Expect More Memory by Outsourcing Key Facts

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In spite of great books about memory and the brain’s amazing ability to remember, we still search frantically for keys as we fly out the door. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Books such as, How to Develop a Perfect Memory, by Dominic O’Brien, work well for those interested in remembering things like an entire deck of playing cards. And drawing from neuro-discoveries you can learn or create brain based tools to retrieve facts when you need them. How so?

Overlook keys? – Every time you put them down, snap them onto a bag you usually carry.
Forget names? Use them a few times to address the person soon after hearing the name.
Fishing for facts to ace a test? Draw simple pictures with details, as you read or study these facts.
Forget directions to Martha’s house and end up at Harry’s instead? Jot down street names and left or right turns.

Surprisingly, forgetfulness comes from the ways we train our brains – often by default – to think more like slugs. Frustration tends to follow, whenever we’re expected to perform like a race horse, and yet seem to head from the gates with the brain of a slug.

People who override the brain’s default for forgetting, tend to remember more when they reach into memory for names, keys, or directions. Do you?

Forgetfulness can follow from everyday choices you make, that rewire your synapses against remembering. Here are five surefire ways to empty key facts from your memory, while prompting people around you to expect you’ll forget again in future:

1. Eat a heavy meal before you give a talk and you’ll have to call your brain back to attention, for every bite it’s now working hard to digest. You just assigned your brain to the busy role of digesting. With a brain’s shifted focus,  how can you expect facts to pop up simply because you’re next on the speaker’s list.

2. Panic when key words flee, and you teach your mind to misfire or defend  panic, more than to create new neuron pathways to memory you need. Still looking for keys to open that door? One way to remember, is to hook keys onto the same familiar place. Panic may seem far faster on a busy day, but it robs brainpower from remembering?

3. Flip your keys into any corner nearby, and your brain fails to record the chaos created from constantly changing locations. Disorganized people simply see tossing things around as part of getting on with their day, the brain. Unfortunately, disorder builds a basal ganglia in the brain for confusion – so it’s no wonder a poor brain fails to remember the last dark hole’s location.

4. Tell yourself that memory leaks out with age, and watch your brain abandon dynamic plasticity and live up to your expected loss. That way your brain abandons its natural proclivity to remember and takes on the easier role of the slug you’ve assigned it. Remember, your brain is shaped by what you expect of it, and memory’s limited each time you perpetuate memory misconceptions. Eventually a new reality hard-wires in and you’ll forget what’s needed to keep your brain fueled and well oiled. You’ll forget that memory’s more about use it or lose it than about age.

5. Blast somebody near you for your lost keys, and your mind fills with the stress hormone, cortisol, that precludes remembering where they’re hiding. Cortisol comes with angry words, and shuts down the brain’s help to remember. Anger leaves you alone to find your damn keys again, on your own – without memory’s keen guidance. Has it happened to you?

Research supports common reasons that memory can fade through –

  1. Stress
  2. Pregnancy or menopause
  3. Thyroid problems
  4. Some drugs
  5. Depression
  6. Long-term excessive drinking
  7. normal aging
  8. Concussion or head injury

The flip side of memory loss – is to develop tactics that sharpen memory when you need it most. For example, hook new fact onto something already known. Whenever you link ideas to something familiar, you hang new knowledge hat onto familiar hooks inside your cranium. See why it sticks?

When new facts hook onto known facts, your brain remembers where to find both. Has it happened to you? Take the lost keys, discussed earlier.  I hook keys in the same place daily and luckily haven’t had to search for years. What do you hope to remember today?

People far younger than me waste endless hours looking for lost keys, while new research about memory and aging brains brings amazing good news monthly for those who use its tools.

Memory tactics simply free up your working memory  to focus on integrating these new facts in ways that  solve real-life problems in your writing.

Working memory holds new facts a very short time, so you may wish to  sketch the fact in a quick image or diagram next to its meaning.

