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“What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.” –Joshua Foer
~The Simple Sophisticate podcast, episode #12
My first international flight to France, a first kiss that was patiently waited for, hearing the words “Mind the Gap” with my own ears while I scurried through the tunnels under London, sitting down for dinner with my editor for the first time and not realizing three hours had passed before I went home still pinching myself.
Unforgettable moments, like people, don’t need to be perfect to be memorable, nor do they have to be set in extraordinary places, although some will from time to time feel perfect or extraordinary to us based on our definition. Undoubtedly, an unforgettable moment is that which brings something to life inside us that we’ve either dreamt about, had to work hard for, been extremely patient for or which revealed to us a truth about ourselves that pointed us in the right direction, that we will never forget because such unforgettable moments have forever shaped us. Without such moments, we wouldn’t be who we are today.
Now there is no way to know the people who we will be unforgettable to. To know that is to understand the inter-workings of another’s mind and every other experience they have ever had. Impossible. But there are a few ways we can give ourselves a good chance of being forever remembered for all of the right reasons.
1. Be Yourself
This is where we ensure that not everyone will find us memorable. Certain personalities will click with ours; certain personalities will clash. The only way, however, to leave a permanent memory is to be constantly who we truly are. Such consistency, much like a catchy logo or brand that has been around for ages, begins to engrain itself into our mind if it is regularly dusting us with its magic.
2. Be Honest
Sadly, far too many people that we run into are not honest. They will say what we want to hear, they will avoid confrontation or they will simply be a puppet or a robot and say whatever puts them in a flattering light.
Not to worry, this is where such disappointing news has a silver lining. By being honest, you will be a refreshing anomaly to those you spend time with. Not only will their expect for you grow, but you will be hard to forget. A “yes” man is a dime a dozen, but someone who speaks up against tradition or policy when something doesn’t sit well with them, albeit in a tactful manner, receives notice.
Even if your honesty makes you feel like a fool, your feelings get stomped on or a colleague or boss gets their nose out of join, so long as you are speaking from the heart, adhering to your values, who knows when the right person will see your strength and gumption and offer you a dream position or opportunity, ask you on a date or simply, but importantly, hold you in high regard.
3. Be Thoughtful
Much like building a strong relationship, as was discussed in last week’s podcast, being selfless and considerate of what someone may need or want is a near-certain way to be remembered for all of the right reasons.
A simple email to a co-worker to tell them you appreciate their hard work, picking up coffee or a friend’s favorite morning drink when you know they won’t have time to do it for themselves, sending a quick text to someone letting them know you’re thinking of them, giving genuine compliments to strangers and especially loved ones, or treating your significant other to dinner in the middle of the week just because.
Small or large, each thoughtful gesture makes a significant impact. And while it can be hard to do or remember when we have busy schedules, being able to brighten someone else’s day, has an amazing side effect of brighten our own as well.
4. Be Someone of Quality
Refuse to be a follower playing it safe because you are afraid of being singled out or because you haven’t figured out your own path. Establish what you need in your life to function at your best. Whether it is the food you eat, how much sleep you need or the ethical standards you refuse to break.
Most importantly, come to understand why you do what you do. Have a purpose, a reason, for the direction you are taking in your life. In other words, live an examined life as was discussed in this podcast.
People don’t all have to approve of your own standards, but know why your live the way you do. Because no matter how hard you defend your decisions to someone who doesn’t accept them based on their own belief system, you’ll never get them to see eye to eye. But so long as you know why, and you are at peace with your reasons, you will leave many with an unforgettable impression that you are someone with thoughtful principles and resolute courage.
5. Be Approachable
Part of being unforgettable is being able to at some point connect with people. We can only make impressions if we have opportunities to interact with others, and thus, take advantage of them.
Presenting a warm, welcoming persona, whether with a smile, laughter or your body language, reveals to on-lookers that they would be safe to interact with you. Also, while we should never speak negatively about ourselves, showing that we are human from time to time (mistakes we’ve made, oopses survived) makes us more relatable and far less intimidating.
Another way we can connect with others is to share stories or anecdotes that personalize the conversation we are a part of. Whether at work or play, while statistics should be used to provide concrete support, studies have shown that they are only remembered after the fact 5-10% of the time, while an anecdote, while less substantiating, is 50-65% more likely to be remembered, thus leaving an imprint of us on the listener’s mind.
“People would walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson
One of the gifts of being unforgettable is that deeper, more significant connections can be made. And when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, choosing to be our true selves, not sit on the sidelines, life will begin to open up and reveal its magnificent adventure to us. Because it is the people we meet and choose to bring with us along the way that will make all the difference.
Being unforgettable is not something we can know will happen each time we meet someone new, but rather than being perfect and infinitely nice, yet superficially so, why not be thoughtful and ourselves? Why not be someone we would remember and think fondly of long after the interaction has happened? You’ll be far more likely to leave a positive impression, even if the experience was flawed, yet unabashedly you, in the eyes of those you would want in your corner even if you don’t know who they are yet.
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~The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie