Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/ Learn, Memorize And Recall Anything Using Memory Techniques, Mnemonics And A Memory Palace Fast Wed, 28 Sep 2022 18:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blubrry PowerPress/9.4.2 The Magnetic Memory Method Podcast is your portal to creating Memory Palaces and using mnemonics for memorizing foreign language vocabulary (and a lot of other precious information too). Hosted by Anthony Metivier, the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st Century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary in a way that is easy, elegant, effective and fun. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast clean Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast hapaxia@gmail.com hapaxia@gmail.com (Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast) Memorize Foreign Language Vocabulary Using Simple, Universal, Mnemonic Principles Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast https://e5hougg55fx.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/TheMagneticMemoryMethodPodcast1400x1400.jpg https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/blog/ Ars Notoria: Rapid Learning or Mindfulness Guide? With Dr. Justin Sledge from Esoterica https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/ars-notoria/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 09:21:17 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=30030 The Ars Notoria promises rapid learning of difficult topics like math and geometry. Here are the surprising reasons it might have worked. Ars Notoria Feature ImageWhat if there was a book that helped you learn at a rapid pace by chanting the names of angels while looking at interesting images?

There’s more to the Ars Notoria than that, of course.

But the interesting thing is that this book may actually have provided a beneficial effect.

For one thing, the text likely created a meditative state.

And it’s been well-demonstrated that meditation improves memory.

It also improves focus, attention and your overall awareness.

To help us learn more about the Ars Notoria and the people who used it, we’re joined in this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast by Dr. Justin Sledge from Esoterica.

https://youtu.be/SIEWtw8B-j4

What Is The Ars Notoria?

The Ars Notoria is hard to describe.

But generally, it probably belongs to a genre called grimoire. This word probably relates to “grammar” and refers to texts proclaiming to teach the art of invoking angels and/or demons.

In the case of the Ars Notoria, the idea seems to be that you “inspect” certain “notes,” ostensibly while chanting the names of angels you’ve memorized.

Why?

Because the book promises that you’ll rapidly acquire the trivium and quadrivium at an epic speed, provided you still attend lecture and do all the assigned reading.

The “notes” you’re supposed to stare at, one assumes, the images included in the book. But it’s possible that you also created your own when using the pecia system to copy books you could not afford to own.

If you want to check out the text for yourself, this is the version of the Ars Notoria I read. It appears that a new version is coming out soon as well.

To understand the medieval practice of this form of magic, I recommend Claire Fanger’s Invoking Angels.

And of course, there is Dr. Sledge’s excellent video analysis of the text:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv0plm9SVIo

How Would You Use The Ars Notoria?

Based on my reading so far, here’s what I would probably do:

  • Memorize the recommended names and words using a Memory Palace
  • Recite the content while considering the images
  • Repeat daily while studying the material using other memory techniques

Although not quite so elaborate, I have done something similar already with Sanskrit. I memorized a substantial part of the Ribhu Gita, for example.

Here’s the demonstration video and here’s my TEDx Talk about the experience.

Do The Promises of the Ars Notoria Deliver?

As Dr. Sledge and I speculate, it’s highly likely that using the Ars Notoria provided students and other individuals some benefit. If it didn’t, why else would manuscripts of the text have flourished?

I think the relationship here with other kinds of concentration meditation and visualization meditation is clear.

Some people will certainly learn faster and remember more based on the benefits of concentration meditation alone.

But my thinking aligns with Claire Fanger’s suggestion that working with the names of angels probably helped people improve their use of mnemonics.

This intuition makes total sense to me because the more strange names and words you know, the more connections you can make while using mnemonics.

In other words, this could have served as a kind of practice akin to what we do now with things like the pegword method, the Major System and the PAO System.

Ultimately, the only way to know whether or not this approach will work for you is to give it a try.

Stay tuned to this page for updates as more resources and materials emerge.

When the new version comes out, and if it fills in the gaps in the current versions we have, I might just give this technique a try.

And if I do, I’ll document everything for you. Watch this space and if you’d like to improve your memory between now and then, grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

This course provides you with contemporary and scientifically proven boosts to your memory.

And you don’t have to pray to anyone or anything in order for it to work!

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The Ars Notoria promises rapid learning of difficult topics like math and geometry. Here are the surprising reasons it might have worked. The Ars Notoria promises rapid learning of difficult topics like math and geometry. Here are the surprising reasons it might have worked. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 1:17:31
7 Memory Hacks That Simply Work https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/memory-hacks/ Wed, 14 Sep 2022 16:00:18 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29764 The best memory hacks help you rapidly remember anything. This list gives you the best memory hack of them all, so read to the end. memory hacks feature image

If you want to learn really fast, these are the memory hacks you want to use. They are by far the most exciting, next level memory tips you’ve ever discovered.

And I promise you that if you read this article all the way through, you will be able to absolutely crush any exam, learn any language faster and never forget a name again.

These tactics helped me during a time when I was so frustrated by what so many “memory experts” were offering.

See, a lot of them are memory competitors.

They use memory techniques to win competitions. Then they instantly forget the numbers, vocabulary and names they memorized.

Not useful for lifelong learning!

Then there are the scientists (or journalists pretending to write scientifically).

Let’s face it:

Memory tips like “take a nap” and “use repetition” aren’t actually “hacks.”

Sure, those things do work. A little.

But if you’re struggling with small memory problems…

Or even big ones…

The standard advice simply won’t do.

The memory hacks you need will be science-based and help you delve into the vast miracle that is the human mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXinnhU-zTY

But they’re not going to be helpful if they’re written by people who don’t use memory techniques for long term retention.

I do.

So are you ready for a memory hack “manifesto” loaded with techniques that will actually get you results?

Great! Let’s dive in!

7 Memory Hacks That Actually Work

As you go through this list, please understand that there is no special order here.

Each and every one of the memory improvement tactics you’re about to discover is useful.

And you can use some of them in combination for maximum results.

One: Don’t Cram (Not Ever)

When you have to learn something in a rush, the worst thing you can do is sit there and try and force it into your head.

Although some rote repetition can be a good thing, this is better:

Take lots of breaks, even if you’re in a rush.

This is called the spacing effect and it is powerful.

To give you a simple example, I didn’t have much time when I memorized the speech I gave at a TEDx event.

But in the limited time I had, I focused on 2-3 sentences at a time using a technique called the Memory Palace that you’ll learn about in a minute.

After about 5 minutes of focusing on those sentences, I pulled back and did something else.

students are doing their exam

Memory expert Dave Farrow established two Guinness Records and he used a similar approach to accomplish his feats.

Two: Use Memory Techniques

Did you know that there are over 20 memory techniques to choose from?

You don’t have to use them all, but spending just a little time picking up a few will revolutionize your memory quickly.

If you want to go for the ultimate technique immediately, learn how to use a Memory Palace.

This specific technique hacks your memory of locations like buildings, schools, churches, libraries, stores, parks and highways.

You literally think about locations you’re familiar with and pair them with information you need to remember using visualization tactics.

Three: Mind Map

Tony Buzan says in Mind Map Mastery that he gave up on the mind map as a memory hack decades ago.

I think this was premature.

For one thing, mind maps can readily be used as a type of Memory Palace.

But merely by creating them, ideally with multiple colors, you give yourself a shot at experiencing the benefits of active recall.

color pencils on white papers

Using multiple colors on your mind maps will increase your focus and make their content more memorable.

This means that you’ll remember what you’ve mind mapped better because you personalized the information. And you’ve engaged with it in a way that involves novelty and variety.

Both of those things are so powerful, they deserve a discussion on their own.

Four: Inject Novelty and Variety

One of my most used memory hacks during university was studying in multiple locations.

I literally went out of my way to study in as many of Toronto’s libraries as I could. Just as often, I would visit new cafes or even study in parks I’d never seen before. I would ride my bike from place to place, which also had the benefit of giving me breaks. 

(It’s really hard to cram when you’re on the road, but very easy to reflect on what you’ve studied. Thinking about the material forms memories quicker.)

Why does including a variety of new locations for learning help with memory formation?

Scientists believe it has to do with how it causes the brain to increase levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. These are all important chemicals when it comes to forming new memories.

The best part?

Moving around is fun and easy too. It also makes you a more interesting person.

Five: Optimize How You Use Flashcards

Sometimes people think I’m all about the Memory Palace technique and totally against things like Anki and flashcards.

Such statements couldn’t be further from the truth.

Although I don’t use spaced repetition software often, when I do, I enhance it by using the principles we’ve already discussed:

Personalization and variety.

white flash cards with two colors background

It’s very simple to draw your own flashcards and photograph them, for example. You can also align your cards with your Memory Palaces using the technique I teach in how to memorize a textbook.

As for Anki, I limit my exposure to all apps as part of avoiding digital amnesia.

Six: Memorize Stories

One problem a lot of people struggling with memory face comes down to articulation. Their tongues get tied or they lose their train of thought.

By spending a bit of time not just passively reading stories, but deeply internalizing their plot points, you’ll hack your memory and improve it fast.

Seven: Make Memory Projects Part of Your Life

One of the best hacks is to simply have little memory projects on the go all the time.

For example, you can:

The Biggest & Best Memory Hack Of Them All

If you like what you’ve read so far, let me encourage you to go deeper.

The biggest memory hack of them all is this:

Decide to become a master of your memory.

What do I mean by that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k7hotyHROk

Basically, it means get into memory training and stick with it.Because the truth is there is no short term memory hack that’s going to last forever.

Think of it like this:

You can’t go to the gym once in a while and expect your biceps to grow.

Memory is like a muscle like that.

It needs ongoing attention.

And if you’d like to learn the most powerful technique for making your memory not only improve, but flourish so you can learn languages, concentrate better and stop forgetting things, grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit now:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you start the path to memory mastery that lasts.

That way, you won’t need hacks any more.

You’ll be the one everyone goes to for help.

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The best memory hacks help you rapidly remember anything. This list gives you the best memory hack of them all, so read to the end. The best memory hacks help you rapidly remember anything. This list gives you the best memory hack of them all, so read to the end. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 24:28
Memory Techniques For Chinese with Mandarin Blueprint https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/mandarin-blueprint/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 23:32:17 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29866 Mandarin Blueprint provides exceptional material for learning Chinese, including characters, pronunciation and the best memory techniques. Dabbling Vs. Doing: Mandarin Blueprint's Advanced Memory Palace Tactics with Phil CrimminsOne of the biggest problems when it comes to mnemonics for Mandarin Chinese has recently been solved.

To explain more about the issue and the solution, Phil Crimmins from Mandarin Blueprint joins me on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast.

Now, Phil’s credentials and experiences with Chinese are exceptional.

He’s an accomplished entrepreneur, sure. He’s also very chill thanks to meditation, mindfulness and a great understanding of how to manage his mind.

And he’s a great lifelong learner who has focused on learning Chinese with incredible speed and accuracy.

But it wasn’t always simple. And some mistakes were made along the way.

You can learn from those mistakes.

And take inspiration from how Phil went on to complete a degree at Sichuan University.

Even better, he was awarded an “Outstanding Thesis Award” for his dissertation.

What was this dissertation all about?

“Chinese Acquisition Methods from the Perspective of a Mandarin Learner.”

This means that Phil is not only great at speaking Mandarin, but writing it too!

https://youtu.be/xJOuWDnhpRc

Want To Make Reading And Writing Mandarin Easier?

In this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method podcast, you’ll learn how Mandarin Blueprint has been helping thousands of people around the world rapidly acquire Chinese language skills.

Let me tell you:

Phil and his partner Luke Neale really know their stuff.

Sure, their Chinese is great.

But I’m also incredibly impressed by their knowledge of memory techniques, including the Memory Palace and other memory hacks.

The Mandarin Blueprint Method logo

What Is Mandarin Blueprint?

Mandarin Blueprint is an online course, but it’s also something more.

It’s an experience.

See, Phil and Luke understand the brain’s need for a combination of variety, simple challenges and careful progression into more challenging aspects of the language.

Scientifically, they’re keenly aware of active recall and how to help you maximize its benefits.

It’s not just videos on a screen, either. You get quizzes, powerful downloads and activities to complete. There’s also a unique flashcard system that is built for people who use memory techniques to learn Chinese.

What about Chinese characters and pronunciation?

It’s in both of these areas that Mandarin Blueprint really shines.

As good as Phil and Luke’s pronunciation is, you also get a native speaker. It not only proves how well they speak, but gives you that all-important variety of voices that stimulates faster learning.

Memory Techniques For Chinese

So what exactly are these special mnemonics in the Mandarin Blueprint program?

That’s exactly what Phil and I discuss today, but as a bit of a preview…

Mnemonics for Chinese go back at least as far as Matteo Ricci in the 16th century. He traveled to China from Italy and even wrote a book about how he learned the language using the art of memory.

Then it’s mostly radio silence until the James Heisig books appeared with titles like, Remembering the Hanzi.

Mandarin Blueprint has taken the best ideas from the memory tradition and improved them, including some ideas from the Marilyn Method. They give interesting ways to connect your associations to both their unique flashcard system and Memory Palaces.

And these ways work, all the more so because they take pronunciation into consideration. In my experience, the Mandarin Blueprint approach is totally unique.

You should definitely try it.

What if you’re not learning Chinese?

Two things:

  1. Why not?
  2. You can still learn a ton about memory techniques by listening to Phil’s experiences using them.

After all, Mandarin is neither easy or difficult. Those matters are just a state of mind.

But there’s definitely a level of involvement with Mandarin that requires more robustness in the memory techniques you use.

And that’s what makes this conversation so valuable. Those robust approaches will transfer over to anything you want to learn!

 

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Mandarin Blueprint provides exceptional material for learning Chinese, including characters, pronunciation and the best memory techniques. Mandarin Blueprint provides exceptional material for learning Chinese, including characters, pronunciation and the best memory techniques. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 1:27:56
What Is A Paracosm? What You Need to Know https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/paracosm/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 16:00:44 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=26247 Like aphantasia, people are anxious to turn paracosm into a disease. But what if it's the greatest thing that could ever happen to you? what is a paracosm feature imageAre you paracosmic?

I know I sure am.

And it was easy and fun to get there, even if it took a bit of time. 

I’m talking about having hundreds of fantasy characters constantly rolling around in my mind. Real people too.

Sadly, some people think this state of having a large mental population  is some kind of disease…

Frankly, if it is, I love my paracosm symptoms.

I wish I could get more.

And to explain exactly why, on this page, we’ll look into why it’s so beneficial to build and use a paracosm of your own. 

What Is A Paracosm?

A paracosm is an invented world, typically populated by many imaginary characters. They could number in the dozens, hundreds or even the thousands.

“Cosm” simply means world or universe.

The Latin prefix “para” can mean many things:

  • Alongside
  • Beside
  • Near
  • Above
  • Resembling
  • Beyond

And it can even mean “abnormal.”

Huh?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZQGBJquR_g

 

In the Handbook of Dissociation, Barry Cohen talks paracosm in adulthood as something belonging to either abused individuals or artists, if not both. 

He defines it in terms of repressed images that go through “revisualization.”

Now, I’m not saying that some people don’t suffer so badly that they create what Cohen calls a posttraumatic paracosm. 

But he is walking a thin line and practically reifies having a rich imaginary life as a disease. 

You’ll find a more balanced approach in Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them. In this book, Marjorie Taylor shows how it can be quite healthy.

For example, she discusses the ways that Ancient Greek poets used to use the gods as their muses. The very idea that those gods exist and influence human affairs is an example of a very productive paracosm.

Then we have more contemporary authors.

For example, take the paracosm created by C.S. Lewis for his Narnia series of books. When I read them as a kid, I actively imagined all of those characters, and even added new ones by writing stories that took place in that world. 

a magic book on a desk

Nothing could be healthier when you’re a kid than actively using your imagination. In this sense, having an invented world that lives alongside reality is rarely abnormal.

And as we’ll see, people who use memory techniques have such a world living alongside them all the time. 

If Having A Paracosm Is Abnormal, What Are The Symptoms?

In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattarri famously argue out that capitalism creates mental illness. 

What they mean is that capitalism requires you to justify your existence by participating in an economic system premised upon the notion of production and growth.

People who can’t follow along with this are often deemed mentally ill. You can see this in the Cohen article where you claims that a key symptom of having a paracosm is a lack of “growth.”

Sadly, entire industries have developed in order to sell medicines and other forms of therapy to help people “fit in” and “grow” according to an economic agenda. 

So if you find that you or a loved one is lost in a paracosm to the extent that participating in the capitalistic system is impossible, then you might have “symptoms.” 

a woman is struggling with something

These might include struggles to:

But what if the symptom of having a paracosm could be having a better memory? 

This is where developing your own paracosm circle comes in.

Build Your Own Paracosm Circle

I mentioned at the outset that I went out of my way to create a paracosm. 

Why?

Because I needed to remember a lot of information fast.

I was depressed while doing my Ph.D. and couldn’t focus or concentrate. And a ton of negative memories kept coming up.

Then I discovered memory techniques. 

One principle of these techniques is association, often based on fantasy characters. 

Memory athletes and memory experts often create what is called a PAO System to organize their characters.

A variation technique is the pegword method.

Then, you arrange these in a Memory Palace. The Memory Palace helps you associate your familiar characters with information you don’t know. 

And it lets you revisit both your fantasy characters and the information at the same time. 

