Remember your way to success: Tips from a memory master

Chester Santos
Source: Getty

Even in the age of Google Search, remembering certain things can give you a huge advantage in just about any career. If you have easy mental access to important business related facts and figures, are able to give presentations from memory using little to no notes, remember foreign language vocabulary, recall material for certification exams, remember people’s names and other things about them, you’re likely to impress and be useful in stressful situations.

So, how can you improve your ability to remember? It’s actually very easy, and it can also be a lot of fun. Here are three main principles of memory improvement to keep in mind.


Take whatever it is that you are trying to remember and try to turn it into a simple image or series of memorable images.

Additional senses

Beyond visualisation, try to involve as many additional senses as you can when you’re trying to commit a piece of information to memory.

The more senses that you involve, the more of your brain you’ll be using, and the more connections you’ll be building to the relevant information, so it will be much easier to remember.

Read more: It turns out multitasking is bad for your memory


Next, use your imagination to make what you are seeing in your mind as extraordinary as you can. This is important so that you can take advantage of the psychological aspect to your memory. Using little to no effort, we can all remember things that are unusual in some way.


So how can these principles be put into practice?

Let’s try to commit the following list of words to memory: monkey, iron, rope, kite, house, paper, shoe, worm, envelope, pencil, river, rock, tree, cheese, euro.

To memorise this word list, try to relax and have fun while visualising the narrative described. Try to see it happening to the best of your ability, almost like a cartoon playing in your head.

Picture a monkey. This monkey is dancing around making monkey noises. The monkey picks up an iron. The iron starts to fall, but a rope attaches itself to the iron. You look up the rope and see the other end attached to a kite. The kite now smashes into a house. You notice that the house is covered in paper.

A shoe appears from nowhere and start to walk on the paper. The shoe smells badly, so you look inside to find a worm crawling around. The worm now jumps into an envelope. A pencil starts to write on the envelope. The pencil now jumps into a river and makes a huge splash.

You notice that the river is crashing into a giant rock. The rock flies out of the river and crashes into a tree. This tree is growing cheese. A euro coin now flies out of each piece of cheese.

Read through the story just one more time while visualising everything described. Now, go ahead and recite all of the random words from memory by simply going through the story in your mind and recalling each major object that you encounter.

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This is an example of the “story method”, which is just one of many powerful and fun techniques for improving your ability to remember things. Invest a little bit of time developing memory skills, and you can soon be enjoying more success in your career.

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