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I'm Good At Names And So Are You.

My brother learned to ride a snowboard during a flight to Colorado.

No he didn't watch a video on his ipad. No he didn't read a book.

What he did was close his eyes and imagine his feet on the board, the wind in his face, and the smooth face of his favorite Wisconsin ski hill, Rib Mountain.

When he heard the stewardesses walk by he would open eyes and watch them come towards and then away from as he thought about slaloming. Turbulence was just a rough patch to meet and overcome. He even fell over a few times, in his mind, just to get the hang of it.

His mind was able to learn something almost entirely on its own not only through a desire to gain the pleasure of snowboarding, but also to avoid the pain of falling down and failing his friends by being a newbie, slowing everyone else down.

He told me about this because of something else he had said to me. He told me he was bad with names, and I said I didn't believe him. I told him that one day I heard myself saying the same thing to someone and I felt so embarrassed when I realized that I was lying. I knew lots of other people's names so it would have been more honest of me to just say "you're not an important enough person in my life for me to even know what your name is".

So I decided to become good at remembering names. Since my job involved meeting lots of new people I took two or three opportunities to ask someone's name and tell them I would remember it because I was good at names. I didn't obsess on it, I didn't make up a mnemonic device, I didn't keep saying it.

That night as I thought about my little exercise I answered every doubt that reared its tooth and nail with the refrain "I'm good at names".

Since that night I have been able to surprise and delight people I haven't seen in 3, 4, 5 years by greeting them by name. I avoid the pain of embarrassment and reap the joy of making someone's day a little lighter, and often of sharing this little trick with them.

Many are familiar with 'The Power Of Positive Thinking' and the whole mind over matter movement. Of course some of it is bunk, and every movie ever made has a 'you can do it' moment, and possibly I'm just another CIA disinfo operative, so forget my stories. Here's how to prove it to yourself.

Tonight in your bed repeat to yourself the following sentence:

"I can say the alphabet backwards'.

Don't think about the letter 'z', or the letter 'y', or x or w. Think about your family. Think about your friends. Think about the fact that you know how to say the alphabet backwards and it ends with 'abc', no wait, 'cba'.

GOOOD MOOOR-NNNING! DID IT WORK!?!

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Good morning.

can anyone say the alphabet for me???

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.