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Memory can be vastly improved. It can be improved by anyone with normal intelligence. The methods by which it can be cultivated are all based on practical common sense. Every experience in life makes an impression on one or more of our senses. The problem of memory improvement is to emphasize these impressions and file them away in orderly fashion so that they will remain intact and be easily accessible. The clearer the impressions, and the neater your mental storehouse, the easier it will be to remember.
1. Repetition is the most elementary – and least interesting – method of memorizing. You can learn and remember almost anything if you have the patience to repeat it often enough.
2. Use as many of your senses as possible if you want to remember. Suppose you were showing an apple to a person who had never seen one before. If he only looked at it he would carry away a certain impression of it. But if he touched it, smelled it and tasted it, he would carry away a clearer and more lasting memory of it. The scientific reason is that the impression you received through the sense of sight is recorded on an entirely different cell from that transmitted through touch or taste. The more impression you get of a thing, the more strings you have to pull it out of the subconscious mind at will.
This principle is very important in
remembering names and faces. An employment manager with a poor memory set out to renew this
faculty. When anybody approached him, he
made sure that he knew the name exactly, if necessary, he would ask for the spelling of it. Thus a definite
impression was made on his visual and muscular
name. He studied that man’s expression and his mannerisms. Today that
manager can meet and call by name ten thousand persons.
3. Cultivate the power of attention:
Usually people do not focus sharply on one thing at a time. In conversation they do not pay attention to
what the person is saying. They are intent on what they are going to say next.
They look at a scenery but do not drink in the details. Attention means
sidetracking everything except the
thought or the experience you want to remember. Note the details of what you
want to recall later.
4. Association is one of the shortest and surest ways of remembering:
Some time ago I met a Mr. White who
told me that he lived at 25 St. Nicholas Avenue. An obvious association struck
me: “White – Christmas: Christmas – the twenty
fifth of December – St. Nicholas”. Everyone of us has in his mind many facts to
which we can anchor new facts by associations. Remember: the simpler the
associations, the less will they burden your memory!
5. Be deeply and genuinely interested:
Some people are so interested in
cricket they can rattle off the names and batting averages of all their “stars”
Yet the same people might not remember a
phone number or a birthday anniversary! The moral is: Try to develop a genuine,
vital interest in the subject you want to remember.
6. Gain understanding:
If you do not understand a subject or
situation, you cannot be expected to remember it. You must see the logical
relations between all the available
7. Make a careful selection of what you must remember and focus your mental searchlight on these alone. No one can remember everything. Many people use a thousand – rupee tool for a fifty praise job! They try to remember hundreds of phone numbers, when it would be wiser to save their precious mental machinery for something more important. Many things belong in your notebook rather than in your mind. Do not attempt the impossible at the start. If you have difficulty with names and faces, select two or three persons whom you wish to remember , and make a deliberate attempt to fix them firmly in your memory. Note their names, mannerisms, and other characteristics. Later recreate in you memory an exact impression of your new acquaintances. Keep up this practice, and you will be astonished at the results.