I’m about to share two pieces of information. But, by tomorrow, you’ll only remember one of them.
And I can accurately predict which one it will be.
1. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions make up 23% of all traffic accidents. Which is why I don’t tailgate.
2. Yesterday, I was driving to work on the freeway, and a station wagon rear-ended a truckload of porta potties. Let me tell you, sh%t got real on I-90. Which is why I don’t tailgate.
Alright, it’s obvious which piece of information is more memorable. Intuitively, we know that stories – especially the unusual ones – are, well, sticky. Stories tend to stick with us far longer than facts or statistics, even when they’re about the same subject.
Now, thanks to research from the Harvard Business School, we know why: it’s based on the way our memory works. I won’t go into the details here, but I definitely recommend reading the full study if you have the time. It’s fascinating stuff.
I also recommend driving at a safe following distance, especially when you’re staring at the backside of a dozen portable toilets.
And I’m sure you won’t forget that advice.