So, your memory is no good. At least that’s what you learned last week, anyway. But, as promised, there are some helpful tools to improve your memory that we’ll go over this week. So put your thinking caps on, and get reading.
Not to beat a dead horse, but we know by now that rote memorization is an imperfect system. Simply going over information repeatedly isn’t going to help anybody in the long run. But what does work? Most people have an easier time remembering information if they associate images with that information. That’s because your brain processes an image much better than repetition.
Imagery and Memorization
Last week we did a little exercise by giving you a list and telling you to memorize all the things on it. Taking that same list, we’re going to split it up into four lists of five items, and number them.
| 1. a unicorn | 6. beer | 11. chopsticks | 16. candles
| 2. electrical outlet | 7. hockey stick | 12. roses | 17. wizard
| 3. tricycle | 8. spider | 13. black cat | 18. golf green
| 4. truck | 9. baseball | 14. gold | 19. sauna
| 5. hand | 10. dime | 15. dollar sign | 20. dartboard
Now, we’re going to do something a little different than last time. With each item, we are going to really focus on an image in our mind. Don’t just skim over these things, really take your time and you’ll get the best outcome. However, make sure not to study the list for more than 3 minutes.
1. See a brilliant white unicorn with his 1 horn.
2. See the beige electrical outlet with its 2 slots.
3. See the red tricycle with its 3 black rubber wheels and a 3 year old kid on it.
4. See the truck with its 4 wheels, its 4 doors, and the for sale sign in the window.
5. See your hand with its 5 fingers.
6. See that 6-pack of beer (you choose your favorite brand).
7. See the wooden hockey stick shaped like a 7.
8. See that big black spider with its 8 legs.
9. See that round baseball being tossed around by the 9 players on the field for 9 innings.
10. See that 10 cents, the thin, silver, shiny dime.
Now that we’re halfway through the list, take a little break. Refresh each of the images in your mind once more before moving on.
11. See those thin chopsticks that look like the number 11 being pulled out of their wrapper.
12. See those 12 beautiful red roses in a bouquet.
13. See that black cat on Friday the 13th.
14. Vividly see that 14-carat gold coin (or bar or nugget or ring; you choose).
15. Take the two digits of number 15 and squeeze them together into a dollar sign.
16. See 16 flaming candles on a birthday cake. Maybe even sing the song…
17. See that young wizard with the round glasses graduating from Hogwarts at age 17.
18. See that golf green with its perfectly cropped green grass on the 18th hole.
19. See 19 sweaty guys in that sauna.
20. See that round, light-up dartboard with the 20 scoring stripes and the number 20 on the top.
Now that you’re through the whole list, just take a minute to review. Now make a list 1-20 and see how much of the list you can remember. Better than before? It’s amazing how well your mind can retain information when you do it the right way! Even though some of the images weren’t directly related to the number, you were still able to remember them. For many more exercises just like this, check out my book Train Your Brain For Success.