Learned forgetfulness can be turned around today into a new brain based memory tool for tomorrow. New research about plasticity enables you to rewire your brain nightly as you sleep. It’s based on activities you do in memory’s favor that day. In other words, try any of the tips in this post, and that action alone will build new dendrite cell changes for remembering.

Try any of the new tricks below and jog your memory to  calm down and retrieve facts you need.

Start here just for the fun of remembering – and then try one that adds zip to your day.

a. Eat light and avoid fats and sugars before a talk, presentation or a think tank.

b. Stay calm and link what to hear to what you already know so when you hear a name – link it to a feature on a person’s face. I once met a guy called “Harry Bignose,” who had a hairy nose the size a country pump. Ok – that one was easy.

c. Attach a small hook onto your keys and snap them onto a belt or bag, but make sure it is the same place repeatedly, so your brain grows new neuron connectors for finding keys in the same place.

d. Tell somebody else about these tips and tools to improve memory. Did you know that to teach a thing at the same time you learn it, helps you retain 90% more of what you learn. Not bad returns for a simple lesson to help a forgetful friend.

e. Thank people around you for anything they do in your favor. That way your brain runs on serotonin, a hormone that fuels well being, and opens the brain to peak memories, just as anger can teach the brain to forget.

Did I just say you can teach your brain to forget?  Ok, it’s true … and now the secret is out. Your brain operates more by how you use it, than by your age. Good news for those who plan more than gracious and expect to age voraciously – with memory in tact.

Teens love to use these 25 brain based study skill tips to learn more, in less time, and with fun strategies, that draw more from their awesome brains.

#study skills

It’s often a simple case of outsourcing core facts, to free up your mind to relax and enjoy the day. How so? Why not remember directions next time a person tells you three turns at main intersections – by outsourcing brief details into a list written to ensure your memory’s peak performance to get you there.

By the way, interesting new research shows that emotions survive after memories vanish.

Related tool: Yearly planner with brain boosters and prompts to reboot your brain so that you tap and develop hidden and unused capabilities.

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20 thoughts on “Expect More Memory by Outsourcing Key Facts

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  12. eweber Post author

    Wow – what an interesting look at how food plays with the chemical and electrical networks in the brain and it does! Jim, I am laughing as I read your thoughtful words and sense that both you and I have seen folks nods off after a big lunch – and while we try to keep ’em focused.

    I can imagine that your own killer ideas and dynamic humor keep them hot on the trails Jim! I could learn so much at your sessions on sales and leadership:-)

  13. JD

    I love to eat but I remember when I had a big sales call, I always wanted to be a little hungry, it put me on edge and I felt sharper, now I understand why again.I also learned you are less productive when you put things off,somewhere in your mind thoughts of unfinished tasks are using brain memory with worry. We are told to make a list of things you have put off and do them and your memory and productivity will increase. Ellen are you hip tp that thought process?

    JDs last blog post..Enhance Strenghts Instead of Just focusing On Weakness

  14. eweber Post author

    Oh Conrad – you always leave us both smiling and chasing some new aspect of curiosity at the same time! Thanks for weighing in, for asking the coolest questions, and for tossing wisdom into the ring in so many creative way! The journey has always just begun when you show up! Thanks for that delightful adventure that always just beyond reach!

    Matches neuro discoveries too – since they have so much more to teach us and the best experts in the field are just catching their stride!

  15. Conrad

    I love the way you have us training our brains! Of course, who is the YOU doing the training?

    I get an image of giving my brain treats and praising it…and it’s not a bad image!!!

  16. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your kind words and Welcome Harry. Great to have you in the Brain Leaders and Learners community! It’s always an honor to greet another brain to the exchanges and I cannot wait to hear more of your insights. When the neuro-discoveries remain locked in jargon – or without use to improve people’s situations – we all lose out! When they send a person like you to our think tanks and roundtables the winning begins again!

  17. Harry

    I was reading your reply to the LinedIn posting (at TickledbyLife) on Death by PowerPoint, and discovered your site. It is realy wonderful. I can not wait to share it with my colleagues! (and now I have joined your community and subscribed, so that I don’t miss anything).

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