Why human memory is so bad ?

Humans are bad at memory, especially men (at least me). Now I am at 28, I wonder how my memory would be 40 years later. I already blame my memory when I forgot to wish my wife on our engagement anniversary. Before marriage, I even forgot once to wish on her birthday. I was actually in call with her till 12:30 am and then I called her at 9 am, still I was speaking usual repeats. At 11 am, she texted me if I forgot something. I was telling everything from my lunch and morning bath, but birthday did not strike my memory. Then she sent the date, on seeing it I immediately got her birthday. I was blushing in embarrassment that I had to plead for straight 30 minutes.

I never had good memory. I go to groceries thinking I have checklist in mind but come back missing one or two. I forget to switch off induction and boiling milk spoils the table. Same with pressure cookers. After every spoils I strike my head to not do that again. But it happens somehow. So why does this happen? For sure it cannot be age factor, it has something to do with my personal attention. As I always say, I have the habit of debugging myself when I realize it needs to be corrected (Being empathetical) . Then I came with these reasons.


When I am told something to be done, I never listen properly. I will be multitasking already and whatever I hear, I just nod the head in automation that if I am asked what was told, I cannot repeat. When this happened often, I realized there could be something important that I fail to hear. Now I stop the teller and say them to speak after I am done with the task. Just like breathing and speech cannot co-exist, Doing and Listening should be done one at a time.

Context Switching

When the priorities get shuffled, memory fails miserably. I will be preparing a food and then I get a call from delivery person to collect the package. I leave the food as it is, servicing the call. As I go downstairs, I will be asked to get the remote and give to my father. After I get the package, I will be exploring the bill attached. As I retreat, I will again be asked to check the battery in the remote. By the time I get back to kitchen, I forget what I was doing. Try to avoid shuffling the priorities, pretend to be deaf or unnoticed at times. I get pings from my colleagues despite the Busy status I keep. I never respond until my work gets done at least partially, so that when I get back I know where I Left.

Not worried about the impacts

What can memory failure do to us? We don’t care much about side effects or end results. You book a train scheduled to depart at 16:00 and you sit at home till 15:40. Your mom calls you to enquire if you reached station, then you realize and leave in hurry. This happened to me when I was in my college and I missed my train on Diwali. I had to go to my native home, but I stayed in my work town alone in my room. We never understand the impacts until it leads to catastrophic results. How often do we type the password wrong and search for mobile or notepad about the secret label? Every new signup we do with a new password never gets remembered. We are advised not to keep same passwords for different logins, but impractical to remember all the passwords. And that has to be changed at least once in 3 – 6 months. Until we get some emergency to transfer money to someone in need and we forget the 6 digit pin, we don’t really care about passwords. “Forgot password” is there for a reason, but not the always option.

Unconscious state

The intolerable state of remembering stuffs is this unconscious state. Physically present mentally absent. We are never conscious when things that has to be remembered are said to us or showed to us. We will be busy thinking non-existing or never going to happen pieces of information, that when we are interrupted we continue to sustain in that state.

6 digit OTPs, how badly we remember them until it gets validated. Smartphones are to make us smart, but they are making us dumb. I read the digits and I keep saying it until it is typed. My wife has the habit of bluffing some numbers in random or distracting with talks to make me forget. And she wins everytime. After 3 digits, I look at OTP again to complete remaining 3 digits. “Copy OTP” option in smartphones making our memory even worse.

We struggle to remember these 6 digits for just 10 seconds until it gets typed. We failed to remember 10 digit phone numbers, now 6 digits, soon we will forget the 3/2 digit door numbers. You write an address and you will be struggling to get the door number from memory, you will be seen walking to the front door and exiting the house. When your parents ask where are you going, either you don’t hear them or hear some fades & forget what was asked.


These are just the top four reasons I could figure out, there are other reasons like not interested in listening, lazy in getting registered, not training the brain that neuron channels remain unused, etc. I was reading this book “You can have an amazing memory” by Dominic O’Brien, known for his memory books. I am yet to complete this book, but I felt his strategy should work. According to him, memory can be trained to develop than believing the age factors and other physiological reasons. To remember new things, we can make associations with things we remember. That way, we can recollect the unknowns through the knowns.

Think if you never had a memory, You are literally dead. Memory helps in everything a human is doing currently. Without memory there would be no habits, no thoughts, no actions, no humans !

Work on your memory and have your life remembered always ! It has nothing to do with capability, it is upto us to discover the strategy to memorise.

Check out my other Motivational Posts if this post added you a flavor.

4 thoughts on “Why human memory is so bad ?

Add yours

  1. I too think that multitasking has an adverse effect on memory, and that’s further compounded by the fast-paced technology that bombards our minds with unnecessary info. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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