If I said “write down everything you know and remember,” you would probably stare at me, wide-eyed, and start to drool. Even if you wanted to, you can’t access your own memory like that. You need to access specific memories with specific triggers.
Sometimes the triggers are less than obvious. But we all have weird memories from decades ago that we haven’t consciously thought about in forever that will suddenly leap into our brains because of a random sequence of words, or an image, or a sound, or a smell, or whatever.
The point is that the memory was always there. It was just in the safe, and you didn’t have the code. You couldn’t get at the memory; you couldn’t even see inside the safe to know what the memory was. But you have to have a little faith that the memory is in there.
Why? Because the code to the safe is never the phrase “I don’t know.”
You have a tremendous wealth of information in your brain. Most of it locked away. Practice unlocking it – take a notebook and go do weird stuff. Stuff you don’t normally do; different music, different places, different food. Write down the things you remember that you didn’t before.
About two years ago I got into a great musician named Keb’ Mo’. I told my dad about him, thinking he would like him too. My dad said, “Oh, when you were a kid you LOVED Keb’ Mo’! Do you remember we went to that music festival when you were 8? You stayed and listened to him all day.” And suddenly I did remember – it all came flooding back, a vast number of details. Isn’t it funny that I didn’t remember when I “discovered” the musician as an adult? It took my dad telling me about the festival specifically to bring back all the associated memories. That time, his story was the code to the safe.
There’s too much value in that safe to leave it locked away forever. So go do some weird things, and discover what you already know.