How Technology ruined our Memory and how to improve it

Image Source: http://nhsjs.com/2015/alcoholism-a-neurological-perspective/

Everyone of us is gifted with the most powerful supercomputer known to mankind, our Brain. We remember and process thousands of information in our daily lives, spontaneously. Yet, with the invention of personal computers and smartphones, we have completely moved away from storing important information in our brains to storing it digitally.

Most of us rely more, on the apps in our smartphones than our brains. Take a moment now, to think about how many days you can go without your smartphone? Without the aid your calendar that gives you timely reminders, without your contacts that you have stored, without the notes that you have taken? Now, you might be thinking why exactly do we need to remember all the information by heart, if you can search and find it in your smartphone in a couple of seconds or minutes?

Let’s imagine that you are currently attending a meeting in your workplace, where you, along with your colleagues and your boss or manager are discussing about future plans to improve the revenue of the company. During the discussion, your boss suddenly asks “What was the earnings in the last quarter? How long did we take to complete Project X? When did we attend a meeting with client Y?”. Now, while your colleagues are scurrying through their laptops or smartphones to find the exact details, you nonchalantly give all the details instantly. What does this tell your boss? It gives him the impression that you are interested in the work, more productive and makes you a reliable and the go to person.

Digital tools should be used as a means, not as a substitute.

So, what are the things that you can do in order to improve your memory? Most of the articles and books that I read on memory, only talks about one part of the story, which is,

A good diet

Proper sleep

Physical exercise, etc

Though these are all important points to follow, most of us already know this, don’t we? Yet, we still struggle to remember even the 4 digit PIN to our credit or debit cards. So, what is it that we are missing, that people with really good memory have? Thanks to some good amount of research, we now have a scientifically proven technique using which anyone can improve their memory easily and it’s also a lot of fun to do :-) Let’s get started.

First thing we need to learn in order to better remember, is to understand how our brain works.

Our brain loves pictures!

This is the most important thing that everyone needs to know. Our brain absolutely loves pictures and despises other forms of information like words, numbers, etc. It is the reason we all remember the movie or TV series that we watched few years back but forget what we learnt yesterday.

So, how do we make our brain remember all the other forms of information? Yes, by converting whatever we want to remember into pictures! Since we are just beginning, we will first focus on just remembering numbers. Instead of feeding the brain with numbers, we need to feed it with pictures that correspond to the number we want to remember.

Visualisation is the key!

Visualisation is the key to remember anything that we want. We are all capable of making entire movies inside our head and its all thanks to our power to visualise. So, lets try to use our power of visualisation to remember numbers.

The first step that we need to do before visualising numbers is to have a picture for each number. I have given my own set of words for 0 to 9. You can follow my words, or make a list of your own. Its upto your imagination :) I made this list based on rhyming words (each word will rhyme with the sound of the corresponding number)

0. HERO

1. SUN

2. SHOE

3. TREE

4. DOOR

5. HIVE

6. MIX(ER)

7. HEAVEN

8. WEIGHT

9. WINE

Now, for each digit we have a meaningful word, i.e a standard picture. You have to get a picture for each of these words, whatever that comes to you naturally, but always stick with the same picture. For example, we use a “door” to remember four and it could be the front door of your home.

What is learning without examples? So, lets try to remember the following number.

9480236175

It is a secret number which you have to remember and use it to open a folder. Lets see how you can remember it using the following story.

Wine bottle broke on your door step and the wine spilled all over the door.
On the door, instead of a latch, a dumbbell weight was fixed.
You favourite hero lifted the weight and put it in his shoe.
The shoes were hanging in a tree.
On the top of the tree there was a mix(er).
The sun fell into mixer and mixed well.
The sun was kept in a oven.
The oven turned into a beautiful hive.

Remember to stop at each digit and take few seconds to really imagine your story in your mind. This is the most important step which helps you to remember. You might think that this story is absurd and you are absolutely right! But, if you really imagine all of this happening, then you will surely remember it. Now try to recall!

If you are not able to recall, go back and try it again. This time, really focus on your story and visualise it. Make it more funnier, involve your friends, better still involve your teachers to do something funny in your story.

If you have recalled all the 10 digits correctly in order, CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully learnt the basics of memory techniques and you were able to learn and remember 10 random digits.

I have created an app Remembering Numbers Technique which is free to download, where you can learn as well as practice remembering numbers. You can download it here. There is also a pro version which includes techniques that explains how to make stories that will last in your brain. There is also a section that explains about remembering words. You can download it here. Please try it out and let me know your suggestions, for further improvements.

Grand Master of Memory, Indian National Memory Champion[2 Times], International Memory Coach, Corporate Speaker, Author, Mental Calculator and Chemistry Teacher