I reviewed the Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory in July last year, and while I had no doubt that the techniques in the book work I never got in the habit of using them and had all but forgotten about the it until a few days ago.
Then I chanced upon this Ted Talk by Joshua Foer who talks about the same thing and I read parts of the book again.
After that, I decided to start applying the techniques again, and for some reason, the things that I found hard to do last time were easier this time, and I’ve been using the techniques again for about a couple of weeks now.
There were two things that I did differently this time – the first one was to start with easy things.
I felt that one of the hardest things taught in the book was memorizing long numbers like 4685678901234512 and that’s where I started last time. This approach didn’t work in my favor because it was a bit discouraging to fail at remembering 16 digit numbers, and turned me away from other things as well.
This time I just started with simple numbers that I thought I’d need to remember like the level where I parked, or how many species of penguins are there in the world and other such smaller numbers.
The second big change I did was to go by the book. Last time I improvised on a few techniques and made tweaks that I thought would be easier for me to follow. But that didn’t work so well because there were shortcomings in my tweaks that weren’t apparent to me when I made them. This time I decided to go by the book and follow the techniques exactly as they had described them, and that worked better than last time.
Finally, I think watching the Ted Talk helped immensely because it is a live demonstration of how to use the technique and the story is told in a wonderful manner. The talk is 20 minutes long and I’m sure you will find that your 20 minutes were well invested.