How You Can Have a Great Memory (Despite Having a Terrible One)

How You Can Have a Great Memory (Despite Having a Terrible One)

The curious thing about memory is that you don’t have to have a good one to have a great one.

Moonwalking with Einstein tells the story of Josh Foer, who went from a typical journalist to US memory champion in a year. Anyone who has read it can tell you that memory athletes have normal minds.

They’re not savants or gifted. Like everyone else, they forget where they left their keys.

Even so, they can memorise shuffled decks of cards in minutes.

And not just cards – they can retain names, dates, random binary strings, even poems.

I won’t go into the techniques they use. You can read about those anywhere.

But I will mention an underlying principle that lets things like mind palaces work. And, unlike techniques for memorising cards and numbers, this actually can help you keep track of your keys.

And if you know self-hypnosis, you can begin immediately.

One of the key ideas with memory – both champion-grade and civilian-grade – is that you can’t make a good copy of a bad record.

In other words, pay attention.

If you’re shuffling around like a zombie, then you won’t remember much. It’s not because of anything to do with your memory. You need to notice something before you can remember it.

You can notice something and remember it, or you can notice something and forget it. But if you don’t notice it, then what can your memory do? It clearly wasn’t important enough to grab your attention, so why hang onto it?

This is probably why you lose your keys and forget names sometimes. Your internal chatter robs your focus from what you’re doing.

So cut the chatter.

The hypnotic state can quiet or amplify your internal dialogue. Sometimes it’s useful to dial up the noise. For most things, though, a mind is like a pond. It takes a lot less effort to let it be still than to keep it churning.

Focus and notice more, and you’ll create great records. Then it’s up to your unconscious mind to make a copy of it – to store it for future reference.

You notice a lot of things in a given day. How does your mind know what to keep and what to let go?

Well, your emotions play a pretty big role. If something makes you excited, curious, confused, angry or scared, your brain registers it as important. Of all these emotions, I recommend curiosity. It primes your mind to ask questions, pay more attention and investigate what’s in front of you.

If you’re curious about your keys as you put them down, you’ll never lose track of them again.

Creating emotional states is easy for self-hypnosis enthusiasts. It doesn’t take much practice to go from calm to curious, with nothing but a thought.

If you want to learn, then grab my guide soon. The price is about to go up, so think about making a good investment in your education now.

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