3 Negative (or less-than-useful) Negative Beliefs About Memory Skills

Shutterstock_74740-150x150Dear Memorizers,

I’m itching to talk today about some of the negative beliefs people hold about their memory and learning a new language. There are at least nine, but for today I’ll talk about the first three. Most of these come in the form of a fast and hard statement.

1. “I have a bad memory.”

When we says this phrase, or some variation on this theme, we are essentially placing ourselves in a weakened position and training ourselves to stay there. Worse, when we say such things out loud, we are training others to help hold us in that belief.

The truth is that, outside of some serious biological mishaps and inborn conditions, we all have basically the same capacity for memory. The only difference is that whereas some people use a memorization strategy, others do not. There is a third category of people who simply have strong memory skills, but in my experience, even these people usually have a strategy, even if they can’t quite enunciate what that strategy is and how they use it.

2. “It takes a long time to learn a new language.”

Doubtless, learning a language takes time. However, do we really need to tell ourselves this? And is it really true?

Sure, some people seem to have a natural gift for memorizing material (though what “natural” means here usually involves some kind of strategy), but we know for a fact that with the right preparation, mindset and well-executed methods, anyone can accelerate their ability to learn a new language.

We must all make sure that we don’t spend more time believing that it takes a long time to learn a new language than we actually spend on the material we want to memorize.

3. “Grammar is more is more important than vocabulary.”

Granted, grammar is important. I would never deny this.

However, when it comes to communicating, declensions, conjugations and all the rest can only happen if you know the core vocabulary. Moreover, people can only understand you if you’re able to pronounce these words, or in the case of writing, spell them.

(A short story: Recently, I made a spelling error with the customs office. I had shipped several of my notebooks to myself and wrote a letter I placed in the box explaining that they shouldn’t charge a toll on the notebooks because, not only had they been purchased in Germany, but they were all filled out. But due to a homophonic spelling error, I had written that I had “felt my notebooks up,” instead of “filled them out.” I got my notebooks in the end without having to pay a toll, but when I saw my spelling error later, it certainly made me blush.)

The point is that we often get too caught up on the grammar without having a solid enough base of vocabulary upon which to build our grammatical understanding. When we put the cart before the horse, we wind up pushing instead of being carried.

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.

By the way, the first issue of the Magnetic Memory Mondays newsletter is now available for your Kindle.

Here’s what the newsletter will teach you:

* 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 want it, just head on over to Amazon and they’ll set you up.

Till next time, dear Memorizers, think positive and make sure to teach someone else what you’ve learned about Memory Palaces because teaching a skill is the best way to learn a skill. Plus, the more people who know about and use Memory Palaces, the better our world will be. Why? Because the more you can memorize, the more you can learn. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

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