Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boy oh boy, has that ever happened to you? Sure it has. Maybe not that exact scenario but some similar incident has, where you've forgotten someone's name or called them by the wrong name. At the least, it's embarrassing to say nothing of thwarting your attempts to make a good impression on a new acquaintance. Sure, that's happened to everyone. How about forgetting the name of a friend or co-worker that you've know for years and even seen almost everyday, at least at work.

Up 'til now, I don't remember ever forgetting the names of my wife, children or siblings, but I can say with surety that at some point or another I've forgotten the name of friends, co-workers and close acquaintances at least once,probably more. Sometimes it's with people I've known nearly my entire life. The scenario usually runs like this: I notice the approach of a familiar face (I never forget a face), and I immediately draw a blank as far as their name goes. I wave or nod, they do likewise while saying , hi rel. I give a reciprocal nod and the tell all; Hi dude, bud, babe etc., and throw in a; hey man, how's it goin'. Nice day don't ya think? You and they both know: you've forgotten their name, if only momentarily.

You might be thinking; what's the big deal rel? Everybody does it and nobody thinks poorly of you for doing it. Wrong! I think poorly of me for forgetting their name.

I think it's extremely important to remember peoples names, regardless of whether I've met them once or known them for years. It makes me feel significant when someone recalls me by name and I know that feeling is reciprocal. We all like to be called by our name. Everytime you use someone's name in an encounter or conversation with them, you cement a feeling of familiarity, conviviality, warmth and likability. It's a way of saying; you are important to me.

Because this name thing is so important to me I've developed varied mind manipulation strategies to help me minimize the incidents where I am unable, at a given moment, to access the name of someone I meet. The most difficult time is the instantaneous meeting; you round a corner or the elevator door opens and there you are: face to face. If I have a few seconds between face recognition and conversational distance I force my thoughts to something totally unrelated to that person. Thinking, I'm not going to think of what their name is, is counter productive. I have to consciously divert my attention to the headline in the paper, or what will I have to do first thing when I get to my work space or what was the last thing I heard on the news before I turned the tube off. Actively concentrating on some unrelated process is the key. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, when I come within hi-ya distance their name is right there on the tip of my tongue and rolls off with equanimity. I call it serendipitous memory.

I know, I know, most people think serendipity happens to us and is not any result of effort on our part. Perhaps that is true, but let's take this mind manipulation thingy a little further. Indulge me please.

It's generally accepted that serendipity is the effect of discovering something desirable while looking for something else entirely. In other words, It's the curious happenstance of finding something we weren't looking for, but find we want it anyway.

Calling my name recollection technique serendipity may be blurring the edges of the definition some what, or is it? I've found something by looking at or for something else, albeit something I was looking for. Can serendipity be a mindful thing? I think it can.

Our mind is our friend and wants to help us achieve our goals, but it doesn't like to be bullied or pressured into performing. Some examples: We've misplace our car keys. Look high and low. Think, think to no avail. Move on with other tasks or locate the alternate set of keys and off you go. Sooner than later the eureka light comes on and you remember where you put your main set of keys.

You're relating a story and the name of someone in the story eludes you. You say; "oh, it'll come to me later," and sure enough, at some point later in the day the name pops into your consciousness.

How about this one, I know this is my favorite; You want to or have to write a piece to a prompt or a writing site you subscribe to and darn it your mind is a blank or at least nothing cogent or coherent flows from your pen. You say, "I'll sleep on it." In the morning the master piece flows onto the paper like magic.

That's just three examples, I'm sure you can think of others. Where am I going with this? I think you know: Give your mind a task and then leave it to it's own devices. No pressure or deadlines, just a request. Then fagetaboutit! No, really. Put your consciousness into other endeavors. Stop! don't go back there to check on your problem solving mind's progress. Leave it alone. Your subconscious mind knows what you want. Let it find the solution while you do other things that your good at and serendipitously you'll find what you were looking for.

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Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

That's pretty good advice, Rel, and I can relate to the part about leaving your mind alone and it will come up with the answer...usually at some ungodly hour of the morning, I find, thus interrupting a good night's sleep and ensuring I do not get back to sleep for the rest of the night. Grrr...

4:49 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

The hardest part about that is that we meet more and more people as we age and lose more and more of our memory. Good for you, Rel.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

EXCELLENT post, and absolutely completely true, to my mind ;o)

I oftentimes do several of the things you've got listed in here.
When I can't think of something I'm trying to tell someone about, I will close my eyes, lift my chin and look through my mind for it, like floating through the memory banks of my mind, and it always works. I just shut everything out, there is peace, there is quiet, there is focus, there is an answer.


Great post! Loved it.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

5:00 PM  

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