Boosting Your Memory

Have you ever lost or forgotten your car, your keys, wallet, your bag?

Don't worry, you're not losing your mind.

You are, in fact, like millions of others around the world who simply haven't learned to use their memory properly.

But it needn't be like that because there is a magic formula for remembering anything; a formula that is used by the Grand Masters of memory in the World Memory Championships.

The formula is: If you wish to remember anything successfully, you must do three things:

1.  Have a very clear image of it in your head.
2.  Be aware of all the associations around it.
3.  Be aware of its precise location.

Let's go back to that lost car. How could you have lost it? It weighs a ton, you drove it, you parked it, and you lost it.

But let's examine what actually happened. As you drove into the parking space, what was in your mind?

Probably the friend you were meeting, things you were going to buy. And as you locked the door, you did not picture or image your car; you did not look at the environment and you did not place your car in relation to anything else. In other words, you specifically disobeyed the three rules of memory!

So, as you get out of your car, take a split second to really see it, and locate it in relation to something nearby, something permanent such as a tree or a building. It is the same with your keys and your wallet.

Remember: Image, association and location.

One way in which you can use the magic rules of memory is to turn an abstract list - of shopping, say - into a journey somewhere familiar. Memory Grand Masters usually use their own houses.

Suppose you are going shopping and need cheese, milk, apples and a dozen tomatoes. Picture yourself in your kitchen standing on a huge chunk of cheese. Step into the hall through hundreds of milk bottles. By the front door are some apples - pick up a hammer and pound them, and on the doorstep, visualize two egg boxes with a dozen tomatoes in them. When you get to the shops, a mental journey from your kitchen to your front door will help you with your list.

For a quick, fun memory exercise, you could try to remember this list of objects by visualizing them and placing them in order around the house: a baby chimpanzee, a tarantula, a Rolls-Royce, a Christmas tree, a gold ring, a pair of gloves, a clown's nose, a book on improving your memory, a Van Gogh painting, and a flight on Concorde.

Further reading:

Tony Buzan. The Memory Book. Pearson Education Ltd; 2010