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This article is about how to improve memory, the second half of the learning process. Although learning and memory are often used interchangeably they are two separate subjects that are necessary for success in life. If you haven’t read my first article on How to Learn I suggest you understand how to learn a subject before you can learn how to commit it to memory.
Learning new things is pointless unless the lessons last long. The sad truth is that we don’t always remember things. In order to use the information, we need to commit it to memory and be able to find it when we need it. Remembering things is a complex mechanism of the brain that is crucial to our consciousness. It has several key benefits and even you can improve memory.
Lots of people say that they can’t learn or have a bad memory. The truth is, if you know your name and how to walk then you have a good memory. The ability of the brain to memorize life is its most impressive feature when you sit back and think about how many things you have actually learned in your entire life. Not recognizing that everything you have done is a memory is common because remembering obvious information was ingrained using memory techniques naturally.
The beauty of the mind is that you can drastically improve memory in several ways. First you need to understand how memory and forgetting works. After you understand that you can learn the many memory techniques that can supercharge your ability to learn. Getting better sleep and practicing meditation are two lifestyle changes that have been proven to prepare the brain for optimal memory. Memory is a muscle so once you understand how to use it it’s very important to practice and make it stronger.
The most basic idea behind memory techniques is elaborating on the thought and finding elements that stick out in your mind like a yellow elephant on a scooter. Whenever you encounter new information it is important to actually stop and think how it applies to what you already know. Using the knowledge by practicing, visualizing, testing, and teaching others is the best ways to assist any memory. Read on as we sharpen the most important tool in your tool box.
How Memory Works
Although a simple explanation of memory is elementary a slightly more in-depth understanding of memory is very useful. Howstuffworks.com is a great website for explaining the inner workings of topics in an understandable manner. This article on How Human Memory Works does a great job of giving you a great explanation. It is important to recognize the importance of memory as well as its individual elements.
Why We Forget
In the pursuit of optimizing memory, it is important to understand why we fail to remember. There are a number of factors that could be at fault. The only way to prevent them is to understand and anticipate them. This article from the Peak Performance Center is a perfect explanation of all of the possible reason we forget. The Peak Performance Center has many valuable articles outlining the important principals of maximizing learning, business, and athletics.
One of the hardest things to remember is names. The main reason we forget names is because a person’s name usually has nothing to do with the person. The good news is, we can avoid this problem with a few little memory tricks. Braintraining101.com is a highly beneficial website dedicated to building a better brain. They have written a detailed article that provides a wealth of tips on how to enhance your ability to remember names.
Memorize Text Verbatim
If you are looking for the best way to memorize your lines, a speech or anything in text form this technique is the best. The essence of this technique is to practice recalling the words instead of just reading them over and over again. When you challenge your brain to work harder it gets better and the beauty is it isn’t that hard. Productivity501.com is an efficiency resource that provides countless ways to multiply the productivity of your life and I absolutely love this article on How to Memorize Verbatim Text.
The Power of the Mind Map
Learning to draw a mind map is one of the best memory techniques you can learn. Mental maps are used to organize your thoughts into the correct picture in order to fully understand how the details fit into the big picture. Having a visual representation of the flow of information helps your brain retrieve it when it needs to. It is a great tool to help brainstorm and elaborate on information that you already know. Smart Working: Mastering the Skill of Effective Mind Mapping is an all inclusive course by Barry Mapp that will teach you how to structure your mind for success in many complex aspects of life.
The best way to improve memory is to learn and practice mnemonic devices. A mnemonic device is a technique used to aid your mind in remembering and recalling information. In order to be able to use mnemonics effectively in real world situations, you have to have a full grasp of what makes up a mnemonic device and why they are effective. Once you understand how they work you can begin to study the different types and how each is applied. Academictips.org has the perfect set of articles on memorization techniques to take you from introduction to implementation. Academictips.org is a wonderful resource that provides information on how to succeed in your scholastic studies.
Best Book on How to Improve Memory
If you don’t think you can become a memory master then I suggest you read “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by Joshua Foer. This easy to read book explains memory as well as the effective use of memory techniques. The biggest influence of the book is as an inspiration to others as it chronicles the journey of the author from no memory knowledge to US Memory Champion in 2006. We all have the ability to be able to remember everything we just need to learn how to unlock it.
If you are studying a common subject and looking for established mnemonic devices to give you that extra edge then check out mnemonics-device.com. This website is a database of mnemonic devices that other people have found success with. You can scan the devices from a given category or search whatever you are looking for.
A very helpful app that I have used to commit things to memory is called Memrise. The app was originally designed to aid in memorizing a new language, but it has long since been modified to facilitate the learning of many other subjects. It works to reinforce knowledge by asking questions on a spaced out basis so just when you start to forget the info it will bring it back into your mind. It does a great job of elaborating on ways to stick the information in your mind and not allow you to forget it.
Memorization is a very useful skill to have in your career and in life. It is important to put your new found techniques into practice so you can get better at them. Subscribe to my newsletter and I will provide many new ways to discover new topics and memorize them. Let me know in the comments if you know of any other resources that work.