How many times have you had a good thought but have lost it in no time with no trace what the thought was about? This is common. Mankind has both the short term and long term memory. Whatever is in short term memory easily vanishes in no time unless something deliberate is done to save or enhance the remembrance of the hearer or viewers. The long terms memory is the bank where every object ever seen, every taste, pain and joy every experienced are all stored up. There are numerous images and videos stored up in permanent storage. From time to time there is a “recall” or retrieval that happens when the information stored in permanent storage is brought back into the temporary area for processing, ponder and deliberation. The mind is like a sponge which keeps absorbing new information every day. Information is gathered by the senses we have which sight, hearing, smell, taste and feel. Memory in this article is not confined to a human brain. It also refers to the various other platforms you can use as an individual to enhance the remembrance of events, objects etc at another date. It is only fair for humanity if memories are stored up chronicling the developments that have happened over the years. It is a disservice to generations if information is passed on by word of mouth as the integrity, accuracy and relevancy of the information becomes distorted over time. It is best demonstrated by the broken telephone concept. (12 or more people in a row, whisper to one and let them whisper to the next person. Test the information at the end of the chain and see how misinformed that person can be).
A few Tactics you can use to enhance memory
1. Engage your writing power – Many people remember better if they actively take notes in their own handwriting. Even in situations where handouts are given, the same people always want to jot a few notes. In the process of writing, they are actively engaging their brains and hence storing information in memory. A lot of information has been lost over generations because no one ever bothered to write it down. Ideas went to waste, vision disappeared from the face of the earth, and dreams evaporated all because it remained within the person. No wonder I have heard that the richest place on earth is not by the diamond fields but in the cemetery where potential, intelligence and mental capital was never exploited fully. A lot of it was never recorded hence no one can buy or run with the ideas today. Publish your thoughts in a book, newspaper – In this scenario you are actually perpetuating your mental and cognitive legacy to generations by your official writings and publications. The reason I am writing articles is not just because it is a hobby. I know that there is a lot in me which other people not yet born may never get to know unless it is published. I can teach and speak my mind 200 years after my departure from earth because I have deliberately written books.
2. Say it to yourself over and over (rehearsal) – You can only store in permanent storage that which you rehearse or keep repeating to yourself over and over. Choirs and bands that practice a song over and over will master it better than one who things they can do it once and do it right. When you spend enough time rehearsing, recalling from memory will be second nature as your body can certainly do certain things instinctively without having to go on a memory jogger. I remember when I was doing the History Subject at Secondary School Level that I had to cram or memorize certain topics and be able to actually speak exactly what was in my notebook while standing far away from it. The best way to do this is to take bite size chunks, memorize and then take the next bite etc. You cannot memorize a whole book by going through it once. You can remember a whole chapter word for word by taking a few sentences at a time. To do this effectively; you need to isolate yourself from disturbances or other frequencies and noises so as for maximum concentration to be achieved
3. Set the alarm bells – An alarm can be set on a watch, computer, cellphone etc as a reminder that can help your memory to recall about meetings and other priority engagements. Respect the alarm as it is an important tool in getting you organized, never missing an appointment. The good thing is that if you condition yourself to wake up at a certain time using an alarm, your body will soon memorize and readjust itself to ensure that come that time you wake up a few minutes before the alarm goes on. That is how powerful the human mind can be. The constant alarms are a form of repeated teaching and conditioning of the body and mind. This is one example to show that you can remember everything you chose to remember.
4. Get yourself a coach / accountability partner / mentor – Sometimes you can use other people to bring you to account n the things you committed to do. A life coach is someone who helps you organize your life properly. He/she can help you come up with the vision, mission statements and values for your own life. A life coach brings you to account on these commitments you make to yourself and sometime choose to “forget” them all because you are avoiding the demand on your life to achieve something of value. A mentor can be your memory board too. Sometimes I come up with crazy ideas how I want to develop my own life and as I speak them to my mentor, he records it in his mind and direct questions come in the future to test my remembrance of the commitments I made in the past. This is very useful. It is easy to avoid what you have just thought of and hard to avoid what you have committed and communicated to others as something you will do.