To help you understand this better, I’ve created a free course called Memory Palace Mastery. Register here:

Magnetic Memory Method Free Memory Improvement Course

This kind of paracosm imaginary world is extremely powerful. I wish I’d created one like it much, much earlier!

Paracosm In Adulthood

As we’ve seen, some people may create paracosms to escape trauma and abuse. 

However, when used for memory purposes, researchers like Tim Dalgleish have found that much relief can be found from using the method of loci in positive ways.

(Note: method of loci basically means the same thing as Memory Palace.)

I’ve seen students like Nicholas Castle turn things around for themselves. He created tremendous relief from his PTSD symptoms as I teach in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

I myself experienced freedom from trauma by using these techniques. I shared the full story at a TEDx event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvtYjdriSpM

Beyond that, we’ve talked about C.S. Lewis and his Narnia series. 

Then there’s author Michael Connelly. As he has discussed, his Bosch series is inspired by the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights

As Connelly has his detective solve crimes across dozens of novels, he is trying to create a cast of characters that is literally like another world. 

bosch painting as an example of a paracosm

Then there’s Mark Rosenfelder, who wrote The Planet Construction Kit for authors. He also wrote the Language Construction Kit so that all the people on your planets will have authentic sounding ways of speaking.

As someone who also writes fiction, I’ve created many worlds and many people myself. (Ask me about Planet Etc. sometime!)

Beyond fiction, my career as an author now stems from the “fantasy” worlds I’ve built to help me use memory techniques better. I’m not the first one. There have been many others throughout history, Giordano Bruno being one of the best.

So in my final analysis, developing and maintaining a paracosm is a perfectly healthy thing to do. It might even help you experience hyperphantasia.

I’m not a therapist, so please take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. But it appears to me that a lot of paracosm psychology is broken. 

I’m not saying that it’s a good thing for people to respond to trauma with escapism.

But to lump the creation of imaginary worlds together with acts of dissociation through fantasy is simply false. If you have an active imagination, that’s one of the greatest gifts in the world in my books. So many people wish they had your gifts.

And if you are suffering from trauma, the memory training offered on this site has been scientifically proven to help people with such issues.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to develop your own paracosm? 

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Like aphantasia, people are anxious to turn paracosm into a disease. But what if it's the greatest thing that could ever happen to you? Like aphantasia, people are anxious to turn paracosm into a disease. But what if it's the greatest thing that could ever happen to you? Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 21:27
Can I Use Video Games As Memory Palaces? https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/can-i-use-video-games-as-memory-palaces/ Thu, 25 Aug 2022 16:00:39 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=333 A Magnetic Memory question about using video games as Memory Palaces video game Memory Palace feature imageMany people ask me about using a video game as a Memory Palace. Here’s how such questions are often worded:

Hey, could locations in video games work for my Memory Palace? I’m talking about games such as Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft or the games favored by Pewdiepie? What about the Metaverse?

Before we get to the answer, a quick thought experiment in the form of a question:

Do you know the location of the Memory Palace Police Headquarters?

I’ll give you the address later, but think about it as we dive into the topic of using a video game as a Memory Palace.

I have only a passing familiarity with the games indicated by the question, but the quick and dirty answer is:

Yes. Of course. Why not?

A Memory Palace is a reference to space. This space is used either as a surface we paint mnemonic imagery onto, a surface we place it upon.

Or we might hover the associations above the loci. We can even stash them under or inside of locations inside of Memory Palaces, such as by using cupboards or even the pockets of our Magnetic Bridging Figures.

So long as you understand what the Memory Palace technique is and practice it, you can use video games. Or even movies. Heck, you can even make Memory Palaces from the individual pages of books to help you use elaborative encoding as you use both simple and advanced memory techniques.

The Truth About Using Memory Palaces Based On Video Games

In truth, it doesn’t matter what I think. The real answer is up to you.

And here’s a potentially MASSIVE time saving tip:

When it comes to memory training, any “can I” or “could I” question almost always has the same answer:

Dive in and give it a try! If it doesn’t work…

Come back to the Magnetic Memory Method for foundational training.

But always understand two things:

  • Using memory techniques like the Memory Palace is always experimental in nature
  • Memory Palaces are always already virtual

Why Memory Palaces Are Always Experimental

What do I mean?

Every time I personally set out to use a Memory Palace, it’s an experiment. The Memory Palace is like a mental laboratory. If I’m memorizing anything using it, it’s a test of my skills. And I always learn something new.

Why Memory Palaces Are Always Virtual

This point gets into the philosophy of memory, and it may or may not be useful to you.

In brief, the world is represented to your mind by your brain. That means that it is a recreation of what is “out there,” not an accurate depiction of reality.

Therefore, when you use a memory of your childhood home, you are tapping into your brain chemistry. The same brain chemistry that you’re tapping into when you think about a video game you want to use as a Memory Palace.

How is accessing one of these potential Memory Palace sources more “real” than the other?

The answer, in my not-so-humble, but always Magnetic opinion is that they are both equally virtual.

But what matters at the end of the day isn’t the intellectual debate.

It’s how well one option works compared to the other.

There are also issues of recursion to consider, as I did in this video about using a paracosm vs. the Metaverse.

Familiarity = Speed

I choose Memory Palaces that are based on “real” locations I’ve visited because I noticed one simple thing early on in my practice:

It’s faster and easier to set them up when they are based on real buildings. The amount of decisions that has to be made is drastically reduced.

But that might not be a concern for you.

If you are so familiar with that location in the video game that you can create a journey through it and don’t have to spend a millisecond thinking of what comes next, then I think that is great.

I’m being a bit dramatic with the “millisecond” thing, so don’t take that as law. The point is that speed is very important when learning, as is the principle called speed of implementation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=386LzJmXWHE

The idea here is that the faster you can get something into action, the faster you’ll be able to use it. And that means the faster you’ll get results.

For this reason, I would suggest applying the same guidelines for preparation and predetermination I teach you to apply to “real” spaces to imagined spaces as well.

All the details about this are covered in my free course:

Free Memory Improvement Course

The Real Reason People Want Video Game Memory Palaces

I think it’s worth thinking about the intention behind this memory improvement question.

In many cases, people want to create a video game Memory Palace Network simply because they never get out enough.

Is that a healthy reason?

I ask because so many issues with brain fog and depression that harm our memory come from social isolation and lack of exercise.

Even if you do have to stay inside, it’s still possible to find more Memory Palaces.

By the same token, my fellow memory expert Idriz Zogaj explains that some of the best memory athletes use movies to increase memory.

And we know that playing games can increase hand-eye coordination (not the same as ambidextrousness, but still cool to develop).

In any case, if you’re using a video game to avoid getting out into the world, you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot.

Creating a Memory Palace Network by visiting more of your city is a great memory exercise. And as I mentioned, it’s healthy too.

What About Reusing Memory Palaces?

This is a very personal thing, but I would predict that people who do not have enough Memory Palaces based on real locations are going to have issues reusing imaginary Memory Palaces.

Even if both actual and imagined locations are equally “virtual” in my view, it comes down to simplicity and speed of implementation.

The Memory Palace you can use thoroughly and well is going to be easier to reuse thoroughly and well.

But as I’ve talked about many times before, reusing Memory Palaces is rarely necessary. Nor is it always recommended:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umt-innA-u8

That said, I have discovered some interesting alternative ways to reuse Memory Palaces that I’ve never seen discussed before. These are covered in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

As a case study, I reused the speech Memory Palace for my TEDx Talk three times in total.

Again, this is not necessarily recommended. But like I said, memory techniques are best when you treat everything like an experiment.

 

The Ultimate Truth About Video Game Memory Palaces

I think I said it best in this quick video, then we’ll follow up with the nitty-gritty:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BpwRp5Jxwo

If you’re going to use Memory Palaces based on games…

Platform Games Have Worked Best For Me

Here’s why:

When I’ve used video games for my memory and learning goals, I prefer Donkey Kong as the Memory Palace.

This is because the entire game plays out on a single screen, not an endlessly changing landscape.

Platform games are also like how I imagine each room in a Memory Palace.

Each station is “fixed.” I move mentally from corner to corner, and for that reason, it’s better if the space doesn’t rotate around without your head having been in it.

See my post on Memory Palace Science for more knowledge on why this spatial element is so important when it come to thinking through the topic if you aren’t good at mentally navigating space.

You can also check out these five kinds of Memory Palace navigation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWd1KaWFBm0

 

Here’s another point that makes me like platform games a lot better:

The screens used for game play in platform games can be easily divided into quadrants without thinking too much about the layout. In this way, platform games are a lot like chess.

And chessboards seems to me a more likely solution for quick and easy to use Memory Palaces than a highly dynamic game with multiple environments that have to be memorized in order to be useful.

That leads to using Memorized Palaces instead of Memory Palaces. And that is ultimately a deviation from what the Magnetic Memory Method is all about.

Using Donkey Kong As A Memory Palace Example

If we take Donkey Kong as an example, the journey could start at the bottom left of the screen. That corner would be station number one.

Looking at the screen, you might see a number of platforms. Without Googling to see just how many platforms there are on level one, you can mentally decide that there are five and Donkey Kong stands at the very left of the top platform.

You can then assign the rule that each platform gets three stations (left, center, right) and another rule that you would move across each platform in a zipper formation (left to right, right to left, left to right, etc).

It’s completely up to you whether or not you “see” a figure moving in the Memory Palace or not. I don’t really have much of a mind’s eye (aphantasia), so that’s perhaps one reason I prefer to make mental calculations and keep things super-simple.

But simple doesn’t mean limiting.

Just do the math on this example:

This particular configuration with a few simple operating principles based on one screen of Donkey Kong gives me 15 Memory Palace stations total!

That’s a ton of new information that can be memorized at the drop of a hat!

Of course, I don’t know the game involved in the original question. Perhaps you can set up Skyrim with a similar grid. Isolating a single screen when beginning with a game like this for a Memory Palace might help you more than trying to create an entire journey.

If you do, please let me know which game you used and a little bit of the journey you created. 🙂

On the matter of using “virtual spaces” for Memory Palace memorization, this topic is discussed in detail here:

How to Enhance Your Memory with Virtual Memory Palaces

The Final Word On The Video Game Memory Palace? 

In sum, if you’re using the Memory Palace technique for learning, you want the technique that works best for you.

I don’t have the final word. You do.

And when it comes to knowing how to study fast, it’s always an individual journey.

My suggestion?

Try both versions of the Memory Palace technique. Use your past often, including your childhood and other aspects of your autobiographical memory.

Then you’ll know.

And if nothing else, you’ll have the benefit of some great brain exercise better than most of the brain games out there.

Where Are The Memory Palace Police?

Ultimately, there is no final word on this topic. There’s so much more to explore when it comes to the Memory Palace technique, and using memory spaces in general.

But the Headquarters of the Memory Palace Police?

https://youtu.be/6ODk_lsqXSM

It is nowhere. It doesn’t exist.

At least, not yet, except perhaps in one of my future novels. And that’s a very good thing.

Because at the end of the day, the Magnetic Memory Method is about helping you discover the methods you can use to create your own memory systems.

It’s about encouraging you to think for yourself.

And so for just about every “Can I”? question related to using memory techniques out there, the answer is very simple:

Yes, you can. Just treat it like an experiment.

And if your experiments don’t pan out, journal about them, like I discussed with Johannes Mallow and elsewhere in my teaching.

Don’t wait for the confidence to experiment to fall from the sky.

Build it by taking action, and use the speed of implementation rule to help urge you forward.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to become the architect of your mind and experience better living through better memory?

Give me a hell-yeah in the comments if so!

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A Magnetic Memory question about using video games as Memory Palaces A Magnetic Memory question about using video games as Memory Palaces Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 31:15
The Memory Journal For Competition and Developing Mnemonic Systems For Learning With Johannes Mallow https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/johannes-mallow/ Wed, 17 Aug 2022 05:58:41 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29725 Johannes Mallow shares details on how he used a Memory Journal to massively improve his skills. Listen to this exclusive interview now. Memory Athlete Johannes MallowHave you ever set your mind on accomplishing something big?

Johannes Mallow did.

After seeing memory techniques demonstrated on German television, he decided he would do more than merely learn them.

He committed to conquering the most challenging memory competitions on the planet.

And despite all the odds, including battling against a physical condition…

Mallow made it happen.

And today he uses his status as a world renowned memory athlete and memory expert to help others.

He’s an incredible promotor of memory sports and has helped many people experience the power of their minds.

In this exclusive interview, Mallow shares some of the lesser-known secrets of how to develop the memory systems needed to succeed.

The Role Of The Memory Journal In Memory Sports And Long Term Learning

One of the most important tools you can use when learning memory techniques is the memory journal.

Listen in as Johannes Mallow shares tips and tricks around getting one started and using it to optimize your memory skills over time.

https://youtu.be/3dbGaCvj9yU

These are tips you’ll wish you’d had years ago!

Johannes Mallow On Practical Memory Techniques

One thing I appreciate highly in Johannes’ approach to teaching memory skills is clarity.

See, a lot of memory athletes make it seem like how they use mnemonics for competition translates to long term learning gains.

Make no mistake:

The techniques are definitely related.

But you need a bit more in order to form long-term memories, such as active recall.

This is so refreshing to hear!

And all the more so in the context of keeping a Memory Journal.

Enjoy!

Further Resources From Johannes Mallow And Resources Mentioned In This Episode

MemorysportsTV on YouTube

Johannes Mallow’s memory improvement course

Johannes Mallow’s website

Johannes Mallow on Twitter

Johannes Mallow on Wikipedia

Interview with Boris Konrad

Fun memory demonstration on German television:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NicGJAqSME0

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Johannes Mallow shares details on how he used a Memory Journal to massively improve his skills. Listen to this exclusive interview now. Johannes Mallow shares details on how he used a Memory Journal to massively improve his skills. Listen to this exclusive interview now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 1:26:52
The Only Planet Mnemonic You Need https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/planet-mnemonic/ Sun, 07 Aug 2022 07:14:43 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29686 Looking for the best solar system mnemonic? Don't settle for anything but the best. Learn this mnemonic device for planets now. the only planet mnemonic you need feature imageMemorizing the planets is one of the coolest things you can do.

But finding the best planet mnemonic can be tricky.

That’s because what makes sense to one person doesn’t make sense to another.

That’s why I’m going to share an alternative to acronyms and acrostic mnemonics on this page.

And you’ll probably find the hermetic mnemonic for planets especially useful.

It’s definitely my favorite and works fast!

The Simple and Effective Planet Mnemonic

Let’s get one thing clear:

Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.

But when you use an effective planet mnemonic, you reach efficiency.

And that means you can add details about each planet to your memory with ease.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iadUSC0yMw4

For this learning goal, I recommend using a Memory Palace. Even if you use an acrostic, this approach is so much more powerful.

To get started, pick any room. Then assign a spot for each of the planets you want to memorize.

Let’s say you’re going for a comprehensive solar system mnemonic that includes:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Ceres
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluto
  • Haumea
  • Makemake
  • Eris

This means you need 13 stations in your Memory Palace.

13 stations in memory palace

As you can see in the illustration above, it’s easy to assign stations in any room for this amount of information.

Next, you simply place a mnemonic image that helps you remember the name of each planet in order.

For example, on station one, you can place something that reminds you of Mercury. That could be the god Mercury or a car, like the Mercury Grand Marquis. Or you could combine them in an unusual way to help you remember that you mentally placed Mercury in that part of the room.

planets mnemonic for mercury

You then simply repeat the process, using simple pegword associations throughout the room you chose.

The Hermetic Memory Palace For the Classic Solar System

Recently, I wanted to memorize the solar system as it was used in the Italic Hermetic Tradition. 

Or better said, I adapted it in a particular way for one of my applied memory experiments.

(See David Pantano’s The Magic Door for the source of my inspiration.)

To do this, I memorized the seven classical planets using my body as the Memory Palace.

the human body as a mnemonic device for planets

The Body Memory Palace for Memorizing the Classical Solar System

Using the human body as a mnemonic device for the planets and information about the solar system is easy.

In this case, I needed only seven stations.

  • Saturn (the space above my head)
  • Jupiter (the top of my head)
  • Mars (mouth)
  • Sun (chest)
  • Moon (belly)
  • Mercury (hip joint)
  • Venus (thigh)

To add more planets, you would simply create more stations.

You can also link each of these stations to numbers using the Major Method. I talked about this style of Memory Palace with memory expert Ron White in this detailed interview.

To add details about the planets is easy once they’re in place. For example, the hermeticists considered Mars an image of willpower. So near my mouth, I imagined this planet clamping my mouth closed to help me hold my tongue as an act of willpower.

Acrostic For The Planets

Typically, you’ll find examples of planet mnemonics in the form of acrostics.

This type of memory technique involves assigning a word to each letter in an attempt to create a memorable phrase.

Common examples for different amounts of planets include:

  • My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas
  • Men Very Easily Make Jugs Serve Useful Needs, Perhaps
  • Mary’s violet eyes make Johnnie stay up nights pondering

Personally, I find all of these mnemonic examples vague, abstract and hard to memorize. 

They’re not adaptable either. You can’t easily expand them to include more space for more planets and information as we discover it.

But with a Memory Palace you can.

