How To Remember The Great Things You Hear and Read

Updated: Apr 12

We all take in an enormous amount of information every day. We listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, read posts, blogs and even books. It all adds up to a staggering amount of information to process.

Some of this information is transformational and worth remembering, but how much can you humanly store and recall when desired? We all have a few go-to quotes or facts that we readily spit out when appropriate to help someone or even remind ourselves, but what about the enormous amount of really great things we hear and read that are worth capturing and keeping along the way? How would your life be different if you could recall a great fact or quote at just the right moment? Here are a couple of suggestions of ways to store and access valuable things you want to remember.

Start a collection of quotes. This could be a file on your phone or computer where you record great quotes worth remembering. I go old school and write them in a spiral notebook kept in my desk drawer. Periodically they get transferred into a word document where they are divided by category. Just the action of writing something down will help engrain it into your mind and increase the chance that you will actually apply it. Whenever preparing to give a talk, I will take a look at the quotes on that topic for extra punch. Just occasionally reading through a few pages of stored quotes can be very inspirational as well.

Summarize great books. A few years ago, I was at a transition point in my life and seeking guidance for what was next. Looking over my shelves for some of the most impactful books read over the years, I grabbed about 15 and began to look back at what had been underlined when first read. I was looking for a theme that might give me some insight for the direction of my next steps. This process started a habit that continues to this day. Whenever a book has some solid material worth remembering I will give it 2-4 weeks to simmer in my mind before creating a Word document to make an outline of my underlining. From that I try to narrow the book down to just three take-aways. Now there are book summaries in about 20 different categories saved on my computer for quick access. When about to lead a meeting, I will review some of the notes from books on running a powerful meeting from the Meeting file. Or when working with someone wanting to grow as a leader, I will email them a book summary from the Leadership file. Or when my schedule needs some tweaking, I will review summaries from my Time Management file. Being a lifelong learner, the files continue to grow every month.

I have said for many years very little is original with me. I am just a clearinghouse of information. These two habits have proven to be very useful for my personal growth as well as in my efforts to help others grow towards their full potential. Could you begin something like this as well?

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