Why internal communication is the secret to growth and innovation

internal communication

Joe Fredericks, founding director of PCA Law has helped to deliver communications training to over 150 clients since 2001, including over 30 leading global law firms and 20 FTSE 100 organizations.

In his recent keynote speech for Thomson Reuters, Elite Vantage NYC 2018, Fredericks revealed some key communications secrets helping top global firms to dominate their industries.

Fredericks explained, that “internal communication” is often overlooked by firms seeking to grow and innovate but it’s one of the biggest influencers impacting organizational growth. As such, those firms paying attention to internal communication can expect (and have seen) huge rewards.

On this note, Fredericks took his audience back to the “communications basics” and covered what many firms are lacking in their internal communication.

Internal communication – Why does it matter?

Great internal communication is at the heart of any successful organization. It’s a core component to employee engagement initiatives, internal work process, and motivated, unified teams across an organization.

If internal communication is functioning properly, organizations can expect to see the following benefits;

  • Team members feel more supported, have higher morals and are less at risk of burnout
  • Overall work productivity is higher (clearer delegation, fewer mistakes & more motivation)
  • With increased internal fluidity and less “hiccups” employees have more time to focus on client needs

All of these factors contribute to business growth and allow organizations to grow as they have the required internal structures to support innovation.

How to implement great internal communication

Fredericks explained two key equations, utilized by top firms to create effective internal communication.

The Trust Equation

One key ingredient to effective communication, especially in relation to business growth, is building trust.

Fredericks used the “trust equation” to show an individual’s thought process when considering whether to establish a relationship of trust.

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy / Self-orientation

So, when seeking to establish trust in clients or colleagues one must score highly on credibility, reliability, and intimacy and have a low self-orientation score.

Commercial Application Equation

This equation supports organizational innovation.

In most cases, the word “failure” comes with a negative connotation, but Fredericks noted that one cannot innovate and grow without failing and added, that it is important to have conversations about why something went wrong within an organization. Avoiding failure is not conducive to growth. If employees do not feel like they can try something different, how can a business expect to innovate?

Fredericks used the Commercial Application Equation to explain how failure assists innovation.

Organization Confidence + Client Creativity + Productive Failure = Commercial Appreciation

“Productive failure” means to change how we see mistakes, it means embracing failure. Organizations should feel confident and empowered enough, to tell clients that they may not have been successful in the course of an initiative. In fact, Fredericks explains, the ability to embrace failure demonstrates organizational experience, in that it has grown and experimented with more effective ways of executing a task or developing innovation. Through failure, teams learn to improve and be better. The Commercial Application Equation is a useful tool for developing “the next big thing.“

Internal communications can positively transform organizations in terms of both growth and innovation. It drives organizational productivity and helps employees develop defining qualities to form deep relationships and engage in two-way conversations that eliminate bureaucracy. It is a win/win for any organization and a determinative factor for those firms seeking to remain competitive in today’s market.

To hear more from Joe Fredericks listen to his podcast interview where he discusses some of the challenges facing modern law firms and how they address them.  To listen, click here or to download and listen later, right-click

 

 

 

Traits of millennials that can positively impact business bottom lines

millennials

Millennials are a unique generation and they are causing a big stir in the business world. They have already surpassed Generation X and the Baby Boomers to become the biggest generation in the workforce today. It’s predicted that millennials will be a huge 50% of the workforce by 2020.

So what’s the problem?

Millennial traits are largely unprecedented by previous generations. Their career needs and life goals are totally different and this gets CEO’s worried because, frankly, they don’t understand them. But, there is some good news. There are 5 millennial traits that can positively impact business bottom lines. The only thing businesses have to do is understand these traits and put them to good use.

1. Tech-savvy

Millennials are the first generation of babies to grow up exposed to technology such as the internet, computers, and web applications. It’s likely they grew up playing video games instead of board games. Whilst this might make some marked social differences managers/CEO’s find hard to understand, it has some serious business advantages. Millennials can do things faster using technology to support them. More often than not, they have found an innovative way to batch emails, manage data or even work remotely. At feedback meetings with millennials, you could probe them about tech and ask them what they think might benefit your work environment. Millennials want to feel involved in the bigger picture of a business and this type of genuine, two-way feedback can really help to satisfy their career needs. In addition to this, millennials are social media experts by birth and every business should be looking to have a digital presence in order to remain competitive. Asking millennial employees to help out on the social media front (if they would like to do so) could give them the responsibility they desire and also help your business to become more tech savvy.

