Using the analogy of the radar, you can probably understand how you can improve the quality of your memory. A few very brief ideas can be mentioned:
- To remember to do something, you will have to preset some recognizable symbol which will be picked up by your radar-plus-template. Suppose you preset the face of a friend, and connect it with the thing you wish to tell him. You can then dismiss the matter, awaiting the time the friend’s face is viewed (or pictured, as in a phone call). The perceived image of your friend will take its turn on the radar template, swing around the field and come to the preset flag. It will trip the trigger, and you will find yourself saying, “Oh, there was something important I wanted to tell you … it has to do with … let’s see … oh, a change in tomorrow’s assignment … .”
- Suppose you want to remember to mail a letter. It seems obvious to suggest that you should place the letter where it will be seen, yet many people do not do so; they tuck it into a book, and find it too late. Thus, it is logical to provide the circumstances needed for your senses to pick up some sort of sense-data to relay to your radar. This can be extended to written memos, of course — another function for your pocket date-book.
- Remembering someone’s name is flattering to him, and, if forgotten, the missing name is a source of chagrin to both you and the person you want to introduce. You can do several things, including using the name a number of times while it is still fresh in your mind, which is equivalent to smoothing out the pathways. Or you can make cross connections with other existing flags, such as people of the same last name, perhaps mentioning them to the new person, asking if they are relatives. You can associate the name with some common object, and the common object with the person’s face or dress. Perhaps you can spell the name and imagine seeing it in large letters on a sign.
- Unfinished business has its own way of rising to the surface. This is why we can get along without constant reminders, once we make the effort. But until we learn to set up reminders, we are victims of mere chance in remembering. Some people say, “I have a poor memory for names.” To some extent, just saying this is self-hypnotic (auto-suggestive) and you will begin to believe it more than is justified. The result may be that you take refuge in your imagined weakness about names, and never break the spell.
- Simply taking out your pencil and pocket notebook might be best of all!
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