Having a good memory is an important skill in business. Notice I referred to memory as a skill not simply as an ability. Being able to recall lists of items quickly, accurately and reliably improves both your productivity and creativity. Often we are left with the impression that some people are simply blessed have a good memory and while others or not. For example, my wife has a great memory. And I always had difficulty remembering things, anything. The problem was, I had never been taught how to remember. I had never been shown how to develop the memory skill. When I asked Patricia, my wife, how she was able to remember so many items, she told me. She said she simply has a picture in her head. The process she used was completely foreign to me. I simply assumed that you either had it or you did not. I really did not understand what she was saying. But having done a lot of research on the mind and memory, I now have a better understanding of how to remember details. Today, I demonstrate my mental skills in my mentalism show by learning a list of 20 random items is a few seconds. I memorize a current popular magazine. Then have someone randomly turns to a page and I can tell them what is on that page. The average person today can only remember a list of 3 to 4 items. And that is actually down from 7 items only 40 years.
How do I do it? How do I memorize so much in such a short period of time? Well it has been through years of rigorous training and sacrifice, through deep mediation and careful study, I have been able to develop my mental powers to into something only few can achieve. Ok, that is not true. I use a technique that only takes a few minutes to learn. And as with any skill, the more you practice the better you become.
Here is how I do it. I use what are called memory pegs and memory associations. I first memorize a list of words. This list never changes. Then I make an association between the items I am trying to remember with an items in the list I have already learned. There are several peg lists you can use. I use different lists based on the type of things I am trying to remember.
Yesterday, I was out and stopped by the grocery store. As I pulled into the parking lot, I called my wife to ask her if there was anything she would like me to pick up. She raddled of several items. I did not have a pen to write them down plus I was looking for a parking place at the time. So here is real life example on how the process works.
Here is a peg list I am sure you already know.
In case you do not recognize it, this list is from the children’s song “This Old Man” It goes: “This old man he played one. He played nick knack on my thumb. With a nick knack paddy whack throw the dog a bone. This old man came rolling home.” and so on. The list is easy to remember because all the items rhythm with the number they are associated with. So let’s give the process a try.
Here is a grocery list or 10 random items
- Potato Chips
- Lunch Meat
- Bell Peppers
Now associate each item in the grocery list with the corresponding item in the list from the song “This Old Man” The grocery list # 1 item is milk and the #1 item in the “This Old Man” list is thumb. You could imagine yourself making a fist with your thumb sticking straight up in the air then as you squeeze your fist milk spurts out your thumb. And adding detail to the mental imagine makes it more memorable. So instead of just milk this is 1% white milk as opposed to 2% or chocolate. Now think about little 1 shaped capsules filled with white milk popping out of your thumb as you squeeze your fist. Boop! Boop! Boop! The more ridiculous the image the easier it is to remember. What that means is remembering details about an item should now be easier. Now, instead if milk coming out of your thumb when you squeezed your fist, you could imagine a baby sucking on a thumb and milk coming out of the thumb as the baby sucked. But that almost makes sense. Well, in my world it makes sense. Anyway generally the more ridiculous the image is, the easier it is to remember. But you can obviously customize this to your own personality.
Let’s do one more together. The second item on the grocery list is Potato Chips. The #2 item in the “This Old Man” song is shoe. You can imagine wearing a bag of potato chips on your feet as shoes. And as you step, the potato chip bag shoes make loud crunching sounds.
Go through the grocery list using this process with every item on the list. And you will be able to remember 10 random items. Plus you will be able to recall them randomly so that if you are asked, “What is item #6,” you will remember the peg word or image for 6 is stick. Then you will see a small boy with a stick playing a song by hitting the peppers with a stick. Why a song? Well because these are bell peppers and they ring every time the boy hits one with his stick. You just got a peek inside how my mind works. I know it is a little scary but I bet you can use this technique to remember long list of items as well.
Remember the average person today can only remember a list of 3 to 4 items. You know how to remember 10 items. You are already well above average. Your productivity and therefore your value will increase as well.
If you are interested in having me help improve the productivity and creativity of your team, or demonstrate amazing feats of memory. Send me an email at contact @ jd-stewart.com.