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How to activate your short-term memory to improve your life – a lesson from football

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Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly.  

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – It’s football season and I’m a Buckeye fan.

I know, I know… I live in the heart of Tobacco Road and am lightweight obligated to pick a side, but the truth is… wait for it… I’m ACC agnostic.

But I promise to share something today that will resonate regardless of where you side on this battle line. A lesson I learned from my son, Tre.

Last week, his football team flew to Mississippi for a big game.

I watched expectedly on TV to see him step on the football field after almost three years. H­is 6’5”, 200-pound frame is a coach’s dream.

Yet not even I (his mom and the queen of “you can do anything”) was sure he’d have the opportunity to play again. During the pandemic he took a gap year, forfeited a football scholarship, and went on a quest to figure out exactly what he wanted.

As a mom you want your kids to have a smooth road… no potholes, no roadblocks, no harm.

But this was way out of my league – I couldn’t make this dream a reality for him. He had to put in the work and earn a spot on a team nearly three years after playing for Millbrook High School.

Luckily, he didn’t need me… he just needed to believe in himself.

He worked out nearly every day (often alone), quietly got a part time job to pay for a speed trainer, and kept the vision of what it would feel like to put a helmet on again fresh in his mind. The investment paid off. This spring, he got an academic and athletic scholarship to play football in West Palm Beach.

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Leave it on the field

Now, back to Saturday’s game. They lost. I worried. How would he handle this? What would this moment mean to him? So, I sent him a text:

  • Me: Sorry about the game, kiddo, but so proud of you.
  • Tre: It’s all good. Short term memory.
  • Me: Wow… that’s perspective.

As I thought about it, it made a lot of sense that this would be his response.

I mean hadn’t he deployed his short-term memory every day – letting go of his setbacks to keep his dream alive?  For him the game wasn’t the destination but a celebration of how far he had come. Yes, short term memory… and back on the field next week.

Talk about lightning coaching! He didn’t know it, but I needed to hear his wise council in that moment.

Like many of us, I can get caught up in the cyclone of losses and “if only’s.”  But sometimes, it really is as simple as learning the lesson at hand, activating your short-term memory, and moving on.

So… this weekend before you get caught up in the flurry of college football, kids’ activities and outdoor shenanigans, maybe take a few minutes and ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. What false story, disappointment, or loss are you holding on to?
  2. Is that tight grip on the past really serving you anymore?

Now… imagine if you exercised a little amnesia and activated your short-term memory. What thrilling new people and wild new adventures lie ahead?

The choice is yours, friend… time for a game-day decision.

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  • Source: https://wraltechwire.com/2022/09/16/how-to-activate-your-short-term-memory-to-improve-your-life-a-lesson-from-football/
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