How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and Be More Productive
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Kevin Horsley’s Perspective
Kevin Horsley is a memory expert. He is one of only a few people in the world to hold the title of International Grandmaster of Memory. Additionally, Kevin is a World Memory Championship medal holder. Finally, he is a two-time world record holder for The Everest memory test. Not to mention, he can recall the number Pi to over 10,000 decimal places.
“If you keep on doing what you have always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten. You need to do different to get different. Thus, a word of warning: mastering your memory is going to require a different kind of thinking.”– Kevin Horsley
StoryShot #1: The Benefits of Having an Excellent Memory
A great memory gives you a distinct advantage by helping you:
- Store and access more information quickly.
- Create mental associations.
- Build upon existing knowledge.
- Grasp opportunities.
- Increase your overall intelligence.
StoryShot #2: How to Improve Your Concentration
“We are training our brains to have an attention deficit. A lot of people simply cannot focus for an extended period of time anymore. I have heard that the average person looks at their mobile phone about 50 times a day. We are reading emails, the news, Facebook, and Twitter, etc., during what should be family and relationship time.”– Kevin Horsley
Kevin Horsley identifies concentration as fundamental to remembering anything. Without concentration, all other memory tips are pointless. Hence, he describes two ways to increase your concentration levels:
- Rid yourself from conflict: Conflict can distract you from the task you want to engage in. Examples of distractions are social media websites, games, or messages. However, it is not just distractions that impact your concentration. Multitasking itself hugely impacts your ability to concentrate. Kevin highlights that neuroscience research has found that multitasking slows efficiency by 50%.
- Give yourself a purpose: If you have a purpose, your mind is less likely to wander. Kevin suggests that you adhere to the “PIC rule.” Purpose gives you a reason for learning (P). Ask yourself questions so you can become interested (I). Be curious (C) about what you’ve chosen to learn.
“You can remember mountains of information when you are interested in the subject. It almost feels automatic and your concentration is at a peak. Your deficits of attention are mostly interest deficits. Your mind never wanders away; it only moves towards more interesting and outstanding things.”– Kevin Horsley
StoryShot #3: Creative and Fun Information Will Be Easier to Remember
Interesting and fun facts or information are always easier to remember. However, Kevin Horsley explains that personal creativity can bring any information to life. Hence, you can benefit from the memory-enhancing benefits of fun.
One way to attach fun concepts to information is by thinking of other similar words or noises. Kevin gives the example of “pollo,” which is the Spanish word for chicken. One way to remember this connection is by identifying that pollo sounds like the sport of polo. Then, you can attribute humorous imagery to this idea, e.g., think of yourself playing polo while riding a massive chicken. Making fun connections between words and visualizing them makes them far easier to remember.
“If your brain was unable to make images out of symbols, all learning and reading would be worthless and incredibly boring. Your brain likes pictures, and we are really good at remembering them.” – Kevin Horsley
Kevin outlines a simple step-by-step approach to creating memorable and creative memory tools via the anagram “SEE”:
- S stands for Senses. Information enters our brain via our Senses. Therefore, it is crucial that when imagining a word, we think of the textures and smells associated with it. A multisensory image is easier to recall than a word.
- E stands for Exaggeration. Exaggeration during visualization will make a word easier to remember. For example, say you need to remember the word ‘dolphin.’ It is considerably easier to remember a dolphin the size of a skyscraper that can glow in the dark.
- The last E in SEE stands for Energetic. Energetic visual scenes are far more vivid in our memories. For example, a dolphin flying around a city is far easier to remember than a static dolphin.
Hence, the key to memory improvement is our imagination.
StoryShot #4: Sort Information Into Categories Already Stored in Your Long-Term Memory
Based on the lives we have already lived, we will have some categories stored in our long-term memory. For example, you might never forget the directions from your parents’ family home to your grandparents’ house. Alternatively, you might recall every word from “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. Either way, we all have some categories that are stored deep in our long-term memory. Kevin Horsley recommends using our strong memory traces for these categories and attaching new information to them.
Utilizing pre-stored categories is an approach utilized by most world-record-holding memory experts. The specific approach they use is called the method of loci, also known as the route method. This method involves recollecting a route that you know exceptionally well. Then, place the items you have to remember in specific locations along this route. These locations should be vivid and familiar. For example, a bright yellow house near your parents’ house is a good landmark. The key to this method is to draw connections between the item you seek to remember and the landmarks you travel past in your imagination. For example, suppose you seek to remember a hedgehog. In that case, you could imagine a hedgehog the size of a yellow house. The hedgehog should be sitting in the yellow house’s place.
As well as helping you remember the items, this approach should help you remember the order of the items. This could be particularly useful in certain circumstances. Remarkably, Kevin Horsley used this exact method to memorize the first 10,000 digits of the number Pi.
StoryShot #5: Use Sounds to Remember Numbers and Dates
Kevin Horsley also provides tips on how to remember numbers and dates. Remembering dates is often one of the most impressive features of somebody with a good memory. We all know a friend or family member who always remembers the date that something happened. However, Kevin explains there is a simple way to remember numbers that only requires three steps:
- Learn about a system that changes numbers into letters. For example, the number 6 looks like the letter g. Therefore, you can allocate the number 6 a sh sound. If you flip the number 3 on its side, it looks like the letter M. Hence sounds related to M can be used to remember the number 3.
