How often do you hear that? In fact, how often do you say that? It’s interesting to note how this has become the norm. What was once perceived as a reason or a truth, has since become an excuse and a symbol of self deprecating laziness.
Don’t worry, I too used be a part of that group. Upon meeting someone, preluding the conversation with “I’m not good at remembering names” seemingly removes the obligation or responsibility to remember their name. It’s easy. Why remember someone’s name if you don’t have to or if it’s going to require so much effort?
Unfortunately, this self deprecating nature works its way into other aspects of our life. “I’m not good at finishing projects. I’m not good at keeping score. I’m not good at writing. I’m not good at drawing. I’m not good at coming up with ideas. I’m not good at doing the grunt work. I’m not good at anything.”
Some of you may be thinking right now, “but I’m really not good at remembering names.” My response to that is: Sure—not yet. There’s no sense in completely writing yourself off and never attempting to work at it. I used to be that way too, I always claimed that I wasn’t good at remembering names and it was true. The reason it was true, however, is because I allowed it to be. By staking that claim, I was never giving myself the chance to actually get better at remembering names or even give it a shot.
I can’t recall an exact date or a moment in which I made the conscious decision to start remembering people’s names, but I know that it came with the push from my brother. We both set out to stop excusing ourselves and being lazy, and instead focused on making a deliberate effort to know the names of the people we met.
My brother and I have almost gamified remembering names. From time to time we quiz each other, and when we tell each other stories we almost always place an emphasis on the names of the people in the story.
Every morning I see Borris out for a run. Last week my computer stopped working and so I brought it to a computer repair shop where I spoke to Courtland. A few days later Brian called me to let me know that it was all fixed. I rarely buy anything at J Crew, but I love going in the shop here in Savannah because David and Mallory are so nice and helpful everytime we go in. And at Chick Fil A, I almost always talk to Michael about running. And just the other day at Home Depot, Bobby asked my brother and I if we needed help in the paint department.
Sure, you may not be good at remembering names, but that can change. Remembering names is an act and symbol of awareness and caring. When you immediately tell someone “I’m not good at remembering names,” you’re in a way telling them “I don’t care enough to try to remember your name.” Rid yourself of using that excuse, and challenge yourself to remember the names of the people you meet. This new habit will positively pour into other aspects of your life—you’ll in turn pay more attention to your surroundings and be more engaged with the people you meet.