POINT TO PONDER
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -MAYA ANGELOU
Let's try an experiment. I want you to turn the lights down. Sit back, close your eyes (only after you read what to do!) and try to relive your first important job interview.
What do you remember of the interviewer? Where did you go? Which company was it for? Did you prepare? What did you eat before? Did you eat at all? What were you wearing? What were they wearing? What did you both talk about? How did it end? What did you do when you got home?
And two final questions: how did you feel while you were on the interview and how did the interviewer make you feel?
Now turn on the lights, sit back upright and let's go over what you came up with. How many details did you remember? What was stronger; the details and specifics of the interview or how you were feeling? For me, and I'm betting a lot of you, the remembering how you felt was strongest. Please let me know in the feedback this week which was strongest.
I recently saw an incredible film titled, “Waltz with Bashir” that talked about a study performed to test human response to memory. According to the film, a psychological test was given to a group of people showing ten various childhood images of them. Nine of these images were really from their childhood, the tenth being a fabrication - their picture pasted (photoshop)into a photo with a background of a fairground they had never visited.
Eighty percent of the subjects recognized themselves in the fake photo and believed that they had really gone to that fairground. The other twenty percent couldn't fully remember but when shown the picture a second time, the subjects claimed that they now remembered the image. What was astonishing was that both groups eventually linked an emotional attachment to the photo stating things about the photo being, “such a wonderful day at the park with my parents.”
According to the film, “memory fills the holes (in ones memory) with things that never happened.” Based on this test, and possibly our experiment, what seems to be most important aren't the details of the memory itself - often we will make them up based on emotion - but how a given memory, event, or person makes us feel as Maya Angelou claims.
1 & 2. Folman, Ari. Waltz with Bashir. Sony Pictures Classics, 2008.