• Nick Henderson

The power of short - term memory

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

When I played baseball growing up, I was always told that the best players have “short – term memory.” For instance, the great players do their best to get a hit or make a play, but if they don’t – they forget about it. When they strikeout, miss a ground-ball or make a bad throw they shake it off. The mistake is gone in their minds. The play is over. This allows them to not let one error turn into three. It gives them the capability to forget about the failure and focus on the present play.

Through the years, I’ve realized that that is not just good baseball advice, it’s great life advice as well. “Short – term memory” is invaluable. Not in a manner of limited function, but in a manner of intentional operation. The ability to fail yet bounce back up prepared for the next task is something, that even in everyday life, separates the average from the astounding.

Phil 3:13

In Phil. 3:13, the Apostle Paul writes about this idea of forgetting what is behind and straining forward for what is ahead. I love the verse; I just wish I could apply it more. His primary point: stop thinking about all the things that have gone wrong and move on to what might go right. He understood the same principle my baseball coaches did - If you dwell on past mishaps, you are more likely to make them in the future.

In fact, what if we didn’t define ourselves by our greatest failures, but by our top achievements? What if we didn’t magnify our mishaps, and instead moved forward into a fruitful future?

Defeat doesn't have to destroy you

The power of short – term memory is undeniable. Defeat doesn’t have to destroy you. A mistake doesn’t have to cause misery. A loss doesn’t make you less. Forget your failures and move forward – God has big plans for you!

Whatever the circumstance, cultivate the skill of short-term memory. If you’re in business, don’t let the loss of one sale stop you from making the next one. If you’re a parent, fight the feeling of guilt when you think you’ve failed your child in some way. You can’t go back; you can only do better next time. If you’re a student, be quick to learn from tough tests and move on. Don’t dwell on the poor grades, focus on fixing them. If you’ve fallen into sin - repent, embrace the grace God has provided you and get back to putting a fat dent in the world for His glory. Forget your failure - move forward.

In sum, my hope is that if you came to this post bearing some burdens that you now recognize the freedom in forgetting. Forgetting the failures, mistakes and mess ups and moving on. Leave the problems in the past where they belong and focus on the future.

I hope this encouraged you today! If it did, share it with a friend – I’d greatly appreciate it.


One of the best books on how to move on after difficult circumstances come into your life. Highly recommend it:

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