Do you have a fantastic memory? Or, do you often say, “I have a hopeless memory”, “I cannot remember anything”, “I am old” etc.? Be very careful about what you are saying. It is self-fulfilling prophecy! Keep telling yourself you have a fantastic memory and that you remember things easily. A friend in her forties followed this advice in my book “Magic Memory”. Several times every day she would tell herself she had a fantastic memory. She called me recently and told me happily how she now remembered things she used to forget.
I once read a study (Training Your Memory by J. Crabtree-Morton) about a class teacher who told her class that children with light-coloured eyes were smarter than children with dark eyes. The performance in the classroom backed up what she had said. Some time later she told the class she had made a mistake, and that it was children with the dark eyes that were the smarter ones. After this announcement the children with light-coloured eyes fell behind.
What is memory? A student in a Danish class once answered that memory was what we forget with! A definition could be that it is the ability to keep things in mind and to be able to recall them when we want to do so. – People of all ages are concerned about their memory. First of all, age is no excuse! Although we lose brain cells every day, we still have more than 90% of the brain cells we had when we were young. Studies (Scientific American 1998) have shown that we do develop new brain cells.
We do not have a “bad” memory. We have a trained memory, or an untrained memory. How can we support our memory? We often think visually ie. in pictures, so I always recommend you add pictures to what you want to remember. If I say “zebra”, did you see the picture of the zebra or the written word? When I started my courses on memory techniques, I told a story about a little boy who helped an old friend in a nursing home get her memory back by using all the senses (visual-seeing, audio-hearing, kinesthetic-feeling). I learned the story by heart by making a mind map (Magic Memory by Hanne Christensen) to which I added a lot of pictures. When telling the story, I could “see” the pictures and it was very easy and enjoyable to pass on the information in the correct order. When we add all the senses to what we want to recall, we support the memory.
What about names? Names are difficult, because they are abstract! It may be therefore trickier to turn them into pictures, so the technique of word or visual association can support the memory. Substituting the name with a word you can “see” can do it. For example, Anne sounds a little like “ant”, so you could make a connection with that person and an ant. What is special about that person? It could be hair, earrings, a facial feature, a special dress etc. Perhaps nothing strikes you in particular, though usually it will. In this case, let’s suppose that Anne is wearing a blue jacket. By making the association ludicrous you can make it more memorable (sorry, Anne!). You could perhaps even imagine rows and rows of ants dressed in the same jackets performing a dance in their jackets. Next time you meet Anne you see all the dancing ants, and you know that “ant” means Anne. It can be humorous to make fanciful associations. Make your own little collection of substitutes for names.
1 – Train your memory by learning new things. Use it or lose it!
2 – To improve your memory, start saying and believing you have a fantastic memory!
I wish you lots of happy memories!