1. A Good Memory Is Necessary for Knowledge and Education

Good education is important to every economy, and an investment in the educational system is an investment in future prosperity. Many important factors are involved, including qualified teaching staff , necessary classroom resources, well-prepared lesson plans and high teaching standards. Too little thought is given to the relationship between making funds available for national education and turning schools into exciting places where children want to learn and where creativity, independent problem solving, analysis and planning, social skills, and teamwork can be taught within the confines of available educational resources.

Even today, the saying “Knowledge is power,” coined by the sixteenth-century English statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon, still applies. Three sequential skills are important for compiling this knowledge.

Obtaining intellectual, emotional, and social input.

Transforming it into knowledge and applying it to existing knowledge.

Storing the knowledge so you can access it for the rest of your life.

Memory training provides new information and is a great tool for learning, not only in an academic setting, but also in your professional career. Th is training does not consist of typical “learning techniques”; rather it allows you to exploit the potential of your brain and to access information in your memory easily by converting it into images and associating it with knowledge you already have. Essentially, you learn things more thoroughly and more rapidly.

Memory training also gives you an opportunity to enhance your intellectual, emotional, and social skills within a relatively short period of time and at no financial cost. All you need is the discipline to train on a regular basis.

2. You Can Give Your Imagination Wings

Imagination—what is that exactly? Th e dictionary defines it as “the creative ability of the human mind to produce, envision, and combine new images.” Who would have thought that imagination would be an indispensable part of memory training? When storing information through memorization, the ability to imagine mental images plays an important role. Th e greater your imagination and the more unusual and creative you get at associating images with memory, the more permanent the information will be imprinted in your mind. Th e need to exercise the imagination is often overlooked these days.

Imagination is inspired and developed in young children at home or at nursery school through fairy tales and make-believe, but creating stories and indulging in games and hobbies become increasingly minor activities as a child goes through school. Curricula concentrate on subjects designed to promote logical thought, such as mathematics, languages, and the sciences. Unfortunately, students’ ability to engage their imagination is no longer nurtured in class and is not applied as a means of imparting knowledge.

According to my own experience during my first years at school, teachers hardly ever ask students to work things out for themselves; to solve tasks without following a specified method; or to take on and complete tasks while working with other children within a study group, possibly in other classes, or even in other schools. These types of activities would not only encourage children to use their imagination, but it would also add variety to the everyday school routine.

When I discuss with others how memory is associated with fantasy and give a few examples of how I create numerous images in my mind’s eye, the response I often hear is, “I would never have thought of such an idea or such a foolish image!” But that is exactly the problem. As a result of the flood of multimedia materials available today, we are inundated with so many images that there is little reason for us to rely on our individual imaginations, which also means that we do not train them. Imagination is required when training the memory to create new images in your head. You learn to play with thoughts and ideas and to dream a bit more, which helps you find many new ways of mastering a task or solving a problem, not only at a professional level, but in your personal life as well.

You can also use your imagination as a means of relaxation. For example, when you come home after a long day at work, allow yourself a few minutes to sit or lie down comfortably and give full rein to your thoughts. Th ink of your last vacation or other pleasant experiences. Close your eyes and try to create images of places or events associated with happy memories. Hear the wind blowing and feel the warm sun on your skin. Try planning your next vacation or a meal with good friends in your mind. These pleasant exercises prepare you for successful memory training.

3. You Will Develop Your Creativity

Creativity has become one of the most sought-after commodities in the corporate world. But what is it exactly? When I was little, I always thought that only artists and scientists could be creative. Today I am convinced that everyone has the potential for creativity based on their individual strengths; it only needs to be cultivated and developed. In my opinion, creativity can always be expanded, and there are many ways of doing this. Many people forget that there is a direct link between imagination and creativity. How can you develop creativity if you have forgotten how to be a little crazy, fool around, and allow yourself some time to engage your imagination? Th ere are hundreds of different ways to form an image of something, and this book will show you one of those ways. You will become more aware of your own creativity through the images or stories you create for memory training.

Ideas, impressions, and feelings can be combined with one another again and again in different ways and associated with all sorts of new information. When you realize this, you can develop entirely new ways of seeing and thinking in many areas. You will begin to approach new tasks in a more flexible, open-minded way. Here is a brief example: take four specific words such as dog, car, mountain, and carpet—or abstract concepts such as a sudden drop in temperature, hope, disbelief, and genius and try to make up a scenario that includes all four.