If you use your body, you can even duplicate yourself inside of a Memory Palace to create more space.

solar system mnemonic example for replicating a bridging figure inside of a memory palace

You can reproduce this solar system mnemonic multiple times to help you remember more information about the planets.

This approach uses the Bridging Figure principle taught in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

The Ultimate Solar System Mnemonic

In brief, I think the best mnemonic strategy for the planets is the Memory Palace technique.

If you still like using planet acrostics, you can help yourself remember them better by stringing them out in a Memory Palace. Or you can explore the story and linking method.

In all things, experimentation is important.

And if you’d like to learn more about these techniques, please consider signing up for my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you create the perfect system of associations for mastering knowledge of the planets. Both what we know currently and what people thought about the planets in the past.

After all, that’s what true astronomy is all about: the past, the present and what we imagine we’ll discover in the future.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to deeply absorb information about our galaxy?

To infinity!

 

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Looking for the best solar system mnemonic? Don't settle for anything but the best. Learn this mnemonic device for planets now. Looking for the best solar system mnemonic? Don't settle for anything but the best. Learn this mnemonic device for planets now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 35:31
20 Simple Memory Techniques That Work Wonders https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/memory-techniques/ Thu, 28 Jul 2022 13:15:33 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29567 Memory techniques are simple, but not always easy. This list of every memory technique will help you master memory techniques fast. 20 simple memory technique feature imageYou want memory techniques so you can retain information forever.

But you’re overwhelmed by two things:

  • The topics you’re learning
  • The vast amount of information about memory techniques themselves

With so many different terms and unhelpful advice like “use images,” it can be hard to find the best mnemonic techniques for your learning goals.

The problem ends right here and right now.

That’s because on this page I’m going to share every memory technique that exists.

You might think that’s a tall promise. But I’ll show you why it’s true as we go.

And I’ll show you what kinds of information these mnemonic techniques are best suited to help you learn.

That way, you never have to be confused again.

Before you know it, you’ll be a master of your memory.

Ready?

Let’s dive in!

https://youtu.be/p-7yr67I5LY

20 Simple Memory Techniques That Work Wonders

As we go through this list of memory strategies, they are not compiled in any particular order of importance.

In fact, to get the most of your mind, you can easily plan to learn and use all of them.

Just understand that you don’t have to learn all of them overnight. Pick one or two, and bookmark this page so you can easily find it when you’re ready to add on a few more.

One: Pay Attention

As memory expert Harry Lorayne often pointed out in his books and presentations, the number one reason we forget is simple. We aren’t paying attention to the information as it comes in.

Paying attention is useful for all kinds of information, and one simple way to practice getting better at it is when you meet new people.

Before going to your next party or event, make a point of telling yourself that you will pay attention to the names of the people you meet. This tutorial will help you memorize their names.

You can also practice paying more attention as you read. A simple tip is to do a round of progressive muscle relaxation and breathing before using the memory techniques for studying on this page.

I like to sit in a particular way when reading and pretend that I’m “hunting” for details. It helps me pay more attention to the material and pick up the nuances.

sitting in bed and reading

Two: Use Associations

Many memory techniques rely upon connecting one thing with another through association.

These associations can be direct or indirect. They can be extremely broad or granular. Either way, the entire strength of this memory technique relies on one simple principle:

Connect (or associate) information you want to remember with information you already know.

For example, a direct association would be meeting a person named Brad and associating him with the actor Brad Pitt. If you do not know Brad Pitt, obviously he would not be an option. Some other person named Brad that you do know would be the better choice.

An indirect association would be memorizing a word in a foreign language or medicine and coming up with something that sounds close enough.

For example, Oliver Sacks does not sound exactly like the sacral plexus, but if you have him crawling the sounds of “Sacks” and “crawl” will trigger the word “sacral” indirectly.

Or, to stick with needing to remember a name like Brad, an indirect association might be to think about brass knuckles or the obscure Skinny Puppy compilation album Brap. Both the words brass and brap are close enough to at least trigger the target information you want to remember.

Why?

Because these choices are based on the sound-association of br in the association and br in the name of the target information.

Three: Use Multisensory Mnemonics

A lot of training material on the use of memory techniques confuses people because they use terms like mnemonic images. This teaching makes it sound like you’re supposed to think in pictures.

pictures on a green wall with lights

Some people certainly can do that.

However, when making associations, it’s important to add other sensations to the images. This activity is important because of the elaborative encoding principle I’ll share with you in a moment.

For now, here’s a handy acronym to help you remember the main types you can make: KAVE COGS.

  • Kinesthetic
  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Emotional
  • Conceptual
  • Olfactory
  • Gustatory
  • Spatial

For example, if you have to memorize a last name like “Hamilton,” it’s okay to imagine ham. But you’re much more likely to remember it if you think about how a big slab of ham feels in your hands (and make it weigh a ton).

Then, go further. Imagine how it tastes and smells. Think about how big it is. Imagine having an emotional reaction about it, such as feeling sad that you’ve dropped it on the ground. Hear the sound of it falling.

This form of association is not so much an alternative to the so-called chunking technique you’ve probably come across before. It’s an enhancement of the idea that we can organize what we want to learn into units.

In this case, we’re doing that with our associations, making us freer and faster when we encounter sprawls of information and don’t want to spend time on chunking. (Personally, I rarely chunk because the tactics you’re learning now make the arrangement of like information happen naturally.)

You’ll want to use these aspects of multisensory association frequently. Keep KAVE COGS in mind because it’s tremendously useful for many of the other memory improvement techniques below.

Four: Use A Visual Alphabet

People have been using memory techniques for thousands of years. And as Lynne Kelly has shown in Memory Craft, having a visual alphabet has been profoundly useful to many people throughout history.

Using a mnemonic device like this lets you rapidly draw upon associations you’ve created in advance.

That way, if you come across something like “sacral plexus,” you’re not fishing around in your mind for the perfect association. You’ll already have something that is close enough to at least kick off the association process.

There are many kinds of visual alphabets that a wide variety of memory trainers have taught:

There are likely many more names that people have given in their memory improvement books and online memory courses.

The trick to developing your own visual alphabet is to simply write out the alphabet and think of people, objects and actions you’re already familiar with.

alphabet types

To make them really alive in your imagination, apply KAVE COGS to each and every one. Remember: all memory techniques are a lot more powerful when you make your associations multi-sensory.

Five: Word Division

When you start applying your visual alphabet to memorizing information, you’ll sometimes need to memorize long and complicated words.

It’s much easier to apply a visual alphabet to such words by breaking them apart and applying associations one syllable at a time.

For example, the word “triskaidekaphobia” (fear of the number 13) can be broken down in a variety of ways.

Exactly what ways will work best for you requires experimentation. Here’s how I did it:

  • Trisk (to associate with a trisket)
  • A backdoor patio (a.k.a. a deck)
  • Phobia was already known to me, but you could use a phone, Phoebe from Friends, etc.

Notice that the technique is omnidirectional. Sometimes you can be direct, as in using a trisket to represent the trisk sound.

Other times, you have to be indirect, or use an object that has multiple possible terms, such as a patio that can also be called a porch, deck, balcony, etc.

The key is to add in KAVE COGS to make the associations multi-dimensional.

Six: Etymological Association

So far, I have been giving examples that are mostly direct or indirect.

But you can also use the main memory technique of association in an etymological way.

Let’s stick with our triskaidekaphobia example a bit longer.

If you have some skills in this area, you could also notice conceptually that “tri” is in the word “triple.” And that can help you remember that a 3 is involved in the meaning of the word.

The “dek” in triskaidekaphobia may remind you that our word for 10 descends from the Indo-European root dekm-. 10 + 3 is 13, so you think at this level to help remember the 13 part of the target information.

Of course, this tactic assumes that you have some knowledge of how language works.

But several professions rely on some understanding of word origins and you can use a quick analysis of words to help you derive stronger associations. And spending some time studying linguistics is a good thing for everyone to do.

red coat woman is reading beside a window

In terms of memorizing this term with the best possible mnemonic, try modeling something like this:

Have a famous person named Tracy riding a tricycle while eating a trisket on a deck. 

Next, to make the mnemonic even more effective, imagine this:

Tracy Chapman balancing her tricycle on a skateboard deck instead of a porch deck. She is screaming in fear of the number 13 to help you remember the meaning of the word. This image is weirder and much more memorable as a result.

Seven: Extreme Elaboration

I just mentioned Tracy Chapman balancing a tricycle on a skateboard deck to help memorize a word.

Another memory technique is to exaggerate the image. The scientific term for exaggeration in the art of memory is elaborative encoding.

The stranger you make the image, the more memorable it will be. Adding KAVE COGS is a fast and easy way to elaborate the image and I have some elaborative encoding exercises for you here.

But there’s an element of “know thyself” to this practice. You need to know what’s weird and leaps out to you. Different people experience their imagination with varying degrees of sensitivity, ranging from aphantasia to hyperphantasia and even various types of synesthesia.

The more you explore your imagination, the more you can use it as a highly refined tool. You might not use elaborative encoding to the same extreme as others, but it is important for you to experiment with it so you can discover what will work for you.

brain imagination

Eight: Location-Based Memory Techniques

So far, we’ve discussed various ways to think about associating information we want to learn with ideas, images and objects we already know.

There’s a problem with association on its own, however. When you start making associations, even very strong ones, they wind up floating in the void of your mind.

Sometimes, this presents no problems whatsoever.

More often, however, you wind up facing two issues:

  • You cannot “find” your associations when trying to remember the target information
  • You cannot scale the amount of associations you make efficiently

Both of these problems were solved long ago by our ancestors who came up with location-based mnemonics.

This is a meta-level form of association where you associate your strange, weird and multisensory associations with locations in space. Many different terms have arisen for this technique:

And there have been many more names in English and other languages. One of my favorites is “apartments with compartments.”

But overall, I prefer “Memory Palace.”

a white wall house with a blue door

Two Ways to Use A Memory Palace

The technique is simple. There are at least two ways you can use the technique.

First, let’s say you imagined Tracy Chapman balancing a tricycle on the decks of 13 skateboards. If you have a deck (as in a patio or balcony), you could place this mnemonic in that location.

Then, instead of having to only search for one part of the mnemonic to get you back to triskaidekaphobia and its definition, you have the place plus the location to draw upon.

This is a weaker form of the Memory Palace technique, but I use it some of the time.

The second, much more powerful version is to have a Memory Palace Network. By having a number of Memory Palaces set up in advance, you’re able to save time, scale the amount of associations you can assign and readily find.

Even better, you can use a process called Recall Rehearsal that helps usher the target information into long term memory very quickly.

Indeed, the Magnetic Memory Method has helped many people use both the Memory Palace Network and Recall Rehearsal to remember many things. I’ve compiled many of their experiences with this blend of memory techniques here.

Does This Memory Technique Really Work?

In a word, yes.

Using the Memory Palace technique or any of its variations isn’t for everyone. It requires a bit of setup and some people aren’t willing to put in the time to learn and practice it, even though the benefits have been demonstrated many times by scientists.

Some scientific studies you might want to read include:

The latter scientific article was co-authored by neuroscientist and memory champion, Boris Konrad.

neuro lights in a brain

Nine: Use Spaced Repetition

The Recall Rehearsal process I just mentioned is an advanced form of spaced repetition that does not use an app. In fact, your mind and your Memory Palaces are the app.

But you can also use:

3x World Memory Champion and medical professional Alex Mullen says that approximately 25% of what he memorized for school involved combining Anki with the kind of elaborated associations explored above.

Notice that Mullen is not talking about Anki on its own. That would be rote learning. Spaced repetition works best when you avoid using it to repeatedly show yourself the information and use active recall instead.

Ten: Active Recall

Active recall is related to everything we’ve already discussed, with a few nuances worth paying attention to.

It is a process where you deeply personalize what you’re learning and make sure that you bring variety to the game.

Using mnemonics as we’ve discussed is the fastest and easiest way to personalize the learning journey. And when you use multiple Memory Palaces, you’re getting a ton of variety.

But there’s one more aspect to active recall that matters above all. It’s a process, and here are the steps.

  • Get a notebook or piece of paper
  • Bring to mind the memorized information through actively questioning what you learned
  • Write it down

This specific process has been shown to help more students with greater accuracy levels.

a woman is writing notes on a pink note book

Eleven: Use Number Systems

Now that you know about association, location-based techniques and spaced-repetition, let’s talk about memory techniques for dealing with numbers.

These approaches are related to the systems for memorizing words, but operate a bit differently.

There are a few of them:

I personally use a combination of systems for different purposes. The only ones I don’t use are the Dominic System, the Ben System and the Shadow System. 

These feel more complex than needed for my purposes, but some people swear by them, particularly memory athletes.

There’s lots to love about having numbers systems in your toolbox. Let’s look at why next.

Twelve: The Magnetic Bookmark

Once you’ve decided on your number system, you can readily use any page number to memorize some of the content on that page itself. This is an alternative to my main textbook memorization tactic.

Even if you read digital books, you’ll be able to use the location number to use this technique.

Let’s say you find an interesting fact you want to memorize on page 92. If you have images for numbers, maybe you have 92 for Peter Pan (because in the Major System 9 is a p and 2 is an n).

You can now associate that fact with Peter Pan using the memory techniques described above. With this technique, you’ll probably want to limit your use to 3 facts per page. 

On the one hand, this doesn’t sound like a lot of information. However, look at this way:

If you can’t memorize 3 things, you won’t be able to memorize 300. 

Plus, you can use the technique in real time without having a Memory Palace prepared in advance.

page number

Thirteen: The Pre-Numbered Memory Palace

In many of the Renaissance, Medieval, Roman and Ancient Greek memory instructions, you are taught to place a golden hand on every 5th station.

This simple tactic helps you remember key parts of the journey. And if you’re remembering a list, you can work out what number each item is by doing a bit of simple math.

However, why not use a 00-99 PAO to easily know the number of every station in your Memory Palaces? This technique is especially powerful for memorizing scripture, poetry or philosophical texts where it’s useful to know the line or section numbers.

Pre-Numbered Memory Palace Example

This pre-numbered Memory Palace example shows you how I prepared to memorize the Atma Bodha in full. I know the text and the number of each verse in this ancient Sanskrit text thanks to this memory technique.

Fourteen: Strategic Copying

Sometimes memory isn’t the problem. Understanding is.

For example, charts and diagrams can often be difficult to remember because you haven’t quite comprehended the data.

In this case, it’s useful to copy out the graph or chart in your own hand. This is a trick I learned from Tony Buzan at one of his ThinkBuzan events.

Using multiple colors can also help you bring diagrams to life in your imagination.

Fifteen: Mind Mapping

Tony Buzan originally taught mind mapping as a memory technique, but abandoned this aspect in favor of mind mapping for creativity and planning.

I’ve often thought that this decision was premature.

In reality, any mind map can be a Memory Palace provided you use it strategically. One way to do this is to use a maximum of twelve spots on the mind map, as if it were a clock.

Here’s a clock and several other mind mapping examples. They will give you an idea of the options you have when it comes to remembering more through mind mapping.

Sixteen: Interleaving

Interleaving is a fancy word for “switching things up.” Except instead of randomly closing one book and picking up another, you do it strategically.

a hand is holding pile of books

There’s scientific proof that interleaving works, and I practice it within tightly defined study clusters.

For example, at the moment I’m studying Qigong, a special topic in music, the history of detective fiction and logic. I read for relatively brief blasts of time in one book before switching to the other.

The breaks in between promote diffuse thinking and give the brain time to percolate the ideas and make connections between topics on its own.

Seventeen: Tell Stories

Anytime you want to remember something better, you can tell yourself the information in the form of a story.

If you’re trying to remember a legal precedent, for example, translate the dry language of the case into a more vibrant scenario in your mind. Imagine the individuals involved in the courtroom and in the situations that led to the case in the first place.

You can also combine the story method with linking and place what you’ve come up with in a Memory Palace.

It can also be helpful to combine details you want to remember with the stories of movies and novels you know well. Or you can import characters from stories you love into the pages of boring textbooks by using the Magnetic Bookmark technique.

Eighteen: Journal

Journaling has been shown to improve working memory.

Even better, it can help reduce negative thoughts and worries that prevent you from paying attention properly in the first place.

It’s possible that seeing ideas in your own handwriting activates a level of visual memory that aids in both short term and long term recall.

Nineteen: Teach

They say that when you teach something, you learn it twice.

a woman is teaching in front of a blackboard

Teaching is a great memory technique for precisely that reason. But it also deepens your understanding and enhances your sensitivity to the nuances.

You can keep teaching relatively simple too. By simply explaining to at least one other person something you’ve learned, you’ll remember it better.

And if you can’t find someone to talk with for these purposes, you can also explain it to yourself.

In fact, teaching yourself also connects with the Feynman technique, a means of guiding yourself while learning.

Twenty: Activities That Supplement Memory Techniques

Finally, there are a number of things you can do to make sure that memory techniques work better for you.

These tactics work because your mind and memory is the product of your brain. The healthier your body and brain, the better your memory will work.

All you have to do to get more out of your brain is:

good exercise

Memory Strategies That Make Life More Enjoyable

So there you have it: 

A masterclass in twenty memory techniques you can use to boost your knowledge of any number of topics. In fact, I’ve covered each and every possible information type in this post:

  • Words
  • Numbers
  • Symbols
  • Images

Although all of these techniques are simple, simple doesn’t mean easy.

