Two Sides of Our Memory:  Memory and “Forgettery”

Forgetting things as we age can worry most of us. That dreaded word Alzheimer’s, and its companion, Dementia, quickly threaten our mental peace when we forget things. Memory lapses are a trait of aging.  But they do not have to characterize the later stages of lives. All ages occasionally have a loss of memory. Let’s first ask why forgetting can happen at any age.  It happens because our memory has two sides.

Two Mental Faculties of Our Memory

We have two mental faculties, our memory and our “forgettery” (my word for the wonderful ability of the mind to forget things). Oh, yes! We have both! And the forgettery is a blessing because life would be miserable if we could not forget things.

The Blessing of Our Forgettery

One of the realities of life is mental overload. Just think about it this way.  Our eyes can pick up every detail of what we see. We talk about the pixels that make up a photographic image. As we watch a sport program on television, for example, those pixels are constantly changing and millions of them flash across our memory in a nano second as the scene is in constant motion. The mistake just made by our favorite player can be quickly forgotten.

Also, thousands of those pixels are of little or no interest to us. Its the big picture, not all of the overwhelming details that we are mainly focused on. If our mind had to remember all of the details and their constant changes, a case of severe overload would soon tire our visual input. We would be desirous of something less taxing, something less detailed, perhaps. Thank God we are designed with a very effective forgettery, an ability to not remember all of the details.

We can quickly forget things of little interest to us. Things we detest can be the subject of a quick loss of memory. We do not remember everything our eyes observe. Things that lack our attention, that lack our interest or concern, are dropped from our memory and are quickly forgotten.

Have you ever forgotten why you came into a room?  Of course you have. Distraction is a another common cause, along with an overactive mind that is engaged in some mental task that is more important to us and causes us to forget. So, don’t fret all losses of memory.  Ask: Why did I most likely forget that detail?

How Can We Improve Our Memory?

Having relieved you of some of your concerns, let’s change our focus from our forgettery to our memory.  What can I do about my memory lapses?

Give It Value/Meaning

If I want to remember something I have to first make it memorable.  Or I must make it more memorable than it usually is to me and that will increase the likelihood of it being remembered.

How do we create more meaning? Well, just like building values in our minds as guiding beliefs, so remembering is a matter of building meaning into what we want to remember. Values come in many forms. If I have to make an appointment, it tends to have more value because of its urgency and importance. The more I want some value in my life, the greater its importance is to me. Look for the value a memory brings into life.

Repeated Attention and Location Creates Meaning

More meaning is created by the repeated attention something gets. Some places get more of our attention. So, use repetition and  use those places that get our attention to aid  memory by leaving things in those locations.


Forgetting takes place when we were not focusing to begin with.  So we must focus more on what we are doing, especially on those moments and actions we want to remember.


Unclutter the mind to remember more. Place less emphasis on less significant things and they will become expendable to you memory.

Shun Worry Over Forgetfulness

Don’t worry over forgetfulness. Anxiety lessens the chance to remember things.

Live Purposefully

  • Live more purposefully for a greater memory. Important purposes are easier to remember. Purpose is essential for a healthy mind. And healthy minds remember more.
  • A mind that strives to remember trivial details losses the meaning of the big picture. Minds that scan every detail, like extroverts are prone to do, can lose both purpose and memory of the bigger picture.
  • Our minds are designed to operate on decisive decision making, not on a free floating indecisiveness. A wandering mind without direction and purpose is constantly distracted.
  • New memories first activate the temporal lobe where the hippocampus and amygdala are located. These are powerful centers for emotion. Therefore, strong emotions can act like a cloud, diminishing the suns rays.  Or they can exaggerate the light in our memory. Emotions then move toward the frontal lobe where reason conditions its power or validates its concerns. With both emotion and reason we remember best.



Lean into the whole truth.  Discover the truth of who YOU are — the “Real You” — and who your children truly are.  Discover how to best engage your children in finding the whole truth.  INNERKINETICS, Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness, is a great resource.


It may surprise you, but your child is most probably a different temperament.  They are unique individuals too.  So even if they are the same temperament (two letters), they may be a different type (four letters).  And the strength of their drives will different from yours as well.  Your InnerKinetics (temperament) is not genetically passed on.  Therefore, it is exceedingly important to understand your child.  I’m a Keeper! is the resource you need to make that journey.

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