“Hi there! Great to meet you!” I said as I shook her hand.
“We met 6 months ago.”
Guess how well the rest of the meeting went?
It’s incredible what having a poor memory can cost you. The weird thing is, you rarely find out what forgetting something will cost you. In the example I just shared, though, it cost me thousands of dollars.
What has having a poor memory wound up costing you over the years? What would you stand to get from even a small improvement in your memory?
I want to share a couple techniques I’ve used to sharpen my memory that you can use right away.
It’s a myth that having a good memory is something you either have or don’t. Like most things, it’s a skill you can practice.
Most people, however, hold the belief that “I have a crappy memory.” And then they wonder why they can never remember anything. Your non-conscious part of your mind believes what you tell it, and if you tell it you have a subpar memory, then guess what? That’s what you’ll get.
The first step in improving your memory is simply telling yourself your memory is getting better.
How can you remember something you never noticed in the first place? You can’t.
Once you tell yourself your memory is getting better, you’ll start paying attention to details you want to remember.
Think about meeting someone for the first time. You’re worried about what you’re going to say, what they think of you, whether or not they’re going to invest in your company, etc. Everything but focusing on paying attention to what their name is.
No wonder you’re going to forget it as soon as you hear it; you never really heard it in the first place.
Stop that “in one ear and out the other” process by shutting down the mental chatter and really notice details.
Do this and you’ll be ahead of 90% of everyone else.
Want to take your memory to the level beyond paying attention? You’re going to need a system.
We tend to remember things that are in some way related to information we already know. That’s why it’s easy to remember someone’s name if it’s the same as our brother, for example. We learn things by associating them in relationship to what we know already.
If you have no way of relating to a new piece of information, there’s nothing for it to connect to, and you’re much more likely to forget it.
What you need is a system that allows you to establish associations with any kind of new information.
Here’s a system that works for me. There are many systems out there, but this is a great place to start.
This works best on lists of information, like a grocery list.
Our minds recall interesting imagery more easily than logical or bland images. Let’s use that to our advantage.
Look at the first & second item on the list, and then create a compelling image in your mind that includes both items. Go to the extremes. Either in terms of number, amount, size, violence, etc. The more unusual picture in your mind, the more likely you are to remember it later.
Once you have that image firmly in your mind, drop it completely. It’ll be there when you get back, I promise.
Now, look at the second & third item on the list. Do the same process of “linking” those two items.
Continue like this until you’ve associated all items on the list.
Now, when you think of the first thing, it will bring up the image with item 1 & 2. Then the second item will prompt the image with item 2 & 3. Third item prompts the link between 3 & 4, and so on until you’ve remembered the whole list.
It’s surprising at how simple it is, but it works.
The main issue with this technique is if you forget one link in the chain, you’ll forget everything beyond it.
Also, it won’t let you recall details in non-sequential order. If you need item #19, you gotta start at the beginning.
If you find success with linking, I’d love to know! Shoot me a message via our contact form, or drop me a note on Facebook. Looking forward to hearing from you.
If you’re interested in exploring memory techniques in more detail (or other systems that are best suited for your needs,) check out my book “Perfect Recall” available at Amazon.
I go into the history of memory techniques, advanced techniques, and more. It’s aimed at people who are looking to sharpen their memory without wasting hours and hours on archaic techniques that don’t work.
It starts of with the basics, and moves on from there.