Yesterday I talked about the first three in the set of nine negative (or at the very least, unhelpful) beliefs that many of us hold about our memory abilities with respect to learning languages, terminology or whatever else we might wish to memorize. Today I’ve got three more for you.
4. “I can do it all on my own.”
For those of you who have been reading this newsletter for awhile now, you know that I always end by encouraging you to teach someone else what you have learned about using Memory Palaces and memorization in general. Obviously, I don’t mind if you mention the Magnetic Memory series of books or the Magnetic Memory Mondays Newsletter, but the point I am trying to make with this is much deeper.
Memorization happens in the mind, to be sure, but it also happens throughout the course of our interactions. There’s a very real sense that we haven’t really memorized something until we’ve shared it with someone else.
Take the case of poetry, for instance. I’ve memorized many lines in my day, but I don’t really “own” those lines until I’ve tried to recall them in real time in front of another person. You need to fire off the mnemonics in the “line of duty,” so to speak. You need that other person in order to truly test your recall.
The same principle applies to languages. Yes, it’s important to use Excel files in the way I teach here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMPMuOyfke4 … but you also need to test your recall in actual conversation.
The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to do this while engaging in conversation in your target language. You can simply tell a friend or someone at work about a new word or set of words you’ve learned and describe how you did it. In this way, you not only compound the word you’ve learned, but you’ve compounded the Magnet Memorization process and helped another person see the possibilities that await them by using these simple methods.
The takeaway: Memory Palaces and mnemonics are never just an internal event. The Magnetic Memory system is built by design to share in order to maximize your success.
5. “I can’t speak until I know enough words.”
A lot of people I’ve talked with about vocabulary memorization express their reluctance to engage in conversations due to a limited vocabulary. However, no matter how limited your vocabulary might be, it grows even by using those limited words you may know at the beginning. Perhaps I’m a bit mystical with this stuff, but there is Magnetic power in repetition, and the more you use what you know (as opposed to confirming what you know through some form of rote learning), the more new material clings to your knowledge base.
In addition, by using what you know, you get to see how those words work in different contexts. If you only play with them in your head, you cannot test them in actual conversation.
Speaking of actual conversation, people sometimes ask me about where exactly they can find people with whom they can speak. No matter where I happen to be, I find
Meetup.com to be an invaluable resource. Just go to that website, pop in your target language, and you’ll almost certainly find one or two speaking opportunities, if not more than you can shake a stick at.
The takeaway: A limited vocabulary that goes unused is unlikely to become Magnetic. Using vocabulary attracts new vocabulary. Always.
6. “I might make a mistake.”
The quick answer: Good. Make as many as you can when using a Memory Palace to memorize foreign language vocabulary.
The long answer: Mistakes are absolutely central to learning. Mistakes are the means by which we gauge our progress.
There was once a marketing genius who pointed out that he never earned a dime from his successes. All of his profits came from his mistakes.
What he meant was that success only comes from trying things out and figuring out what doesn’t work. You learn more about what does work from hitting a brick wall and needing to reconfigure your approach than you do by drawing a full house every time.
Cherish the mistakes you make during the memorization process, the testing process and the recall process. They will not only grant you greater familiarity with the words you are trying to learn, but teach you more about the memorization process itself. You’ll be continually more successful in the future merely by paying attention to what hasn’t worked in the past – though as a caveat, do take care not to rule out what hasn’t worked before as eternally useless. Tides change, and an older concept may bring you good fortune in the future.
That’s all for today, but before I go: just a quick reminder that last month’s collection of the Magnetic Memory Mondays newsletter is now available for your Kindle device.
Here is just some of what you can learn from over 95 pages of material about improving your vocabulary memorization, all of which I’m giving away for free:
* How to use dice to improve your memory.
* How to lower any hurdles that may be hindering your progress.
* Why you should try to learn each new skill you find difficult at least twice.
* How to extend your Memory Palaces to include 3000 words and more.
* How to use “Big Box” stores as Memory Palaces.
* How to memorize textbooks so you can ace exams.
* How to use video games and TV shows as Memory Palaces.
* Why perfectionism may be slowing your down.
* How to motivate yourself to memorize.
* The best time-management techniques for memorization using Memory Palaces.
* How to use free email services to memorize new vocabulary.
* What to do if you’re not a particularly visual person.
* The importance of paying attention in the first place.
* How to avoid the “Memorization Kryptonite” that may be holding you back.
* And much, much more …
If you’d like to support this newsletter and get the combined March newsletter for your Kindle, here’s the link to use:
Now then. It’s time for the closing lines.
Until next time, make sure to teach someone what you have learned about memorization. It’s the best way to deepen your own understanding and to help make the world a better – and more memorable – place. The more we remember, the more we can remember, and the more we learn, the more we can learn.