YOU DON'T NEED to learn anything else to
make your life better. Nothing. Not a bit. You already know what
you need to know. The trick is remembering it.
My niece and I were playing basketball
a few days ago. She said she wanted to get better at it, so we
were playing. But after about ten minutes, she wanted to do something
"That's not the way to get better
at things," I said, getting ready to lecture.
"I know," she said, trying to
ward off the lecture.
"A long time ago, there was a really
good baseball player named George 'Shotgun' Shuba. One time an
interviewer said, 'One thing you always had was a great natural
swing.' But his swing wasn't natural. It was the result of work.
And that's true of being good at anything. Those athletes you
see on TV who are so good at basketball got that way because
they spent thousands of hours shooting the ball. You can't do
it in ten minutes."
She hates lectures, as I'm sure is true
for all nine year-olds. And ten year-olds. And twenty-five year-olds.
But I continued anyway, because us thirty-seven year-olds love
"George 'Shotgun' Shuba tied a rope
to the cieling, and made knots in the rope where the strike zone
was, and every day he swung a bat at the rope 600 times. He swung
that bat 600 times a day until he was in the major leagues. That's
how he got his great 'natural' swing."
About a year ago I bought a guitar and
a book, and I practiced for about ten minutes. The guitar has
been behind the door ever since, collecting dust. I really would
like to play the guitar. What I need is to remember what I already
know. The same is true for you, I promise. When you're talking
to a younger person, and you're trying to convey your wisdom
to them, you can really make sense, can't you?
But when, for example, I sat down to play
the guitar and realized how difficult this was going to be, where
was my wisdom then? When a situation presented itself with my
niece, the wisdom was evoked. How can I evoke it when I need
Simple. By asking yourself this question:
"What would be good to remember right now?" Make this
a question you ask yourself at the drop of a hat. Make it a question
that comes to your mind often and easily. When the question comes
up, let it evoke an answer. Let it be an opportunity for your
wisdom to percolate up. What rules should you apply to this situation?
What principles fit? In the case of my niece, the principle was
you need to practice to improve your skill.
MORE MUNDANE USES
This question is useful for things like
what you need to pick up at the store and what you planned on
doing today. It works well to write them down. Write a list of
what you need at the store; write down what you planned on doing
today. Memory is amazingly fleeting, but what is written is always
remembered. But even for these mundane uses, sometimes you won't
write things down, and here's where the habitual use of this
question comes in handy.
Life is full of interesting things. Combine
that with the fact that our memories are so fleeting and you
can understand how we so often forget what we were planning to
do. But your life will be more the way you want it if you remember
And remember the good times. They make
life richer. Even good times can be forgotten if they aren't
recalled several times, so you can see this as pasting photos
in your photo album. Going over the memory strengthens it and
makes it more difficult to forget. And besides that, it's fun.
And it is good for your health.