Once upon a time, I had a boss who couldn’t believe the awesome power of my mind to retain information. I never carried a planner or calendar, and I knew all the phone numbers I needed and such — just from simple memory.
Long (and boring) story short, I agreed to her demands that I use a day planner for six months. So, on the company dime, she bought for me a deluxe Franklin planner, and I dutifully used it for just about everything.
Well, hell’s bells — her disbelief in my mental acuity became a self-fulfilling prophecy. After six months, I couldn’t remember a thing, which is why my most essential piece of property is my Blackberry. To this day, if I don’t write it down — it’s gone. And if I do write it down but forget to put it in Outlook — it’s gone anyway.
The mind is a wonderful and mysterious thing. It can be trained to perform great works of beauty, to ponder complex ideas, to calculate difficult equations. But it can be trained negatively, as well — especially through chronic disuse.
I’ve been flirting with testing for Mensa. Not sure if I want to try the exercise only to fail by a point or two because my brain got flabby.
Moral of the story: Brainpower, like cardiopulmonary endurance, is a “use it or lose it” thing. Be careful to not let too much of it decline!