Don’t be a dabbler, or someone who burns through a list and says, “that’s nice, but too much work.”

That’s how people miss out on the mastery of their memory.

Be the person who spends some time with each and every technique. 

Really understand their ins-and-outs.

Apply them to multiple kinds of information.

Want help learning more? Get my FREE Memory Improvement Course now:

Free Memory Improvement Course

If you were to spend just two weeks with each technique, within a year, you would have learned enough to be an expert in any topic you choose.

You have to realize that your memory is much more than just a sponge.

It’s a launching pad that can help you navigate the rocketship of your mind to realize all of your dreams and fantasies.

And the only person who gets to pilot that rocketship is you.

These techniques can be your rocket fuel.

Make it happen. Your future self is counting on you.

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Memory techniques are simple, but not always easy. This list of every memory technique will help you master memory techniques fast. Memory techniques are simple, but not always easy. This list of every memory technique will help you master memory techniques fast. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 49:44
Everest Memory Masterclass: Is Nelson Dellis’s Course Good? https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/everest-memory-masterclass/ Wed, 20 Jul 2022 16:00:47 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29479 The Everest Memory Masterclass is relatively new. Is Nelson Dellis's online memory training any good? Find out in this honest review. everest memory feature imagePut simply, Nelson Dellis is a legend in the memory competitor world.

He’s won the USA Memory Championship a bunch of times, and ranks very high globally.

Nelson’s also well-known as a mountaineer. Just about every year, he’s got cool posts of traveling to Everest and other mountains on his Instagram.

But what you probably don’t know about him is that he’s a skilled university lecturer too.

And when memory expertise, the mindset of an athlete and raw teaching ability combine, you get an amazing memory improvement course.

Although I know a fair amount of memory techniques, I learned new things. I had a lot of fun too.

Even better, an aspect of my memory improved.

And just so you know, I didn’t get this course for free. Even though I’ve known Nelson for many years and probably could have asked for a comp, I bought it as a regular person.

To me, that’s important for a few reasons, ranging from instilling the desire to go through the course and feeling free to speak my mind about the experience as a legit course participant.

So if you’re ready, let’s dive into a bit more about Nelson himself, and then the course.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMyIdE0ql1M

Who is Nelson Dellis?

Nelson’s memory competition record is impressive. There’s a full rundown on his Wikipedia profile, including the records he’s broken.

How did it all start?

In response to seeing his grandmother’s memory decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.

I find his charitable and educational efforts especially impressive. I’ve interviewed him several times on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast and he’s always dreaming up new ways to inspire people to use mnemonics.

His books include:

And now there’s his Everest Memory Masterclass.

Let’s have a look at what it’s all about.

Everest Memory Masterclass Review: What You Need to Know

There are many things to love about this course. If I were to sum it all up in a simple statement, it’s this:

Nelson’s very upfront about the fact that each of us need to develop our own skills

Literally, no one else is going to do it for you. The same way that no one could ever climb a mountain on Nelson’s behalf.

In other words, there are aspects to the art of memory that can only be learned by doing.

With this learning requirement in mind, Nelson equips you with materials that will help in just about every possible regard. He gives you the ropes, the boots, the helmet, flashlight, etc.

You just need to bring yourself and your willingness to take action.

The course includes:

  • Clear and crisp descriptions of the core memory techniques
  • Weekly assignments
  • “Memorize with Me” timed sessions
  • Sitdown sessions
  • Live streams during the cohort (with replays)
  • Discussion group
  • Additional resources
  • Instructions on tracking your progress
  • Progress tests
  • Detailed lessons on how to beat Nelson at a memory competition
  • Interviews with renowned memory experts 

practice your memory with nelson dellis in real time

The progress tracking techniques are probably my favorite part of the Everest Memory Masterclass. Nelson shows you how to set specific benchmarks based on your baseline.

When I took the course, I created my own Google Drive folder as Nelson recommends and started tracking my progress with memorizing words using the International Association of Memory software.

Normally, I memorize directly from print books. So it’s quite something that Nelson’s course encouraged me to tackle something I not only dislike, but dread: memorizing from screens.

Incredible Progress Tracking Lessons

As an example, he gets you to answer some questions and set up folders to track your progress based on the different information categories he teaches.

everest memory masterclass homework

To take you inside just one of my folders, you can see the progress using Nelson’s approach created for me at a glance.

day one in everest memory

In just one day I went from having a ton of errors to having much fewer errors in the same allotment of time for memorizing vocabulary.

day two in everest memory masterclass

Frankly, I still find it challenging to memorize from screens. 

But the proof is in the pudding. 

If you track your results, a certain kind of magic as profound as the memory techniques themselves takes place. 

And I’m now much better at this particular kind of memorization.

In sum, measuring our own progress is itself a skill. And Nelson’s approach to getting yourself serious gains in this area is fantastic.

The Memory Teaching

Nelson is an incredible teacher. He gives you multiple ways to think about the techniques and “for instance” examples of how you might use them.

He’s also great at helping you develop the mindset needed to get out there and use them without worrying about making mistakes. He also gives useful tips on getting out of your own way and removing unhelpful self-criticism. 

Speaking of criticism, you might be wondering if I have any…

Not really

But let me gesture at something I think about a fair amount when it comes to online education:

My favorite parts of the course are the longer videos. I find the shorter videos anywhere fairly annoying. I’m totally biased in this regard, and it could have more to do with my demographic than with digital amnesia.

See, I’m in my mid-forties and grew up with detailed introductions to just about everything. The university lectures I attended and gave were usually 90 minutes with (maybe) one break. And my favorite online cases tend to be long.

(I mean, really long and I find that quite helpful compared to short lessons.)

But you know what? 

This kind of criticism doesn’t matter much because Nelson’s course has plenty of variety. 

Although I couldn’t attend any of the live sessions due to my time zone, I was able to ask him a few questions in the discussion group. And reading the comments and questions of others raised quite a few interesting points I hadn’t thought of before.

And the replays are there if you want them in all their lengthy glory.

The Truth About Succeeding With Any Memory Improvement Course

Frankly, no matter how you cut up a course, the true student goes through it all. The true student develops patience for the many different kinds of content and presentation styles out there.

And when it comes to memory, your results will only partially come from consuming “content.” 

The lion’s share of developing your memory will come from taking action. When it comes to memory techniques, there are at least three kinds of action:

  • Developing your systems of association
  • Applying them while learning in real time
  • Using some form of recall practice to instill information in long term memory

I’m very impressed by what Nelson has put together, especially the detailed walkthroughs. You join him as he explains exactly how you can achieve his same memory feats in detail.

sitdown with nelson dellis and learn how to memorize hundreds of numbers fast

And if you find it hard to settle down and focus on your own, the timed focus sessions will be a boon for you. You’ll have a focused set of sessions to sit down with and get the implementation aspects of the course done.

Yes, You Should Take Everest Memory Masterclass

In sum, this is a great course and you should take it.

Frankly, if you go through everything and take action, your memory will improve.

In my experience, the hardest thing for most people is setting goals for what to memorize.

Nelson has pretty much solved that.

No, you might not want to memorize random vocabulary or digits.

But the fact of the matter is that the world is filled with them.

And if you can’t remember them as they come in randomly, you’re probably not going to be able to memorize them when they’re packed into meaningful units.

So in this program, you get the best of all possible worlds.

It’s just up to you to take the steps. Or place your hands on the mountain face, as the case may be.

And on that note:

I’ll never forget something Nelson told me during one of our many conversations.

He said that when you’re climbing a mountain, you don’t have to worry about the peak.

It’s there. And you can reach it.

Really, all you have to think about is where you’re going to place your hands and feet next.

When you’re willing to do that, you can summit the biggest mountain of them all:

Your mind.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to experience epic memory skills?

I can’t recommend Everest Memory Masterclass highly enough!

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The Everest Memory Masterclass is relatively new. Is Nelson Dellis's online memory training any good? Find out in this honest review. The Everest Memory Masterclass is relatively new. Is Nelson Dellis's online memory training any good? Find out in this honest review. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 21:55
How to Learn a New Language Fast: A Step-by-Step Guide https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/how-to-learn-a-new-language/ Tue, 12 Jul 2022 16:00:44 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=23175 It's actually easy to learn a new language. You just need the right tips and strategies. Check out this powerful free guide. how to learn a new language feature imageIf you’re looking for how to learn a new language fast, chances are your emotions are getting yanked around. 

On the one hand, you’re filled with tremendous excitement!

You can almost taste the triumph as fluent sentences pour from your mouth. 

On the other hand, you’ve heard that your target language is really hard…

And you’re worried about memorizing thousands of words and the billions of potential sentences you’ll need to master.

Let’s put a stop to all those worries right now.

How?

With a small set of practical strategies. And let’s amplify the wonder, excitement and truly miraculous experiences you can expect by treating the language learning journey for what it should be:

A journey, not a destination. 

This mindset is really important because not one amongst us is truly fluent in our mother tongue. It’s not even a remote possibility when you look at the Oxford English Dictionary (if English is your mother tongue).

Yet, when you set proper goals based on L.U.C.K., the fastest way to learn a language can be yours.

What is L.U.C.K.?

It stands for “learn using correct knowledge.”

And that’s exactly what you’ll get on this page. Keep reading each and every word so that you know exactly how fun and easy learning any language can be. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu078tDpcpw

How To Learn A Language Fast: 15 Tips

Step One: Learn How to Teach Yourself A Language First

Even if you find the best teacher on the planet for your target language, they can only take you so far. You have to be able to teach yourself too. 

To do that, you’ll want to learn the “meta learning” skills that make learning a language possible. These can be broken down into what I like to call The Big 5 Of Language Learning:

Graphic illustration of the Big Five of Learning

These five elements are based on a scientific principle called the levels of processing. They mean that you need to learn how to combine:

  • Memory
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

It’s not a question of which one is most important. It’s the holistic combination of all them that matters in the end.

That said, there are ways to combine listening and reading, for example. You can do that by combining certain tools, like the story narration program I feature on my best language learning software post.

You can also get great writing practice at the same time you speak, by repeating what you put on the page verbally either before or after putting it down on paper. 

language learning class

Both writing and speaking are very important for learning a language. By reading aloud what you’ve written, you double-down on the benefits and learn faster.

Any decent language learning class will make you go through these steps, but if you don’t also get yourself to do it on your own, you’ll struggle to learn your language. 

Step Two: Develop A Positive Mindset

So many people ask, How hard is it to learn a new language? 

What if this is the wrong question?

What if a better question is: what are the mental strength resources I need to keep consistent over the long term? 

When it comes to language learning, you’ll want to develop skills with: 

  • Setting realistic goals
    • For example, if your language has a character set or new alphabet you need to learn, this might be your first goal
    • If you already know the alphabet, then your first goal might be how to introduce yourself, plus fifty new words related to some of your interests
  • Creating a practical schedule
  • Showing up consistently
  • Managing your expectations
  • Understanding the different types of motivation when learning languages
  • Accept that mistakes will be made and be willing to learn from them
  • Exploring and acquiring the best language learning materials
  • Developing the courage to speak the language
Woman writing in a journal.

Use a journal to set your goals. It will help you gain clarity on what really matters because you can see your intentions more objectively.

Some people will need to spend more time learning these skills than others. But they can all be learned and improved as you go.

Step Three: Choose The Best Possible Language Learning Materials

This step is tricky, but also very doable. 

First, just accept that some risk is involved. You might end up buying a book or course that just doesn’t suit you.

This circles back to mindset, particularly managing your expectations.

Personally, I treat it all as research and don’t get emotionally involved.

In fact, I allow myself to be open to revisiting any resource I’ve purchased again in the future, because we as humans can be tremendously fickle. It might not be that the book or course is bad. It’s entirely possible that we were either not ready for it yet, or just having a bad day, week, month or year. 

A subset of choosing the best materials for learning a language is to limit the amount of sources. When learning a language, we do want tons of input – but that doesn’t mean you want it from dozens of sources. 

woman selecting books from a shelf

There is an overwhelming amount of language learning material to choose from. Set limits and focus on completing just one book at a time.

Instead, I suggest you take a tip I’ve benefited from. It comes from my friend and language learning expert Olly Richards, who advises that we pick at maximum: 

  • One book
  • One video or audio program 
  • One teacher

By doing this, we give ourselves ample opportunity to experience the levels of processing effect while not overwhelming ourselves with materials. Embracing limits helps us maximize our investment in the materials and enjoy the benefits of thoroughness. 

Again, you might find you acquire materials that simply don’t work. It happens. But overall, limiting what you bring into your learning life and maximizing your thoroughness with those materials will pay off soon. 

woman giving the thumbs up

Setting limits leads to success!

My personal rule of thumb is to stick with something for at least 90 days. When I was learning Chinese, I did this with just one audio program, one book and one teacher and am confident it helped me be much more successful than I would have been by constantly throwing new “shiny new textbooks” in my path. 

Step Four: Learn To Use Memory Techniques

Some people object that adding mnemonics for language learning only adds one more thing they have to learn. 

I understand the objection.

But it’s ultimately illogical.

It’s kind of like saying learning to write the alphabet adds just one more thing to the goal of writing words and sentences.

Or it’s like saying you have to learn how to build airplanes before you build an airport. All of these examples make a kind of sense, but they still aren’t valid objections. 

airport

Learning mnemonics can feel like having to build an airport before you can fly a plane. But the rewards are worth it and just as profound as the miracle of international travel.

In reality, learning to use memory techniques for language learning well is one of the best ways to rapidly accelerate your practice. They help because:

  • The Memory Palace technique allows you to rapidly scale the number of words and phrases you can remember
  • Effective association through multi-sensory visualization makes words and meanings incredibly “sticky”
  • Using the method of loci mentally replicates spaced repetition software without sacrificing the benefits of active recall

In fact, the memory techniques optimize how you practice recalling information in a way that strengthens your memory overall. 

Free Memory Improvement Course

Step Five: Immerse Yourself With Sensible Input And Strategic Challenges

In the beginning, you might not understand anything. But as you learn, your pattern recognition will go up. 

There are a number of ways to keep increasing your sensible input. These include:

  • Meet regularly with a native speaker
    • Be sure to bring a picture-based magazine. Learn to ask, “What is that?” and keep pointing at pictures. Record the sessions with your smart phone and listen back, trying to guess what you were looking at in the magazine. 
  • Watch movies with subtitles
flashcards with mnemonic examples for Mandarin Chinese by Anthony Metivier

It’s fun and easy to create your own mnemonic devices on flash cards. It’s also generally much more effective than using language learning apps.

  • Complete courses and textbooks thoroughly
    • These will help increase the amount of patterns you’ll recognize as you continue your exposure to the language you’re learning.
  • Read short stories and news articles
    • You can do this by just reading or by creating your own translations as you go. My friend Luca Lampariello shares a number of tips on how to use translation to increase your fluency.
  • Take a course
    • Strictly speaking, taking a course isn’t necessary. I’ve done it both as a beginner and as a more established student and find saving it for later much more useful. 
    • If you take a course, make sure the teacher uses the target language primarily. You’re not there to improve your mother tongue or teach it to them.
  • Speak with natives online
    • Tools like italki and the Tandem app are great sources for finding people to speak with during dedicated sessions or in small doses by sending and receiving audio texts.
      • As a rule of thumb, I like to give new people 2-3 sessions before deciding if they are a fit or not.
  • Follow instagram and other social media accounts in your target language.
  • Learn songs in your target language.

With all of these activities, you need to use your judgment. If you go for something too advanced, you’ll just get frustrated.

By the same token, if you aren’t challenged, you’ll quickly get bored. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s where you’ll find the treasure you seek.

Step Six: Invest Enough Time For Daily Practice (But Not Too Much)

time for learning a language

People think you have to spend five to six hours a day while learning a language. This just isn’t true.

By the same token, you’re not going to get very far with just 5 minutes a day. 

That said, if you’re strategic about it, you can learn a lot in 15-30 minutes a day. The trick is in breaking up the activities and making sure you’re getting in enough practice of all The Big 5. A schedule like this can work wonders:

  • Mornings: 15 minutes memorizing vocabulary
  • Afternoons: 15 minutes of reading and listening using narrated short stories or news articles
  • Evenings: 15 minutes watching a movie (or the whole movie with about 15 minutes spent capturing words and phrases you find interesting)

Then, the next morning, you can memorize the new vocabulary you’ve gathered from the day before.

The exact amount of time you spend is not nearly as important as the consistency and focus you bring to each learning session. 

Also, vary the routine. If the routine I suggested is something you use on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, do this on Tuesdays and Thursdays:

  • 30 minutes in discussion with a native speaker
  • 30 minutes reviewing the discussion recording

It’s also important to schedule breaks. Taking a week off once in a while actually does your brain good when you’re learning. 

a woman with a horse on the forest path

Scheduling breaks is important, as is learning how to get back on the horse when you fall from your plan.

The trick is making sure you don’t take off too long and then struggle to get back on the horse.

Here’s a simple tip:

Make sure your language learning sessions with speaking partners are booked in advance. That way, you’re taking some highly beneficial time off, but not with a dangerous open end.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

Step Seven: Build Your Own Vocabulary And Phrase Lists

Many people ask, “How long does it take to learn a new language?” I believe the answer should be that the journey never ends. 

But for those who are in a hurry, they often come across the idea of “frequency lists.” These are compilations of words that are used the most often in any given language. If you’re learning Spanish, these lists can be especially seductive.

