Do you forget someone’s name about 3 minutes after you are introduced?
“Hi, I’d like you to meet so-and-so.” And unfortunately that’s exactly how you
remember him – “good old so-and-so.”
Sound familiar? How many “so-and-so’s” have you stacked up over the years?
How does memory actually work? Why do we remember some things so easily and
others not at all?
This very complex subject has had brain researchers intrigued for decades. A
simple way for us to think about it is in terms of:
1) Creating memories or encoding
2) Storing memories
3) Recalling or retrieval
First, think about why you want to remember – intention is a big part in acquiring
Next, put a new belief into your mental data bank. For example if you always
say, “I never remember names,” you are already encoding your ‘computer’ with a
negative message! Find a new phrase. You might try: “I remember names when
I want to,” or “I remember names of people I like.” Experiment with a phrase that
you can believe.
Now you’re ready to remember!
Step 1: Memory Creation or Input.
Are you actually present in the moment or thinking about something else? Input
takes focus. Pay attention to your 5 senses – can you connect the name to a color,
a smell, a sound? Someone recently mentioned how easy it was to remember
a name when that person introduced themselves with a sound cue – “My name
is Ted it rhymes with bed”… Another trick is to say the name a bunch of times
immediately after you hear it.
Step 2: Memory Storage.
If you were a computer where would you be locating this file? On the tip of your
tongue for immediate use? In a file you will open one week from today when you
see this person again? Are you linking it to a location? To another person?
Step 3: Memory Retrieval or Downloading.
Go to the file where you stored this name and click your metaphorical mouse and
there it is! Two useful tools for this retrieval: use the alphabet – start with ‘A’ and
keep going until the name pops up. Another retrieval tool is to imagine that the
name is in a balloon floating above your head. Grab hold of the string attached to
the balloon and gently pull it down until you can see the name.
As with everything else brain related, upgrading these skills brings many side
benefits – apart from having fun, you are making yourself smarter!