Cute girl

Summary – Persuade your mind to want to remember

A few days back, one reader by the nick SilentReader had asked me one question to be discussed here – How to improve long term memory. Shall we?

First of all, allow me to interest you with some articles I’ve actually written on the subject.

To tell you the truth, I actually did quite a lot of thinking on the matter. And at the end of the day, I’ve concluded that there is only one way to be able to memorize something and remember it for the rest of your life.

You must want to remember.

Seriously, I can list down every technique known to mankind – Chinese One Syllable Technique, Association, Repetition, Funny Images, House Mapping etc. But they will prove ineffective if you just don’t want to remember.

However trying to make yourself want something is not an easy thing to do. Why? It’s because the mind is always behaving like a child.

What will happen if you ask a child to work instead of playing? He will first disapprove and will try to wiggle his way out of the task. If that didn’t work, he will do the job lazily, hoping that you will give up impatiently. What would you do?

The same goes to the mind. It will goes exactly through the same phase as the child, disapprove, wiggle and lastly do the job lazily.

How to negotiate with the mind? Well treat it like a child of course.

1) Always slow talk
Never raise your voice to your mind. The more you force yourself, the more reluctant the mind will work for you.

2) Visualize what will be achieved.
Just like a child, you must describe how they will benefit visually. Maybe draw a car that they will be able to buy if the child gets good grade and be successful. For the child, the word successful doesn’t mean much.. but if he knows that with good grade, he will get to be a pilot and buy a car. That will push him in the right direction.

Research where your graduated seniors are working now. And how much are their salary. Imagine your dream laptop that can be bought easily with your one month salary should you follow their foot steps. In short, motivate yourself (visually)

3) Join in to do the hard work.
If you put a child to work under the hot sun while you sip cold drink under the shade, the child will immediately realize he is being bullied and may stop working altogether. If you work with him under the hot sun, he will do the work more willingly.

Work together with your mind. How? for a start, when you read, you read. Don’t read with your mouth while you are thinking about how hot your girlfriend is. :)

4) Reward
Every child demand some reward if they do a good job. They may not say it out loud, but they really want it. Some would settle with a pat on the back, some may want cash.

Figure out the reward for your mind. It can be as simple as a 30 minutes nap or $50 to be spent on anything.

5) Make it fun
Cleaning up the house is never fun for children. But if you assigned each child to a room and whoever can clean up the fastest will win one week of no work, I’m sure the work will be done in no time.

In the case of your mind, make it fun by maybe substituting the character described in the history book with your real life friends and family. Of course don’t let yourself be the hero. Hero always get killed in history books :)

6) Don’t plan too far ahead.
Children hate it when you gave them 20 things to do. Most probably they will just drag the first task to avoid doing the other 19.

For your mind, try to implement this trick. Only plan to do two things at any time. It is a great Getting Things Done (GTD) tools.

– I wonder –
Any other resemblance between a child and the mind?

———- Personal Note ———–
I just love children. Just watching them play can make me smile. They have no idea what they’re playing, what’s the rule or the goal but they can still make the game looks insanely fun :)

I guess one of the price we have to pay growing up, is losing that sense of having fun. What do you think?

Photo Credit – Hamed Masoumi

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This post has 7 comments.


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  1. silentreader
    15 Jun 08 4:35 pm

    Salam banji..
    thx a lot for d favour u did. i like the point u give n the way u elaborate it

    it really helps me a lot.. n the most important now for me.. to make it realistic
    thx =)

  2. 15 Jun 08 5:46 pm

    Hi there! I too find that without the desire and the intention to remember or learn or forgive or enjoy or anything for that matter, we are really not setting ourselves up for what we say we want.

    I enjoy your work here. Thanks! Lucy

  3. banji
    15 Jun 08 7:51 pm

    SilentReader – You are most welcome. Making it happen is really the hardest steps in the process :) I wish you all the best

    Lucy Lopez – Thank you for your support :)

    I totally agree with you that anything in life will be easier if we really want it to happen

  4. 15 Jun 08 8:57 pm

    yes, i agree that we need to have the desire the motivation and the passion for the work we do … or else …

  5. banji
    15 Jun 08 11:39 pm

    komodo dragon – or else.. the work will never be done :)

  6. 16 Jun 08 8:02 pm

    Any idea on how to get rid of a naturally sustaining super memory? The only thing that seems to work is to create memories during an emotional trauma…then, though I can still recall with clarity what I did or what happened, I just get a little more fuzzy and the order may be out of whack.

    This is kind of tongue in cheek but really… My memory is a curse. 😉

  7. 16 Jun 08 10:40 pm

    Samsara:) The first thing I found interesting when I read your comment is how you deliberately create memories during an emotional trauma.. Really appreciate if you can further elaborate.

    Thank you for the question. I’ll come up with a post very soon :) But can I ask, how is super memory a curse?

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