And they definitely can be useful. In some cases, they will accelerate how quickly you can get started learning the language.

However, they’re also incredibly limited.

Why?

Because no maker of such lists can know what contexts you’ll find yourself in or what you’re going to want to talk about.

That’s why when you’re reading news stories and translating them, it’s important to focus on information that’s interesting and relevant to you. 

jeans with a piece of paper for writing a list in the pocket

Making your own lists of words and phrases to learn is incredibly important. Be prepared with paper or a journal to capture what you want and need to learn.

You’ll move along so much faster if you let yourself be informed by word lists, but also always take care to build your own. There are no “right” words to focus on and true fluency comes from being able to accomplish missions. 

Step Eight: Focus On Systems As Much As, If Not More Than Goals

Goals are important. But even more important are the systems that help ensure that you actually accomplish your language learning goals. 

Let’s say your goal is to learn 50 new words by the end of the week. Great! That’s perfectly realistic.

But it’s also meaningless if you haven’t sat down and charted out a systematic means of getting yourself to accomplish the memorization of those words. 

I suggest developing an if-this-then-that language learning habit stack. 

For example, let’s say you’ve developed a Memory Palace strategy and you’ve spent some time gathering the words you want to memorize. Your habit stack might look like this:

  • If I wake up, I go immediately to my learning place.
  • If I go to my learning place, I open my Memory Journal to the list of words I’ve prepared. 
  • If I have my list, I start with the first word and memorize it using Station One of the Memory Palace.
  • If I have memorized one word, I move on to the next. 
  • If I have memorized 10 words, I put my Memory Journal away and start mentally reviewing the words. 
  • If I have reviewed my words 3-5 times during the day, I test by writing them out by hand and speak them out loud. 

language learning habit

This is a little system that drives you towards completing the goal. And if you do something like this every day, by the end of the week, you will have memorized 50 words.

You might think even something as tight as this set of steps will take a long time. But nothing could be further from the truth. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without such a simple and elegant system. 

Step Nine: Use The Language Every Day

Have you learned only one word so far?

No problem. Use it. 

Or do you have only a few hundred words?

The principle is the same. Use what you’ve got. 

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

Talk to yourself as you’re walking down the street.

Tell other people about the phrases you’ve learned and repeat them.

Sing songs in the language you’re learning.

Make your shopping lists in the language you’re learning instead of in your mother tongue. 

a couple singing to one another

Learning songs in a foreign language is a great way to learn vocabulary and phrases.

You need to get the words into the muscle memory of your mouth and your mind.

If you dedicate yourself, everything from brushing your teeth to tying your shoes and kissing your loved ones to sleep at night are excellent opportunities to practice.

Step Ten: Use History And Culture As Your “Secret Weapons”

As I’ve been learning German, Chinese and Sanskrit, I’ve made sure to not stop at the language itself. 

Reading novels, books of history and philosophy from the cultures not only gives you more exposure to the language. It helps you understand the historical and cultural forces that shaped it throughout history and continue to exert an influence.

I would also include serious study of geography and topics like social science.

Knowing about the region can help you understand a lot about how the language developed, and understanding issues related to psychographics can help you fall in love with certain matters of grammar.

This latter point is important because a lot of people waste time trying to understand the “why” of grammar instead of simply accepting it for what it is. 

grammar

That said, John McWhorter has shared some compelling reasons to believe that our language differences don’t distinguish us psychologically as much as we might believe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQRjouwKDlU

 

These are interesting points to consider, and all arrive at the same benefits for you:

When you immerse yourself in the culture and its history, you’ll have more things to talk about with native speakers.

This point is especially important if you’re introverted or generally shy. But read widely and you’ll never be at a loss for conversation topics. 

Step Eleven: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

A lot of people get hung up on little things when learning languages. They become perfectionists, without realizing that you need to make mistakes in order to learn. 

Develop the ability to laugh at yourself. If you struggle with self criticism, learn these Two Easily Remembered Questions That Silence Negative Thoughts. I’ve learned them in both English and Sanskrit, and that has been tremendously useful. 

A teacher giving corrections

Being able to give and receive criticism is a powerful skill when learning languages.

Also, don’t be afraid to give criticism.

For example, if a teacher is frustrating you by correcting you too often, ask them to scale it down.

When I submit writing to language teachers, I ask them to please point out just three errors. That way I can keep things light and fun and focus on the biggest aspects to improve without overwhelm. 

But if you meet people who can’t help you or make the journey too serious and destroy all the fun, find someone else. There are plenty of fish in the sea. 

Step Twelve: Be A Stickler About Pronunciation

Let me be honest with you:

Pronunciation has always been my biggest struggle when learning languages. It could be genetics. I’ve been tone deaf my entire life.

Yet, I have managed to learn to play multiple musical instruments and a few languages. 

Time and time again, I always wish I focused more on pronunciation. 

Enter a concept called “chorusing” that I learned from my friends at Outlier Linguistics.

Woman with headphones

“Chorusing” is a great way to improve your pronunciation.

In brief, this technique is the audio version of using flash cards.

Using recording software like Audacity, you record a native speaker speaking a word or phrase. Then you copy and paste it multiple times so you can hear it repeated and really dig into the nuances. 

Next, you record yourself speaking it on a separate track.

Since a good audio recorder will let you see the sound waves, you can try to make your voice match certain characteristics visually.

But the more important aspect with this technique is you are training your ear to hear yourself and correct your pronunciation through direct comparison. 

The time investment on this technique is admittedly intense. But it’s well worth the effort, especially if this is a weak point for you as it is for me. 

Step Thirteen: Use Cognates But Beware Of False Friends

Many languages have words that are the same or very similar.

In Spanish, for example, you’ll find thousands of words that are very close in sound and meaning to their English equivalents. You might also see these words referred to as “loan words.” 

spanish words

However, there are also a number of false cognates that mean very different things.

Always check so that you don’t wind up creating foundational errors that may be difficult to correct later. 

Step Fourteen: Add Another Language After You’ve Earned The First One

It’s normal to want to be a polyglot, or someone who speaks 3-5 languages well. But as far as I can tell, all the successful polyglots got there by being willing to establish mastery in just one language at a time. 

Once you’ve done that, you will be very well-versed in the meta learning skills that will help you proceed in leaps and bounds towards substantial speaking and understanding abilities. 

And then you can do cool things like what my friend Benny Lewis calls “laddering.” This technique is when you pick a textbook or course in a language you’ve already learned to start covering the next one.

For example, most of my sources of material for learning Chinese have been from books written in German. 

Chinese Character TextbookI love laddering, but am very glad I stuck with German long enough to enjoy great confidence speaking it before moving on. 

One exception to this suggestion that some people find useful is to spend some time learning Esperanto.

The reasoning here suggests that Esperanto is especially suited to helping learners understand more about how different languages work.

Frankly, I’m not convinced you have to become a grammarian or linguist in order to become fluent in a language. If anything, the world is packed with people who are experts in those topics who can’t even speak one other language. 

But if you’re still stuck, it might be worth looking into Esperanto for these reasons.

Or, you could look at a root language to see if it helps wake up your brain.

For example, a small amount of time learning Latin can open up Spanish or Italian for you to an incredible degree.

However, at the end of the day, the old saying that the hunter who chases two rabbits rarely catches either stands up here. Split your attention between more than one language only at great risk. 

Step Fifteen: Travel If You Can, But Don’t Make It A Must

I’ve been lucky and was able to spend years of my life in Germany. During that time, I made sure to live with people who spoke little or no English to make “total immersion” something from which I could not escape.

But I didn’t have the luxury of living in China when I first started learning the language. And it was absolutely not necessary.

In fact, after less than 3 months of studying the language, my time in the country was so distracting, I didn’t have time to study it at all. And that is typically what happens when you try to combine tourism with immersion. 

get to travel

Instead, use the tips on this page to create proper goals and the effective systems that will place you in the company of your target language each and every day.

Then, when you do get to travel, you can relax and focus on speaking and understanding much more around you. You’ll have earned it. 

The Best Ways To Learn A Language Begin And End With You And Your Strategy

A lot of people think that kids have some special advantage when it comes to learning a language. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

In reality, kids take years to speak proper sentences, and many more to read and write at a sophisticated level.

But because adults have all kinds of skills in their mother language, impulse control and the levels of discipline needed to make it on the job market, you have a distinct advantage. 

You really just need to bring everything you know about being a mature and responsible adult to the process of learning a language. But that doesn’t mean you don’t bring childlike curiosity and fun to the game. 

The benefits of speaking a language are immense, ranging from higher salary to the brain health benefits of bilingualism. 

So what do you say? What language do you want to learn and are you feeling empowered now that you have these 15 power tips for learning it?

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It's actually easy to learn a new language. You just need the right tips and strategies. Check out this powerful free guide. It's actually easy to learn a new language. You just need the right tips and strategies. Check out this powerful free guide. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 26:40
How to Improve Memory After a Stroke: 4 Proven Methods https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/improve-memory-after-a-stroke/ Wed, 06 Jul 2022 16:00:08 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29292 Memory loss after a stroke doesn't have to present you with many difficulties. Give these brain exercises for stroke recovery a try. how to improve memory after a stroke feature imageMany people come to me with memory loss after a stroke.

They’re confused.

Struggling to pay attention.

Frustrated that they can’t remember details that used to come to mind so easily before suffering their stroke.

Equally troubling are the spouses who email me about their loved ones.

They ask me about brain exercises for stroke recovery.

And they’re generally worried about the future, because we all want to lead rich and fulfilling lives in our old age.

Which won’t be easy or particularly fun without enjoying significant recovery.

Good news.

Life can be rich and fulfilling, even after a stroke.

On this page, you’ll learn all about why memory loss happens after a stroke.

And what can be done to get your precious memory abilities back.

Not only that, you’ve got a chance of having your memory operate even better than before.

Ready?

Let’s dive in.

Does a Stroke Cause Memory Loss? What You Need to Know

Strokes cause memory for a few reasons.

  • Brain cells die as a result of the stroke
  • Neuronal connections may be severed
  • Vascular dementia may develop
  • Comorbidity or other health issues may exacerbate the previous reasons

There are other factors that might contribute. For example, researchers have found that previous educational experiences might contribute either positively or negatively.

In other words, if you have a strong education background, you may fare better than someone who has not. Likewise, if you’re bilingual, you may have developed “cognitive reserve” that will work to protect your brain.

education books

To be clear: learning a language or completing a degree might not prevent you from having a stroke. But it can help protect your brain from damage, or bounce back much faster.

Of course, a lot depends on exactly where the stroke has hit the brain. For example, a stroke that affects the prefrontal cortex can diminish your ability to pay attention. This cognitive ability affects memory differently than other types of memory.

Finally, you should know that having a stroke creates stress. Stress is known to reduce your memory abilities.

This means that both the stroke victim and family and community members may be affected.

But the good news is that there is a lot you can do to improve.

Let’s check them out!

How to Improve Memory After a Stroke: 4 Scientifically Proven Methods

The following list is in no particular order of importance.

All of them are good.

And all of them can be done after a stroke to enjoy memory recovery.

But they also can be done beforehand to prevent having problems in the first place. You’ll enjoy fewer memory blocks and greater brain health overall.

One: Movement

Researchers have noted significant memory improvements when stroke patients engage in the 8 brocades of Qigong.

I practice these myself and notice great memory boosts. I recommend Mimi Kuo-Deemer’s Qi Gong and the Tai Chi Axis. It contains easy to understand instructions for each of the movements tested in the brocade study.

Movement also improves sleep, which automatically leads to improved memory.

Two: Vibration Work

If Qigong gets the entire body movement, transcranial direct current stimulation has been shown to improve audioverbal memory in stroke patients.

a girl is singing on a roof

These devices can be quite expensive, but there are two alternatives you can explore:

  • Singing
  • Chanting

There are many studies that show the therapeutic value of these activities. My favorite studies come from Dr. Gunter Kreutz and his team because they also show improved mood in their subjects.

In their studies, singing as part of a choir. This outcomes makes sense because being with others also promotes better health.

But it’s how singing and chanting “vibrate” the brain that most strongly correlates with the findings from studies in transcranial current stimulation.

Three: Brain Exercises

There are all kinds of apps selling “brain exercise” subscriptions. According to Dr. Christine Till and many others, the claims they make are mostly dubious.

So what counts as simple routines that do work?

First, you need brain exercises that follow the mental workout rules shared here. These include new learning, which as we saw above, helps people avoid memory loss from strokes in the first place.

Second, if you want to clear brain fog after a stroke, you need a brain exercise that is designed for such outcomes. Neurobic exercises provide excellent routines for that.

strong brain exercise

I’ll give you a few specific brain exercises a little further down this page. But first, let’s talk more specifically about what you can do to recover your memory moving forward.

Four: Memory Exercises

Memory exercises differ from brain exercises. Whereas brain exercises train our focus and attention, memory exercises are all about improving recall.

One of the best things you can do is deliberately remember information. You can engage in activities like:

To make all of these activities much more fun and easy, I suggest you learn how to use a Memory Palace. It’s a simple mental tool that uses association to help you learn new things faster.

These Brain Exercises for Stroke Recovery Will Help You Restore Your Memory

Now that you know of the key activities you can explore for better memory, let me share a few quick brain exercises with you.

Give each a try and journal your results along the way.

Writing out your experiences and keeping a recovery diary is the best way to note what works. That way, you know what to do more of and what you can replace.

Number Skipping

When it comes to improving the ability to pay attention that so that you can remember incoming information, this exercise is key.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7NPia_lkaE

To get started, get from one to ten, but not exactly.

Skip representing the even numbers.

In other words, count “one” out loud, but when you get to the “space” you would normally count “two,” suppress it.

For many people, this will be hard. It’s like saying to someone, “Don’t think of a red cat.” Your mind has to do it in order to obey the command.

But with practice, you can assign space in your mind for numbers without representing them.

I know this exercise is abstract, so please watch the video version so you can learn it as thoroughly as possible.

Kirtan Kriya

You can reduce stress at the same time you boost memory and comprehension.

This simple brain exercise involves reciting simple syllables as you work with your fingers.

Here’s an excellent video tutorial on the practice from Dr. Gary Weber:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehvokeZnXMM

If you want a more advanced version of this exercise, try combining it with number skipping.

Memory Training

We’ve already discussed a few ways you can train your memory.

But did you know you can also engage in it as a sport?

ACTIVE is the longest study we have, and although it doesn’t involve memory sports as such, it involved using the same mnemonic images memory athletes use.

People who trained with this form of association showed better abilities to navigate life. This included their ability to reason effectively. In other words, by memorizing something each day, the kept their critical thinking skills intact.

Complete Physical Puzzles

Did you know that science shows completing jigsaw puzzles helps your mind age better?

This is likely due to the benefits of haptic memory exercise, literally the mental exercise you get from using your hands. It could have to do with combining the visual and physical experience of assembling a picture in a way that engages Weber’s law.

One study implies that it would be very good if we all continue to complete physical puzzles as kids, rather than playing too much on devices that create digital amnesia. Basically, the study suggests that you’ll do even better with these kinds of activities if you have prior experience with them.

But anyone can benefit, so get yourself a puzzle and start solving it.

Become An Expert And Maintain Your Expertise

As we’ve seen, it pays to be prepared in the event of a stroke.

But even if you’re recovering, you can work on developing expertise in a topic and then benefit from maintaining your knowledge.

As Timothy Salthouse has found, there is truth to the “Use It or Lose It”  hypothesis.

a person is playing chess himself

It’s never too late to develop even just a small amount of expertise in areas like:

  • Chess
  • Music
  • The arts
  • Law
  • History
  • Literature
  • Politics
  • Philosophy

In all cases, the trick is to get sufficient amounts of deliberate practice.

Can Strokes Affect Memory?

In a word, yes.

But so can many other things, both positively or negatively.

So whether you’re working on your recovery now, helping someone who is, or hoping to avoid issues altogether, the time to get started with the activities on this page is now.

The best part is that all of the brain exercises and accelerated learning techniques you’ve discovered today are easy and fun.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to give your stroke the boot and enjoy amplifying your memory?

If so, why not give my FREE Memory Improvement Kit a try?

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you develop those Memory Palaces I was telling you about above.

And they’re useful for working on the vocabulary memorization exercises that have been scientifically shown to help people live fulfilling lives, even after experiencing a stroke.

If you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll get back to you a.s.a.p.

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Memory loss after a stroke doesn't have to present you with many difficulties. Give these brain exercises for stroke recovery a try. Memory loss after a stroke doesn't have to present you with many difficulties. Give these brain exercises for stroke recovery a try. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 22:56
The Number Rhyme System (What It Is & How to Use It) https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/number-rhyme/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 16:00:06 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=29343 The number rhyme system is a lot more powerful than you might think. Revisit the basics and then explore intermediate and expert uses now. the number rhyme system feature imageRemembering lists is tough, right?

Whether it’s items you need from the grocery store or an index of medical terms you need to pass an exam.

Enter the real magic of the number rhyme system.

This simple trick is used by students around the world in multiple fields.

Mentalists use it to create astonishing illusions.

And you can use it too simply by learning it and practicing it with information you want to remember.

The best part?

It’s fun, fast and one of the best memory techniques for kids out there.

Ready?

Let’s get started.

What Is the Number Rhyme System?

