The importance of developing a powerful memory cannot be overemphasized. It might seem as if students in schools are the ones that should benefit more from developing their memory because of their academic activities but it goes further than that because in reality everyone, and I mean everyone, should develop a powerful memory.
Good question. Just think about it, everything you have today, everything you know, your family members and loved ones, everything you are today, what you are doing now, where you want to go, the things that brings you happiness and joy, the money in your bank account, the things that make you cry, all the things that make you who you are today are just a function of your memory!
Having seen the great import of our memory in all ramification of our lives, is it not then a shocking wonder that not so many people are not interested in doing something serious towards boosting the power of memories?
Well, I think that it is one very important aspect of being a student and since the success of any student in the school largely depends on making very good grades, it then becomes a MUST that any student who wants to score high in his or her academic pursuit should develop a very good and powerful memory.
In this piece, I am going to put out some of the basic and very easy to do methods which I use to develop my memory with the hope that it will also help you as a student or even as an individual who wants to develop an organized mind as well as function effectively.
Learn to encode and associate
Encoding involves translating the raw information you have which you want to memorize into another type of information which you will find easier to remember.
The pattern is quite simple. Let’s say you are trying to store a new 12-digit phone number into your memory. You will agree with me that there is no logical way in which you will simply do this even if you are so good with numbers.
But assuming you are able to breakdown the numbers into smaller and manageable fragments of three’s or four’s, then you might find it a little bit easier to store this number in your memory.
But even at that, it will not still be relatively easy for you to do that because the numbers have no significant meaning to you.
But when you now try to encode the numbers by translating them into something you already know or something you can easily remember, you will see how it will be possible for you to remember all the phone numbers you want to ever remember in the world.
Let’s say my grandfather’s phone number is 040372690586 (please don’t call the old man), and I want to encode this number, you will agree with me that it is going to be simpler for me to remember the number as 0403 7269 0586 or even 040 372 690 586. Still the numbers wouldn’t make much meaning to me unless I go further to encode it by relating it to something/s I already know while encoding it.
Let’s do that. For example, assuming I am grouping the numbers by four, I know that four years ago my grandfather gave me three Mercedes Benz. He bought the first one in 1972 when Nigeria changed to right-hand drive and he bought the second one in 1969 one year before the Nigerian civil war ended. I bashed the third car the day I was trying to avoid crushing to death a very huge red 5-headed 86-feet giant python I saw on the road while I was travelling to Opobo to see King Jaja!
Wow! I tell you, if you memorize that little story, ten years from now, you will still remember my grandpa’s phone numbers - effortlessly!
You see what I am doing? Of course, I am trying to transform the information I had into a much simpler information that I am used to but if you noticed, I was also using things I already know to link to the things I wanted to remember. That is what I mean by associating. This is because we remember things by linking to things we already knew. You can also take it from the back or even from any pattern that suits you. Also, notice that I was referring to things that either had to do with driving and cars as well as dates that will be referring to someone who is old already.
To make your encoding tight, it will be good for you to use exaggerated stories as you can see from what I have done. Of course, my grandfather had no Mercedes Benz but even if he had, I doubt if he would’ve even give me one, talk more of three but all the same you still get the idea!
Anyway, that is how encoding can be effectively done. You can use this method to remember dates too. All you have to do is to be very creative or imaginative while making up your story. Remember, the more exaggeration and colorful you make your stories, the more your chances of getting the encoded information to be stuck to memory.
You can try it. Take any phone number now. You can even make it up to 20 or 30 digits. Then try to link the numbers to things you already know why developing a solid exaggerated story with it. You will really surprise yourself when you start seeing how easy it is going to be for you to remember all the numbers!
Your ability to observe is the key to developing a powerful memory. Unfortunately, many people do not even try to observe. Some say they don’t have time. Others tell you straightaway that they have more important things to do.
But they don't know. They don't know that your ability to observe can make a very big difference between what can save your live and what will kill you. I don’t know if you have ever heard of people who are said to be able to read body language? These people are able to pick the information that others are unconsciously conveying to them but of course, they can only do this by studying other people – their faces, their eyes, their posture etc.
Some people have problems in remembering people’s names while some others cannot effectively remember people’s faces while there are some people who cannot even remember any of them at all. That’s simply because they do are not that observant.
But if you are observant enough and you take the pains to look straight into people’s faces, you will surely see something funny, interesting and remarkable with which you can mark the person as well as pinpoint his/her name.
That reminds me. Please, don’t tell anyone about it but I do this all the time. Sometimes, you will see me laughing on my own while you are talking to me and you might start thinking it’s because of what you are saying. No, oftentimes it’s not! Actually I’m laughing simply because I am seriously wondering why your face looks like Humpty Dumpty’s or why your eyes are always so red and bloodshot or why your nose is so flat or why your teeth is this yellow in color or why you are always licking your lips or this or that…!
Ha ha ha. I know you might not get it but in actuality, I am only trying to find something unique about you with which I can easily identify you. It doesn't matter if I start referring to you later as Yellow Man. Strange, huh? I know and that’s why I said you should not tell anyone. Of course, I know you know I don’t want them to say I am crazy!
So many of us are so much interested in what in going on inside our little world and consumed with such narcissist thoughts that we miss what is really going on around us. Are you one of such persons? Listen, 'cause it's you I'm talking to right now. Lift your face off from social networking right now. Give your phone battery some breathing space. Just take some time off to observe what is going around you or your vicinity right now. Did you see or hear anything? I tell you, you will surely see something remarkable that will help you to enjoy the beauty of life.
