What an incredible book. Also, an incredible movie.
A group of people, a society, an organization, or even a nation, doesn’t have a collective memory. The memories are the sum of the individual’s experiences that make it up. As a result, society doesn’t always make the decisions it should because if the majority could recall experiences that happened to a minority of people, perhaps they would decide differently about things.
The Giver is about a society that places all of its memories in one person, the Receiver of Memories. The old, retiring Receiver of Memories becomes the Giver of Memories. Together, they read old literature, history, and share experiences. They are the only person in their society who understands emotions, war, death and more.
Extrapolating this to something more useful in your current life, recognize that the sum of your experiences are valuable. If you have specialized knowledge, experience, or even customer relationships, those things aren’t contained by your company, they are owned by you, on loan to the company. This isn’t because you are greedy, but because there is no other scalable mechanism to make this paradigm not true. It’s possible to make videos, write blogs, create standard operating procedures, and make introductions to people, but that all takes effort away from the tasks that produce for the company.
No matter where you are at in life, you are like the Receiver of Memory, gaining knowledge and experience that benefits you and can benefit others. The only question is what you’ll do with it.
P.S. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, The Giver, I highly recommend it. Pick the medium you like best.