2. Curious

Millennials are big into self-development. They are curious about themselves and the world around them. They want to learn new skills and will invest time in doing so. Companies that have successfully tapped into this aspect of millennial workers have created career-development programs that help millennials grow. PepsiCo, for example, recently launched a program that focused on providing employees with access to “critical experiences” rather than a simple ladder to the top. This type of self-development path is incredibly attractive to millennials and can help to recruit and retain them. Further, they are willing to learn new skills that can support your companies growth, it’s a win/win. Another incredibly effective way to encourage career development is through experienced career coaching or mentoring services. You can find highly experienced career coaches in every industry. This type of focused development is an undoubted hit with the millennial crowd who are constantly seeking answers.

3. Socially progressive

Millennials are more socially conscious than any other generation. Businesses offering millennials a compelling social advancement vision/objective will find success in recruiting and retaining this generation. Salesforce is an example of a company that has successfully tapped into millennial energy through a variety of initiatives that encourage employees to give back. Other socially conscious companies, popular with millennials, are Ben & Jerrys, Levis, and Google. Take a look here to see how these companies are marketing their social movement to millennials. Whilst being socially progressive may not seem like it will impact revenue, it actually does. It helps you to build trust with millennial consumers who are your future clients. It also helps you to give back to the world and be a good person.

4. Performance management

Millennials love feedback. A recent study found that over 40 percent of millennial employees wanted to receive weekly feedback from their managers. Millennial workers thrive on feedback even if it’s only related to improvement, instead of praise. Regular feedback sessions can be utilized by businesses, to make sure millennials are reaching goals, in the right way, from the offset. Further, it can also ensure millennial employees are satisfied in their roles, to manage and prevent any future retention issues.

5. Collaboration

Millennials want to be in an open office environment. They thrive in teams and in “work families” where groups work together toward similar goals. It’s no surprise that dominating businesses such as Facebook and Google have capitalized on the collaborative work environment to bring out the best in their millennial employees. For you to do the same, create a transparent work environment (not necessarily physically) where there are cross-team meetings and open concept meeting spaces, so employees can be aware of each others work throughout the organization.

 

5 proven ways to boost your knowledge retention now

retention

It’s scary to think we waste hours, absorbing new information just to forget it minutes later. What’s the point of learning if we don’t practice knowledge retention? Luckily, there are 5 scientifically proven ways to beat this ubiquitous knowledge retention issue, many of us face, on a daily basis.

Why we struggle with knowledge retention

Before we can meaningfully apply these retention strategies it’s important to understand why our brain forgets new knowledge. This can be explained in two simple points:

1. Our brains get stuck at the first hurdle

When we read a book or listen to a presentation we can miss up to 3 or 4 concepts in just the first few minutes. This is because the brain gets stuck at the first new concept/obstacle. It then tries to apply the new concept but fails. And if you continue to read the book or listen to the speaker. The brain is still focused on the first point and fails to absorb all of the new points, even if you hear them, they don’t get retained. And of course, without complete information, you have ‘incomplete information’.

2. We need to make the mistake, ourselves

No matter how good the explanation and how well you feel you understand the concept. You won’t really grasp or retain the concept until you make a mistake when implementing it. This is because your interpretation will vary from the actual meaning the writer/speaker intends to communicate. You’ve only interpreted what they’ve said, and more often than not, the interpretation is not quite correct. You can only find out how far off the mark you are by trying to implement the concept.

How we best retain knowledge

Some interesting stats about how different learning processes influence our retention.

We retain;

  • 90% of knowledge when we teach someone else/practically apply it, immediately after learning.
  • 75% of knowledge when we practically apply it.
  • 50% of knowledge when we engage in a group discussion.
  • 30% of knowledge when we see a demonstration.
  • 20% of knowledge from audio-visual.
  • 10% of knowledge from reading.
  • 5% of knowledge from lectures.

Read more about the stats here.

Interesting stuff but how we can try to retain more when we are forced to rely on things such as books and presentations? Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to encourage your knowledge retention, even if the learning process is statistically against you!

5 tips to boost knowledge retention

1)Ask yourself questions about the new material

If you are reading a textbook, this can simply be what is the main point of this section?

What are the key discussion points?

Try to answer these questions as you read along the text. Writing the questions and answers down is even more helpful.