Study animals. Study your environment. Study people at your spare time. Stop being afraid or shy of looking closely at people. Take interest in things that are going on around you while you are in the bus, at the bank or even inside a church. Believe me, those places are the best places I always catch my greatest fun while watching people and their different mannerisms.
Observe, observe, observe and make mental notes and file them away in your powerful memory. You might never know where and when that knowledge will help you.
I am going to challenge you now just to show you that you might not even be as observant as you thought you were. Let me start by asking you this simple question.
Are you ready for it? Okay, assuming you have your wristwatch on you right now or even a wall clock at your house right now, then without looking at it, tell me if the number three on it is either written with the Arabic number 3 or the Roman number III or just a dot or nothing at all.
I guess I got you there, huh? Okay, take a look at it now to confirm your answer. If you got it correct, clap for yourself. If you didn’t, sorry, it just shows that you have not been observant enough even though you might have had the watch or clock for years!
But all the same, even if you got it right or not, I bet you will fail this one I am going to ask you now. What was the time when you look at your watch or clock? Don’t fail it because you just looked at it. You see…? I told you so, didn’t I? You are not that observant.
Meanwhile, while you are dwelling on that, try and see if you can count correctly the number of F’s in this sentence below. If you get it right the first time, then count yourself lucky for being very observant.
Here it is: FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY YEARS
Curiosity is another skill you will have to develop to help you build a powerful memory. Curiosity is usually an aftermath of your being observant.
When you notice something absurd or strange, as a good student who is interested in life in general, you are supposed to become curious. You are supposed to start asking questions on why so so and so things are the way they are because that is the hallmark of any good student.
Curiosity will lead you into many interesting areas. Your curiosity will serve as the avenue through which you can grab so many important working data that will go a long way in helping you later in life. Your inquisitiveness will open many doors of knowledge for you as you start gaining some more experience. It is actually these experiences that you are gaining that will be entrenched into your memory so as to give you that super power memory full of experience.
But curiosity does not even there. Some people can also become inventors all because of their curious and inquisitive minds. You can and will most likely become such a person if only you avail yourself the opportunity of becoming curious and trying to provide answers to the so many interesting questions and facts about life.
So get curious. Ask questions. Listen to news. Become interested in current affairs. Read journals. Read wide. File away all those information. Recall them at will and very soon, see if you won’t be boasting of having a very powerful memory – and mind, of course!
Learn to memorize
You will improve the development of a powerful memory if you are able to practice memorization.
Memorizing simply involves going over some piece of information over and over again until it becomes part of you, so to speak. When you memorize, the process of storing and retrieving information from one’s memory becomes a habit, sort of.
When you have memorized a piece of information very well, you will find out that recalling information will not be so difficult depending on the type of information you are trying to store for the purpose of retrieval.
Think of our nursery school rhymes, how we learnt the 26 English alphabets, think of nursery or kindergarten school pupils chanting 36 States of Nigeria and their capitals, think of how we learnt the National Anthem by heart and so many other songs and even rap some songs or even chant Latin hymns.
All these processes involve memorization. So you will agree with me that we have been doing a lot of memorization even though we may not have aware of it but now it is going to be mandatory for us to develop our memory with a constant practicing of memorizing.
Some students often confuse memorizing with cramming. Cramming involves the ingestion of some large amount information within a very short period of time for the purpose of regurgitating later on. Some students can cram very well while some others cannot.
But memorization occurs quite slowly but steadily. This slow but steady repetitive process is what makes memorization better than cramming because it happens naturally with little effort and the brain gets enough time to get accustomed to the receive the new set of information coming in.
Increase your vocabulary
Your ability to develop a powerful memory also largely depends on your ability to increase your vocabulary. This is strictly because we think in words. Therefore the more words you know, the more capable you are to think effectively, express yourself freely and also describe whatever you want to clearly.
You will be see your memory improve greatly if you start taking the pains to read widely and versatile. Don’t fail to look up the meaning of words in the dictionary to see their meanings as well as their origins, as the case might be. While you are there, also remember to check out how those words are pronounced because that will also aid your memory development.
Make it a point to always add at least five new words to your vocabulary every blessed day. I can even help you with one right now. Try and see if you know the meaning of these words: hunky-dory and c’est la vie. Those two fancy words, I just discovered today.
As you learn those words, it is also imperative that you also practice how to use them in your daily speeches. You should be able to work them into the things you say or write about so that their different meanings will stick securely in your memory.
You will also remember to pay special attention to abbreviations too. Try and find the meanings of such abbreviations and their origins because all these things will go a long way in helping you to improve on your general knowledge and also develop a powerful and hunky-dory memory.
Engage in mental activities
To keep your brain efficient and develop a powerful memory in the process, you must keep it working and you can effectively do this by engaging in mental activities.
Luckily for anyone who really wants to develop a powerful memory, there are lots and lots of mental activities to keep yourself busy with.
One more thing, I cannot say I have all the full list of what you are supposed to be doing but all the same, I am going to give you some insight on the simple ones I know I am doing.
First of all, you must stop running away from mathematics. Mathematics is in our daily lives and we cannot do without this interesting subject. You must learn how to engage in mental mathematics where you do sums inside your head. Try and make it into a habit to stop reaching for your calculators just to do simple addition and subtraction all the time.
One of these days, I will be giving you some useful hints writing on some simple but confounding ways in which you can be doing simple mental arithmetic.
You can also try your hands at puzzles and quizzes. There's one called Sudoku. I love that one so much! Again, there are so many of such activities you can choose from.
Certain video games can also help you in developing a powerful memory but due to the addictive nature of some video games, I wouldn’t necessary recommend such games. But I will recommend chess any day anytime because it will also help you develop tact and strategic thinking which are also very important skills you will surely need in life.
Remember, in wha