Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
Maybe you know someone with an incredible memory. A few lucky people have what are called “autobiographical memories”. They can recall just about every detail about every day of their life. These people are rare, but they exist. Marilu Henner is an example.
Unfortunately, that’s not me. I am guessing it’s not you either. Most days I spent about 10 or 15 minutes trying remember where I put my car keys.
If you are age 50 or older, odds are you have some doubts about your ability to recall names or to recite a list of facts and figures. Remembering the names of people you meet at parties or events can be a major challenge. Recalling a list of items is next to impossible. Memorizing your passwords and log in information? Forget about it.
Too often we assume that we are stuck with the memories we have, with no ability to improve our memory skills and no control over what we perceive as an inevitable byproduct of getting older.
Now we are getting a little closer to something that sounds like me. Maybe you too.
But what if you could boost your memory recall by more than fivefold in less than 10 minutes?
What if I told you that you could recite from memory a list of 15 words and be able to remember it forward, backwards and every way in between? And what if you could recall this list perfectly with out traditional memorization techniques using nothing more than the God-given memory you are living with right now?
Like flipping a switch
At a past client event called “The One Hour Memory Switch” workshop we did just that.
Matt Goerke, creator of The Memory Switch Program argues that there is no such thing as a bad memory just an untrained one. Using specific techniques anyone can develop better memory skills.
The tree list
At the beginning of the workshop Matt gave us a list of 15 words. He called it his “tree list”.
After giving us the words he asked how many we could recall in order. About 80% of the 100 or so people in attendance could recite between 0 and 2 words. A handful of savants were in the 3 to 5 range. I had four words, but the last two were completely wrong. Apparently, they were from a different list.
Less than 10 minutes later nearly everyone in the room was able to recite all 15 words on the list. The key was to associate each word with its number on the list. For example, the number “1” is tall and straight, like a tree. Hence, the name “Tree List”.
Using mnemonic devices and other skills Matt shared with us, we were able to recall the entire list less than 10 minutes after we started this exercise. Even as I write this, days later, I can recall the list forwards and backwards usually getting 14 of 15 on the list exactly right and in perfect order. If you went to this workshop, I bet you can too.
A strong memory late into life
Remembering names and reciting long lists can impress friends and be fun at parties, but the more important takeaway was that a good memory doesn’t have to decline as you age.
For most if us the key is to use it or lose it. Learning new skills such as a foreign language or a musical instrument, staying physically active, and the simple act of reading more can all contribute to improved memories and brain health.
Even doing ordinary, everyday things in a new way has been shown to improve a person’s cognitive abilities. Try taking alternate routes to work, performing daily activities with your left hand (if you are right-handed) and reducing your reliance on electronics forces your brain to work harder and create more pathways, stimulating and improving your memory along the way.
Learning new skills and memory techniques will also help. Matt offers a 17 lesson audio course that is available on his website, MemorySwitch.com. I purchased the program at Matt’s presentation and will review it in a future blog post.
At $250 it’s not inexpensive, but how much is it worth to develop a skill that saves time, adds to my bottom line or improves the quality of my life?
If I can learn how to remember my clients’ names when I see them around town or know their kids’ names and their birth order, or to be able to remember the names of people I meet when I do public presentations, it will be worth every penny.
Heck, if I could just remember where I put my car keys, I would be thrilled.