I'm always envious of people with photographic memories, but according to a New York Times article, it's apparently a "detestable myth." People with great memories don't usually have brains that are more biologically advanced than their peers. Instead, being able to retain information is actually a skill you can hone on your own.
Memory is a great tool to have in your work life, networking, or when you're trying to build up other skills. I used to think my friend's method of learning a foreign language was ridiculously time-consuming — she did extensive research of the origins of each word before trying to learn it. Now I'm realizing that there may be a point to her laborious efforts. Here's how you can become a memory athlete:
- Repetition Is Key: You're more likely to remember items if you practice memorizing it over and over again. Rehashing events and rereading something will make the impression last longer.
For more memorization tactics, read on.
- Visualize to Memorize: It's easier to memorize if you attach an image to something you want to remember. Go for mental pictures that are ludicrous and fantastic, because they'll come to mind better than mundane ones. When you need to recall that memory again, pull up that image you stored in your mind.
- Don't Multitask: To truly let the material sink in, you have to really concentrate on it. If you're reading a article, try to slowly soak in what you are reading and don't try to do other tasks that can distract, such as talking on the phone.
- Push Limits: Although repetition is important, you need to push your limits in order to keep improving your memory. The difference between professionals and amateurs is that the pros will keep on doing more difficult tasks, while the amateurs are intent on perfecting what they already know. If you don't push yourself, you may end up plateauing.