The Fallacy Within Your Memories

Is there a more compelling reason to journal than this?

Darren Matthews
4 min readJun 27, 2022


Photo by Rirri on Unsplash

Your memories are time stamps of history.

Your history.

The problem is your memories are stored in your mind, and it isn’t very good at remembering. Yes, your mind has a lot to hold onto, so it tends to skimp on the detail. And that’s not good.

It’s the details that get lost.

Like a helicopter pilot flying at 10,000 feet, the ground becomes small and only the biggest buildings, roads, and landmarks remain visible. The ground blurs into a sea of green pastel colours. Homes are smudges on the landscape.

Your memories suffer the same fate.

Instead of altitude, it’s time and your mind’s biases fading your memories.

Recency bias means we favour memories of more recent times over older ones. Hindsight bias helps us adjust memories to make them more favourable to the circumstances of the moment. Outcome bias delivers the memories that most delight or horrify us-again depending on the moment we recall the thought in our minds.

And then there is the ever-growing age gap between then and now.

They combine to create fallacies of what we remember. It is the fallacy within our memories that makes the greatest argument for keeping a journal.

Memories Lie, Journals Don’t

According to Oliver Burkeman, we’re here for 4000 weeks.

In years, that’s the rather wholesome number of eighty. It contains a lot of memories. The problem is that we can’t remember them all.

You can try, but you’ll fail.

But what if you could pick up a book or open a webpage and read entries made at any time from your past.

It would be amazing to look back and see the notes you made on your eighteenth birthday. You might have been at a restaurant, or a nightclub-or even at work. Maybe you celebrated with a cup of tea rather than a bottle of fizz.

Whatever the occasion, there is no blurring from our biases when we can read about it in a journal.



Darren Matthews

I’m utterly curious about decision-making | Sharing lessons learned from the thousands of decisions I’ve studied and made | Founder