How you do anything is how you do almost everything. Including the art of paying attention. Whether it’s for business or for every day life, the ability to pay attention is a necessary skill to master. It’s a major step in the art of remembering. After all, you can’t forget what you didn’t get to begin with (and you can quote me on that!).
Attention (or lack thereof) case in point.
I was recently at a Cubs-Sox spring-training baseball game. Over 10,000 fans came to cheer. They came spilling out from about 3,000 cars. Cars spread out in a multitude of parking lots streaming into the Arizona Camelback Ranch Stadium. Excited fans chattered away to friends as they vacated their vehicles and headed toward a fun afternoon at the old ball game. How many, I wondered, were on auto pilot - heedless of the need to pay attention?
To be perfectly honest, I’m more of a people person than a baseball fan. Rather than watch the game, I pay attention to the peripherals. I’m out there for the fun, the camaraderie, the fresh air, the food, and the chance to sing the “Star Spangled Banner”, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and to stand for the seventh inning stretch.
As I sat by myself in the shade high up behind home plate, apart from my friends who crave the sun, my mind, in awe of the huge turnout, pondered a great Hansel-and-Gretel-type philosophical question: how easily all these fans could head directly back to their car without getting lost?
So, friendly soul that I, and most ballpark attendees are, I stopped my talking-to-myself mental chatter and began to ask my surrounding seatmates that very same question.
Here’s the results of my “did you pay attention?” straw poll:
Three fans paid enough attention to know precisely where they parked their car. Nine out of twelve people questioned had a vague idea, giving new meaning to the phrase, “out of the ball park.”
Can you relate?
Here’s some “How to Pay Attention” suggestions.
I find them helpful. I hope you will too.
If you hear someone shouting "FIRE" you will certainly stop and pay attention. Well, a similar attention-getting device is what you need to create for yourself every time you are about to leave your car.
When getting out of your parked car - whether lost in thought (talking to yourself), or talking with friends in person or on the cellphone - it takes strong self control to stop - take a deep breath - and pay attention to where you are.
This might sound silly, but it truly works for me. As I am about to open the car door, my inner self shouts "stop," my creative self envisions a bright red light on the doorhandle, and I take a deep breath. That little pause brings my mind back to the present moment. I run down my checklist, both inside the car and out, and then I can leave with the brain assurance that my car is locked up, I have everything I need with me, and I can find my way back.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: No matter what you are thinking or doing, the moment you pull into a parking space, it’s time to take a deep breath and pay attention to such vital statistics as:
- Do I have my keys?
- Did I lock the car door?
- Where, precisely, did I park my car?
- Which way am I walking?
- Let me count the rows.”
(And you'd better not have as your marker the white van parked at the beginning of your row, cause chances are the lot is littered with a multitude of white vans parked at the ends of rows. Moreover, what are the odds that your white van marker will still be there when you need it as a beaconing light pointing to your car?)
Oh the trickle down possible hazzards of not paying attention abound. Tired feet and hot sun at the end of the game make it especially valuable to use a skill like my LOVE Memory Method to remember precisely where you parked your car.
If you would like to read an excerpt from WHERE ARE MY KEYS? on how to LOVE (an acronym for the four easy steps) where you parked your car, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a FREE copy of that section.
A good memory is dependant upon an internal system that calls your attention to key moments.
After all, life is better when you pay attention. Then you are in position to trust your brain to remember.
I invite you to create an internal, sure-fire pay attention alert for yourself. And then consciously practice it every day for thirty days until it becomes a habit. Then again for another thirty days (and so on for ever after). Then you can safely leave your car, knowing you made your remembering unforgettable.
Download Pay Attention at the Ball Game Let's hear from you.
Let's hear from you.
WHAT ARE YOUR "I
didn't pay attention and lost my car
" stories and your "I need to put more Brain-Friendly Life-Style Habits in my life" STORIES? Blog on and share your LOVE Memory Method stories as well.
Blog on with your comments. And forward this blog to as many friends and associates as you wish. Hopefully they'll become Memory Tipsters as well.
(Copyright - Judy Marcus - 2011) **********************************************************************************************************
Reprint Permission: You are welcome to reprint any items from the Memory Improvement Tips Blog. However, please credit Judy Marcus, Memory Lady, as a source, with the following paragraph:
"Reprinted from the "Judy Marcus - Memory Lady - Memory Improvement Tips Blog",www.memory-improvement-tipster.com Speaker, Workshop Leader, and Author of WHERE ARE MY KEYS?.
Judy's blog features tips and strategies to take control of your memory and keep your brain strong."