ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL Listening Association, within twenty-four hours, we forget half of any information we’ve heard. Forty-eight hours later, we’ve forgotten 75 percent of it. And we don’t grasp everything we hear in the first place. But these numbers change when what we hear is repeated. And the more it’s repeated, the better the numbers look.
All this has a huge bearing on how you make changes in your life. You change your behavior by changing the way you think. But the way you think is as ingrained and habitual and as resistant to change as any physical habit.
So learning new ways of thinking and behaving — and learning them well enough to actually make a difference — requires repetition. If, for example, you find a book that really makes a difference to you, read it again and again. Make it an annual event. Every time you read it, you’ll come across things you’d forgotten about.
Audiotapes are ideal for repetition. Listen to tapes in your car and traffic jams will be transformed from an annoyance to an extended opportunity to improve the quality of your life.
Telling your friends about something you’ve learned helps cement the new information in your mind. The more you share it, the better you learn it. The effort and concentration it requires to explain something to someone makes it clearer in your own mind and more permanent.
There are always so many new books, new tapes, new shows, new ideas, new information — we know we’ll never get to it all, but our curiosity constantly pulls us toward it. But keep this in mind: Most of that new stuff isn’t very good. And even less applies to your situation. So when you come across something that is good and does apply to your situation, hold onto it. Reread it. When you come across a good chapter in this book that applies to you, read it again in a month. Write a letter to someone and explain the idea to them and how you used it and how it worked. Post it on your refrigerator. Read it onto a tape and listen to it in your car. Keep it in your life. Repetition makes a difference.
With repetition you can take a fleeting hope sparked by a good idea and turn it into an actual change in your life. Instead of that possibility fading with your memory, it can grow stronger and stronger until your life is changed for the better. The distance between hope and actuality is crossed by repetition.
To turn good ideas into real change, use repetition.
learn more about this principle
Author: Adam Khan
author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works
and creator of the blogs, Crush Pessimism, and Mood Raiser