As I have mentioned last time in this category, we need to build up as many connections as possible in order for us to remember. The more connections there are, the more likely we remember. Makes sense! Today, we will talk about the different kinds of connections there are on the market and how to actually use them properly.
The ancient history you should not forget
If you would invest some of your valuable time and want to dive deep into the world of the ancient history of mnemonics and how the topic evolved, or rather say, disengaged itself over time, you don’t need to start your own research project by visiting old and dusty bookshelf’s, buying yourself some fancy horn-rimmed glasses and a corduroy suit. You are living in the 21th century, my friend. Someone did that work already! So, if you are really interested, get yourself the book “Moonwalking with Einstein“, from Joshua Foer. You will not find a better one then that on the market, but in case you actually do, please let me know. I am very open to expand my horizon, so to speak, or to consume some more nerdy information about our brains and how we learn. But back to todays topic.
Connections – the classics
“Reading, listening and writing” We have all heard these holy three grails ehhmm words in connection to learning, right? Right! Some of you might even be able to say proudly and with the greatest of prides, that they once have been analyzed by a true professional and suggested to use one of these holy connections as their main learning strategy. In case you are one of those chosen people and live in a secret society since then, congratulations! Someone was close to limiting your learning life forever. For all the others, I guess, you have worked with more then just these three elderly looking learning strategies, right? You might have learned to remember something in sequence, like in a song, or a lyrical master piece, or even your vocabularies. I have gone through all of this, believe me! But you might also have worked with little mnemonic aids and bridges already, trying to remember something by making associations with things you already put inside your head.
But there are many more options then just those few. So, get buckled up, we will soon start off into the world of making connections.
“Ladys and gentleman, welcome on board of the Flight IQ160! We will soon take off, please put your stuff into the tiny luggage compartments over your head, take a seat next to the sweaty oversized and weird looking man and fasten your seatbelts. Thank you for flying with brainstorm airlines! 3, 2, 1, ready for take off!”
Was that really necessary? Mhh, actually, I guess, the answer is yes. Yes, that was necessary. Why, you are asking? Because even that little paragraph put you right into the moment, am I correct? You were there, in the airplane, ready for take off. Why? Because you are familiar with the story. You probably flew at least once in your life, or have seen a airplane scene in a movie, or something like that, so, your brain started to provide you with images, right? Or am I completely off? In case I am, please just let me know, but for the moment, we will just assume, that your brain actually send you some pictures, some feelings, some emotions, some stories, some smells, some thoughts, some sounds, some foods, some phantom pain in your back or legs, and many more thinks I forget to mention right now.
These are all things we can somehow or another sense. By touching something, by looking at something, by smelling something, and the list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter what you do in your normal life, everything you are doing gets analyzed constantly by your brain. Why? Because you are looking for the saber-toothed tiger that wants to chase you down and feed your body parts to its sweet baby saber-toothed tigers. “Ohhhhh, those little babies ! They are sooooo sweet!!!!“
But back to our topic. If you want to remember something, even if it is just for the sake of doing that for an exam, or a test, or to impress the nice looking girl you have met online, and I guess these are the only reasons why there is actually a need to remember something in the 21th century by using your brain. Just kidding, of course! Then simply use all the options you have! There are:
Thoughts, feelings, emotions, places, pictures, stuff you already know, colors, songs, languages, senses, numbers, fun, associations, sex, weird stories, reversed physics, pain, completely nonsense, dirty jokes, things you have done in the past and so on and so on.
Where is the limit, you are asking? There is literally no limit! Your brain belongs to you, as long as you can provide it with enough oxygen to work, your thoughts can go even beyond infinity. And sometimes this can be quite a cool moment in your life, right? Coming back from the other side. From the light back into the darkness.
So, the next time you want to remember something, don’t just stare at the words in front of you, until that word or phrase burns itself into your frontal lobe. But instead use your brain and start making connections. I know, that seems to be not the easiest of things to do. Where should you start? How many connections do you need? How will you know if you are making something wrong? Questions over questions. I know, it must feel strange to you. There is something you should probably do for ages but haven’t really invested time in. But that is not a problem! Take your time! The good thing? You can not make something wrong? Or break something. So, the worst case? You simply don’t remember the word, or the phrase, or the terminology. But that is not the end of the world. Just try it again, using more, better, or stronger connections.
Practice makes perfect! Just try it!
In the next episode, we will talk about how to actually use all of these connections and build up a story. A sticky story. One that burns itself into your brain. Or even deeper.
See you next time!