Number rhymes or counting rhymes are a variation on the pegword method.

That is, they allow us to follow a series of established associations, sometimes called mnemonic images.

Number rhymes are beginner level pegwords, but you can certainly use them even if you are an advanced memorizer.

Typically, they work by rhyming each number to create an object or some other reference. Like this:

  • Zero is a superhero
  • One is a gun
  • Two is a shoe
  • Three is a bee
  • Four is a door
  • Five is a hive
  • Six is sticks
  • Seven is heaven
  • Eight is a gate
  • Nine is wine
  • Ten is a hen

If you don’t like any of these images, feel free to come up with your own.

For example, some people use a “bun” instead of a gun because they don’t like weapons.

For myself, I switched “heaven” for my friend Evan. He’s much more memorable than that rather vague concept.

That said, if you like heaven, a trick is to make it more concrete, perhaps by thinking about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

I do that for most of these. For example, 3 is a bee is generic. But I make it specific by using Jerry Seinfeld as a bee from The Bee Movie.

How to Use the Number Rhyme System

The purpose of this mnemonic system is to “attach” or “associate” information you don’t know what simple mental images.

Then, by elaborating something like a story between the target information and the number rhyme, you’ll find it easier to remember the list of what you want to remember.

For example, let’s say you need to remember that you want to research architecture.

You would then go to your number rhyme system and imagine a famous piece of architecture wrapped up in a bun.

number rhyme example

Then, if your second research project is to research steel, you could have steel bars filling up a shoe.

These associations help trigger your memory because of the combination of rhyming the numbers and associating them with the target information.

The cool thing is that if someone tests you: “What was item 5 on your list?” You’ll be able to instantly tell them what that item was.

How to Practice the Number Rhyme System

When it comes to practicing this system, there are a number of things you can do. We’ve already looked at remembering research topics you want to look up in the future.

(This type of use will strengthen your prospective memory, by the way.)

More ways to practice include using the system to memorize lists of:

And this mnemonic strategy will work for just about anything that involves simple items or ideas that don’t involve a lot of words. I wouldn’t suggest using this approach to memorize a poem, for example, though you certainly could give it a try.

a printed poem

The number rhyme system probably won’t help you memorize a poem, at least not with any ease. But it would make for a fascinating and challenging experiment to try.

The hardest thing for many people is putting the time together to create lists of information to memorize. Here are some suggestions:

  • For vocabulary, use the dictionary
  • For names, use something like the Internet Movie Database
  • For place names, open up Google Maps and memorize street names
  • For book titles, use your bookshelves or Ebook catalog

You can also explore software options like the free International Association of Memory training software.

Expanding From The Number Rhyme System

Usually, once people have a taste for the power of using number rhymes to memorize lists, they want more.

One of the next levels of skill to explore involves the Major System. It lets you memorize numbers in a highly refined way. Instead of using rhymes, you associate the digits 0-9 with consonants. You then turn these consonants into memorable words.

The Major can be evolved even further by creating a PAO System. Instead of having words to help you memorize numbers, you also use people, actions and objects in a strategic manner.

Finally, the technique that governs them all: The Memory Palace. It allows you to store information in your mind by placing things like rhymes in an imaginary way throughout a building.

For example, let’s say you’re helping your kids learn memory techniques. You know that 2 rhymes with shoe and 4 rhymes with door.

To help your kids remember that 2×2=4, you can use the number rhyme system in combination with a Memory Palace.

memory palace example of using the number rhyme system to memorize the multiplication table

If you learn to use the Memory Palace technique strategically, it’s easy to place the entire multiplication table along a simple journey in one or two buildings.

Learn More Memory Systems Now

What you’ve discovered today is really just the beginning of an incredible adventure you can enjoy using memory techniques to learn and remember more.

If you’d like more information on how these techniques work, register now for my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will show you exactly how to develop a robust Memory Palace Network that scales. You never have to forget important information again.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to master your memory using number rhymes?

Although it’s a simple start to a much larger universe of memory techniques, it will remain useful and powerful for the rest of your life.

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The number rhyme system is a lot more powerful than you might think. Revisit the basics and then explore intermediate and expert uses now. The number rhyme system is a lot more powerful than you might think. Revisit the basics and then explore intermediate and expert uses now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 19:19
The 20 Best Philosophy Books Great Thinkers MUST Read https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/philosophy-books/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 16:00:25 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=28047 If you're looking for the best philosophy books, this is the ultimate list of unique reading suggestions. the 20 best philosophy books feature imageIf you’re looking for the ultimate list of must read philosophy books, welcome.

I’ve been reading philosophy since I was very young, starting with Albert Camus.

In fact, reading Camus at age fourteen is perhaps too young!

It started with stumbling on The Stranger at the local library. It’s a quick and easy novel, but also tremendously profound.

At the back of the novel, the author bio talked about Camus’ work in existentialism, so I went on to read The Myth of Sisyphus and his other novels.

Although I didn’t understand much of his philosophy at the time, it introduced me to an entire world of writing about thinking. I was hooked.

And now I want to share with you my top pics, why they matter and some of the key points that have stuck with me.

Ready?

Let’s get started!

The 20 Best Philosophy Books of All Time

Before we get started, let’s call a spade a spade.

There’s something deeply unphilosophical about pretending we can make a Greatest of All Time list when it comes to philosophy.

Why?

Because what is true in philosophy is true regardless of the book that it appears in. And any book that helps others discover not only what is true but how to think about and discover truths…

Well, that book is undoubtedly fantastic.

Also, I believe that when we define philosophy to our best abilities, it is something we do. In other words, philosophy is not really reading books. It is creating concepts with an attuned awareness of how our reading influences us.

Case in point, I am influenced by Gilles Deleuze in thinking that philosophy is an act of creating concepts. And as you’ll see, I’m also influenced by ancient thinkers and people like Nietzsche that at some level, we don’t even do that. Rather, philosophy does us.

I’ll explain more of what I mean as we go through this list.

One: Plato’s Dialogues

Getting to attend university was an extraordinary opportunity. But it wasn’t until my second year that I chose a major, which at that time was Political Science.

The first reading I was assigned was Plato’s The Republic. It’s an extraordinary read that starts with a memory and takes you not only into deep ideas, but also how to explore them through discussion.

I went to the professor as soon as I was done reading it and asked for more. She told me that Plato had written a ton of dialogues and suggested the Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns edition of Plato: The Collected Dialogues.

plato the collected dialogues edited by edith hamilton

All of the dialogs are worth reading, but my favorites are The Republic, Sophist, Ion and Lysis.

Lysis was particularly important for me many years later. It has a lot to do with friendship, which is the topic I ultimately wrote my dissertation on.

In terms of core ideas, there’s so much to highlight, and that’s one reason I make this my top recommendation. A major benefit of reading Plato beyond just a few dialogues is that you get to see just how old certain unresolved problems are.

It’s not that there’s “nothing new under the sun.” Rather, you experience just how nimble the ancient mind was and how little our capabilities have changed. Although you would think our current concerns about technology would be very different, the core anxieties are right there back circa 427-348 BCE.

Pro-tip: Take some time to read about the Pre-Socratics. A lot of what you find in Plato is a reaction to what philosophers like Thales, Anaximander, Heracleitus and others had to say about nature.

Two: What Is Philosophy?

Let’s skip ahead a few thousand years.

What is Philosophy? is a fantastic companion to Plato for a few reasons.

First, it helps you see how Plato created many important ideas as concepts linked to personae.

These points are important because we often think about truth as something objective. In other words, the truth is true regardless of our opinions about it.

But as Deleuze and Guattari argue, it is science that tries to “freeze” observations in time in order to make truth claims about the world. That is quite like what the Pre-Socratics tried to do and why Plato reacted to them as he did.

what is philosophy by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

Instead, Deleuze and Guattari see philosophy as something intensive and coming into being as one does philosophy in time.

They distinguish their preferred kind of philosophy as immanence rather than the transcendence of Platonic thought.

Rather than respond to the world as if there were some other essential truth or God behind it (transcendence), they respond to being itself (immanence).

In this approach, they are heavily influenced by Nietzsche.

Three: The Gay Science

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote many books. They’re all important because, as Martin Heidegger shows in his commentary on Nietzsche, he was incredibly consistent across his career. It’s almost as if he knew what he would write in his last book in some of his earliest youthful writings.

I chose The Gay Science for this list because this is the book in which Nietzsche warns us against the harms created by thinking that the universe is someone “alive.”

Rather, we need to accept that things are just here and happening. We don’t necessarily get to know why.

Nietzsche the gay science

This book also gives one of the most important references to the notion that “God is dead.”

However, as Fred Ulfers pointed out when I studied Nietzsche with him at the European Graduate School, this crude idea is not really what Nietzsche meant to convey.

Rather, Nietzsche was critiquing how we all behave religiously. And if we are going to go around acting ritualistically to our gods or even the universe itself (as if it were alive), then our gods may as well be dead.

This is a very different pronouncement and if you read The Gay Science carefully, you’ll pick up this nuance. You’ll become a much better thinker too.

Pro-tip: The Bernard Williams edition of The Gay Science is especially good.

Four: The Analects

Of course, Nietzsche isn’t the only person who thought that our capacity for ritual was out of alignment. Confucius focused on this long before he was born.

The Analects often isn’t on lists of top philosophy books because some people think it is merely commentary. And it was also compiled long after Confucius’ death, so doesn’t have an author in the strict sense.

the analects of confucius translated by Arthur Waley

However, as Bryan W. Van Norden points out in Taking Back Philosophy, you find all the important concerns covered by this text. He compares Confucius to Plato for the importance of how the nature of being is discussed as a formal procedure. Conventions are described, interrogated and revised in order to help us live better at the personal and societal level.

Other key points include:

  • The role of the individual relative to the state
  • Learning and being a good student
  • Developing and maintaining personal integrity
  • Continual self-evaluation through reflective thinking

Long story short: Don’t miss The Analects.

Pro-tip: The Arthur Waley version looks better on the page than some versions I’ve seen. It also comes with excellent discussions of key terms and useful annotations.

Five: Taking Back Philosophy

Although I think parts of Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto are argued strenuously to the point of excess, at least Van Norden acknowledges this aspect of his style.

He’s clearly passionate about this main thesis: We need to be aware of philosophy from a wide number of traditions, cultures and historical periods. This includes philosophical works from:

  • Asia
  • South America
  • India
  • Africa
  • Aboriginal philosophy
  • Native American

And many more.

He makes a compelling case that many traditions have been not only neglected by European thinkers, but also actively dismissed.

However, a weakness of this book is its lack of acknowledgment of European thinkers who have embraced other traditions. Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, possibly Hume, Deleuze and many others not only owe a debt to philosophers from around the world. They embrace them.

Another issue with this book is how the notion of “West” and “Western” is portrayed. Is there anything particularly “western” about some of the most important Greek philosophers? Hardly, given the fact that many of them were from what is now called Turkey.

Nonetheless, I feel that Taking Back Philosophy belongs on your shelf and I’m glad it’s on mine. I refer to it often and it helps me think better about bringing together philosophers from around the globe and throughout history.

Six: The Nichomachean Ethics

Aristotle is not one of the Greek philosophers who originated from Turkey, even though apparently in 2016, the country tried to claim him.

Most people think that Aristotle was born in Macedonia, but where exactly he is from is not what makes The Nichomachean Ethics so important.

This book is important because it discussed many concepts that are important to us today:

  • The nature and role of happiness in our lives
  • Examples of the golden mean, such as its role in courage
  • Honesty
  • Friendship

I used this text in particular for my own dissertation on friendship. It was essential reading and Aristotle remains a key philosopher for ideas on how to educate yourself and form solid habits for the good of one and all.

Seven: Atma Bodha

Normally, you’d expect a text like the Bhagavad Gita to appear in a list like this.

And make no mistake, I think it’s well-worth reading.

However, there are many texts that have cut out the story and compressed the philosophical knowledge into a much shorter space.

Atma Bodha is one such text.

Some people have also set the text to music, which is useful for memorizing the material if you wish.

My favorite translation of the Atma Bodha is by James Swartz. It comes with his excellent commentary in The Fire of Self Knowledge.

I talk about how I’m memorizing it in the original Sanskrit here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViRwsssg6gg

Why do I think it’s so important?’

I feel that it’s one of the best condensations of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy at the core of Bhagavad Gita.

Pro-tip: Ramana Maharshi also produced a compression of this knowledge in his Upadesa Saram. Comparing both texts is useful.

I’ve also shared my experience memorizing texts from this tradition in my TEDx Talk.

Eight: Sand Talk

In Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, Tyson Yunkaporta shares key points from Aboriginal philosophy you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.

For one thing, he also shares more than just his own cultural knowledge. He digs deep into the ideas of lesser-known philosophers around the world.

Even better, he shares some of the Aboriginal and Indigenous memory techniques anyone can use to remember the philosophical ideas he presents.

The core philosophy in this book involves a particular style of dialogue Yunkaporta calls “yarning.”

It’s an upgrade of the Platonic dialectal style of discussion, yet also predates it. You’ll definitely want to read this book.

Nine: The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics

  1. W. Moore has to be one of the most underrated philosophers ever. He’s one of the few analytical philosophers out there who really understands and underscores the value of continental philosophy.

In The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics, his powers of clearly explaining core ideas are in full force. He takes you through the key thinkers starting in the Modern era with Descartes up to people who are often dismissed, like Jacques Derrida.

Since I myself have worked to balance ideas from both analytic and continental philosophy, I especially appreciate the depth of thinking and generosity of intellectual inquiry Moore brings.

Pro-tip: His book Points of View is more complicated, but also astonishing. I think he demonstrates his core thesis that it’s possible to think from no particular point of view very well.

Ten: Modes of Thought

Alfred North Whitehead might not be correct in the end, but in Modes of Thought, you’ll enjoy some of his best ideas and thought processes.

For example, he helps us think about thinking. What’s important and how do we know? What is the nature of understanding? What exactly takes place when we’re expressing an idea?

Philosophical questions like these are tremendously important.

Even better:

Whitehead tackles science and asks us to rethink matter. He sees science as isolating things in time, a point Deleuze and Guattari raise in What is Philosophy? Rather, if change is truly the only constant, then our philosophy must take it into account in a much more integral manner.

By the same token, Whitehead points out the limitations of language and the dangers of relying on it too much. He sees how we use language as one of the main sources of our problems and a key issue with the materialistic worldview overall. Language, like science, causes us to try and “freeze” things in time rather than acknowledging the consistency of constant change.

The best part is that Whitehead often uses stories and anecdotes with references to animals that help make his points clear.

Eleven: Gödel Escher Bach

Although some people won’t recognize Douglas Hofstadter’s epic Gödel Escher Bach as a work of philosophy, I feel that it is one of the best.

It’s about the nature of consciousness with a heavy focus on examples of recursion in computer programming. But along the way, Hofstadter takes care to relate the nature of programming to art, music and our conscious experience of life overall.

Ultimately, Hofstadter sees consciousness as a “strange loop.” And the book is filled with such strange loops, including his excellent meditations on the nature of Zen.

Paradoxically, he later said in an interview, “I hated Zen.” Given how wonderfully he explains the workings of Zen in the mind of the practitioner, I have to believe he meant this in jest.

Twelve: Principles

Some readers will mistakenly dismiss books about business philosophy as “true” philosophy.

However, I feel that would be a mistake. Certainly, as a business owner, I’m biased. But it’s clear to me that a business, like every individual and the universe itself, has some kind of being. Businesses exist and we need to philosophize about them.

princoples by Ray Dalio

I chose Principles for this list for a few reasons:

  • Dalio’s tremendous business success
  • The structure of the book, which is reminiscent of Spinoza’s Ethics
  • The multiple layers of philosophy

For example, Dalio divides his suggestions between the nature of the individual entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial team and the business itself as a kind of “machine” operating in the world.

One of his core philosophical ideas is that all business machines are built from multiple moving parts. When conceived of correctly, these parts can be “fine tuned.”

Dalio really is a lot like Spinoza the more I think about it!

Thirteen: Aramis, or the Love of Technology

Bruno Latour took a risk with his wonderful analysis of technology and society by recording his observations in the form of a novel.

Latour introduces Actor-Network theory in Aramis, of the Love of Technology. Although it might seem unusual to deliver a philosophy about how everything is shifting at all times, Plato’s dialogues are essentially stories. And many philosophers have used the format.

If you’re interested in philosophy of science and the notions of pure immanence and becoming, this book is one of the greatest philosophy books I know that experiments with the format.

Fourteen: Striking Thoughts

A lot of people know at least one Bruce Lee quote. It’s usually, “be water, my friend.” Or it might be, “No ego, no enemy.”

These are all great, but like Bruno Latour, Bruce Lee was a philosopher of change and the relations between many things in the world. As he wrote in Striking Thoughts, “to live is a constant process of relating.”

Bruce Lee striking thoughts

The book is a fantastic study in dealing with constant change as a learner.

But the best part for me is the teaching philosophy. Although it won’t apply to every aspect of education under the sun, Lee focuses on processes that enable students to reach their own conclusions. And that’s including when either teacher, student or both are insecure.

And as many good books of philosophy do, this book includes enriched approaches to ethics. This book belongs on the shelf of every diverse critical thinker.

