You’re Your Long-Term Memory

Note to future self…

Today I read a tweet that said that we should be:

“Intentional about what’s encoded into my long-term memory; the idea being that we become what we remember, or rather, our world is organized, guided, and shaped by what we choose to remember.”

This reminded me a lot of my psychology classes in college where we studied the relationship between memory and the self. However, this time I wondered how could I apply this to my daily life? How can I be more intentional about what goes into my long term memory?

Spaced Repetition

A partial solution can be to implement some sort of spaced repetition model were the most important lessons that you want to keep revisiting get surfaced to you periodically. A solution to this would minimize the friction involved in storing and retrieving data because otherwise, it would just be too inconvenient.

Challenge Your Assumptions

One of the key roles of our memory is to help us fill in the gaps of our world. A lot of these are assumptions about how the world should work (e.g. how gravity affects objects). Nevertheless, in some cases, this can be a handicap because our untested assumptions can lead us to faulty logic and just bad decision making. A mechanism that allows you to self-observe those little assumptions can be tremendously valuable. I feel that this is harder than just changing your views on something because some of these assumptions are so ingrained in our mind that we have a hard time realizing that things could be done another way.

The best solution that I’ve found to this is to expose yourself to high-quality material that will sporadically challenge some of your low-level assumptions of how the world works. I still haven’t found a solution that systematically addresses all your assumptions. However, this might not be ideal because if you did find something like this it will shake your understanding of how the world works to a degree that it might make it hard to function as a human being(:

Takeaways

Try to be more aware of how your memory affect your preferences and actions. This might be easier for salient cues (e.g. preference in dating partners) but harder for less salient cues (e.g. the route you take to work every day).

Now back to work…