Why Can’t I Remember Details?

Q There are a couple of things that drive me (and everyone around me) crazy that I need to change. One is that I am not good at following through.  I start a lot of things and never have the passion to finish them. The other is that I have a very poor short term memory.  I can hear or see a name or a few numbers or words and within 1 to 2 minutes I have forgotten them. Why can’t I remember little details like that?

A – Your CORE MAP shows that you lead with Entertainer and it is a rather strong preference for you. The things you mention are a result of the way an Entertainer’s brain is wired and though you can find effective ways to manage these, they are part and parcel to right-brain function, which is how Entertainers process. Let’s look at the two issues independently.

Item 1 – Lack of follow through occurs because Entertainers are very quick minded and they love variety. They find all of life interesting and sticking to just one thing for long boring. It is Entertainer kids that often get labeled as ADD or ADHD and put on Ritalin, which is a travesty because they are highly creative and Ritalin dulls their creativity. The very thing that makes paying attention to one thing for long difficult is what allows Entertainers to make associations that lead to new ideas, new products and new ways of doing things.

Item 2 – Poor short term memory is also an Entertainer trait and for the same reason; that quick mind which wants to take in everything. Short term memory was given that label because it IS short term (for everyone). We hold information is short term or active memory for only about 30 seconds and, if we don’t take steps to commit it to long-term memory (such as repeating the information or relating it to something we already know), it is gone almost as fast as it appeared. Because Entertainers are easily distracted by all the things their mind wants to take in, they generally don’t take the steps to transfer the data to long term  memory.  Interestingly, because Entertainers are right-brained and the creative right-brain is aligned with subconscious functions, Entertainers are very good at remembering things like colors, shapes and faces. They don’t remember things like names because that’s left-brain stuff.

You can train your brain to transfer short term memory to long term by playing memory games. There are lots of them at Lumosity. www.lumosity.com.

Knowing that relational or associative thinking is natural for you will help you do two things: (1) stop feeling frustrated that you don’t meet the expectations of a left-brain oriented world so you can enjoy the benefits of being creative and open to all of life. (2) find ways to compensate for the way your brain works. For instance, I used to regularly forget where I parked my car when I went places like a mall or airport.  Until I realized how my brain functioned (Entertainer is a high secondary style for me), I beat myself up for being so “stupid.”  Once I understood, I simply made a point to notice my surroundings, look around for landmarks and pay attention when I went inside a building so I would recognize the exit from the inside as well as the outside. Noticing surroundings takes advantage of the right-bran ability to remember colors, shapes and patterns. I have not had a problem finding my car since.


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