Fifteen: Discipline and Punish

Michel Foucault has been a controversial figure lately. A lot of people who seem not to have read him have co-opted poorly summarized versions of his ideas and twisted them out of shape.

Worse, they made ad hominem attacks against the philosopher himself. Sure, he may have been engaged in some unpleasant things. Many humans are. But that doesn’t necessarily reduce the value of his work.

So what is that value?

I chose Discipline and Punish for this list for two reasons:

  • The book tracks the historical shift from public executions to private imprisonment and the philosophical ideas involved in the transition
  • Foucault helps you think about how we as societies surveil each other
  • Foucault provides a nuanced definition of power

For these reasons, this book has been so influential, as have many other works by Foucault. You don’t have to agree with him or become “Foucauldian” to benefit from reading it.

But if you do find yourself responding judgmentally, this book might help you see how and why our culture shapes people for whom capricious responses are often the default setting.

Sixteen: On the Shadows of the Ideas

The importance of Giordano Bruno has yet to be fully explored. Many philosophers mention him, including Nietzsche, and his memory techniques remain highly influential.

Part of his ongoing longevity comes from Frances Yates’ portrayal of him in The Art of Memory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3GGcO5Cx3I

However, she misrepresents him as a hermeticist. Although he certainly has elements of pantheism in his approach, not dissimilar to Spinoza in his Ethics, I believe Bruno is ultimately a non-dualist.

If you read and even put into practice his conceptions and intentions, you’ll discover that, like the Vedantans, he was essentially working to neutralize or dissolve the notion of the individual self.

Sadly, these ideas are often lost in the discussions of Bruno, who was burned at the stake for the crime of believing in infinity.

Pro-tip: John Michael Greer’s translation is fantastic and we discuss it here.

Seventeen: Ethics

Spinoza’s importance cannot be underestimated. In some ways, the best philosophy that follows his Ethics owes him a great deal.

He is a philosopher of unity and becoming, of pure immanence before Deleuze and Guattari cooked up that term.

As Spinoza writes:

“The idea of the mind is united to the mind in the same way as the mind is united to the body.”

By demonstrating the validity of this claim, he ultimately demonstrates a complete oneness between all things. If he’s correct, we all get to experience infinity.

Pro-tip: Steven Nadler’s recent, Think Least of Death is an excellent and accessible discussion of some of Spinoza’s more challenging ideas.

Eighteen: The Classical Trivium

Marshall McLuhan is famous for his media philosophy. But none of his explosive ideas would have happened if he hadn’t been a student of how ideas were spread before radio, TV and cinema.

In fact, probably his most important book is his study of The Classical Trivium. In it, you’ll learn how some of the most important philosophers thought and wrote. For example, humanists like Erasmus and Bacon took pains to align themselves with the ancient philosophers. We often think of them as helping birth the modern era, but if anything, they were looking backwards, not forward.

McLuhan shows us how during the Medieval and Renaissance periods, thinkers believed we could read the world and the universe itself as if it were a book. It shows the history of the art of interpretation and you’ll learn about how people in this era structured knowledge. These are reading strategies that are still useful to this day.

Nineteen: Powers of Horror

Some books contain ideas that are impossible to forget.

Enter Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection.

This book helps you think better about a few things.

powers of horror by Julia Kristeva

For example, why do you feel separate from everything else? Is it because you’re actually separate, or has your culture trained you to feel and think as if you were divided from the rest of reality?

Kristeva analyzes a number of linguistic codes and social processes, including bodily functions and conventions we’ve created to deal with them.

Sure, these topics are not exactly dinnertime conversation. But going through them with Kristeva will change your life for the better. It’s also essential reading if you want to understand cultural phenomena like the horror genre.

Twenty: How It Is

  1. F. Cordova is an excellent philosopher to round out this list. In many ways, she compliments Kristeva’s concerns about differentiation. She shows how it happens to entire cultures.

We also find through Cordova’s work a compelling study of Native North American thinking. For example, she shows how individuality is a given, yet always in the context of the whole.

Each human being is given different opportunities to grow their strengths in this conception. They are shaped by a balance of interest in the individual’s ability to help the whole as a group.

how it is by V. F. Cordova

She also talks about our duty to do philosophy, which reminds of Deleuze and Guattari’s insistence that philosophy is about the creation of concepts.

The more we all get together to collaborate on the creation of concepts for the good of everyone, then How It Is will be very good indeed.

How to Choose the Right Philosophy Books for You

I have so many runner-up books I’d love to include, including volumes by:

  • René Girard for mimetic theory
  • Umberto Eco for semiotics
  • Kitaro Nishida for his work on Zen
  • Key texts by some of the Stoics

But when it comes to choosing the best possible philosophy books, I recommend balancing quantity with quality.

To do this, read in missions.

Remember how I mentioned McLuhan’s study of the Trivium? Well, hidden inside of this style of learning is the idea that you group together a few different categories as you read.

For example, when I was learning Advaita Vedanta, I read two other categories at the same time and used the principle of interleaving. It’s a memory technique that helps you remember more.

So for example, although my core focus was on Advaita Vedanta, I switched in books on Zen and hermeticism.

Then, when that reading cluster was done, I moved on to the next cluster by reading books focused on astronomy, math, geometry and music.

When you read this way, you wind up with a much larger world view, much faster.

Umberto Eco suggested as much in his final letter to his grandson. Eco also urged his grandson to learn how to use his memory.

On this site, I talk about philosophy a lot. But the core focus is to encourage and inspire people to use memory techniques.

In some ways, I’m like what McLuhan thought Erasmus and Bacon were like: People looking at the past for inspiration. 

If you’d like to discover what I’ve learned about the ancient art of memory, get my FREE Memory Improvement Kit here:

Free Memory Improvement Course

You’ll discover how to use a Memory Palace.

That way, when you’re reading the top philosophy books you’re interested in, you’ll be able to remember their key points.

Read Philosophy with Momentum

There you have it. My top picks from decades of reading philosophy.

I hope you’ve encountered some reading suggestions you haven’t found anywhere else.

And I’d love to know what you pick.

Even better, I’d love to know what concepts you create after reading your choices as you do the work of philosophy yourself.

Happy reading!

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If you're looking for the best philosophy books, this is the ultimate list of unique reading suggestions. If you're looking for the best philosophy books, this is the ultimate list of unique reading suggestions. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 36:21
206 Deep Philosophical Questions for Smart People https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/philosophical-questions/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 16:00:05 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27841 Good philosophical questions are hard to come by. Use this mega-list of intellectual questions to think deeply about life and its meaning. 206 deep philosophical questions feature imageNews flash: philosophical questions for smart people must actually be philosophical.

I raise this point because so many people ask general interest questions and call them philosophical.

But that doesn’t mean that they actually are philosophical.

At its core, philosophy is the investigation of the nature of being.

As Martin Heidegger often put it, asking deep philosophical questions of his own, we need to question the being of being itself. And how is it that we as beings have come to not only ask questions, but question the nature of what it means to ask questions in the first place?

206 Thought-Provoking Philosophical Questions

With these points in mind, here’s a list of questions that will help you experience rich and rewarding conversations with friends and family.

I’ve split the questions up into different categories and will sometimes discuss why the questions are so valuable to discuss.

Ready?

Let’s get started.

Ontology

As Dale Jacquette points out in his book Ontology, we often take the question of what exists for granted. What does it mean for something to exist? How does existence relate to things that are merely coming into being?

Ontological questions focus on being and who it relates to the opposite: non-being or non-existence.

Here are some of the most important questions in this area:

  1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
  2. What does it mean to exist?
  3. What must be true in order for us to say that something exists or does not exist?

This question is especially interesting because we talk about many things that technically don’t exist, such as unicorns. 

unicorn in front of the moon

Yet, the very notion of unicorn is premised upon other things that do exist, such as horses and animals that have horns. We can also think about horns in relation to seashells. So with this in mind, is it really the case that unicorns do not exist?

For more on the problem of non-existence and some proofs that non-being cannot be the opposite of being, see Plato’s Sophist.

  1. What laws govern matter?
  2. When does life begin?

This question applies both to life as such in terms of when it first appeared in the universe, and when it starts following pregnancy. You can also ask to what extent that the universe itself might be alive.

Nietzsche was a philosopher who definitely thought the universe was not alive. See aphorism 109 of his book The Gay Science for an extraordinary warning against such humanization of being.

  1. What happens to us when we die?
  2. What is the most perfect form of being?
  3. Does a god exist?
  4. If a god exists, why would we need to prove this?
  5. Is change real or only apparent?
  6. What is real?
  7. What is reality? 
  8. Is reality one or many?

This question means to investigate not just the nature of one reality as opposed to a multiverse. It is also the question of whether or not everything in the reality is connected, or if there is separation between things.

  1. Is reality material or spiritual?
  2. Is reality permanent, or is it itself always changing?
  3. If the entire universe is always in motion, can any object ever be at “rest”?
  4. Are light and darkness equal?
  5. Does history exist or did humans invent it? If so, does it repeat itself?
  6. Does the past continue to exist after it is gone?
  7. Is the world of tomorrow already here?

These last two questions were raised by Einstein and Gödel. For a full analysis, see A World Without Time.

six clocks on a wooden wall

In essence, it is fascinating to think that even though yesterday is gone, the world of yesterday is still there and potentially accessible.

Epistemology

As Christopher Norris puts it, epistemology boils down to the difference between opinion and verifiable fact. How do we know what we know and by what criteria do we know if that knowledge is valuable?

Knowledge can be about ideas, things, substances or states. Here are a pile of compelling questions you can ask in this area:

  1. What is the nature of knowledge?
  2. Where does knowledge reside? In individuals or in humanity collectively?
  3. Is knowledge in our sense-impressions? In mental perceptions? In our judgements?
  4. What counts as a valid source of knowledge?
  5. What are the different sources of knowledge?
  6. Is knowledge something that we can possess?
  7. What is truth?
  8. How do we test what is true?
  9. What is a question? What is a good question?
  10. Why do some words and phrases translate cleanly between languages while others do not?
  11. Can we think something into existence?
  12. Can we think something into non-existence?
  13. Can we think about things that don’t exist?
  14. What is a substance?
  15. What is a number?
  16. Do “spirits” exist? If so, do they “know” things?
  17. What is a fact?
  18. What is an opinion?
  19. What is a mistake?
  20. What does the fact that mistakes are possible tell us about the nature of reality?
  21. If you know what you’re looking for, why would questions about it arise? 

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how is it possible that you have enough knowledge to know that you want to find it? (This is essentially Meno’s Paradox.)

  1. How much can an individual person know?
  2. Can an individual ever know anything on their own?

This question is very important because language is not owned by any individual. At its core, all knowledge is likely shared by virtue of this fact alone.

  1. What is “language”?
  2. Are all languages equal?
  3. What makes a justified belief justified?
  4. How does language refer to the real world?
  5. What is truly objective and not subjective?
  6. What is the order in information? Or is it all chaos?
  7. What is philosophy?
  8. Why is philosophy important?
  9. Am I doomed to always be naive?

Ethics

Peter Singer is one of the most important philosophers associated with ethics. One of his core concerns involves the duties of individuals with respect to the whole.

Within this field, one must consider the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. It’s very hard to balance these two factors without causing harm to some by minimizing pain for others – and this problem explains a lot of the strife and turmoil we see in the world throughout human history.

happy and sad faces

These questions will help you think through philosophical questions related to ethics.

  1. By what principles do we judge things right or wrong?
  2. What does it mean when we say that things “ought” to be a certain way?
  3. What are the principles, criteria and standards by which we should decide what to do?
  4. Is justice good because we prefer it, or do we prefer justice because it is good?
  5. What makes a human being moral?
  6. Should you seek to maximize your personal pleasure?
  7. Is it right to take on pain for yourself if it helps maximize the pleasure of others?
  8. What does it mean to be a good friend?
  9. What are my personal responsibilities as a local, national and global citizen?
  10. Is there a scientific basis to ethics?
  11. Sam Harris thinks that the answer to this question is yes. He defends his answer in The Moral Landscape.
  12. What is fairness?
  13. What are rights?
  14. How would I act if I cared for all life on the planet?
  15. How would I act if I considered both the short and long term outcomes of all my actions?
  16. How do we know when an authority should be followed?
  17. How do we know when it’s right to disobey authority?
  18. Is it right to keep a person alive artificially?
  19. Is killing always immoral and/or illegal?
  20. Should people be allowed to worship in any way they please?
  21. Is it right to allow children to determine their own gender?
  22. At what age should people be allowed to marry?
  23. How should we decide who gets to receive organ implants?
  24. How do we determine when death has occured?

Religion

One of the fascinating aspects of religion is that people make truth claims about their chosen faith, yet all chosen faiths are under constant attack. As Mikel Burley has pointed out, this has put all religions on the defensive.

hands of prayer

In some ways, this makes religion very similar to philosophy because neither of them are a science. Although philosophy and religion are not the same, they both exist to help us answer the questions that science has yet to address.

And as you’ll see from the following list, it is possible for some religious questions to be philosophical in nature. It basically boils down to looking at the philosophical questions that have come up in both the attacks against religion and the defenses various believers have mounted.

  1. Does god exist?
  2. What are the reasons to believe that god exists?
  3. What is the nature of a god?
  4. Is god the ultimate reality?
  5. What is the relationship between an individual and a god?
  6. If a god does not exist, is there some other form of transcendent reality?
  7. Is it rational to believe in a god?
  8. Do you choose your faith or does it choose you?
  9. Can you be faithful and still experience doubt?
  10. If infinity is real, has god already reached it? If so, how is that possible given the definition of “infinity”?
  11. Does heaven exist?
  12. Does hell exist?
  13. Is it right for a god to create and/or allow harm for any reason?
  14. If god exists, why is there evil in the world?
  15. Is god supernatural, or at one with the universe?
  16. Is religion philosophical?
  17. Does any scientific evidence validate any religion?
  18. Are all religions fundamentally the same?
  19. Why do different religions exist?
  20. How do we evaluate different religions?
  21. Why do so many religions rely upon stories instead of facts?
  22. If religion is real, why do atheists exist?
  23. Is it possible for an atheist to have a religious or spiritual experience?
  24. To what extent do moral positions have religious significance?
  25. Is morality pointless without religion?
  26. Do science and religion conflict with one another?

Anthropological Philosophy

Anthropology has to do with people and their environments and how this relationship leads to the formation of thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. One of the greatest philosophers in this area was Friedrich Nietzsche, who sought to understand how humans create their own values. He was especially puzzled by how humans failed to see that they are the creators of their own values in the first place.

stone humans

  1. What are human beings?
  2. What is human hope? Desire? Belief?
  3. What is consciousness?
  4. What is a thought?
  5. What is thinking?
  6. How is it possible for the mind to represent the world?
  7. Can we really know anything?
  8. Is human nature inherently good or evil?
  9. Do you humans act out of free will, or are our actions determined?
  10. What is technology?
  11. When is our technology good?
  12. When is our technology bad?
  13. Who is ultimately responsible for the outcomes of using technology? Individuals, or the entire species?
  14. What is enlightenment? Why do some people think they have it?
  15. Does education improve people? If so, why do we seem to make the same mistakes repeatedly?
  16. Why do people limit themselves by giving responsibility to a god?
  17. Does free will exist? If free will doesn’t exist, why do I feel like I am in control?
  18. What is human evolution?
  19. How do humans evolve differently than other life forms?
  20. Why is there ethnic conflict in the world?
  21. Why do the behaviors of people differ based on where they are born?
  22. How do families form?
  23. How do individual identities form?
  24. Why do our personalities change over time?
  25. If your brain were transplanted into another body, would you still be you?
  26. How do social hierarchies form?
  27. Why are there different social classes?
  28. How do people learn languages?
  29. Why do some languages die?
  30. Do minds cause physical events, or does the physical body exclusively cause events in the mind? (Epiphenomenalism)
  31. What is it like to experience something?
  32. Why do humans pretend?
  33. How do I know that other people think and feel in the same ways I do?
  34. How do I know I’m not dreaming?

Happiness

  1. Is happiness the product of chemicals flowing through your brain? Or is it more?
  2. What is the good life?
  3. Can people be happy? Do they actually want to be happy?
  4. Should people pursue happiness?
  5. Can you legitimately achieve happiness without making others unhappy?
  6. Is it selfish to want to be happy?
  7. Is it wrong to not care about being happy?
  8. Do we need goals in order to be happy?
  9. Does life have a meaning?
  10. Can meaning be found or does it have to be invented? (Existentialism)
  11. What is suffering?
  12. Is it rational to donate to charities?
  13. How do you describe happiness
  14. How do you measure happiness?

Some people have thought that you actually can measure happiness. Jeremy Benthem’s felicific calculus is one strategy.

  1. How do you control your own happiness?
  2. For whom is happiness possible?
  3. Is the pursuit of happiness self-defeating? When does seeking happiness make you unhappy?
  4. How do you find happiness with others?

Philosophy of Art

  1. Can art be defined?
  2. Do artists, consumers or institutions like galleries and museums get to define the meaning of art?
  3. What media belongs to art and what doesn’t? (Film, literature, cinema, etc.)
  4. Why do certain artists resemble one another while others couldn’t be more different?
  5. What is it about art that causes a response in humans?
  6. What are the different kinds of responses to art?
  7. Is the value of art in the work or in the mind of the beholder?
  8. Does art have a purpose, or is it an end in itself?
  9. What is an authentic performance of a musical piece?
  10. In Philosophy: The Basics, Nigel Warburton wonders how we could ever experience Bach authentically without a time machine?
  11. Is a high quality forgery still art?
  12. What is an artistic style? How do we know one when we see it?
  13. What do the cinematic arts teach us about the nature of time?

