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Justin Wright

Monday Velocity - Memory Stories

publishedabout 1 month ago
2 min read

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Memory Stories

Improving our ability to retain information is a valuable skill regardless of which career path we follow. Memorization is a technique that, for better or worse, is overly employed in a number of scholastic endeavors. Some fields, like medicine, simply require better memory in order to succeed.

The caveat is that there are typically limits to the number of things we can memorize. Short term memory is something we rely on heavily in our daily interactions; it allows us to retain some information, but these memories are overwritten constantly as new information comes in.

Our short term memory allows us to recall roughly 7 items with some degree of volatility. The deviation is about 2, meaning we can, on average, only remember 5 to 9 items until these memories are erased.

The good news is, with certain techniques, we can overcome this natural deficit. Believe it or not, there are memory competitions complete with professional memorizers. A technique that they all stand behind is a combination of the Link Method and the Story Method.

Both of these methods are a form of association. The Link Method creates some type of visual connection between words. When trying to remember the word "rat," for example, you could create an image of a regal rat complete with a crown and robe. Linking images to words is a useful strategy for remembering those words.

The Story Method is an added layer to this, where you use your linked associations and combine them into a narrative story. Maybe the regal rat decides to download a fabulous file from a corrupted computer. Creating ridiculous stories with these linked words and phrases will allow you to very quickly memorize a list of words or objects and recall that list in both normal and reverse order.

Exploring and practicing memorization techniques is a great way to overcome the natural deficit our short-term memory is subject to. Over time, these techniques will allow you to retain and recall much more information than your peers.


Hit List

The most interesting things I've encountered this week

What I'm reading: The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

I've mentioned this book in the past, but it has been re-recommended to me by a number of people recently. In an effort to not beat a dead horse, I thoroughly believe in the power of embracing discomfort on a regular basis. This book does a far better job of explaining why that's important than I could.

What I'm also reading: "103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known" by Kevin Kelly

I'm a sucker for a good list of life lessons, especially from someone who has lived a great life over 70 years. There are plenty of useful nuggets on this list, but one of my favorites is right near the top: "Don't ever work for someone you don't want to become."

A product I love: Leatherman multi-tool

I've recently been building out a tool kit to have on set when filming, as someone inevitably needs something and time is typically of the essence. Little tools like this are so useful, and I embarrassingly didn't carry one until recently. You have no idea how necessary something like this is until you need one and don't have it!


Quote of the week:

"Criticize in private, praise in public." - Kevin Kelly

This is another great quote from the article linked above. One life lesson that always stuck with me was to only talk positively behind people's backs. If you say negative things around others, those people will assume you say the same about them. If you only say positive things about others behind their backs, the people who overhear you will gain much more respect for you.

A great test before you say something should be: If this person were to walk in while I was saying this, would I be proud or embarrassed?