A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

Memory Like An Elephant

Aha! Moment Monday

Have you ever walked down the stairs, through the hall and into the kitchen only to forget what you went for?  Thankfully we can do shopping lists on our phone so we have them when we reach the store, but how many times have you called your phone because you don’t remember where you left it?  What about the name of that marketing company, that hotel you stayed at in Liechtenstein, the core ingredient in your favourite nutritional supplement or your mother-in-law’s birthday?

I once bought a book on how to improve your memory then forgot where I put it (true story: turns out I used it to prop up my stereo receiver and only discovered it when I moved).

I remember a comedian once said, “If it wasn’t for a bad memory I’d have no memory at all!”

Some days we feel that way … but the truth is there is no such thing as a bad memory.  I’ll prove it.  If I asked you where you were and how you felt when your child was born, when you got your first job, the day you moved into your first house or when you heard that a plane had just flown into the twin towers, are you flooded with emotion and details.  See?  There’s hope!

But what makes those memories stick and others, like a simple shopping list or calendar date, fly out the window like bills from a pay cheque?   Is our memory that selective?

Aha! ~ “Nobody has a bad memory, just an untrained one.” ~ Backwards Bob, aka Bob Gray, author of Right Brain, Rapid Recall

Now I need to share that “Backwards Bob the Memory Man” has earned his place in the Guinness Book of Records for his unique abilities.  While he claims that his brain is no more capable than ours his millions of stored facts and data had me questioning.  Truth is what Bob practices and teaches dates back to 500 B.C., memory systems that stick.  If I can take a page from my marketing book, it has everything to do with creating impact.  We don’t remember routine stuff because our minds are asleep.  We need to wake up our minds – like Bob did when he was seven – it starts with linking images.

You already know that we think in pictures; for example, if I said the word “dog”, what flashes on the screen of your mind?  A picture of your dog or a fictional character like Snoopy.  For sure it’s an image, right?

Building on that, Bob says, “You can remember anything as long as it’s associated with something you know” for instance if I asked you to draw a picture of Italy you would likely be able to because you associate it with a boot, right?  Easy.

What if I asked you to remember 30 items from a power point presentation?  Daunting? No, “…as long as it’s associated to something you know in a stupid, ridiculous, crazy, nonsensical manner.”  The crazier the images you create and the more senses you can involve in experiencing that crazy vision in your mind’s eye, the stronger will be that memory.  Need to remember ketchup, lettuce and buns at the store?  Imagine an enormous, erupting ketchup bottle greeting you at the store, lettuce leaves flying all around catching the ketchup explosions and buns eating the lettuce like packman eating ghosts.

It takes deliberate effort and patience – and some off-the-charts, no rules, child-like, creative license in imagery – to remember people’s names, things on a shopping list, math formulae or historical data.  Can you imagine, though, how the quality of your relationships with your clients, friends and family could improve if you remembered more about them?

“There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.” ― Gautama Buddha

More on Bob  www.memoryedge.com


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