Some “What Ifs” Are Better than “Oh Wells”

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Via Flickr

I’m sure you’ve heard people saying that it’s better to have done something and regretted it later than to not have done something and always wonder what would have happened if you would have had enough courage to do it. I agree with this, but I also believe that it’s not always true.

There are some things that are better left floating in the land of “what if” than being brought down into the world of reality. Why? Because some things might never turn into “oh well”. They might just turn into “why did I do that?”

Now, it’s hard to figure out which “what ifs” are better than others. Perhaps that’s why the idea of always doing something you want instead of wondering about it came to be. But what if there would be a better way than this? What if we could make sure that we go for the right “what if”, leaving the wrong one behind?

The world in which this always happens is a fictional world. We can’t always know. Sometimes we are going to mess up. Occasionally, we’re going to mess up a lot worse than other times. That’s something we need to learn to accept, because striving for perfection is a losing battle.

When trying to figure out if something is worth the risk, whatever that risk may be,  you have to consider how important that thing is for you. Can you learn to be without it? Be careful here. I wrote “learn” intentionally. It is normal to feel like you can’t be without something you’ve started to “crave”, but as time passes, the craving might go away, and you will learn to be without that thing.

However, if you feel like that thing has the potential to complete your life in a meaningful way, perhaps letting go is not the best thing in the world.

Keep in mind here that whatever the conclusion you arrive at, you might still have to learn to be without that thing, eventually. You can’t always get what you want, so be prepared for that possibility too.

Think of the situation where you might feel tempted to call your ex and try to get back together. Such a decision is always loaded emotionally, and I would personally call up a friend to get their opinion, because it will be less biased than yours, but you can also try to think of whether it’s really worth it. It’s very hard, but even in these situations, where the irrational part of your brain seems to be taking over, you might still be able to hear the voice of rationality, lost between your thoughts. Listen to it.

Even here, you might end up where you started all over again, if your ex won’t want to get back together. If you choose to give it a shot, be prepared for this option. But maybe leaving things at “what if” is the better choice.

/Larisa

The Terrifying Face of Change

Via Wikimedia

“We are creatures of habit.” The number of times I’ve heard this is ridiculously high, yet I never really gave it much thought. “Yes, I suppose we are.”, I’d say to myself, and go about my day, without really absorbing what the person meant by saying this. Hell, maybe they didn’t even know the extent to which they were right.

The idea of change is a beautiful one, isn’t it? There’s a certain comfort in thinking that your life won’t always be the same. Of course, we hope that someday it will be better. That we’ll get that dream job we’ve wanted since we were kids, that we’ll be able to afford the house, the car, the clothes, and the vacations we want. The reality, however, is that change isn’t always good. Sometimes, we go down a level instead of up. That can happen at work, but it can also happen in life. One day you’re happily riding the “Business Class” of life, and then the next, all of a sudden, you’re sent to “Economy”. No warning, no nothing.

This is why people don’t always welcome change; because they don’t know if it means that something good will happen, or something bad. Of course, some are better than others at dealing with the uncertainty of it all. Yet still, most of us are wired to prefer what is known, because simply knowing something makes it more comforting than not knowing. This is why people will stay in crappy conditions (and I’m sure you can think of someone who has stayed waaaay too long in a bad relationship). Chances are, they probably know that those conditions suck. But there’s a little voice inside of them whispering that maybe, just maybe, if they dare to change something, they might end up in a situation that’s even worse.

Via pixabay
Via pixabay

Many times, change can be seen as a good thing; a way for getting out of a life that’s not offering what you’re looking for. Even so, the more that change is approaching, the more terrifying it can be to look at it.

But there’s good news! Sometimes, change can make it seem as though you’ve gone to a worse place than you were before. Perhaps, temporarily, it may be true. However, if you know how to make use of it, even the scariest of changes can lead to better outcomes. Maybe you find yourself having to quit your job, leading to a period of unemployment. Let’s be honest here: for most people, going from job to no job is going from good to bad. Yet, this may give  you the chance to look for a better job than the one you had. It may push you to do something you never did before, because you were too comfortable.

Change happens outside of your comfort zone, but stepping into that land doesn’t feel all that great at first. There’s a reason it’s called the “comfort” zone. Nevertheless, once the change has occurred, you may just find that your zone of comfort is extended, and you can do so much more than before. This is why, no matter how terrifying change may seem, it certainly comes with benefits.

/Larisa

Memory Month Day 27: Putting it All Together

Via pixabay
Via pixabay

This entire month has been quite an interesting month, memory wise. Getting to use those 4 different memory retention techniques has really been a challenge at times, because it can be hard to find more than one way to use the same technique.

