A technique to remember small stuff

2014-04-29

This post is to share something that I've found quite useful, and seems to work quite consistently.

Have you ever tried to remember a name? And I mean one that you know, but forgot when you need it, not one that you heard 10 years ago and there's probably no chance you'll remember.

I'll give you an example so that you get the idea of how it works.

The other day I was recommending to someone a certain artist, I like the artist and all, but I couldn't remember the name. I couldn't remember it, I tried for several minutes.

What I did is ask myself "what's his name?" and I consider the first things that come to mind, for this example let's say the letter "T" came to mind. So I say, OK, that's his name's first letter.

Then I say, starting with "T", what's his name... "Toshi" comes to mind but that's not right. I did notice it is closer to it though, beause it resonated with my memory (best way I can come up to describe what I felt).

I decided something was missing, so I repeated to myself "Toshi" over and over. Then suddenly I realized his name was "Toshio" and I was like "I got it!", but I still felt like something was missing so I kept repeating "Toshio" to myself. After 15 seconds of that I figured it out, the name I was looking for was "Tokashio", and I was content with that so that was it.

But the point is, I went several times with the first answer that came up. This is usually good to remember all kinds of stuff. Ever looked for what you were talking about before you got into a heated argument? This works quite well "well we were talking about ____", after that most people would say "nah that was much earlier", maybe it wasn't, work off from that and you'll soon remember what it was. Unless the argument was completely unrelated to whatever started it.

Anyway, I hope this helps. This doesn't describe it very well, but in a short amount of words it's basically asking yourself "what is it?" and the first thing that comes to mind will probably be it, and continue with it until you remember the whole thing.

With a name you could go letter by letter, "did it start with an E?" if your gut feeling says yes, then it is, then go "the second letter was a T I think..." and continue like that until boom, you've got the whole name.

EDIT:

I was talking with a friend about memory but I didn't mention this technique and at some point he said "like in layers" and I thought that was the best way to describe this technique. Do it in layers and don't deny what comes up, see where it takes you. :)