Manic Impressives often struggle with things. Organizing them. Keeping track of them. And often, finding them. It is estimated that the average Manic Impressive will spend 7.2 years* of his or her life searching for lost things. (*Okay, I totally made this up.) Which is why we need to know how to find lost things.
The answer can be found in the second act of the cinematic gem, “Dude Where’s My Car?” Ashton Kutcher and Seann Willam Scott play stoner party boys that come out to the curb after a night of fierce partying to find their car is missing.
After Ashton delivers the movie’s title line, Seann gives him the solution that all of us need to use whenever we lose something:
“We need to get back into the state of mind we were in last night. That way we can retrace our steps. Sense memory, simulated perception, altered conscious memory retrieval. Discovery Channel.”
Yes, Discovery Channel indeed.
Great Strategy To Find Lost Things
But Dude is onto something here. The most reliable method to find lost things, is to use sense memory to retrace your steps. I don’t recommend the altered conscious memory retrieval, as it can lead to perpetual drunkenness, for all the things we Manics manage to lose.
But going back in your mind to the last time you remember having the item is a winning technique. See yourself with the item, then mentally retrace your steps. If your mind is not capable of this (no judgement here), you can always resort to physically retracing your steps.
So start by picturing yourself in the last place you remember. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I’d been rushing all over town preparing for a dinner party. When I realized my credit card was missing, I retraced my route in my head. My final purchase that day was at a liquor store. I’d gotten a call from my wife just as I was finishing up my purchase. That was enough of a distraction to cause me to rush out of the store with my card still in the clerk’s hand.
Retracing it in my head led me right back to that moment, and a quick retrieval. That was one of my quickest. My longest retrieval using this method was a full year. I was packing for a community campout and couldn’t find my softball glove. I’m usually good about getting my softball gear back in my bag after a game. But I hadn’t played in quite a while, and couldn’t visualize myself using the glove since the previous year’s campout game.
Sure enough, when the equipment guy dumped out his bag at the annual choosing up of the teams, there it was. I’d lent it to someone after my last at bat, and forgot to collect it. It stayed a full year in someone else’s garage. Maybe I need to play more often.
Why Not Just Keep Your Sh*t Together?
Yes you’re right, better not to lose things in the first place. That would eliminate the wasted time we spend searching for our crap. There are a number of ways for you Manics to get better at keeping track of your stuff (see item 3 in this post). But inevitably, even diligent and disciplined folks need to find lost things.
So from now on whenever you’re missing something, channel Ashton Kutcher. Ask yourself, “Dude, where’s my ________?” and start the sense memory process. The more you use this strategy, the better you’ll get, and the less time you’ll waste searching for stuff.
Or you can just buy a new one, whatever it is. Sometimes it’s just not worth the effort…