Have you ever entered a room to get something and then forgot why you entered the room for? Have you ever been introduced to someone and forgot the name in less than five minutes? Have you ever been interrupted in the midst of a conversation or presentation and then forgotten where you left off? All of us have experienced such situations of “forgetfulness”, some in more severe form than others. For the most part, such situations can be remedied by making the mind focus on the situation, if only for a brief moment. Although it is easier said than done, we can train our mind to automatically “book-mark” a situation for quicker recall. One of the ways is to understand which of the senses you use most often and use that sense as your recall mechanism.
All of our sensory organs work together when we perceive our environment. Each and every one of us has his or her preferences when it comes to the senses. This is one of the reasons why each of us experiences the world in a different and very personal way. For the most part, we are blissfully unaware of this taking place. Scientists however, make distinctions between three types of perception preference’ visual (eyes), auditory (ears) and haptic (touch).
You can, with a simple test, find out for yourself which group you belong to. Ask a friend or your spouse to give you a paper with 10 words written on it, which you look at for 10 seconds. Memorize as many words as possible, and then remove the piece of paper. Try to recall them, and note how many words you got right. Now repeat the test with 10 other words, which your partner reads aloud to you, then with 10 more words represented as drawings. Compare the number of points you scored each time, the test on which you scored the most points is where your strength lies.
Once you have refined your perception, you can apply your strengths to your full advantage. It is even better if you also make an effort to strengthen your weaker senses. You will then be in a position to absorb and retain information much faster and more reliably than previously. Suppose you want to learn a new language. If you perceive best with your ears, you can record the words of the foreign language and its meaning in English and play it back. If you perceive better with your eyes, like most people, you can use videotape cassettes as aids to learning. This will help to train your weaker senses at the same time.
Scientists are still not entirely sure of the reasons why we can pick out essential information in the midst of the deafening noise and chaos of a party. Our consciousness seems to possess a variety of filters for blocking out irrelevant information, while at the same time allowing certain key words to enter our consciousness.
Anyone who is a parent knows how useful these filters can be. The cry of a baby, even if it is in another part of the house, will wake a mother or father from even the deepest slumber. This will happen even if the parents are used to loud noises.
With a little bit of practice, you too can become good at using your perception to train your memory or your awareness. So for instance, if you find that you are more of an auditory person, the next time you go into a room to look for a pen, imagine you own a “talking pen” or a pen that plays music. If you are a visual person, the next time you have to remember buying a tube of toothpaste and bananas, you can imagine buying a tube of black toothpaste or a bunch of blue bananas. That way you’ll know what to look for once you’re in the store. You can also use this memory training technique or memory prompter to pick out a key word that you want to be reminded of if you were interrupted in the middle of a presentation or conversation.
You can also, with some practice, utilize simple-to-learn but powerful memory training techniques in all areas of your work, home or school life. After all, with so much information bombarding us everyday, it’s good to have a tool to deal with the daily information deluge.
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