Back in the seventeenth century, in his essay on improving the power of reason, Benedict de Spinoza wrote that a fact is easier to memorize if the image associated with it is more tangible: “For example, if I give someone a string of unrelated words, it will be much more difficult for them to remember as opposed to giving them the words in the form of a story.” Use this as an incentive to make up an interesting short story about the two short sets of words. Th e objective here is not to remember the terms or their sequence, but to develop as many variations of the story as possible. Perhaps this sounds boring, but it is one way of making people aware that there are many different ways of exercising this example. After a little practice, perhaps you will learn to stop accepting your first solution to a question or problem. Instead, you may begin to approach problems from several different angles at the outset, keeping the various perspectives in mind when it’s time to make a final decision. If you start out with something as simple as this, after a little practice, you can try to apply it to other tasks in your day-to-day life.

Th e crucial element for creativity is that when you come across something new, you do not simply think of it in only one dimension. This involves a great deal of imagination, which is essential when memorizing images. Th e more nerve cells that are stimulated in your brain, the better your chances of developing new ideas. In my experience, visualizing information leads to thinking in a more flexible way.

4. Training Strengthens Your Perceptions, Social Skills, and Expressivity

When you think about your most powerful memories, you might notice that they are based on events associated with strong emotions. You will learn to use this evolutionary feature of your memory and improve it. Memory is also based on other sensory experiences. It will become clearer to you as you train how much you can improve your memories by associating new information with sensory experiences; as a result, you will sharpen your perception. You will observe your environment more closely and, by doing so, gather a great deal of material with which you can build your memories. However, as we get older, we’re not as attuned to these sensory experiences and observations. I am not referring to very strong feelings such as that of hunger, cold, or grief, but very simple experiences such as the tactile experience of different surfaces.
Can you remember how sharp little stones stick into the soles of your feet if you run across a gravel path or how the rough bark of a tree feels? By training your memory, you will reactivate and hone all of your senses, and the subsequent impressions will help you generate links and create helpful associations. It sounds simple, but you will find that you take more time for the small things in life than you do now. You will marvel at and be pleased to hear a bird singing unexpectedly in winter. You will become far more aware of people in your immediate surroundings and be better able to relate with them. You will likewise become more attentive to strangers, making it easier for you to remember their names and faces.

This improvement in your ability for observation will also enhance your capacity to express yourself verbally. The more details you know about a person with whom you’re conversing, the more enthusiasm you generate in him or her, allowing you to sound more impressive and convincing.

5. You Set Guidelines for Collaborative and Flexible Thinking

Collaborative thinking is becoming an absolutely essential skill as a result of the increasing complexity of our global, interconnected world. We have to plan even further in advance and think holistically rather than within preset boundaries. Collaborative thinking doesn’t only involve analyzing, structuring, and implementing processes in terms of our own interests; it also means looking at them from other perspectives to achieve coordinated and applicable solutions that are acceptable to all parties. A broad range of knowledge is required for this that can only be achieved by men tally networking information as it’s received. The reinforcement of memory function plays a significant role in this, since all the different parts of the brain are activated again and again during the thought process; as a result, innumerable new nerve paths are created or consolidated, and creative approaches to problem solving are established.

In training your memory, you will also become aware that there are many ways of establishing combinations between various terms or objects, depending on your personal experiences and circumstances.

6. You Develop a Sense of Time and Good Time-Management Skills

Very few people manage to develop a sense of time. They aren’t able to manage a set of tasks or specific amount of work successfully within a certain time frame and often get themselves into terribly stressful situations. In most cases, they begin tasks far too late because they are unable to estimate how much time is required to complete a task or because they fail to recognize deadlines. Even if everything goes completely wrong once in terms of time management, they don’t learn from the experience, and when a similar situation arises, they repeat the same behaviors. Even with the large number of books available on time management and stress relief, many people still aren’t able to schedule their work and lives effectively.

How can memory training help you manage your time more wisely? By conducting training with a stopwatch. When you practice individual techniques and exercises, you can do so within a specific time frame that you establish. You can benefit from these scheduled practices even if you take only a few minutes, gaining a better sense of time as well as direct proof of your growing achievements. You will gradually learn how much you are to be able to do within a set period. This understanding can then be applied to other spheres of work. Just observe how much time you need, on average, to complete specific tasks. Being able to estimate how much time you need to do things comfortably and accurately and then determining how much time you have available will help you prepare realistic short- and long-term schedules before you begin a project. Learning to manage your time well will save you a great deal of stress. Always leave a small amount of time to spare in scheduled activities to give yourself small breaks between completing tasks and to allow for the unexpected.

7. You Increase Your Motivation, Self-Confidence, and Self-Awareness and Learn to Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Unlike at school or work, you set your own goals when training your memory. You can build slowly on your successes, control your own progress, and quickly learn to estimate and assess your own ability. Consistent success raises motivation and self-confidence. When you practice, you have immediate feedback on how well you have done at the end of each exercise. One benefit of this training that should not be underestimated is the ability to objectively measure the improvement in your performance.