2) Engage in reflective learning 

Similar to the above point but more practically focused. When learning new materials you should be constantly be asking yourself “How can I immediately apply what I just learned?” If you focus on how to immediately apply the knowledge to your current job, it will increase retention and positively influence performance/deliverables in a big way.

3) Skim material

The idea here is to skim-read material first and pick up on keywords and concepts that you’ll be covering. This way when you read the material, properly, your brain knows what to expect. And you can organize the new information into your pre-learned headings.

4) Relate new material to what you already know 

In one study, participants who were provided with relevant context linking to previous knowledge, before listening to prose passages were better at knowledge recall later than those who had received no context before.

You can add context for new material as you are learning it, or you can prepare and spend some time thinking about what you already know about the topic before you begin studying.

5) Visualization 

You can connect the new information to visuals in various ways. For example, you can imagine that you are having a conversation with a friend about the new information, you can visualize a story about or even better, you can vizualize practically applying the new information.

 

What’s the one thing you are going to do after reading this blog? Try applying one of the retention techniques and I bet you will retain more from this blog, than most things you have read today.

 

10 ways to influence how we are perceived

perceived

Who we believe we are and how others perceive us, can often be two distinct concepts.

We can never be a fly on the wall to our own personality but we can have a little more control over the self-image we project.

I’m not saying we should be anyone but ourselves, however, by incorporating a few simple tips, we can be perceived in a manner more consistent with who we believe we are.

1. Head high, shoulders back

Whilst the temptation to hunch may be strong, refrain from doing it, it’s terrible for our posture and it strongly communicates that we lack self-confidence. Is this really how we want to be perceived? Pushed back our shoulders makes us appear taller. It’s a power stance that conveys confidence.

2. Make eye contact

Avoidance of eye contact communicates lack of confidence, even deception. It might be difficult to hold eye contact if you’re not used to it. However it’s worth developing this skill, it’s crucial to building trust. Plus, the mental process of looking at people in the eye, naturally makes us feel more confident. We spend less time feeling intimidated and more time focused on the words we are exchanging. Try it out and see how it adds value to your conversations.

3. Ask questions

People love talking about themselves, it makes them feel good. So, if you’re the question master, they will naturally associate you with good feelings. You don’t need to become a detective and interrogate everyone you meet, in fact, quite the contrary, a few simple questions (with a few follows up to show genuine interest) and people will instantly start to like you.

4. Relax your body

If a situation makes us feel uncomfortable, our natural (often subconscious reaction) is to tense up. This isn’t a good look, it makes us appear guarded, unapproachable and perceived as, “highly strung”. I’m certain this isn’t how anyone wants to come across and luckily it can be avoided by simply remembering to physically, relax our body. Make a habit of asking, “is my body tensed, right now?”. Relaxed bodies are perceived by others as confident.

5. Postive self-talk

Perceptions run deeper than just appearances. If we are given a task at work and our norm, is to talk ourselves down, such as, “you can’t do this”, everything we do communicates this to others. People will see our fear and this undermines our competence, regardless of our actual competence. What might not be obvious to us, is SO obvious to others. People can smell self-believe! Well, not actually but, we can’t be aware of all the subtleties we give off when we self-doubt, there is just too many. Instead, a better way to manage, this negative perception is to eliminate our self doubt through positive self talk. Instead of “I can’t”, change to positive affirmations such as “I can” or, “I’ll do my best”. It sounds simple because it really is and it makes the world of difference to your own self-perception.

6. Be kind

Give off positive vibes. Of course, people are going to gravitate towards you, if you smile more than you frown. It’s also nice to be nice! If you don’t want to walk around with a smile plastered across your face all day, then maybe you can focus on your eyes, or be supportive to co-workers when you think they need it most. There’s more than one way to be kind and being perceived as a kind person should be a high priority on anyone’s list.

7. Listen

People will remember whether or not you really listened to them. Listening is not being silent and mentally preparing what you’re going to say next. It’s being focused on the other person and actually absorbing their words. It feels different. People who have mastered listening find it easier to make new connections and build trust in those around them.

8. Fill a room

When we feel intimidated it’s natural to shrink, cross our arms or legs and take up less room. However, simply the act of taking up more physical space (“power posing”), standing taller, stretching out arms or legs, sends confidence hormones to our brains, making us look and feel more confident. I’ve written extensively on the impact of power posing here.

9. Decide on your personal brand

How can you hope to influence your external perception if you don’t have a good idea of how you want to be perceived? Take the time to write down a list self-defining points. A few short positive statements of who you believe you are will suffice. Doing this helps to focus your energy on the right things in social situations.

