Memory Training

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Memory training is used by professional actors, heads of state, networking gurus--really anyone routinely called upon to remember vast amounts of info. You need not use this skill professionally, though; there are countless social scenarios in which improved memory can be a valuable ally. Fortunately, once you're familiar with the skills of memory training, you can apply them however you please.

Some people marvel at those who seem to store and retrieve information with ease. No matter how much new data is sent their way, these dynamos appear to have space for it. Meanwhile, the rest of us grope and fumble for facts we've read or heard on the news, knowing full well that they're in there--somewhere. What exactly is it that sets these walking storage devices apart from the rest of us?

Memory Training: Working the Muscle

The first mistake a lot of people make is in assuming that their adult brains are inelastic. True, children have a much easier time absorbing copious amounts of new information, but that doesn't mean the adult brain stops in its tracks at age 18. Just as we can teach ourselves new physical skills such as riding a bike or swimming, even in adulthood, we can also teach our brains to perform at a higher level.

Whatever memory training technique you opt for--and there are plenty of them--you'll find little success unless you continually practice drills such as mnemonic devices. Over time, however, you'll develop a unique system that works for you. This may involve "pegging" certain variables such as grocery items or names of world leaders to a rigid set of markers such as numbers or letters. Your ABCs and 123s stay put in your brain no matter how much new info is introduced, so these are useful tethers for fresh (and unfamiliar) data.

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