Having an outstanding memory is generally considered to be a great gift and a talent we should all work hard to develop. Brain researchers believe that we never actually forget anything, and that everything we encounter in our lives is retained, even if it doesn’t register with us consciously. It’s not our memories that are less than perfect, but our ability to recall the stored information.
Some people just seem to be able to recall anything on demand. Other people – me included – sometimes ‘forget’ important things, but seem to be able to recall the most irrelevant facts about TV shows, films, songs, bands, books and other trivia, often dating from childhood, at will.
Unless you are one of those lucky people who never seem to ‘forget’ anything, you would probably like to improve your recall. One of the most simple and effective things you can do is to never say ‘my memory is terrible’ or ‘I can’t remember’ or ‘It’s gone’ because that’s just like telling your subconscious mind not to bother looking for the answer. Instead, try saying ‘it will come to me in a minute’ and if you believe it will and confidently expect it to, it almost certainly will, often when you least expect in and are otherwise occupied. This has probably happened to you before, and with practice, you’ll be amazed at how effective this simple technique can be.
However, this week I’m not actually talking about how to improve your memory, in fact almost the opposite.
There are times that it’s much better to be able to quickly forget.
Do you realise, how good we are at quickly forgetting (or removing thoughts and feelings from our conscious minds) can have a direct impact on our ability to perform at our best? It can also affect our mental and physical health.
I’m not talking about being able to forget things we read, see, learn, or important facts encounter during our business or personal lives. I’m talking about how easily we can recover and forget the negative affects we all inevitably suffer from setbacks, letdowns and disappointments.
Some people can carry negative feelings towards another person because of some incident or other, for incredible lengths of time. Trivial incidents can build to unbelievable proportions. Mountains can certainly be made out of molehills. Close friends and members of the same family can become enemies. There are people who spend so much time thinking about how much they dislike someone that it becomes a major part of their life. They often even forget the original incident but the feelings remain.
The other person may not even be aware of the extreme feeling directed towards them. The sad fact is, in these cases, it’s the person carrying the negative feelings that suffers. They can even make themselves sick in any number of ways, and they’ll probably hold the other person responsible.
I like to think, or at least hope, that these scenarios are the exception rather than the rule. But it’s worth thinking about how quickly we recover from things, and to try to increase these abilities
Are you still upset about a minor incident or disagreement with your partner, a friend or a work colleague, hours, or even days, after the event? Do you replay the incident over and over in your head and can’t forget about it?
Many people are even harsher on themselves. It’s possible to spend so much time mentally beating ourselves up over something, that it totally prevents us from moving forward.
Obviously it depends on how serious the incident is, or how serious we consider it to be. Sometimes we just have to try to be more tolerant and less demanding. But there’s no doubt that replaying and rehashing negative events and feelings is destructive and pointless and will do us no good at all.
Think about it, if you went to a movie and didn’t enjoy it at all, would you keep going back to see it over and over? Yet this is exactly what we can all too easily do in our minds.
Sometimes we may not be able to totally forget, but at the very least we do need to be able to forgive and move on, whether it’s someone else or ourselves. I know this can be easier said than done and that pride and all sorts of other emotions can be involved. Sometimes a frank conversation or complete break may be the only solution.
There are no set rules, except that taking some action is infinitely preferable to just letting things fester and doing nothing! Otherwise we can waste vast amounts of time and energy, or set ourselves up for future regrets.
‘Life’s too short’ may be a tired old cliché, but it’s true. Don’t we all deserve to have the best life we can? The quicker we are able to overcome all kinds of setbacks the sooner we will return to our levels of peak performance and make some real, forward progress in our lives. And we’ll certainly be much happier.
“One thing you will probably remember well is anytime you forgive and forget. ”
- Franklin P. Jones
About The Author: Garry Zancanaro is the founder of http://www.SelfImprovementDirectory.com a website dedicated to all aspects of Personal Development, and to helping people live more successful and fulfilling lives. Visit to claim a FREE copy of Napoleon Hill's classic THINK AND GROW RICH.