10. Lead with charisma

The more comfortable you can be in any situation the better. Be your true self and laugh, yawn, stretch, dance – just do you. Research proves that energy is contagious. You can inspire even the most serious of execs to relax around you, if you radiate this kind of energy. Everyone is human after all.  Plus, you’ll hold a positive spot in their brain as a result.

10 skills mastered by the most successful

successful

Success can be measured in numerous ways.

Whether you relate success to happiness, independence or power there is no size fits all, it’s entirely subjective and depends on what you want from your life.

Saying that, success in an inside-out concept. Regardless of individual success definitions, those who attain their dreams, all master these 10 fundamental skills.

1. Communication 

Soft skills divide the average from the successful. Communication is an art, it takes time and dedication to be able to perform. Effective communication relies on the ability to understand, (on a high-level) both others and yourself. This degree of introspection isn’t easy, but it’s the key to being a naturally good communicator. Remember, we have to master our own thoughts before we can hope to understand and eventually influence the thoughts of others.

2. Awareness of thoughts 

Watch how you speak to yourself. Do you allow negative chat, such as “I can’t do this?” Or, “this is going to fail?”. If you don’t believe in yourself how can you that expect others will? Success requires confidence and unshakable belief in yourself. During your success journey, you will encounter people that don’t believe in you so you need to find confidence in yourself and not seek or rely on the approval of others.

3. Flexibility 

Steven Hawkings famously said, “Intelligence is the ability to embrace change”. It’s no wonder that the most successful remain flexible and embrace change. We live in a fast-paced world, we cannot predict or control external factors. The only thing we can do is remain flexible and adapt when necessary. This is what makes leaders and encourages others to trust in them. Change isn’t scary, it’s the future.

4. Make informed decisions

You have to master risk calculation in order to reach success. Without carefully reviewing the pros and cons of your choices you won’t be informed enough to make wise decisions. It’s a simple yet often overlooked process you should be applying to every decision.

5. Be honest with yourself 

The most successful objectively evaluate, everything. Don’t make career/business decisions if you feel they are emotionally influenced. Don’t paint a mistake in a less painful light. Be honest with yourself in every way. This will allow you to properly asses your progress and skills and importantly fully understand who you are.

6.Highly productive

Successful people manage to have a family, a love life, a social life and incredible careers. We all share the same hours. in our day, as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Opera and Beyoncé so what’s the difference? The key is using your time well. This doesn’t mean working incessantly but it means planning ahead so that you can have routine family breakfasts, meet deadlines and never forget an anniversary. Successful people don’t procrastinate they make every hour count.

7. Read everyday

The most successful read about their industry and more, for at least one hour every day. This helps them to stay on top, spot gaps and seize opportunities. You need to know everything there is to know about your field, in order to dominate it. Discussing the most important points of your industry findings or even writing about them, daily, helps you to really retain the knowledge.

8. Environment matters

Surround yourself with happy ambitious people. They will encourage and support you on your journey. You can also learn things you didn’t realize you needed to learn such as more efficient working styles, industry insights and much more. Co-working spaces are excellent if you’re just starting up. If you’re office based, try to create a supportive group of co-workers, who bring out your best side.

9. Learn from everyone

You can learn knowledge from everyone you meet – even 5-year-olds, I mean it! Those who are willing and open to the minds of others will learn valuable pockets of information that will assist them on their journey to success. Keep your mind open and respect the words of others. Further, treating everyone around you with respect helps you to build a circle of trust.

10. Cultivate and believe in gut feelings

You spend your time collecting experiences. You learn what’s good and what’s bad. You store your experiences in your “gut” and they become intuition. Your gut feeling can tell you if a person is genuine. It can tell you if you’re making a good decision and it can protect you from a variety of things based on your past experiences. Whilst objective, rational thinking is crucial – you’re gut feeling can tell you things that you can’t rationalize but is based on your past knowledge, so don’t disregard it.

6 Self-care tips for those who wish there were more hours in the day

self-care

Even if you are successful right now, without self-care you cannot hope to sustain your success without sacrificing your health. We rationalize, neglecting ourselves (a.k.a exclude self-care) from our routine saying “there’s not enough time” or, “this task is more important.” However, the cold truth is, the decisions you take now have a determinative impact on your future health. I’m not just talking about physical health but mental health too. Stress will be a big health consequence for many modern workers. Our bodies have not been prepared for our working lives today – intense stress, sleep deprivation, 24/7 connectivity, and tech exposure all have consequences. We must take it upon ourselves to reduce the negative side-effects, of success, with adequate self-care. If you could see into your future, you would, arguably, make the time now.

