Making My Obsession Work

I’ve written about my obsessive tendencies a few times before. I’ve explained how destructive they can be when I’m worrying about my behaviour, but I’ve also described how they’ve allowed me undertake big creative projects.

Over the last few days I’ve been harnessing the power of my obsessive tendencies once again – I’ve been using them to help me memorise the talk I’ll be giving at TEDx Albertopolis next week. I’ve made a number of large colour-coded posters with sections of the talk written on them. I’ve put them up around the castle and every time I wheel past one I make myself read it. I’ve also put the full talk up by my bed and read it every night before I go to sleep.

I used a similar technique a long time ago when I was at school. I always struggled to hold onto the information I was being taught and as a result I wasn’t predicted very good GCSE results. Then, a couple of months before my exams, I had a revelation. I suddenly got that all I had to do was remember the key information for each subject. This may sound obvious, but to me it made the prospect of exams feel much more manageable.

I wasn’t able to remember the information the way it was being taught in school, but I knew I could make myself learn it in my own way. It was the first time I realised that if something wasn’t working I had the power to change it.

I made big colourful posters and stuck them up all round the house. I had one for each subject, and never passed one without reading it from start to finish. It did the trick and I did much better than expected. Rather than leaving school at sixteen and going to agricultural college as planned, I stayed on for A-levels. It’s fair to say those posters changed the course of my life.

I don’t think this technique would be nearly as effective without my obsessive tendencies. Once I’ve set something like this up I can trust myself to follow the rules and read the posters each and every time.

Of course it remains to be seen if all this pays off and I can remember the speech in time for next week’s talk at the Royal Albert Hall.

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