Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #23: Misremember the Past

IMAGINE: Misremember the Past
If fools fantasize the future to change the future, they also misremember the past to change the present.

Obstacles in the way of success may be past rejections, fears, failures, and other supposedly negative experiences.

Research continues to show that memory isn't a perfectly clear reflection of reality and can be distorted after the fact. So if the memories that hold you back aren't completely accurate and are malleable, why not revise them to move forward.

A fools trips on the sidewalk—no, just practicing a new dance move. Dropped a juggling ball—never happened, problem solved.

In his hilarious, moving, and intelligent one-man show Sleepwalk with Me, comedian Mike Birbiglia talks a lot about the dangers of denial, but has also found it helpful at times:

"I really think to become a stand-up comedian, you have to be delusional. If you weren't, then you wouldn't continue, because there's so much failure at the outset that you have to tell yourself that it's going well when it's not."
link: Mike Birbiglia | | A.V. Club

Re-imagine your memories. Loosen your attachment to them. Tell yourself a new story.

Today I went for a bike ride, and when I had just started up the street, something felt funny. I looked down at my feet and saw that I was wearing my house slippers. I turned around and went home and put on real shoes as my wife laughed and laughed.

That's how I remember it, but I'm going to misremember that I was actually wearing big fuzzy Bugs Bunny slippers, and I didn't notice it until one of the bunny ears got stuck in the chain. Which kept me from getting hit by the truck that went through a stop sign. Those slippers saved my life!

Now I'm not so embarrassed.

Think: What memories are getting in the way? How can I misremember them?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #24: Worry about Everything

Previous "How to Think Like a Fool" Posts

1 comment:

Drew Richardson said...

I wrote and posted this before remembering that today is Memorial Day. Perfect!