5. Take mock tests – Mock tests are tests you take before the actual exam. The more tests you take, the more you can test your retention capacity. You will get to see the necessary blind spots (areas you had overlooked). Treat a mock test like the grand finale. Get your mind to be stretched. A stretched mind never comes back to its original state. The more the mock tests you take the better. Your mind becomes ready, more alert and activated to remember. When you have mock tests you can realize quickly the areas you have very little information about and focus on those in your revision. Mock tests not only jog your memory but also boost your confidence to know that your memory has all it takes to harvest good marks in your exam.
6. Speak into a microphone – record the audio – Audio recordings have evolved over the years ranging from the old magnetic tapes, into Compact Disks (CDs), and now onto audio files such as MP3 which can be emailed or on the computer. Many people say profound things that they could use to propel their influence and financial position but sadly no one take the initiative to record it on some form of electronic media. One year later people may remember the title more vividly or a few snippets of what was said. With a CD recording, the message communicated remains as clear as on the day of the recording making it one of the best way to capture and enhance memory. The day will come for playback, recall and re-living the message you spoke. This is one effective way to preserve your mental asset register.
7. Capture on video – Stand before a camera and get someone to record you speaking your mind. It does not have to be a commercial recording. You can also enhance memory when you get others to write and act out a documentary about your life or someone you care about. A video is a lot better than written text. People remember better when they watch a movie than when reading the same story in a book. There are events in my life today that I beat myself about that I no longer have evidence of except a very vague idea of what transpired e.g. my graduation day, the first time I ever preached etc. Video recording is a notch higher than audio recording as it captures the emotions, gestures and environment under which the statements were made.
8. Empower your Children – One way that memories, customs, traditions and legacies are passed from generation to the next is when a father takes all he knows and begins to replicate it into his sons. It does not matter how much he may lose memory with age, he would have banked or made copies in people he can entrust with his knowledge. I have watched successful legacies and foundations worth mentioning where they are passed on from one generation to the next. Foundations such as Rockefeller continue to blossom as members of the dynasty are still taking charge of the vision and directing the dream. You need to entrust your dream to people worthy of trust, people who share the significance and importance of your efforts and are willing to defend the dream as their own.
9. Get help from hiring a Personal Assistant – Your PA can be an extension of your memory. Over reliance on him/her can sometimes bring laxity in you to use your own brain to remember. This is however one effective way to be organized while at the same time ensuring that everything that needs to be remembered is taken care of. You need someone who can tell you “Sir, you actually have an appointment in 30 minutes and the place is 10 kilometers away, I suggest you leave now”. Left alone, a number of CEO are not as organized as they seem. They are clever enough to ensure they get someone to assist in these busy portfolios which are so pivotal in propelling the company into the future.
10. Use the Power of Association – One easy way to boost your memory or enhance your remembrance is by associating events or situations. E.g. the best way to remember someone long after they are gone is when you find a person you begin to treat exactly the same way you would have treated your significant person. You associate two people and begin to treat one as though they were the other. Another common example I can give is that you can best remember your graduation and wedding days when you relive the events at other people’s graduation ceremonies and weddings. You associate the events and hence you memory of your own events is made vivid and strong.
Rabison Shumba is a young African entrepreneur who has interests in Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture and Mining. He is also a motivational speaker, trainer and author. His book, The Greatness Manual and various online articles are tools for personal and professional development. Together with 100 other Career Experts, Rabison co-authored the 101 Great Ways to Enhance your Career. Rabison has a personal vision of impacting the lives of children in marginalized communities by creating platforms for career counsel and guidance, information empowerment and capacity building through the Greatness Factory Trust, where he currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Acting Executive Director. He is actively involved in the organization of career enhancement and guidance colloquiums to propel and inspire both young and mature professionals to greatness. His areas of expertise include strategy, leadership, personal and professional development. Rabison is married to Jackie, and they have two daughters. They reside in Harare, Zimbabwe. [http://www.greatnessmanual.com] or