Short term memory. Lots of people complain that they have short term memory, fear that they’re losing their marbles.

Nothing of the sort. I forget things I heard in the recent past, but it’s not because I have short term memory issues. It’s because I haven’t engaged my brain properly.

There are plenty of self-help books to improve people’s recollection of names, people, events. The key thing to do is to listen – actively. There is of course a difference between hearing someone and listening to them, between seeing someone and looking at them, watching them. When you actively listen, when you put something small on the line that makes you establish a connection and fire a few more synapses than normal, you remember something, for a long time.

I can remember the names of attractive women I might have met only briefly at a party three decades ago. I can do the same with telephone numbers and car registration plates. Why? Because I had an interest in making the connection, so it elevated the information to a different part of my mental filing system.

So, if you want to get better at retaining information, concentrate more. Concentrate on actively listening and watching and making the right connection.

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