Remembering is a skill. Sure, there are those who have been blessed with a good memory. But they are exceptions. For most of us, remembering is a skill, like speaking in public, singing, reading, thinking, or swimming. We improve at a skill by hard work—direct effort applied with a good deal of concentration, mixed with proper know-how.
One of the most glaring weaknesses we often confess is in the realm of remembering names. We excuse it by saying: “I’m not good at remembering names!” or “Your face is familiar, but what was that name?” I suppose that’s better than: “Your breath is familiar, but not your name.”
But I’m afraid we have begun to believe something that isn’t true as we make our excuses. The fact is . . . you can remember names! Except for a very few, rare cases, anybody can remember anybody.
The secret lies in that very brief period of time we stand face to face with another person—in fact, the most important person in your life at that moment. You see, that momentary encounter has been directed by God. He has arranged two lives so that they cross at His prescribed time—so you can be sure that the meeting is significant. So is the name! How you fit the name with the face—and cement both together in your memory bank—is of crucial importance.
I’ll go into that tomorrow; for now, I must again emphasize the proper mental attitude we should have to begin with. Remind yourself at each introduction and handshake:
This person is important (because he or she is!).
God has arranged our meeting (because He has!).
It would be safe to say that people with remarkable memories developed them because of a driving need or desire. One of the keys that unlocks a person’s soul is the realization that you are interested enough to call him or her by name. Let that be your driving force as you make the concerted effort to remember someone’s name. I’ll tell you how tomorrow.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.