“We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.” Mignon McLaughlin
Okay, here’s my analysis, but feel free to do your own.
I hear only 50% of what is said to me. That seems low if it truly means “hear,” but if what is meant is “listen to” or “take in,” then that 50% seems high to me. Here, I must quote Simon and Garfunkel – “A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.”
I understand only 25% of what is said to me. That seems a bit low. But if it means “really understand,” as in I comprehend fully the message that the speaker is intending to give to me through the speech (that is, I understand the message, not just the words), that 25% seems a bit high.
I believe only 12.5% of what is said to me. While I have no empirical proof, that sounds about right, unless the speaker is a politician, a salesperson, or a weather forecaster, in which case that 12.5% seems high.
I remember only 6.25% of what is said to me. Time would, of course, be a crucial factor here, and I guess, context. In the ten minutes it takes me to get to the store I forget at least one thing on the four-item grocery list (25%) my wife tells me. But then I can remember the lyrics to the theme song from most sitcoms from forty or fifty years ago. Go figure.
Still, with all the lack of hearing, misunderstanding, disbelief, and forgetfulness, life goes on. It’s a miracle!