What is self-care?

It’s anything you need to be happy confident and whole. This means taking note of your needs and not putting external factors ahead of them. It can be as small as brushing your teeth, regularly exercising and as big as, leaving the job or marriage you hate because it’s making you desperately unhappy.

Self-care is an investment that pays dividends. The more you show yourself self-care, the brighter your days become; the more energy you have; and the happier you are. The only person keeping you from investing more in yourself is you.

How to practice self-care even if you are super busy

1. Change your mindset

Self-care must be a priority. It must be as important as meeting a deadline and making your family reunion. We can make a million excuses to not do something. For many modern workers, it’s the “I have no time excuse.” But, we have the same amount of hours in our day as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Beyonce and Amal Clooney. They manage to not look like stress is dominating their lives. They practice self-care. So, if you want to get serious about self-care (or, truthfully, anything else), you’re going to have to do an honest audit of your time. Cut the fat (low-value habits) and build the muscle (prioritize important habits). It’s that simple.

2. Nutrition

Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Just the process of putting a nutritious meal into your body, instead of a convenient fast option, makes you feel better. You can prepare healthy meals at the weekend to make sure you don’t waste time during the week searching for healthy options. Or, if you spend a lot of time in the city, you will be able to find fast, healthy options. Make sure you drink plenty of water and enrich your body with natural ingredients throughout the day. As a rule of thumb, when choosing what to eat “the closer to the ground the better”, this means choosing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, over any packaged items. Eating this way can truly transform both your physical and mental health.

3. Find your stress release

This should not be partying or blowing off steam with an entire bottle of wine.  This should be about dealing with stress, in a healthy way. It’s about taking the path of least destruction to deal with life’s hurdles. For me, exercise is my stress release. When I’m running, I get lost in the zone. For up to 15 minutes, I am focused on only one thought, my breathing. It feels magical. Something, I believe is similar to the benefits many feel from meditation. How you choose to deal with stress is ultimately a matter for you. But I can promise that when you find, your “thing”, it’s life changing and can fix even the worst of days.

4. Spend time with those you love

Don’t sacrifice your time with loved ones. This leads to many things but ultimately unhappiness and regret. Your loved ones can boost you in ways, you cannot. They can give you a perspective you don’t have and they can make you feel like nothing else matters (including all the stress) when you are with them. So, for the sake of your well-being and for the sake of the people you care about, make a regular routine and take the time to be with your friends and family.

Whatever spending time with the ones you care about most looks like for you, be sure to find a way to consistently fit in into your schedule.

5. Schedule personal time

Make sure you schedule downtime. This can be reading a book, watching a tv-show or simply relaxing just ensure it’s anything but working or doing chores. It should be time alone relaxing, catching up on thoughts and feeling at ease.

We all need time to ourselves, it’s crucial to our mental health. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, 30 minutes a day can suffice, just make sure its a regular priority for the sake of your self-care.

6. Get enough Zzzzz

Without sleep, you will not be able to function or properly control your emotions.

Sleep deprivation makes you less productive and more likely to burn out. The general recommendation is 7-8 hours per night, however, in reality, some people have found they can function on a little less. So, whatever your bare minimum sleep may be, just ensure you get it, every night.

Listen to your body and give it what it needs. That is the essence of self-care – putting yourself first.

Millennials; how to make them stick around

millennials

Millennials are a hot topic. Mainly because they are the largest ever generation to hit the (US) workforce. Millennial patterns and behaviors have a huge impact on business bottom lines. In particular, the issue of millennial retention is getting CEO’s hot under the collar. The cost of replacing a millennial employee ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. Plus, when employees leave, the trend can affect morale and decrease employee productivity. If turnover issues become publically known, it can become difficult for a business to attract new talent. So, what can organizations do to encourage millennial retention?

1.Focus on the millennial win/win

The win/win is an agreement where every party benefits. Workplace win/win solutions are a highly effective way of resolving retention issues. The win/win model for millennials won’t be as simple as (work/money), which suited previous generations but instead, may look something more like, (work/flexibility) or (work/travel). Win/win workplace agreements are so successful because they provide a multitude of benefits for organizations. For example, the win/win work environment encourages shared responsibility and collaboration amongst employees. This type of employee/ employer interaction has been shown to increase innovation and overall workplace productivity, by up to 50%. To find out more about striking a win/win in your organization, I have written extensively on them here.

