Eight Keys to a Great Memory

By | Miscellany

Sep 25

Milton, what do you do to cultivate an incredible memory? For not considering my memory that good, I get asked for my memory strategies a lot.

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay.com

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay.com

This is not about memory tricks. There are a ton of those out there. On rare occassion I might employ one of those. Like associating your name with some greek warrior, or more likely, something much less complimentary.

The truth is, memory tricks do seem to work. I just don’t use them much. If that was what you were after, google “memory tricks.” You’ll find hundreds of them.

The Simple Answer is, I don’t have a Memory Strategy. People just ask me that because they assume I use one. But I don’t. At least not consciously. I do how ever give them an answer on how they can improve their memory. Though perhaps, improve their knowledge would be more accurate.

These Eight Strategies are not so much Strategies as Explanations. They are not scientific explanations, just explanations of how things seem to work for me.

  1. Focus. Call it paying attention or being in the moment. Focusing on something helps you remember it. If you can’t remember your new friend’s name tomorrow, there is a good chance you weren’t focusing on him when you were introduced! I just about left this one out, because… well… it gives me some exposure.
  2. Repetition. We humans learn by repetition. It is how we are wired. Read something, then read it again, and again, and again, and eventually you’ll remember it. It is the same with doing things. Repeat them often enough, and they just become part of you. Easy and natural.
  3. Connections. Memory tricks also teach making connections. Mostly absurd connections but connections nontheless. What I am talking about here is more the idea of mass storage. Don’t just learn the one thing about the subject. Learn the peripheral things too. When they are connected with context, they become easy to remember.
  4. Passion. Some think the word passion is too strong to describe anything. For those folks, interest is the word. If you are not passionate or interested in something, it’s hard to learn anything about it. Gamers find games easy to learn. Farmers find farming easy to learn. If you are interested in something, learning feels like fun. And fun is easy to remember.
  5. Application. Especially when it comes to Bible knowledge, I keep telling people that the way to know lots about your Bible is to apply what you learn. And it’s true, application helps memory. Application switches even the things you are not really passionate about, into something practical you get somewhat interested in.
  6. Teaching. My Grade school teacher made us students teach each other math, language, history, and geography. When you are forced to be the expert that is teaching others, you get fairly interested in the subject pretty quickly. Being twelve year olds on a power trip probably helped too. But teaching forces you to organize the knowledge which aids in memory.
  7. Exercize. Brain training. Working our mental muscle. Use it or lose it. We literally, physically loose synaptic connections in our brain if we don’t use them. Those are the little electrical or chemical zappers in our brain that process our thinking and memory by firing chemical or electrical zaps. Don’t like the unscientific explanation? Go read a neuro-scientist blog!
  8. Belief. Every one has an incredible memory. It’s not the memory that’s the problem. It’s the accessibility. The ability to recall. I think I can, I think I can. Stay positive about your memory. Follow the Little Engine That Could! Confidence in your memory results in a more relaxed mind when you study. Relaxed minds are more receptive. This is also why late night cramming before an exam works against you. It reinforces that you can’t, and also hides all the useful information you already know under a barrage of less helpful but more recent information.

These eight keys are definitely not scientific. And as I said, they are probably more explanations to how they seem to work for me than keys to memory. But they are still useful in expanding your knowledge. Hopefully they help you.

What works for you in learning strategies? Any favourites you would like to share?


About the Author

Milton Friesen is a certified Life & Leadership Coach, and Entreprenuer, and blogs about success, positive psychology, spirituality, leadership, team synergy, and living the best life.