Don’t Joke About Your Memory

Don’t Joke About Your Memory


(It’s Better Than You Think!)

HHiltonby Hermine Hilton

“My memory’s on vacation in Cabo.”

“My brain bucket’s got a hole in it.”

“It never even got in one ear.”

Is that you talking?

Do you think it’s funny?

Well—– it’s NOT!

Your memory is better than you think.

Does it surprise you to hear that?

Just listen up.

Your memory usually runs as smoothly as breathing so we hardly notice what our memories do for us each day.

Think about it.

Everything…yes everything …we do throughout each day is a direct function of our memories. It’s only because the occasions that we forget are so comparatively rare that we notice them so much, and the moment the memory falters, right away, through our very own lips, sputter any or all of those dissing declaratives.

Don’t Be Pre-set To Forget.

Most likely, you have muttered at one time or another (or even mucho times) that old adage “In one ear and out the other”, joked about being on your way to pre-mature senility, and then laughed as if it didn’t matter.


Wisecracks about a rusty memory or jokes about absentmindedness can be self-fulfilling. What I call ‘pseudosenility’ can actually be brought on by a belief, even stated in jest, that it is inevitable. So stop all that ‘Senior Moment’ gobbledygook. Memory does not have to fade with age if you keep it active. Keep your blood flowing and your brain cells growing.

Also eliminate from your mind the myths about your own memory.

Stop saying “I have a bad memory for this” or “a terrible memory for that.”

Don’t even think it. Comments such as these send directives to your subconscious. Shakespeare was right on point when he said “There is nothing either good or bad, but ‘thinking’ makes it so.”

Those comedic put-downs about your own memory can harm you.

When you forget something, rather than toss it off as a joke, it would be far better to seek an intelligent remedy for your lapse. For starters, learn how your memory works (many books out there to help you). And if you go online to The Malibu Chronicle, one of my ‘About Your Memory’ columns called ‘Collect-Connect-Recollect’ will give you a real good Head Start. Remembering names, facts, figures, can be easy. There is a way to remember everything you want to remember. Your mind is really a connecting machine (‘and that reminds me’). In fact, the best computer in the world is the one attached to your neck. You just have to learn how to focus and push the ‘SAVE’ Key.

So don’t joke about your memory…. or anything else that you don’t want to have happen to you. No more “I’d give my right arm for tickets to the Super Bowl.” Keep in mind that everything you say, do, think, feel, or experience, however mechanically, is always getting swallowed up by your subconscious, and the subconscious is a great believer in The Golden Rule.

Whatever you give to it, it will give back to you eventually. And that includes joking about your ‘bad’ memory. Keep knocking your gray matter with that negative stuff you think is so humorous and don’t be surprised when you go to introduce your spouse to your boss and can’t remember his/her name. It will be just that moment your subconscious decided to burp up that jocular message you’ve been regularly recording and sending down.

As a final note:

Let me share with you a story told to me by a student after one of my memory seminars. He approached to ask me where was I when he needed me, and to tell me how right I was in telling the audience the effect of negative thoughts on the mind (even when we think we’re just joking).

He explained that when he was a boy of 14, growing up on a farm in Iowa, he used to help his father with the chores every day after school. One particular school day, he was told there was to be a big test coming up the next day, which he feared he couldn’t pass. Among other things, he knew it would call for him to name the States and Capitals and to remember all the U.S Presidents and Vice Presidents in their proper order. He worried over it all the way home from school and wished and wished that something would happen to keep him home the next day. “Wouldn’t it be funny if I had an accident and couldn’t go to school tomorrow!” was the thought that kept running through his mind. And later that afternoon, while driving his father’s tractor, which he’d done many times before, he fell from the machine and under its wheels.

Now what brought about this terrible event no-one can surely know. But what is known is that to this day, this sensitive man is still tormented by the thought that perhaps had he not joked that day about having an accident that would keep him from school and having to take that test, he might well not be wearing a prosthesis today in place of an arm.


So next time you forget a name, number, fact, or fiction, you won’t be improving your situation by joking that you must be getting senile or that your mind’s one chicken short of a barbeque. Keep in mind that even though YOU think it’s funny, the subconscious takes everything literally.

It has no sense of humor!


The Lady On The Mountain

[International Speaker and Author of “50 Ways to a Better Memory”, “The Executive Memory Guide”, & “Fuhhgeddaboutit!” (How To Stop Worrying About Your Memory),

Hermine’s column ‘ABOUT YOUR MEMORY’ appears monthly, online, in The Malibu Chronicle. She is the creator of Sonik Memory and the memory motivator for the Fortune 500 Companies from Nordstrom to NASA.]