First Time For Everything - Deepstash

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There's an art to happy memories - you can make more by experiencing more "first"s

First Time For Everything

The 'First-Time' Theory states that our first job, first kiss, and other things that happened to us for the first time, have an extraordinary effect on our memory, leading to greater and more elaborate cognitive processing.

Example: The first year of college, with its many firsts that a person goes through is more easily remembered than the last years.

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Unplanned Happy Memories
Unplanned Happy Memories

We normally leave our ‘special moments’ to chance. Our cherished memories are usually unplanned, apart from the big occasions like our graduation or the day of our wedding.

We need to learn how to construct events on purpose that can be remembered throughout our lifetime, giving us nostalgic ammunition for our flashback gun.

Creating Moments Of Elevation

Certain experiences make us feel joyful, engaged, amazed and motivated.

  1. Concerts, museums and great outings engage all our senses, making the moments stand out intensely.
  2. Breaking the routine, or the ‘script’ of life provides us with a pleasant surprise, resulting in little moments of big memories.
  3. Competing in something, like a game or a bet, raises the stakes and creates in us a rush of endorphins, making the event more entertaining and memorable.
Factors Of Motivation at Work

The number one reason for employees to leave their jobs is the lack of recognition, praise and appreciation.

In research spanning decades, employees were asked about their motivation factors at work and had only one common factor across 46 years, which was the appreciation they got from the employer for their hard work.

Early memories are not reliable
Early memories are not reliable

Scientists believe that it is impossible to recall the first few years of life. Many of the necessary brain structures for memory have not yet matured at the time. It means that it is physiologically impossible for your brain to remember personal events from infancy.

Any recollections are patched together from other knowledge we acquired later on.

Your memory depends on context

If we learn facts while we are doing something, we will be able to recall them better, when we are doing that same thing again.

You can use this information to your advantage: for instance, try chewing a particular gum while studying.

Your mental timeline is skewed

Research has shown that we often underestimate the amount of time that has passed from long ago, and overestimate the amount of time that has passed since more recent events.

How we perceive time
How we perceive time

The brain can stretch or compress the feeling of time. Seconds of pain can feel like minutes, and hours spent at a party can feel like a moment.

Research shows that an extra factor behind our experience of time is our income.

The feeling of a long life

Research suggests new experiences could create more time codes in the human brain as it processes memory formation.

This could mean that people who can afford to enjoy more vacations and hobbies and have more stimulating jobs, will recall having lived for a longer time.

Hunting for time codes
  • In the 1950s, a standard treatment for epilepsy focused on removing parts of patient's brains, which also left them unable to form new long-term memories. It suggested that memory formation and time perception are tied to the medial temporal lobe.
  • Another study found that the brain doesn't waste time memorizing moments that are dull or non-essential, but memories are created when someone engages in actions that are free, engaging, or varied.
  • Time feels forever when it is spent in a boring environment, but in retrospect, it will not be remembered in detail. However, fascinating events that flew by will be full of memories and feel longer in retrospect.