2. Involve millennials in innovation

Following on from the above point, millennials want to feel included in the bigger picture of any organization. They want to feel that a business is growing and that their work can actively contribute to its development. 54 % of millennials want to start their own business (or already have), and a huge 78% of millennials state a company’s innovation as a crucial factor for deciding if they want to work there. Organizations, therefore, need to see this millennial mindset as an opportunity. By assigning these highly motivated, high potential millennials, innovation-focused tasks such as researching new business opportunities or leading innovative projects, the company can find new innovative opportunities and resolve millennial retention.

3. Promote self-development

Promoting self-development, as a means for millennials to grow their skill set, is another way to ensure retention. An example of this would be Companies like Coca-Cola — which created its Coke Young Professionals or CYP (pronounced “sip”, get it?) to promote young professionals’ professional development. This provides a sense of community something that millennials find particularly motivating.

4. Add meaning to everything they do

Millennials want to engage in meaningful work. This one fact influences every decision in their careers, from recruitment to retention. Start from the beginning and think about how your job descriptions are phrased, for roles where you are hiring millennials. Do they define bigger goals? Does the role tie into the bigger picture for the organization? Would it be attractive to a millennial audience?

A great initiative is to group millennial employees into teams focused on the same goals. This allows them to feel immersed in the bigger picture. Their purpose, in the company, will be continually highlighted and they get a sense of community, which they find particularly motivating in a workplace.

Finally, assigning mentors to millennial employees is a great way to ensure their needs are met. Mentors can seek to address any issues before they become a retention issue and further millennials will get the career development they desire.

Our two selves; how our past-self interferes with our present decisions

two selves

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize-winning founder of behavioral economics is famous for his profound research on the two human selves. The experiencing-self and the remembering-self. The “experiencing-self”,  is the present you, the one that lives through events. The “remembering-self”, is the past you, the one that writes your story. Kahneman’s research poses a very intriguing question; are we capturing memories or, are we designing them?

Think about Instagram. The highly popular app allows us to post beautifully enhanced photos of our, “happiest” moments. But, what if our habitual, photo uploading impacts more than just our Instagram feeds? What if our Instagram habits make us architects of our future memories? Well, according to Kahneman’s widely accepted research, this is true. We remember memories, not for their fact, but for the way we told ourselves the story.

The problems with our two selves

What exactly are the consequences of having two, contrary, mental operating systems? Kahneman identified one, big problem. He found that, due to certain hard-wired biases, impacting our recording of memories, our two selves typically disagree on perceptions of past experiences.

It appears that our experience can become so confused by our memory, that we create something of a fabricated past experience, with sprinkles of the truth. This is problematic because our past experiences have a huge influence on our present decision making.

Experiencing vs. remembering – what we need to know about our two selves

Kahneman’s research identified common factors governing the remembering self’s recording of an experience.

1. The remembering self is a storyteller

What defines a story is intense, significant moments and endings. Endings are very, very important,” says Kahneman. The last part of an experience is the most memorable part. We can have an amazing vacation but if at the end, our luggage is lost, then that can taint our memory of the experience. We can’t change the way we record information but we can be self-aware and rationalize our perceptions. Try not to attach too much weight to endings, especially if such memories are being used to influence present decisions.

2. We have a natural disposition to remember negative events

We are far more likely to remember intense, negative moments, than other types of moments. For example, when we think about a past job or marriage, we can taint the entire experience as negative, based on a few intense, profound moments, and forget all of the time in between.

Whilst this hard-wiring was useful when we were hunter-gathers and needed to remember signals of danger, it is limiting for us in the modern world. It’s important to view past experiences as a timeline. This will encourage us to decide, on balance, whether an experience was negative and how much so, by comparing the negative moments to the remaining moments in the timeline. Ask yourself, are you being influenced by a few intense moments and perhaps forgetting the whole picture?

3. There is no duration to our memories

What does this mean? It means, in simple terms, that we don’t remember durations but just the memories themselves. For example, as discussed above, even if we’ve had years of happy memories, we are likely to only remember the fewer negative moments. The more intense or exciting the memory, the longer we remember it to be. Experiences with more changes are more likely to be recorded as longer than a memory with routines or patterns. This is why we struggle to remember individual days at school but our summers as a child, seem to last forever.

 

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