Let me ask you a question: can you recollect what you did on today’s date and month in the previous year? Most probably, you do not remember this. Let us make another attempt. Can you recollect your key life concerns on today’s date, six months back? Not able to recall?

Well, what dress did you wear on today’s date, exactly one month back? Again, you may have forgotten this. Giving you yet another option. Can you bring to your memory what you did on the same day (as it is today) in the last week? This might also sound tough to many people.

Here comes the easiest question which I may offer to you. How many of these items from yesterday can you instantly recollect?

  1. What did you eat for breakfast?
  2. What news did you read? 
  3. What colour shirt did you wear?
  4. How many people did you meet? Who all?
  5. Where did you spend the money?
  6. Which social media post did you like the most?
  7. Approx. how many phone calls did you attend?

If you can flawlessly answer all these seven questions, you are very good at memory. If you can answer everything asked above, you are a superhuman! 

The point is that we are usually very good at forgetting things. Our memory only serves us well once we specialise in tagging the required items in our brains. None of us is a superhuman being.

For all those above the age of forty and reading this column, can you really recall what you studied in your Class 8th science syllabus? Can you recite the mathematics table of 13? What about Sanskrit grammar or other language lessons?

It is a natural process of our brain to get into the automated mode of forgetting. “No repetition, no recall” is the basic formula that defines our memory and learning ability. 

Naturally, we tend to lose most of our life lessons as we grow. We survive with the residual elements of learning which we may have accumulated over our lifetime. One study I read on the internet says that, in general, human beings survive with a maximum of only about 10% -15% of their learnings till the end of life. At some point, new learning stops and the apparent signs of alarm are lack of growth, unhappiness, lethargy, health suffering and social apathy. 

A person’s soul dies when learning stops. Continuous learning is essential for survival, happiness, growth, and good health. Here are some ideas which can be used to regularly update oneself:

  1. Read good books – one must read at least 10-15 new books in a year
  2. Re-read all books which you may have read ten years back.
  3. Attend at least 3-4 self-development trainings every year
  4. Watch one video with some fresh learning every day
  5. Make new friends from versatile backgrounds and regularly interact with them
  6. Read editorial sections in newspapers and journals, take library membership, etc
  7. Periodically travel to new destinations 

Friends, ‘Continuous learning’ is the only antidote for ‘continuous forgetting’. Our life is a limited-time edition. We have only one opportunity to learn and grow further. There is so much to learn in this universe. I know what I know, but I have no clue what I don’t know! Why not start today and plunge into the unknown well full of empowering nectar – new learnings and resources for growth? Why not make focused efforts to consistently upgrade ourselves! 

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of myaglakadam.com. He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at info@fsindia.in

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India