Best Way to Improve Your Memory in Under Five Minutes

Jul 18, 2016 -

Have you ever wondered how someone is able to memorize a shuffled deck of cards in less than 20 seconds? Chester Santos is a memory expert and best known for winning the 2008 USA memory championship. Recently he spoke at Google to share his tricks and tips on how to memorize names with faces and recall an exorbitant amount of words in a short amount of time.

Last Friday, you and your friend may have meet a new person at a party. Two weeks later, one of you is describing to you the person the both of you met, but neither of you can recall the person's name. Does that happen to you often?

It is much more difficult to memorize a person's name then it is to recall how a person looks. The reason is because humans have naturally evolved to recall pictures better than words. When you first meet someone attempt to involve more of your senses.

For example, you just met Blake and she has gorgeous blue eyes and brown hair. In your mind, over exaggerate those features and create an mental picture of her. Maybe in your mind you see her with cartoonish large blue bead-like eyes. Maybe she was wearing perfume that night. Encode in your brain the floral scent. When you shake her hand, remember what that feels like. Alright, I think this might start to get a bit creepy. But the whole idea is really to engage all of your senses and use your imagination to exaggerate the situation.

We remember unique and unusual occurrences in life more easily than the standard routine. For example, if all of a sudden an elephant dropped in to the seat right next to you from the sky, you would probably remember that for the rest of your life without even trying. 

Let's try a memory exercise called the story method. By the end of this exercise, you will have been able to recall perfectly the following list of words in the same order as listed: monkey, iron, rope, kite, house, paper, shoe, worm, envelope, pencil, river, rock tree, cheese, and quarter. No joke!

Really see and experience this happening in your mind. If you come at this exercise with your open imagination, you'll be able to commit the list of words into your memory a lot easier.

See a monkey in your mind and this monkey is dancing around and making it's noises. The monkey now picks up a giant iron. The iron starts to fall, but a rope attaches itself to the iron. Maybe you feel the rope it feels sort of rough. You look up the rope and you see the other end of the rope is attached to a kite. The kite is flying around and you reach up but it is out of reach. This kite crashes to the side of the house. Really see it smash into the house. This house is completely covered in paper. A shoe appears out of nowhere and it starts to walk all over the house. The shoe smells pretty badly and you look inside the shoe and see a worm crawling around. The worm jumps out of the shoe and then jumps into an envelope. A pencil starts to write all over the envelope. The pencil jumps into a river and there's a huge splash for some reason. The river is crashing up against a rock. The rock flies out of the river and smashes into a tree. For some reason the tree is growing cheese. Each piece of cheese shoots out a quarter.

Now try and recall the list of words. Much easier isn't it?

Three tips on how to recall anything quicker and more accurately

1) Engage all of your additional senses including touch, feel, smell, see, and hear.
2) Use your imagination to exaggerate the mental picture
3) Create an unusual and interesting story with the words you are trying to recall

Use your imagination to help you remember better.

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