There is a part of your brain, the hippocampus, that plays as a gatekeeper keeping short term memories from entering your long term memory. It also does other things, but for now it’s just a gatekeeper.
I find illustrations of the hippocampus not very helpful (A.K.A. BORING) and instead imagine a hippo in Roman gladiator battle gear slaying an endless oncoming barrage of useless memories. He’s a champion in my mental Colosseum and his name is Hippopotamus Campus.
If you can imagine Hippopotamus Campus, then good. The following will be helpful. If your mind rejects Hippopotamus Campus, then good. Your hippocampus is working and Hippopotamus Campus is winning.
Whether you’re into my mental imagination or not is irrelevant. With the right tools and technique, you can make your mind into a beastly trap that dwarfs even the legendary poke’mon master ball.
Memory Tips and Tricks
Storing things into long term memory is easy. And as I mentioned in my long term memory article, it’s safe to assume you’re not going to run out of mental disk space anytime soon. So don’t hold back, and go all out:
1. Be interested
Being interested arms the information in your short term memory with a sense of importance. Memories such as near death experiences, or romantic first kisses have a tendency to stick in your head.
If you don’t care, your chances of remembering are as bad as remembering where the attendant crew was pointing to while wearing a silly yellow rubber duck floating device. (Virgin America got it down right with their music video.)
2. Use your senses
The more vivid you can make something appear in your imagination, the more likely it’s going to pass through the gatekeeper.
Leveraging the strength of visual and spacial parts of your brain are key if you want it to stick. Try to make the best mental movie you can of what you’re trying to remember. With enough cues, you should be able to reproduce the movie back into it’s original form.
3. Ask a genius question
Use one of the two questions every genius always asks. “How is this like something I already know?” Not only does it allow you to rapidly understand something new by finding likeness, but also it attaches a new memory to an already existing one en-strengthening both of them.
4. Person Action Object
The Person Action Object technique are used by Memory Champions in the Memory Olympics (yes, it’s real. No, they’re not all geeks. Some of the are body builders and mountain climbers.).
It uses the power of chunking by taking a person, and object, and an action and combining them into one memory.
Elon Musk eating a Spaceship.
Steve Jobs stomping on the apple watch
These things tend to stick in our heads. The more bizarre, the better.
Applying this technique can allows champions to to remember anything from a shuffled deck of card in a couple of minutes (the world record is under 21.90 seconds), to an auditorium of hundreds of audiences names and faces.
Needless to say, these tools can all be applied in everyday life and make you seem like you’re on Nootropics