17 Apr 3 minutes to become a memorization pro… tempting?
Don’t worry! No false promises here. That’s not our style! No miracle cures, either. Even so, if you take the time to read these few lines, I guarantee your ability to retain information will improve, and all quite easily.
Then, let’s get started. To begin, let us be clear: we have a nasty habit of attributing to our memory all sorts of dysfunctions that are not within its control. Typically, and pertaining to the recommendations and exercises we offer in the My Mental Energy application and in our previous FRONT PAGE articles, we have an annoying tendency to spread ourselves too thin! Yet, the practice of multitasking (doing several things at the same time) significantly dilutes the cognitive resources we allot to each of these activities being undertaken simultaneously. As a result, if one of these activities concerns memory, the latter receives less in-depth processing than it would if the memorization process were undertaken alone. Under such conditions, the memories are more fragile and fleeting!
Therefore, the first thing to do in order to memorize something well is to find the best possible conditions for yourself, which means finding a calm spot and making sure that your attention is directed toward the information you would like to memorize. As an example, if we are not always able to remember the first and last names of some of the people we interact with, it is often because we did not pay enough attention when we first met them. Watch out, though! If, after 15 years of living together, you still cannot remember your spouse’s name, that’s a bit more disconcerting! And, I’m not sure that simply reading this article will suffice to improve things… but it’s worth a try, anyway!
So, let’s assume that you remember (at least some of the time!) the first names of the people close to you, and that you are willing to put a little energy into memorizing some information.
With these conditions met, I’ll share two secrets with you.
The first is directly linked to my previous point and concerns the capacity limits of our working memory. In other words, and even if you have found a good environment for memorizing, it’s a good idea to stick with a modest quantity of information to be “ingested.”
Going back to the name issue, the key is first to pay enough attention to the names of the people we interact with, and then not to hope to memorize more than four or five at a time. This limit of four or five generally corresponds to the amount of information a human brain is capable of handling simultaneously. Be aware that even memory champions do not attempt to memorize more than four or five bits of information at a time. This does not prevent you from moving on to a new series of four of five names (and so on) once the first four or five have been committed to memory. But, the secret is to start with a block of only four or five bits of information and not a series of eight to ten straightaway! Conversely, with any given type of material to memorize, if you have trouble with blocks of four or five bits of information, don’t be embarrassed to decrease the dose and start with a series of two or three bits of information.
The second resides in the “customization” of the information you would like to memorize. This basically consists of mentally deforming the elements to learn in order to make them take the shape that works best for you. Still under the heading of memorizing names, this mental deformation could take the shape of making associations between a person’s name and a physical trait, a person’s name and another person with a similar name… There is no universal method, at this stage, but any efforts to associate new information with elements you already know and have mastered are directly translated into the retrieval of the information to memorize (easily and reliably). Indeed, this very personal appropriation mechanism allows you to maintain the information to memorize active in your memory and therefore easy to retrieve later.
Try it, experiment, find the types of mental associations that work for you and memorization will become a veritable game!
Your turn to play!
In the My Mental Energy Pro application, you will find different exercises that are specially designed to help you to improve your memory:
An exercise to recall everyone’s first and last names: Abracadabra… Remember everyone’s full name!
An exercise to memorize a multitude of information: Magically memorize multitudes of information!
White noise to help you concentrate before beginning the memorization process!
And, lastly, to learn more, an article by our partner, Business Digest: Learn Better.