I’ve always been proud of my skill of remembering minute details from a movie, names of actors, details of their career and what not. I think everyone has some kind of quirky obsession that defines them, we would all forget a concept for an exam rather than the names of hundreds of movie characters or movie plots.
Keeping that in mind let’s talk about something else. I sort of figured out a life style that worked for me for about 6 years starting from school to college when I thought” Oh I’m a genius, I don’t toil everyday, I play around binge watching TV series and just about a day or so before I had some kind of deadline (a test, a project, an assignment),I work hard , mug up , deliver something that looks better than work done by a person who worked regularly”. i was really proud of it, this way of life.
It was a “success” or so I thought until I realized, 90% of people irrespective of what they do, be it art, philosophy, science, engineering have done this already. There are smart asses out there(which included me) who have accepted this as their cool way of life, God has gifted them with this ability to think and process huge amount of data in a short while and they waste it intentionally until the end.” So much potential, wasted” is what I used to tell myself after every single test of my four year BTech degree program. I would yet again take an oath out of repentance that i would in the coming days take care of this issue,but as time progressed the instant gratification monkey(as seen from the Tim Urban’s TED talk ) in my brain slowly took over and the rational decision maker took a vacation.
Well we all know what happens after that. The vicious cycle continues,up and until i had a freak accident and i miraculously survived with a skull fracture. I recovered after about three to four months and then was planning on writing a competitive examination which required me to study a lot. A thing i could notice that was different was my inability to recollect words that came out in my usual daily conversation, another problem that looked quite severe to me was that i could remember an actor’s face what movies he played in, his famous lines, but at moments when i wanted to get his name out of my head, it just wouldn’t come out. There was nothing wrong with me, it was common among victims of head trauma to lose connections, it was only like a person loosing the index page of a book, so you just can’t lookup a word whenever you need it,i would have to build a new index(i don’t have to work for it, my brain would naturally create it as time flies). It sucked, it really did, the real problem was that i couldn’t make people understand my situation. Whenever i said i was having this problem, they were looking at it like amnesia which is a completely different thing. I gave up after a while , but then I found out that with properly gaped repetition and lots of practice,i could retrieve words and facts that were in me, but sort of didn’t come out when i needed them.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, i had lost my huge Random access memory that i used to plough upon at deadlines and a day before my exams. I knew i would get it back in a year or so but, i had this huge exam just 6 months away. I needed to change or else i wouldn’t be able to get concepts out in time,(why was this a problem, because i had given up a job offer, had two supplementary exams to pass and then GATE [entrance exam for masters in India]) if i continued to let the monkey be in control, i would lose it all.
But it was not the exams or studies that bothered me and made me change, it was the stupid games that this “memory-lapse”in my head made me feel. Remember the time you had a stash of money hidden somewhere, but you forgot and so you can’t buy food when you’re hungry and then you ask someone else and they give some of their money and then you go buy and eat in disappointment and all of a sudden you remember,but you cant use it now cause you’re not hungry anymore. That’s how i felt every single day (still feel,hope it goes away some day). In order to prove to myself that this is not going to bother me for the rest of my life, i stopped letting the monkey in . It wasn’t easy but HABIT is kind of the only way to do this (unless you’re some kind of ultra human who can evolve out of all problems). I created a routine, rewarded myself for following the routine,punished myself if i deviated from it. After a while it become a HABIT and you wouldn’t feel good if you didn’t do it.
Work that used to feel like this:
became like this and soon life wasn’t hard anymore:
People around you might laugh at you for trying too hard, let ’em , you’re doing it for you, you might fail miserably but you will have transformed yourself to a different person, a person that appreciates hard-work when he sees it, a person who now actually understands the proverb “Hardwork is the key to success”. The old me along with a whole lot of smart asses would laugh at the new me, for working too hard, but that’s only because they’ve brainwashed themselves for that mangy routine that’s become a habit, a way of life for procrastinators who have all walked the earth and have done nothing in life because they chose to be average.