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Pay attention

 

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March 25, 2013

Our lives are the sum of our memories. How much are we willing to lose from our already short lives by … not paying attention? – Joshua Foer

This quote caught my attention after I watched a TED talk by Joshua Foer on memory techniques that anyone can learn. There are people who can memorize decks of cards or random strings of numbers. The feats sound incredible but Joshua explains that anyone can learn the techniques and become a memory master.

The quote is interesting because he talks about how improving memory will improve your life. While it would be amazing to be able to memorize entire phone books, it really wouldn’t help us much in the real world. Improving your memory shouldn’t just end at how many random objects, numbers or names you can memorize. It should be used to remember our lives, our experiences and our interactions with other people.

How much are we losing by not paying attention? As an entrepreneur, this question really makes me think. I gave up a paying job to start my own company because I wanted to take control of my life. I felt like if I wasn’t working on my passions I’m not truly living my own life. Most people spend 8 hours or more each day working at a job they don’t like, doing things other people ask them to do. That’s 1/3 of their day lost to someone else. How much more can they lose?

If I paid attention maybe I’d remember the name of that person I met at a conference last year. Maybe I’d remember what he does or some of his interests. If I bumped into him again I could impress him by remembering his name and asking about his interests. What if he is a journalist? That would be invaluable for PR for my start-up. What if he is an investor, a software developer, or a business owner in my industry. This is just one example. Imagine how much more we could gain by paying attention and remembering the little details.

It’s time to stop letting the world drift by without us noticing. It’s time to pay attention to our lives and everything around us and remember what happened. You never know, those memories might come in handy someday.

 

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