If you fared well in the linking exercise, you now have confidence in your ability to memorize information. You know that your memory is better than you thought it was.
Yet if you had trouble with the exercise, you do not need to give up or conclude that you just do not have a good memory. There could be several reasons why you had trouble. They can all be rectified:
- You did not create strong enough images with the ones you got wrong. Review the exercise again, and be sure that you have a strong picture of the association of each item to the next one.
- You did not think of the images long enough for the association to register. Go back and spend more time picturing the images of the ones you forgot.
- Maybe you still believe that you do not have a good memory. Re-read the first article in this series and review how you can get rid of the self-limiting beliefs. Or continue reading this article for more tips.
Since you are reading this article, you have the drive and the motivation to improve your memory. This itself is a useful belief to adapt. Here are some more beliefs that you can use to build your confidence and fuel your success with memory:
- I have a good memory and ability to concentrate– If you read biographies of successful people, you learn that many of them were not the most talented people. They were the ones who worked the hardest and had the most desire to succeed. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, tried over 10,000 times to produce incandescent light. Abraham Lincoln failed at many careers and lost the Illinois senatorial election before winning the presidency at age 51.
- Memorizing things is Important – You will have success when you believe that memory is important for you to achieve success in life. When you think about it, you cannot do anything without a good memory. You need it to succeed at work, at school, and socially. Success in anything depends on a good memory.
- I have a great memory because it contains everything that I already know – This includes every fact that you know, every skill that you have and every conversation from which you have gained the knowledge that you have. In a conversation, you need to know enough about the subject to be able to talk and contribute. You need to take the information that you already have and connect it to the information you heard. Then you need to search your knowledge base for a response. There is no computer or network of computers that can do that.
- I learn from my mistakes; thus there is no failure – At the end of each day, ask yourself how your memory served you. It could be that you did something well at work. Maybe you remembered an appointment you had. You might have had a spirited debate with a friend. Most people only dwell on failures. They think that remembering a failure will motivate them to not repeat the failure. People who succeed are people who dwell on their successes. Thinking of success conditions the brain to produce success.
- I do not know everything – If you ever knew someone who thought they knew everything, you may have found them boring to be around. People who understand that they do not know everything have good memories. This is because they keep themselves open to new viewpoints. They read every day. When people talk, they listen. You will improve your memory when you maintain an openness to new learning.
I have now listed several self-limiting beliefs that you might have. Additionally, you can adopt this group of useful beliefs if you do not already have them. You may have some of your own beliefs that could limit your memory improvement. Here are some steps to adopting beliefs that could help you:
- Make a list of all your beliefs that you can’t improve your memory. You may have ones that have not been mentioned in the articles. Think of a new belief that could replace the limiting belief.
- Now make a list of beliefs that would support your memory improvement. You can repeat any ones that you used to stop the negative beliefs, the ones mentioned in this article, or ones that you think of on your own.
- Look at the list every day for a week, then a couple of times a week after this week.
Here is an example: If you believe you do not have the motivation to improve your memory, you can change that to “I have not made the time in the past because I did not think it was important. I now see the benefits, so I am motivating myself.”
Some people had doubts because they have trouble concentrating. Everyone now well knows about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children in school have trouble concentrating and get medications such as Ritalin. Adults who have trouble concentrating take Adderall, Strattera, or other medications. Many adults now wish they were treated for Attention Deficit when they were in school.
While some people might need medication to help them focus, many people just need to learn how to concentrate. Here are four techniques that you can use to improve your concentration. These four techniques can help you if you have absentmindedness:
- Notice the voice in your head and take control of what it tells you– Whether you realize it or not, you talk to yourself all day long. Just most of the time, you do not move your lips. For example, you think, “Now it is time to go to work”; “I wonder how bad the traffic will be today”; “Why can’t I concentrate on anything?” I do not mean that you hear the voice with your ears—that would be schizophrenia. You do not say most of these thoughts aloud—since only the elderly and small children can do that—but you think them all day. To control the voice, you can think of things that build your confidence. For example, at the end of the day, ask yourself, what do you remember? You can ask if there was anything that you concentrated well on. If you notice that you forget things often, ask yourself, “What can I do to remember better?” not “Why can’t I remember anything?”
- Do Not Multitask – Multitasking has been a popular theme for many years now. But the problem is that when you multitask, you do not do any of the individual tasks as well as you would if you did them individually. This produces ADHD, even if you did not have it before. People look at their messages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., all day, and it causes attention deficit and anxiety. It causes you to make mistakes and bad decisions. You will improve your memory better when you focus on one memory task at a time.
- Know why you want to memorize the information. What is the purpose? Having a purpose creates the opposite effect of multitasking. It increases your memory, comprehension and helps you organize your thoughts. You can have a general purpose such as “I want to improve my memory” and a specific purpose, “I want to learn Spanish Vocabulary so I can travel.” When you have a purpose, it will follow that you have an interest. The information becomes more interesting to you. In future articles, you will learn techniques for connecting new information to old information. Information you already know and are already interested in. When you need to learn new information, don’t ask yourself “Why do I need to learn this?” Ask yourself, “How is this going to help me achieve my goals?” “How will knowing this improve my life?”
- Stop worrying – When you worry, you do not concentrate as well as when you are calm and relaxed. If you have developed the habit of worrying, you need to understand that it does not help you. You think, concentrate, and improve your memory more when you relax. When you sit down to memorize your information, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I am going to focus on only the information here.” By saying that, you imply that you are not going to focus on what you will do over the weekend. You will not focus on how you are going to fare when you memorize the information or whether you will succeed or fail.
In this article, you learned extra ways to improve your confidence. You also learned how to get relaxed when you sit down to memorize.
In the next article, you will learn a technique where you use your car and the rooms in your house to memorize a list of words. It can also help you memorize a speech. You will have two techniques for memorizing information.