never understanding that we are going nowhere until we gain perspective. Parents know that having children often brings valuable perspective; I began to make different decisions about simple things such as working late when I understood how much my life would improve by making the choice to be home for dinner. No email could ever be as important as that dinner, the shared conversation, and the lasting memories our family formed together.


So how do we embrace those moments of perspective and practice more vuja de? How do we challenge our default settings so we can shift into a new space that is optimal for our lives? Here is the path I took to gain valuable resets in my life.


Step 1: Staycation

The quickest way off the hamster wheel was to quit cold turkey. No kids, no work, no family. Just me, my brain, and space to think and prioritize.


Step 2: Document

After giving myself time to breathe and process, I wrote down what came from that clear headspace. I identified and documented what I discovered was important to me and captured any dreams, goals, and ambitions that arose during my time alone.


Step 3: Discussion

So often we leap from thought straight into action. I intentionally took a moment to schedule time with mentors, advisors, and friends to discuss my brain vomit and help make sense of it. I often found that the simple act of discussing my internal processing with a sounding board provided more clarity than any of their feedback. Just hearing my voice as I spoke my truth helped me to identify the emotions attached to my desires.

Step 4: Plan

It was already on paper, so next I committed it to my calendar. I hired a coach to help with this process as well because I believe success in most everything we do comes from accountability paired with a plan.


Step 5: Clarify (Take Another Break)

I like taking a mini-break to analyze the work I have done to re-confirm if accomplishing this dream or goal is still where my heart is. Starting something is not a good enough reason to finish it. Sometimes a brilliant idea seems less brilliant once it’s thought out, and sometimes killing my ideas midway through allows for other more important breakthroughs to happen. For this exact reason, I hire people smarter than I am to point out flaws in my logic and help me figure out when I should let go and move on.


Step 6: Celebrate

Once I have given myself space to think, created my plan, made sure I still wanted the result, and achieved my goal, then I schedule time to celebrate.


If you are thinking, “But wait, Bunny, shouldn’t there be a step between 5 and 6 that is the “Get to Work” or “Action” step?” Nope! Here is the trick: Once you do all the beginning ground work, take your second mini break AND add in accountability, it is almost certain you will succeed. So the action step is assumed.


However, few people celebrate after changing their defaults. If you change anything, you should change this very default. We are programmed to achieve and then quickly move to the next goal; we are not programmed to slow down and celebrate. Instead, we move from one success straight on to “What’s next?”


Resetting your perspective so you anticipate celebrating success means you are also resetting your default to expect success every time. That is powerful!


Change your perspective today, see the same old things in a brand new light, and get some new results!


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!