Can I share some things with you without you thinking they’re bragging?

Until I was almost 28 years of age, I remembered every single phone number I’d never heard in my life.

I’ve been a speed reader since 8th grade, and I used to have a memory retention rate of 83%.

I used to be able to do all sorts of math calculations in my head. I knew answers without knowing how I got them. I passed statistics in college by knowing the answer and putting it down without showing any work, because when I showed the work I got points taken off.

I used to be able to remember every statistic I’d ever read, no matter what it concerned. I was great when playing Jeopardy on TV, and prided myself on never being wrong on any front once I knew that stat.

I used to have a mind that remembered most conversations word for word because in my mind I counted how many letters were in each sentence I heard, and even when I’d be speaking to someone else my mind would be counting letters; that was strange.

Why have I mentioned all those things? Because I can’t do any of them now. Oh sure, I can pull out some things here and there, and in my own field I’m still good with statistics. But that’s way to rare these days. Sometimes I can’t remember the names of musicians or athletes I’ve known for years. Every once in awhile I forget a friend’s name for a quick moment.

I still speed read and have good comprehension, but it only lasts for a few days now. I still know a lot of trivia I learned years ago but new trivia; little chance. I can still divide any number by 3 to see if it’s divisible by 3 within 10 seconds, and I’m good as estimation, but those other math skills are gone.

You’re probably asking yourself “where’s he going with this”. Well, think about what you know now versus what you knew when you were in your teens or early 20’s. How much have you forgotten? What skills don’t you have now that you had before?

At the same time, what have you learned that you use now, that comes to you when you need it because you’re paid to know it, or because it interests you enough so that you can’t help but remember it?

All of us at some point start forgetting things. Yet we retain what we need to retain and what we like. Or at least we retain as much of it as we can. It’s one of the reasons I talk often about training, and making sure people are kept up to date on the latest changes, as well as making sure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to work.

Because as my life changed and expanded it was interesting seeing what was leaving my mind and what was replacing it. I’ve always paid attention to what’s going on in my life, and I try to figure out why. I realize that I take in a lot of information every single day; it’s just what I do. It helps me to write and to keep coming up with new things all the time.

But at a certain point some things had to be pushed out of my mind. It reminded me of a memory course I bought to try to improve my memory, even though there was nothing wrong with it at the time, as I was only 14 years old. It started off teaching you 9 words. Then you were supposed to remember items by envisioning them with those 9 words. After two weeks, you were supposed to forget those 9 words before you moved to the next book, because supposedly the trick to memory was not only remembering what you needed to but discarding what you didn’t need so you could learn new things.

Tea, Noah, day, ray, law, jaw, key, fee, pea.

Those are the 9 words I was supposed to forget more than 35 years ago; sigh… But I did forget where I placed the memory course, so maybe that’s something.

Why do you need to keep up with training? Because what you think is important may not be the most important thing on the minds of those working for and with you. Not everyone cares about the job as much as you do, if you do. Goodness, the training might be so you keep up with what’s going on as well.

Keep sharp. Help keep others sharp. Help keep your office running smoothly, even when you’re unsure if it’s needed. Trust me, someone’s probably forgotten something, even if it’s you.
 

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