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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: David Phipps
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: David Phipps ( @phipps73 )

Is It True That If You Don't Use It, You Lose It?

Published in , , Comments (6)

Heck yeah it's true!

I am of course, talking about the things you have learned... or more specifically, the things that I have learned. I now have over 500 blog posts on my site, the majority of which are of a technical, exploratory nature. A lot of it get's retained, but not all of it. I find, that unless I use a newly learned skill on a regular basis, I lose the ability to recall it on command (ie. when I need it while programming). But even more than recalling it, I just forget I know it and hence, a particular trick might not pop to mind when it would be most useful.

To remedy this, I am testing out the idea of a daily "If You Don't Use It, You Lose It" email that will send me 5 random blogs entries from my own database every day. I figure, most of the time, I will glance at it and trash it. But I figure, every now and then, I am sure I will come across a blog entry and be like "Oh crap! I totally forgot about that!"

Now, not all of the blog entries on my site are technical, so I am including blog entries on a category by category basis. Right now, I am including the ColdFusion, Javascript, and SQL categories. I figure this will cut down on the junk that I send myself... get a good signal to noise ratio going.

So anyway, this is designed to remind ME what the heck I wrote. However, if anyone else is interested in using it, feel free. I have an ultra simple subscribe / unsubscribe form here:

Sign up for, "If You Don't Use It, You Lose It."

We'll see if it helps me remember stuff on a permanent basis. It might... of coures, it might end up being totally useless.

Reader Comments


Funny enough, now that I have been blogging for over 2 years I have forgotten much of what I wrote as well. The other day I was arguing a point regarding CF and someone brought a superbly written counterargument to my attention - it was written by me on my blog about a year ago. :)

The good thing about that argument is I was right no matter how you look at it!


I'm constantly amazed at how much of the content from two books and hundreds of blog posts I've forgotten as well. It used to be that when someone asked me a CF question, I always had the answer on the tip of my tongue. Now I find myself having to crack open a book - that I wrote - to find out what I originally said about a particular point.



I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes, I will be trying to solve a particular problem and feeling a bit stumped. So I do a bit of Googling and then end up coming across one of my OWN posts :) Ooops!

This way, I figure it will take 30 seconds for me to glance over 5 random posts and I feel with every glance, the idea... or at least the idea of the idea becomes more permanently ingrained.



two things:

1. The 5 random posts thing sounds like a good idea for RSS feed - "Ben's 5 Random Posts" or something of that sort. What do you think? (I still subscribed to your email)

2. CodeSnippets - I run into the scenario often enough - "Damn, I know I've done something very similar to that, where the hell is it?", followed by scratching head and spending hours trying to find it.


What a great idea! I love that motto. Its so perfect even in everyday life. Right now I'm trying to use my muscles so I dont lose them when I'm 80! ;-)

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel