Shortcoming or blessing in disguise?

I admire the ability of those who can memorize well. Have always had difficulty in memorizing. This was probably evident at a young age itself. I remember my dad telling me when I was in elementary school whenever he would ask questions on any subject the words in my response would not be the same most times for the same question even if substance was the same. Was probably seen as a positive at that time. It works as long as one understands everything one reads. As subject matter complexity increases lack of ability to memorize comes in the way. People who commit to memory and think have the advantage of being able to work out a problem later which obviates the need to remember everything. Over a period of time I think it’s also become a bit of psychological thing as I can’t convince myself to memorize more than couple of sentences or more than 3 or 4 digits of a long numbers. Few years ago when I had to drop my son for some high school project I had a brief look at the address and direction to the place. Those were the days I was scared of GPS lady yelling at me for missing a turn or an exit and preferred to drive to most places by memory πŸ˜€ We neared our destination and could not find the place. Kept looking out of the car and the place appeared to be nonexistent! After driving back and forth couple of times kept wondering “Where the heck did the place go?” πŸ™‚ Then we spotted a person whose son was also presenting his project at the same place. Turns out the destination address started with 525 and I had it in my memory as 520 and had kept looking on the other side of the street πŸ˜€ Anyways we just made it on time πŸ™‚

So, how does one deal with not being able to memorize or remember? Just as people without sight (or other difficulties) have more heightened awareness of their other senses one tries to make up for the shortcoming in different ways. One tries to create acronyms of key words or write down a few short sentences of important things. Did I hear someone say “Well, that did not work out so well in college”. That’s true πŸ˜€ Exams are not best situations to get creative in response and even creating acronyms also requires retaining them in memory. One of my worst fears is attending a job interview and not being able to recollect in detail what I had done in a particular situation to achieve an objective. Can’t say “I am trying to recollect and will get back to you shortly” 😦 In day to day calls that I host for my projects it’s not as much of a problem for couple of reasons: I have accepted that shortcoming and I jot down a few points prior to the calls (or anytime prior when I remember) to ensure key points are not missed out. But when a co-worker sometimes asks what are the steps for solving a particular problem and it’s not something I have worked on recently or noted the steps down it takes an effort to reconstruct as name of persons and other details have to be prised out from the inner recesses of memory and it takes time. Tasks requiring creative thinking are not that much of an issue as there is less reliance on memory and one can look for information in available documentation or google it up. Most times there is someone who has had a similar requirement and solution is there somewhere up in the ether captured electronically πŸ™‚ In personal interactions or social situations when I run into someone after a long time and don’t remember the person’s name I try to admit very early with something like “Sorry man, I forgot your name” before the conversation proceeds further instead of trying to wrack my brain trying to remember the person’s name πŸ™‚


In sum lack of memorizing skills while it’s an impediment is also a blessing in disguise as it forces one to find creative ways of solving a problem. If I could memorize well might probably have not tapped into latent creative skills, which most people are blessed with too, as much. You make the most of what you have!

Author: Rajaram 'Raj' Gopalan

Hi All, Welcome to my home in cyberspace! You can call me Raj. Feel free to explore, discuss, comment and most importantly have a good time!

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