In memory training, there is no such thing as being partially right and no difference of opinion or room for interpretation; you have either remembered all of the information correctly and are able to repeat it in the correct sequence, or you haven’t. However, this type of training enables you to exercise your imagination and creativity and to discover aspects of yourself that you’ve never encountered. You will find that you have far more potential than you originally believed. You will be astonished to learn that you can enhance your memory by 100 percent with relatively little effort and that your self-confidence, even in the act of remembering, plays a very important role. Th is increase in confidence will, in turn, increase your self-awareness, which is crucial for both academic and professional success. Only those who believe in themselves can convince others of their ability to succeed.

With memory training, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself. You will make enormous progress, particularly in the first few weeks, and you will notice that success increases your motivation and self-confidence. In recent years, I have often noticed how much one’s belief in one’s own abilities influences the process of memorization and thereby the actual results.

8. You Improve Your Concentration

Concentration is absolutely essential for meeting all challenges; without it, you can’t achieve anything. Whether you’re learning to play an instrument, playing a new sport, or even engaging in a conversation, you need to be able to concentrate. No pianist, violinist, or other musician would be able to play a piece perfectly without paying attention and maintaining his or her concentration over a long period of time. No high jumper, sprinter, or other athlete could achieve their goals without concentration. I’m sure you can relate to this concept from your experiences in school. If you don’t concentrate, a teacher or professor can talk on and on, but you won’t have any idea what is being said. Many students fail exams because they are unable to concentrate properly.

Concentration is also an essential part of conversations. While someone is talking to you, your thoughts can easily wander because you’re unable to concentrate. At that point, you’re simply not listening anymore, even though the person you’re talking to is sitting right across from you. I’m sure everyone is painfully aware of situations where you have to ask the other person to repeat what he or she has just said.

But how do you learn to concentrate? It is easier for someone to say, “Pay attention once and for all!” than it is to do it. Memory training can help strengthen your concentration, because you need to concentrate in order to remember something. As you practice, you will gain reliable feedback about how well you are concentrating within just a few minutes. You will observe the direct relationship between concentration and performance. This insight will make it easier for you to summon the concentration you require, even for the things you don’t really enjoy but are nevertheless important.

You won’t get very far with memory training unless you concentrate, in the same way that you won’t make much progress at work unless you can focus. You really can’t create images without concentrating, and as I said earlier, images are very important in memory training. Training your memory is a great way to test your concentration. In time, you will really strengthen your ability and be able to focus your attention at any time and in any area of your life.

9. You Think Faster and Improve Your Intellectual Capacity

When you practice, you will soon notice how much better you are at memorization. Images will appear with increasing rapidity in your mind’s eye. In time, the memory markers you create will appear before you like a film, and it will no longer be difficult for you to recall the entire range of images within fractions of a second and create associations to the information you want to remember.

After a certain amount of training, which varies from person to person, you will probably be able to “turn on” more quickly in other areas as well. For instance, your physical reaction times will improve as well. Certainly, memory training is no different than any other sport. Just think, if you went out jogging without having trained, you would definitely be slower than if you had already been building up your strength for six months.

10. You Deal with Stress More Effectively

Coping with stress and nerves will no longer be a major problem for you, since these performance-inhibiting factors can also be overcome. Th is has been my experience, and I am certain that memory training has made a considerable contribution to helping me manage stress.

As mentioned earlier under time management, stress can often be prevented with good planning and preparation. Sometimes preparation is impossible, as when many things happen all at once. The most important thing to remember in such situations is to stay as calm as possible. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but stress considerably impairs the brain’s efficiency. Although stress is inevitable—you will find yourself in distressing situations again and again—memory training can help you strengthen your ability to cope with it by putting you under the pressure of training against the clock.

Before you begin memory training, you should look at a summary of the various techniques and ways in which you can apply them. at the same time, think about your personal goals. Do you just want to remember the phone numbers of your friends and business associates so you won’t have to look them up every time you call, or are you a stockbroker who wants to improve your ability to memorize numbers? If you are a regular card player, you may want to be able to memorize cards to increase your competitive edge, or you may simply wish to impress your friends. Perhaps you want to increase your general knowledge and build on your interest in history, or maybe you’re looking for alternatives to crossword puzzles to help you retain mental agility as you grow older.

No matter what your personal goals, the primary objective of memory training is to enhance your memory. The more information you can absorb and convert into knowledge, the greater your potential for intellectual and emotional achievement and the more you will develop other related skills.