Living On Autopilot - Quick And Certain Way To Lose Your Memory

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Everyone has had the experience when during family gatherings grandparents "choke" us with their stories.

If you remember some of these stories and how detailed they always sounded, you may ask yourself this question: during which time did those stories happen or when did they emerge?

Normally, most of those stories, as you may agree, happened a long time ago; during the time when our grandparents were just kids or not later than their 30th birthday. So, it is not as if those stories happened last week or last month, or even last year. There is a belief "the older one becomes, the more forgetful one becomes", and keeping that in mind, how would you explain all those detailed stories form our grandmothers' youth?

Is forgetting events a reason caused by aging?

Certainly, but I would say that the blame for forgetting or having trouble recalling is caused more by automation of our lives. In other words, when you begin living a mechanical life, things become less interesting, hence difficult to remember.

Interestingly, our grandma could talk about her childhood stories for weeks, while if asked about the rest of her life, she could put it in few sentences. For example, we would ask, "Grandma and what has happened since you hit 30 until today?"

"Ah that? Firstly your grandfather and I bought an apartment / house, so we were struggling through life. Then I gave birth to your mom, after her, your uncle. We were hard workers and we lived in modestly... and then you were born, and we love you so much, and then your sister, etc. etc.

I went a bit too far with this example, but you know what I'm saying.

Our mind is programmed to record the value of deviation. If a person is programmed into the routine of life, the mind will automatically delete "standard" content because the mind finds it irrelevant (because there is no deviation). People who frequently traveled throughout life because of these discrepancies later have a higher possibility of remembering and better time sorting information in relation to those who indulge in routine pattern: working for 340 days a year and then vacation, year by year and so on. In other words, doing the same things (living a routine life) doesn't trigger much which you can remember in future.

Taking vacation and going to the same place annually will result into more difficulty trying to remember when and what specifically happened. If you do not enrich each year (month, day) with new content, you are unconsciously left to autopilot, by allowing the environmental conditions prevailing in full rhythm of your life. If we want to affect the richness of memory and our ability to recall, we need to make a decision to expose ourselves to as many new experiences as we can.

Example of Autopilot Behavior

A few years ago I owned a pizzeria and what surprised me is that despite the fact that we had many different pizzas, people kept ordering the standard one-the one they knew. Even when we would recommend another option, they would mostly stick to their previous choice keeping their mind in autopilot mode, and trying to play it safe.

A person who has decided to be a "safety player" will go to the other end of the world and look for a protected and checked, familiar environment and opt to stay in safe frame. They will stay by their automated pattern, which will generate automated decision: Let's go to McDonalds.


I found the partial solution for myself by asking questions like:

What can I do today (this week, month) that I have never experienced before? Is it a new cafe, new food, new book (outside my profession) or a new skill? Remember, the emphasis is on the deviation, not the content.

"When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow -- you are not understanding yourself." -- Bruce Lee

Copyright (c) 2013 Sasha Tenodi

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