Seven Ways to Improve Your Memory

The clearer the impressions, and the neater your mental storehouse, the easier it will be to remember.


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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.

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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 facts.

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.                       

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