Greetings for the day
I remember 3 days back, my friend Bob visited my house. He was sceptic and wanted to discuss some information. (Note: This article is written in dialogue prose format and hence most of the content is in conversational English only)
He said – you know what is “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia”?
I said – are you testing my vocabulary. You should not. I don’t permit you to do so.
He said – No. I know your memory and vocabulary are superior to mine. But, I want to know the meaning of the word. I am doing a research of various phobias encountered by humans and I am seriously unable to remember this word.
I added – it is a mismanaged word. It just means – fear of long words and is deliberately made and added to English dictionaries to create a very long word. That’s it.
He: I know but how to remember it? I want to know your secret. How do you remember something which can’t be remembered easily? Please share your secret for photographic memory.
Me: Will you follow the path I did?
He: What the path is? I don’t want to change my lifestyle.
I laughed and said – That’s not required.
He: Don’t tell me to start meditation either. I am an atheist. You know I won’t meditate.
Me: Meditation is a good brain charger but if you want to skip that, you are allowed to do so.
He: I won’t change my diet either. I can’t manage change.
Me: Relax! You seriously don’t have to change anything just re – invent what you were doing earlier. That is sufficient.
He: OK. Tell me how to remember various stuffs.
Me: Try to see patterns. Let us take your own example i.e., “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.” Don’t you notice that it can be rephrased as Hippopotamus Monsters Equipped Alias Phobia? It is just multiple words fused into one. You don’t have problem remembering Hippopotamus OR Monster OR Equipped OR Alias OR Phobia. Right? So, you will easily remember their combination. If you have problem in remembering tough words, please develop patterns in the same & see the miracle.
He: Sorry! I am dumb enough to see any pattern. Please help. I prefer breaking down long words. So, it is easy for me to remember “Hippo poto monstro sesquip edalio phobia” rather than spending hours finding the pattern.
Me: You are right. In fact, you are actually following what I said in a different manner. However, there is a limitation which is to be noted. This technique works only if you want to remember complex words. It does not help in other cases.
He: What in other cases? My wife keeps complaining I can’t remember her birthday. Any shortcut? Please don’t tell me to use mathematical patterns.
Me: I cannot help you in that. I am single and hence don’t know how to manage spouse’s anger. As far as remembering someone’s birthday is concerned, try adding that as a Reminder in your mobile phone. It works.
He: Nice. But, do I need to add day to day routine work too to my phone? I don’t want to do that. That consumes battery & phone RAM.
I demanded example from him.
He: Whenever I go to shopping with more than 10 items to buy, I can’t remember what to do. I prefer using Mnemonics. So, I just use initials to remember things.
Me: Good but that only works in short run. It is an utter failure in long run. I prefer go for writing and carry writing pad with you.
He: How to remember general facts?
Me: Always remember there is a Golden rule: 1% listened 2% read 3% said and 4% done once. You remember 1% what you listened, 2% what you read once, 3% what you said once and 4% what you did once in your lifetime. You can increase frequency to remember facts with better probability. You remember numbers; you remember basic arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc. Why can’t you remember facts if you start using them practically in your day to day life.
For example, if you want to remember Trigonometric rules. Try imagining a Mountain whose height you wish to calculate OR imagine yourself as an architect and try estimating structural roof. You will not only remember trigonometric stuff but also will grab the practical examples of the theories you once learnt.
He: Interesting. What about solving puzzles to improve brain functionalities?
Me: Go ahead. But, don’t rely completely on that. Excess is not recommended. Our brain cannot handle too much mental exercises. That has its own side effects. Mental Exercises can help you increase focus, learning ability but excess of such exercises make you mad.
He: It was nice interacting with you. But, I know I will forget this discussion as well. Please summarise this so that I can write it down.
Me: Sure. Here I go.
Rule 0: Meditation is beneficial but not mandatory
Rule 1: Changing lifestyle or diet may help but that is not necessary.
Rule 2: See patterns in complex things to simplify them.
Rule 3: Writing facilitates remembering
Rule 4: Do the stuff / implement facts practically to remember them
Rule 5: Problem solving / puzzles solving activities help improving brain functionalities but are to be regulated and limited. Excess is to be avoided.
He went after gaining knowledge. The discussion helped him. I hope it helps you too.
Please post your experience as comments.
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