- Subsequently, you should write down the letters you have associated with the number you need to remember. Then, make up a word out of these letters. The author provides an example of the year 1969. 1969 is the year that humans first walked on the moon. With this date, you only need to remember the last three digits because the most memorable dates were often in the last millennia. So you only need to remember the 9 6 9 part. Therefore, the sounds b, sh and p should come to mind. Together, they can be used to make the word BiSHoP. The vowels are unimportant for this method as our brain naturally fills those in any way.
- Finally, you will want to picture the event you are trying to remember and the word you have just produced. In this example, it would be a bishop dancing on the moon.
StoryShot #6: Use the Four C System to Remember Names
“Have you ever heard people say, “I know the face, but I can’t remember the name…?” You never hear people say, “The face is on the tip of my tongue.” We remember faces because they form an image in our mind. The names don’t normally ‘stick’ because we try to remember it with our auditory memory or our little voice. It doesn’t make sense to try to stick a sound to a vision – of course it won’t stick. Plus, auditory memories are never as solid as visual memories.”– Kevin Horsley
Arguably, the most embarrassing thing to forget is somebody’s name. Kevin also outlines a method to ensure that you never forget a colleague’s name. The method is based on the Four C system:
- Concentrate: Concentrate on the person’s name when they first tell you. Say the name out loud and then repeat it to yourself. If it is a tricky name, you should ask for the spelling.
- Create: Produce a memorable image associated with the person’s name by considering what items sound like the person’s name. For example, if the colleague’s name is Peter Bacon, you can imagine a man petting a piece of bacon.
- Connect: After creating a memorable image, you will want to connect this image to the person’s face you are trying to remember. One way to do this is by connecting a facial feature of the person to part of their name. The author gives the example of Janice with icy blue eyes. With this example, you would imagine Janice with icicles flying out of her eyes. Remember, exaggeration helps memory. Using these methods can be more challenging if you already know someone with the same name. However, you can then use the comparison method. You want to compare the face you already know to this one. For example, imagine both of these people’s heads on the same body chatting about their similar facial features.
- Continuous Use: Use their name in the immediate conversation to make it stick. Review their name and save their information to your contact list, add them on social media or write their name in your diary.
As well as adopting these methods, you must also make sure that you continue to use these people’s names. Additionally, having a list of names in your diary will help prompt your brain.
StoryShot #7: Consistently Review and Revise Information
Kevin testifies that these methods will improve your memory. However, it is still vital that you consistently review and revise the information you want to remember. For example, Kevin states that people can only remember the equivalent of approximately three weeks’ worth of lessons from their entire school career. This effect is seen after just two years of finishing school.
The average person forgets 82% of what they have learned after 28 days. However, there is a specific way to review your information. Each time you revisit what you’ve memorized, the information becomes easier to remember. Therefore, help information transition from your short- to long-term memory by gradually leaving more time between one revision and the next. Plus, utilize consistent reviews to refresh your memory and deepen your understanding. Crucially, the first 72 hours are the most vital for remembering something. After that, you can review the information at progressively longer intervals. If you review something after 10 minutes, 1 hour, one day, three days, seven days, 14 days, 21 days, 28 days, two months, then three months, you’ll probably remember it forever. This is called spaced repetition. Spaced repetition makes it more challenging to remember the information when you revise. Your memory of the concept will improve if it is slightly challenging each time you recall it.
StoryShot #8: Autopilot Breeds Forgetfulness
“We pay attention half-heartedly on almost everything we do these days. We live in an activity illusion and think that ‘busyness’ is equal to good business. Busyness is sometimes just procrastination in disguise. Busyness may make you feel good and make you think you are more productive. However, when we look back at the end of the day we realize we haven’t done anything worthwhile. We are training our minds to have continuous partial attention, and our attention is being fragmented.”– Kevin Horsley
As well as adopting the techniques provided in Unlimited Memory, it is also integral that you avoid behaviors that encourage forgetfulness. For example, moving into autopilot leads to forgetfulness. Therefore, try to avoid the absent-mindedness often associated with daily life routines. Instead, be actively present in your mind. You can encourage activeness by asking yourself questions, telling yourself instructions, and being present in the moment.
StoryShot #9: Self-Belief Strengthens Your Memory
Self-belief is a crucial feature in developing your memory. You must create a reality where you fully believe in your true potential. If you believe in the potential of your memory, you are more likely to apply attention and concentration toward memory tasks. Specifically, it will equip you better to retain a clear mindset. You can also encourage productivity by remaining positive. If you have productive thoughts, then your actions will follow. Therefore, try to surround yourself with motivating and empowering people and content.
Final Summary and Review of Unlimited Memory
We view some people as having fantastic memories and others as having hopeless memories. However, the reality is that almost all of us only tap into 10% of our memory potential. Unlimited Memory aims to guide you to unlock more of that remaining 90%. Providing various concentration and memory methods, Kevin Horsley claims that readers can easily double their productivity and significantly enhance their memory.
We rate this book 4.2/5.
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