Having Trouble Remembering Things?

Rod Pickett
2 min readNov 21, 2022

I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.

G. K. Chesterton

You are not losing your mind.

Forgetting is a feature of your brain, not a bug.

Remembering everything would be as useful as a life-sized map. It would be like highlighting everything in a textbook.

Forgetting is an important part of remembering.

Even if it were possible to remember everything, you would not be able to retrieve from your amazing memory what was important.

If everything is important, nothing is important.

Your brain is designed to recognize what is important to you.

That is determined by several factors including how much attention you give to an experience.

If you are operating on autopilot, your brain knows that nothing important is happening.

So, it doesn’t store what you ate for dinner last Tuesday — unless there was something special about the meal.

Have you been in a conversation ready to say something important, but when it was your opportunity to speak you couldn’t remember what you were going to say?

Congratulations.

You were actually listening to the other person. Your brain focused on what they were saying instead of pretending to listen and thinking about what you were going to say.

Or perhaps you went to the store to buy some chips.

While you were there you decided to get a few other things.

When you got home, you discovered that you forgot to get the chips.

You told your brain, “I need to get some chips.”

Your brain responded, “Oh, that’s easy. You get those all the time.”

While at the store you saw a new product and decided to try it out.

This is a case of using your brain in the wrong way.

David Allen says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.”

You should record anything you want to remember on your phone or on a piece of paper.

You need a system that works for you to remember things like what to buy at the store and what appointments you have next week.

Forgetting where you put your keys is not a sign that you are losing it. If you forget what the keys are for, that’s a cause for concern.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.