Nevertheless, I am glad I had the challenge, simply because it made the month of February that much more interesting, and that’s what I’m all about.

How has this year’s challenge been different from last year’s? For starters, the methods used this year were aimed more towards concepts than details. Indeed, last year I concentrated more on methods that help you remember simple things, such as phone numbers, and names of people you’ve just met. That is, with the exception of the memory palace, which was present in this year’s challenge as well, since it was just so fascinating.

That being said, I realized recently that the tests I took last year to see whether my memory improved might not be the best indication of an improvement from this year, since I was concentrating on a slightly different aspect. But hey! Memory is still memory, so I’ll take the tests again, but I’m not actually expecting an improvement. Just a fair warning.

/Larisa

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Memory Day 24: A Message from Captain Obvious

Via Wikipedia

As you’re probably already aware, the memory palace works on a pretty simple principle: if you want to remember something, you have to create images in your mind that remind you of that object or concept, and place them in your memory palace. The more funny, outrageous and just overall creative the images, the better, because it means that you’ll just be that much more likely to remember.

Of course, this only works if you actually step into your memory palace in the first place. It doesn’t matter how great and vivid the images are, if don’t even get to walk in the mental space that holds them.

That’s what happened to me today; I forgot to enter my memory palace in the first place, which means that I didn’t remember that there even was a list for me to remember.

Here’s what happened: I decided to start with a little exercise, and gave myself a list to remember. You know, just to get myself warmed up. I wrote the list down, so I could check it back later, and I tried to come up with some images to plant in my memory palace. I was supposed to check back a few hours later to see how well I could remember them, and guess what! I completely forgot to do it! It wasn’t until later when I actually saw the written-down list that I remembered about my little task.

Well, what can I say…that didn’t quite go as planned. I’ll try again tomorrow, and see if I have better results.

At least I learnt something! For the memory palace to work, you actually have to use it.

That’s about it from me today! Now I’ll go dress as Captain Obvious and save the day some more 😀

/Larisa

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Memory Month Day 21: Relate to Me

via wikipedia

Today is the last day of relating things to myself, and so I decided that it was going to be a great time to talk more about it as a method.

Relating concepts to yourself is very similar to the previous week’s theme, which was all about coming up with stories. Indeed, they both require you to get a bit creative when it comes to what you’re about to memorize. One of them does so by making you come up with a plot, while the other asks you to find concepts that you already know about, and connect them to the new info.

Both of these methods are absolutely amazing giving you an edge when trying to memorize things, but here’s the thing: you have to practice using them. Indeed, you can’t expect to come up with great connections or a plot that can be remembered easily without having had some training at it first.

But that sort of goes without saying, doesn’t it? Usually becoming better at something implies practicing it quite a bit first.

/Larisa

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Memory Month Day 16: Using My Mind as an Agenda

Via wikipedia

Improving one’s memory means, among other things, being able to remember to do things, without writing them down, which is just what I did today.

For instance, I was about to go grocery shopping, and I knew that there were a few things I had to get. To honor this week’s theme, I did it by relating to myself. For instance, I had to get peppers, and since I love peppers in my salad, I thought of that.

Unintentionally, there was one thing that I didn’t end up relating to myself when trying to remember to do it. The result? I completely forgot about it.

Of course, this isn’t the best way of testing the effectiveness of this method, but here’s the thing: simply making a mental note to do something, won’t be enough. That’s because it’s much more likely for you to forget all about it, unless there’s something that can trigger your memory.

When you relate it to yourself, on the other hand, you engage your mind a bit more, hence increasing your chances to actually remember it without any external help. Of course, no method is bulletproof, so just keep that in mind 🙂 .

/Larisa

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Memory Month Day 15: What’s in a Story?

Via flickr

Today marks the beginning of yet another theme, which is the one where I relate the things that I want to remember to myself. This, of course, means that I will no longer be using the method of coming up with stories. Well, I might still use it, but it will definitely not be the center of attention.

So, what have I learnt from this week? First of all, stories are FUN! It’s so much easier to remember boring material with this method than by using the classic method of just repeating the material over and over again. I mean, in all honesty, I think repeating something to yourself, while it might work, probably has the superpower of making even the most interesting material become boring. What a shitty superpower!

The other thing that I learnt this week is that coming up with stories engages your brain in quite a different way than other mnemonics do. I mean, they all rely on creativity to some extent, but this one just takes it to a whole new level, which is a great thing. Not only are you improving your memory, but you’re also improving your creativity, all in one go!

/Larisa

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