72 hours - use it or lose it!

Nov 11 • Ilona Nurmela • Comments: 0
Last Wednesday, when I was presenting at the 2018 Training Conference someone asked me a very good question - where does the belief come from that if you fail to implement sth new that you've learnt in the 72 hours that follow, then you are likely to never implement or learn it?
I spoke from my own experience, but there is actually a body of evidence to support this claim. There have been studies that prove that an average human being forgets 50% of information within 1 hour, 70% of information in 24 hours and 90% of information within 1 week. This is called the FORGETTING CURVE and we all have it because we and our brains are adaptive and NEED to forget what is no longer useful - and, if you don't use it, it's obviously not useful. Very few have eidetic memories and never forget + can perfectly recall every single thing.

Add ignoring 90% of things going on around you (selective attention) and the name of the game is a avoiding memory overload.

That's why, the efficiency rate of trainings where you don't have practical exercises to help you implement new knowledge is 10%, i.e. 1 out of 10 ppl in the room actually learns sth.

So, if you find sth super useful, implement it straight away. There is a good approach - learn + do + teach. So, go try sth new and teach sm1 else to do it as well, the stronger neural paths you'll make in your own brain.

In addition, there is sth that is mathematically measurable and linked to remembering new amazing stuff and that is potency for change. That's where the 72 hour-implement-or-forget-it rule comes from. If at the time of learning the (energetic potential for change) also dubbed as potency for change is 100%, then after 72 hours it is 51-60%, meaning you are likely to slip back to your usual modes of doing and thinking. There is a gradual deterioration of that potency - after 3hrs it is 95-98%, after 12hrs it's 90%, after 24hrs it's 85%, after 48hrs it's 75% potency for change.

So, the 72hr rule is a law (immutable occurrence rather than a statute) of diminishing potential.

The FLIP SIDE is the law of magnification - success over implementing sth you've learnt motivates you to continue doing it more and more. In percentages - you implement sth new and get SUCCESS and with it comes 120% of potency for change, you do it again and again and success becomes exponential (you reach a breakthrough) and you get to 150% potency and once you get to new advanced learning, you get to 200% potency.

Now, with all the learning you hope or have to do - do you actually know your preferred method of learning? Forget the regurgitation of stuff from memory expected of us throughout most of our academic life. You're very lucky if your teachers/professors/mentors taught you how to think, how to see patterns, how to generate new ideas and new knowledge, where the theory that you learn matters in practice. Are you a visual learner - seeing is believing? Or do you have perfect recall from audio? Or do you need to do stuff at least once like me to be able to replicate it years later? Granted, there are certain things we learn about others and social interaction that we can do simply by observing. What about in terms of new things to do, new beliefs, new skills? Do you need to see/hear/do?

So, anyone with me to live in the learn-do-teach mode? :)

About the potency and 72hr rule see: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/72-hour-rule-aviv-shahar

About forgetting, see: https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1379/brain-science-the-forgetting-curvethe-dirty-secret-of-corporate-training

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