How to Remember Stuff That Matters

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I spent years experiencing struggling to remember even the most important elements of learning I had acquired the week previous. Every week I’d feel like there was a leak in my well of cumulative knowledge. No matter how much or how little knowledge I put in, it never felt like it was becoming more full.

It felt hopeless, I was consuming all this material but I had barely any recall of what I had read or seen. Eventually I decided it was not good enough, what is the point in learning so much if I am incapable of remembering not just it all but barely any of at all? What followed was exploration of ways in which to turn the tide, an assault on my own cognitive inadequacy.

My research, following many failures, finally arrived at a solution which worked for me. I’m in no way surmising it is the solution which will work for everyone, but enabled me to progress for efficiently for week to week. I was able to engender a feeling of control on my own learning which ensured progress. It enabled me to make quantum leaps in terms of knowledge retention and recall while also ensuring I kept moving forward.

Every Friday morning I record in a journal the information, lessons, books, lectures and courses that have taught me something from the previous week. I reflect on the things I know in that particular moment that I didn’t the week previously. I record lines of thinking, quotes, and beliefs and take the time to rigorously challenge any preconceptions/misconceptions which I believe may be impeding my progress. Challenging myself is the pre-requisite of growth. I never accept something as remaining in a certain state because it is the way it has always been. I also try to draw links between new and pre-existing knowledge in innovative and disruptive ways.

This ritual has added consistency which has ensured I remain on track. My knowledge is broadened by stepping out with your comfort zone and I get back into it by utilising a specific system to guarantee the knowledge remains on hand. By understanding and exploring topics that are foreign to you which it lets you link unrelated concepts in new innovative ways. By deepening your well of knowledge as much as possible and by widening the base on which you can draw new and unique conclusions you cultivate the conditions in which inspiration can occur.

Over time, it has allowed me to build a visceral picture of my knowledge while simultaneously identifying gaps which need to be filled. It is with this that I have then developed a plan to alleviate those gaps most efficiently. It has enabled me to progress quicker, learn more and expand my knowledge more than at any point in my life.

And it only takes 30 minutes every Friday.

The importance of what I intimate in relation to planning is critical. I ensured my day became more regimented and routine which seen me do specific things at certain times every single day where possible. I’d begin the day by reading for half an hour, progress into writing 750–1000 words before consuming the blogs I focus on and listening to podcasts as I go about my daily tasks. Without a defined plan it is difficult to get your mind in gear to achieve the things you desire. Focus is essential for storing everything. If your mind is elsewhere those cognitive pathways will not be afforded the opportunity to develop.

And that speaks of the last essential necessity of improvement: deliberate practice. It’s easy to do something half-heartedly, to not face up to your inadequacies and think you will get by. To grow you need passion perseverance and grit. Deliberate practice is the manifestation of those characteristics as action. It involves setting specifc goals which ensure transparency. It lets you mark your progress and hold yourself to account. If you have no barometer for success how do you know when you have achieved it? Equally once you have achieved something how do you know where you go next? Write down your goals, hopes and dreams as it is only by recording them that they have foundations in reality.

Life is about learning and improving. From the moment we are born we are on a quest to grow. It starts simple as our attention is consumed by the attuning our fine motor skills or elucidating our speech. The world has evolved though. Gone are the days of information famine, only acquirable from news papers or books. We are drowned in information which requires a new method for adequate recall of the things that are important.

We are only as effective as we endow yourself with the capability to be.

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Written by

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌

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