Recently, I went to the funeral of a wonderful lady who had lived to the amazing age of 103! I have known ‘Gran Doll’ for 40 years, and in all that time she amazed me by remembering everything about everyone and everywhere. She lived in the same house for 101 years, and undoubtedly saw so many changes throughout her life.
In her last few weeks, I spoke to her granddaughter, who is also my best friend, and she told me that she thought that the reason Gran was so able to remember so many details was because she always listened well. Gran remembered everyone right up to the moment she passed away.
So is that the key? I think that being completely present is an amazing quality which we often don’t manage in our busy lives, where information is all around us, and we can communicate on so many levels with several people at once. If, like many of us, you find that you can’t easily remember names, places or details, is it perhaps because you weren’t fully present when you received the information? Making connections, forging friendships, even business deals, happens best in an environment where we are focused fully on the person in front of us. It allows all of our senses to work well so that we have the best chance of recalling what was said
Because of Grans’ memory and ability to recall facts, she was definitely never at a loss for something to say – so she was always interesting and interested. This in turn meant that people wanted to be with her. ‘Ask Gran Doll’ was the answer if you didn’t know something. So Gran was rarely without company. It could have been the huge and legendary Cornish pasties she made of course, but I’d like to think that her ability to concentrate completely on what was happening right at that moment was what made Gran stand out from the crowd, and contributed to her long, healthy and happy life.
So, next time your children , your partner, your boss or your best friend have something to tell you, think of Gran and make a point of putting all other thoughts to one side, and really experience the quality of a fully focused conversation. I’d love to know what a difference this makes to you.