Even in the age of Google, remembering certain things can give you a huge advantage in just about any career. If you have easy mental access to important business related facts and figures, can give presentations from memory using little to no notes, remember foreign language vocabulary, recall material for certification exams, remember people’s names and other things about them, you’re likely to impress and be useful in stressful situations.
So, how can you improve your ability to remember? It’s actually very easy, and it can also be a lot of fun. Here are three main principles of memory improvement to keep in mind.
Take whatever it is that you are trying to remember and try to turn it into a simple image or series of memorable images.
2. Additional Senses
Beyond visualization, try to involve as many additional senses as you can when you’re trying to commit a piece of information to memory.
The more senses that you involve, the more you use your brain, and the more connections you build to the relevant information, so it will be much easier to remember.
Next, use your imagination to make what you see in your mind as extraordinary as you can. This is important because it allows you to take advantage of the psychological aspect of your memory. Using little to no effort, we can all remember things that are unusual in some way.
So how can these principles be put into practice?
Let’s try to commit the following list of words to memory: monkey, iron, rope, kite, house, paper, shoe, worm, envelope, pencil, river, rock, tree, cheese, and euro.
To memorize this word list, try to relax and have fun while visualizing the narrative described. Try to see it happening to the best of your ability, almost like a cartoon playing in your head.
Picture a monkey. This monkey is dancing around making monkey noises. The monkey picks up an iron. The iron starts to fall, but a rope attaches itself to the iron. You look up the rope and see the other end attached to a kite. The kite now smashes into a house. You notice that the house is covered in paper.
A shoe appears from nowhere and starts to walk on the paper. The shoe smells bad, so you look inside to find a worm crawling around. The worm now jumps into an envelope. A pencil starts to write on the envelope. The pencil now jumps into a river and makes a huge splash.
You notice that the water in the river is crashing into a giant rock. The rock flies out of the river and crashes into a tree. This tree is growing cheese. A euro coin now flies out of each piece of cheese.
Read through the story just one more time while visualizing everything described. Now, go ahead and recite all of the random words from memory by simply going through the story in your mind and recalling each major object that you encounter.
This is an example of the “story method,” which is just one of the many powerful and fun techniques for improving your ability to remember things.
There may be times Google isn’t readily accessible. The ability to recall things from memory is an invaluable skill. Invest a little bit of time developing memory skills, and you can soon be enjoying more success in your career.