My defining feature is what I don’t have – a working memory. Almost everyone has a sequential memory, they can remember lists of things or phone numbers or directions. I have one memory location, the last piece of data overwrites what was there before. Seems like a small difference, but it means I have to think differently. I’ve grown to both love and hate this.
This web site and my coaching methods are a good example of the differences in thinking. Most people assume that they know how to pedal a bike, so there’s almost no emphasis put on learning the skill set. There’s nothing in my head that I don’t question – I’m pretty sure I know my own name, but sometimes I even question that. To replace being sure of myself or what’s in my head, I test things.
I’ve learned to accept that I have some skills that most people don’t have, and there are a number of necessary skills that I lack. Math and science come easily to me, I once tested out of a math class by figuring out the subject while taking the test. On the other hand, I have no sense of direction at all – I’m lost almost 100% of the time. And then there are the parts I can’t explain. I really don’t know how to play piano. I don’t know any notes, I don’t know which which scales have how many sharps or flats, yet I play piano. I can’t memorize my own phone number, but the motor sequence to play hundreds of keys in rapid succession works just fine… I can also get places by bike. I can’t tell you how, I can’t find my routes on a map, I can’t drive the same route… All I know is that part of my brain works, and it’s probably not the same part as everybody else.