Political Philosophy

Plato believed that societies can be harmonized through political philosophy. He suggested an aristocracy would be best, and had some ideas we might think crazy now. For example, artists and poets would need to be expelled altogether because their representations bent reality.

green hat artist drawing on a wall

Ironically, one of Plato’s stories, the Allegory of the Cave (found in The Republic), forms the basis of The Matrix, one of the most popular movies of all time.

Here are some of the most compelling questions from political philosophy.

  1. What is equality?
  2. What is freedom?
  3. Are equality and freedom reasonable goals?
  4. How can they be achieved?
  5. What can justify the limits on freedom enacted by the state?
  6. Should money be equally distributed?
  7. What does it mean to “deserve” something without having “earned” it?
  8. Why do different people have different needs?
  9. Why does discrimination arise?
  10. Since voters typically cannot become political experts, is their voice really valid?
  11. Is there a right to freedom of speech?
  12. Should people be allowed to lie and/or misrepresent the truth?
  13. How can we protect the innocent from punishment?

Philosophy of Science

As James Ladyman points out, many aspects of life do not change. Most people still work very hard just to survive. Yet, we’ve never had more access to technology than ever before, all thanks to the advancements of science. 

black background technology

It’s not just that science has given us miraculous tools like phones that take high quality photographs. Science has also helped us figure out how to ship them around the world and link them to satellites flying above our heads.

It’s questions like these that have made it all possible.

  1. What is science?
  2. What is an experiment?
  3. How do we know if the results of an experiment are valid?
  4. What are the limits of science?
  5. How far might science actually go given enough time and resources?
  6. Are there any limits to the problem-solving capacity of computers?
  7. Will progress continue on into infinity?
  8. Are there any problems with the empirical method?
  9. What is the nature of information, data and evidence?
  10. How do we know that our tools of detection provide accurate and precise information?
  11. Was math discovered or invented?
  12. Is a final “theory of everything” possible?
  13. If scientists determine that something should be done but people reject it, is it right to impose science upon them?
  14. Are there a finite or infinite number of questions for science to tackle?
  15. How should we understand universal cosmological time?
  16. What is life?
  17. What is the nature of a living system?
  18. What is the difference between a living system and the matter described by physics?
  19. Does life have a goal?
  20. If science shows that something is true, are we obliged to use the result?
  21. What should we do when scientists break the law or lie?

How to Remember Good Philosophical Questions

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list, even if it includes some unanswerable philosophical questions. That’s just the way it goes with many intellectual questions, and it’s great brain exercise to at least try and answer them.

One problem people face, however, is that they come across good philosophical questions, only to forget them.

If you’d like to continue enjoying the benefits of deep thinking, learn now to memorize as many philosophical questions as you wish with my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Many of the best philosophers and deep thinkers have used the techniques I talk about in this course to reflect on deep philosophical questions about life.

And because of how the techniques work, they remembered their answers too.

Happy questioning and leave a comment below if you’ve got questions that belong on this list.

 

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Good philosophical questions are hard to come by. Use this mega-list of intellectual questions to think deeply about life and its meaning. Good philosophical questions are hard to come by. Use this mega-list of intellectual questions to think deeply about life and its meaning. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 33:47
Mnemonic Images: What They Are & How They Help https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/mnemonic-images/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 16:00:56 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=28779 Mnemonic images are much more than just mental pictures. Learn to go beyond visual mnemonics and mnemonic pictures with this simple guide. mnemonic images feature imageMnemonic images are powerful tools learners use to speed up the remembering process.

You can use mnemonic pictures for nearly everything:

  • Language learning
  • Info from textbooks
  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Names
  • Facts
  • Historical dates
  • Lists
  • Verbatim tasks like quotes and speeches

The trick is to assign your mnemonic images correctly.

Miss just one step, and the process can be slow, boring and not worth the time.

But learn to use mnemonic images well, and you’ll learn at a much faster pace.

Ready for the real deal when it comes to this powerful learning strategy?

Let’s dive in!

What Are Mnemonic Images?

Mnemonic images are associations.

For example, if I want to remember a name like “Bruce,” I might think of Bruce Wayne from Batman lore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM1sQJshXE4

You attach a simple image like this to information you want to learn.

They can be simple and direct like Bruce Wayne, or more complex as needed. For larger learning projects, we typically place our associations in a Memory Palace.

You can also draw them out, which I often do to speed up the learning process. Here’s an example from one of my language learning missions:

How to Memorize Flashcards mnemonic example for memorizing vocabulary

This kind of visual mnemonic works because the answer isn’t on the card.

I’ve also left a blank area with no mnemonic image at all to tickle my memory and imagination in a growth-oriented way.

That way, the entire mnemonic image presents a puzzle to be solved.

And solving it makes memories form faster.

The Truth About Mnemonics

Frankly, there’s a bit of a problem in how we use this term “mnemonic image.”

You see, the idea of an image mnemonic makes it seem like the associations have to be visual.

But visual mnemonics are actually just one category of associations you can assign.

In the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass, I teach you all the major categories of association through KAVE COGS:

  • Kinaesthetic mnemonics
  • Auditory mnemonics
  • Visual mnemonics
  • Emotional mnemonics
  • Conceptual mnemonics
  • Olfactory mnemonics
  • Gustatory mnemonics
  • Spatial mnemonics

Those are the major eight categories most of us draw upon the most often. But there are twenty more that I teach, and knowledge of these can be useful from time to time.

arrange pictures

The point is this:

True Mnemonic Images Are Multisensory

Good mnemonic images are always multisensory. They don’t just rely on the visual mode.

So if you want to learn faster and remember more, visual mnemonics are okay. But you’ll do a lot better if you add in more mental imagery based on other sensations. In the Magnetic Memory Method world, we call the range of sensations we use the “Magnetic Modes.”

Magnetic Memory Method Magnetic Modes And Magnetic Imagery Infographic For Powerful Memory Palace creation

Why?

Because we know from personal experience and a variety of sources that multisensory association is the key to associative learning.

First, we have thirty years of memory competition records, and I’ve interviewed dozens of memory athletes like Nelson Dellis, Braden Adams, Lynne Kelly, Katie Kermode and John Graham to name just a few. I’ve also interviewed the creator of the World Memory Championships, Tony Buzan.

We know from studies that mnemonic processing works a lot better when it is multisensory. Studies have shown that multi sensory mnemonics can beat flash cards, for example. (I’ll show you a way you can combine mnemonic images with flash cards in a moment, however.)

Overall, multisensory association is a kind of “guided learning,” and this has been shown to be very healthy for adults. And you don’t have to be a memory competitor to benefit. People like myself, Scott Gosnell and John Michael Greer all produce materials for adult learners to help teach themselves this “martial art of the mind.” 

With the evidence in tow, let me give you a few steps and some examples that will help you master using mnemonic images.

How to Use Visual Mnemonics to Remember Things

Keeping in mind that what we’re talking about is visualizing a wide range of sensations when assigning associations, here’s what to do and how to do it.

If you struggle to visualize, try these simple exercises. You can also learn to image stream or develop hyperphantasia.

emotions and sensations

Step One: Have the Target Information Prepared

I know this step sounds obvious, but it isn’t. Many people don’t spend any time at all thinking about what they want to memorize.

This causes issues later because mnemonic images are associations and they can blur into each other if they aren’t separated and arranged in optimal ways.

For example, when you’re memorizing a speech, you may want to memorize the quotes you use first. That’s how I approached my TEDx Talk.

When you’re memorizing foreign language vocabulary, you might want to organize the words by theme or even alphabetically.

Typically, you’ll want to follow the next step to avoid issues that emerge from poor information organization.

Step Two: Use a Memory Palace

You can definitely use mnemonic images without a Memory Palace. Some people prefer the story and link method.

However, here’s something to consider:

A Memory Palace is a mnemonic image. And it’s a powerful one because it allows you to use every other memory technique within it.

using memory palace

Any building you are basically familiar with can be used as a Memory Palace for storing your mnemonic imagery.

You also can use the Memory Palace to review your mnemonic images. Without this spatial memory foundation, it’s difficult to manage a bunch of associations floating around in the void of your mind.

Step Three: Select Your Mnemonic Images Skillfully

When learning, a lot of people make weak mnemonic images.

For example, if they are memorizing scripture, they might do something like this for “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.”

They might use a mnemonic image of a tutu answering a bee-shaped telephone to get started.

That’s okay, but it’s also generic and vague.

To use the Magnetic Memory Method, you choose much more specific references. I would certainly stick with the tutu, but I would add Desmond Tutu.

Desmond Tutu wearing a tutu is a lot stronger than just the piece of clothing floating around on its own.

Then, with this image secured in a Memory Palace, I would add KAVE COGS. I would literally pretend to be Desmond Tutu and feel the tutu against my skin. I would hear him dancing around like a ballerina on his way to answer the bee-shaped phone.

And it would not be  just any bee-shaped phone. It would be the character from The Bee Movie, voiced by Jerry Seinfeld.

a bee on a sunflower

Instead of using a generic mnemonic image, take things one step further. Find a specific version of that visual image. This reduces cognitive load when using the association to remember information.

These specific references make it easy to pack in sounds, emotions, physical sensations and elements of size, smells and tastes. It’s so much more powerful than visual mnemonics on their own.

Step Four: Review Your Mnemonic Images Strategically

With a Memory Palace in play, you’re able to gather together dozens, if not hundreds of mnemonic images. My TEDx Talk involved over 300, to give you a simple example.

(Though, please keep in mind that it’s not a numbers game. And there are different ways to count how many images are involved depending on your exact approach).

In my experience, the best way to review the associations is to follow the Memory Palace journey using dedicated patterns:

  • Review them forwards
  • Backwards
  • From the middle of the Memory Palace to the end
  • From the middle of the Memory Palace to the beginning
  • Out of order
  • Randomly pop in

This approach gives equal doses of Primacy and Recency to each mnemonic image in the Memory Palace.

Step Five: Experiment

I mentioned above that there’s a way to integrate flash cards. You can also use digital flash cards using an app like Anki.

The same rules apply.

When you create your card, either on paper or on a digital screen, make sure to use KAVE COGS.

And practice memorizing many different types of information. The images you use to memorize words will ultimately be linked to what you use for words. But knowing how, when and why to shift your mnemonic strategy is the key to long term success across the learning landscape.

create your card

Step Six: Develop

As you continue learning using mnemonic images, develop other systems.

There are three key systems that give you literally dozens of images you can draw from on demand.

These are:

Within 2-5 hours of developmental work, the piles of mnemonic images these systems give you will be ready to use in a flash.

For example, if I have to memorize an unfamiliar name like Gangador Dianand, I don’t have to create a mnemonic image from scratch. I just consult my pegword list for ideas.

If I have to memorize a number like 33924345, all I need is my 00-99 PAO, which has three images perfectly suited for those numbers. It’s ready to go, and all I had to do was develop it based on the Major System.

That’s all you’ll have to do too.

Beyond Mnemonic Pictures 

Without a doubt, mnemonic images are fun and easy to develop and use.

The trick is to not treat them like “pictures” or limit them to the visual mode.

The more you broaden them into the multi-sensory capacities of your mind, the great memory power they will have.

And you can apply the KAVE COGS formula to your Memory palaces too.

Remember: Every Memory Palace is also a mnemonic image.

And it’s the best kind of mnemonic image because it is the one that lets you store all the rest.

If you need help building your first Memory Palace and want an entire network of them, register for this free course now:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you develop them in an optimal way to house all of your mnemonic images from here on in. That way, you’ll remember a lot more, a lot faster.

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Mnemonic images are much more than just mental pictures. Learn to go beyond visual mnemonics and mnemonic pictures with this simple guide. Mnemonic images are much more than just mental pictures. Learn to go beyond visual mnemonics and mnemonic pictures with this simple guide. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 31:55
12 Brain Warm Up Exercises That Actually Work https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/brain-warm-up/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 16:00:44 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=28693 If you're looking for simply the best brain warm up routines, check these out. Learn creative warm ups and morning brain exercises that work. 11 brain warm up exercises feature imageGood brain warm up exercises are hard to find, but you’ve just discovered an in-depth list of the best.

What makes a mental warm up routine good?

For one thing, it has to challenge your mind.

In order to create an effect, each warm up routine needs to produce at least a bit of friction.

By taking on the quick and creative challenges I’ve gathered for you on this page, you’ll experience exactly that:

Positive friction that produces mental dexterity, new ideas and personal growth.

Sound good?

Great! Let’s dive in!

12 Brain Warm Up Exercises That Wake Your Brain Up

This list of warm ups for your brain is a cornucopia of ideas.

They’re all good, so don’t feel that the numbers are an indicator of value.

But if you want my personal opinion?

I saved the best and most scientifically-tested exercises to wake up your brain for the end of the list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re81N5KlouY

One: List 10 Alternative Uses For An Object

You’ve probably heard of the one where you list 10 alternative uses for an object before.

Like if I show you a paperclip, you might suggest stringing enough of them together to create a ladder from here to the moon as your first alternative use.

It’s a great exercise that creates rapid benefits, and it works with any object.

But I’d suggest you go a step further. For example, if you’re going to create a ladder to the moon using paperclips, why not also imagine a version of the moon composed entirely of paperclips.

This is the alternative substance exercise that in some sense already exists. For years people have been saying the moon is made of cheese, but paperclips… how about socks? Or arts? Or noodles?

Then go a step further yet.

What possible things could you use a moon made out of noodles for? Would you campaign the rich to donate spaceships and space suits so they could bring those noodles back to earth to feed the poor?

Whatever use you find your random objects, figure out what links you’ve made between things, then change the substance of the thing being linked to into the original object and find at least a few alternative uses for that.

If you can’t think of ten, don’t sweat it. But keep coming back to it throughout the day for some mini-creative exercise.

It’s a great exercise that creates rapid benefits, and it works with any object.

So grab an eraser, sock, book or any object you can find and jot down at least ten alternative ways it could be used.

If you can’t think of ten, don’t sweat it. But keep coming back to it throughout the day for some mini-creative exercise.

Two: Question Your Dreams

I don’t know about you, but I dream often.

But instead of letting them drift away, I use my dreams to engage in one of the strongest morning brain exercises I know.

yellow sweater woman remembering her dreams

Here are the steps:

  • Write down the dream or dream fragment you remember
  • Ask what it reminds you of (situation, person or place)
  • Journal briefly on any emotions or concepts that arise

You can also do exercises throughout the day with your daydreams. This is an activity Robert Langs discusses in full in his excellent Daydream Workbook.

In brief, when you notice yourself daydreaming, make a note of the nature of the dream. And ask yourself similar questions about what memories come to mind surrounding it? What emotions, longings or fulfillments does the dray dream suggest?

There doesn’t have to be any particular outcome from this exercise. You’re just going for the brain warm up and using your dreams and day dreams to do it.

Three: Give Emotions to Colors

Take ROY G BIV, the acronym for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Then list as quickly as you can the first emotion that comes to mind for each color. For example:

  • Red = anger
  • Orange = shame
  • Yellow = happy

To take the exercise to the next level, find 3-5 alternative words for each emotion. In other words, mentally transform happiness into contentedness, comfort, mirth, cheer, elatedness, etc.

Try and do it on your own before reaching for a thesaurus.

Four: Play the Alphabet Game

Either in your mind or using paper and pen, think of a name for each letter.

For example:

  • A = Anthony
  • B = Bonnie
  • C = Connie etc.

Now, they don’t have to rhyme, as I’ve done, but that in itself provides interesting exercise that will stretch your mind even further.

alphabet games

You can also go through the alphabet and name only objects:

  • A = apple
  • B = ball
  • C = car etc.

If you want to take this to the next level, have a person you name interact with an object by the same letter. Have the action also start with the same letter, like this:

  • Al Pacino accepts an apple
  • Batman bounces a ball
  • Cookie monster cooks a car, etc.

Sure, things might get weird, but that’s why this exercise works so well to wake up your brain.

You can take this exercise further with the pegword method or by building a PAO System.

Five: Encode Using Associations

Let’s say you’re doing the color/emotion exercise I shared above. You’ve discovered a word in the thesaurus and you want to remember to use it more often.

Take the word and think about an image that comes to mind that can help you remember it.

For elatedness, you could seize upon the el and think about someone named Elaine arriving late.

To take another example, for mirth, you could think about frankincense and myrrh, as mentioned in the Bible.

For best results and an additional exercise, place these associations in a Memory Palace.

Six: Reading Recall

Go back as far as you can in your life. For example, grade one or two.

Think of a book that you loved during that year. Or at least a book you can remember reading.

remember reading a book

For me, I remember a book in kindergarten or grade one that involved teddy bears falling off of the book shelf they lived on. They fell onto a map spread on the floor and had to find their way back to the bookshelf from disparate lands.

The next book I distinctly remember is Where the Red Fern Grows. All I really remember about it is that there was a dog and quite a bit about hunting racoons.

Don’t worry if you have to skip entire grades or if you aren’t sure about accuracy. Just try your best to proceed on a year-by-year basis.

You can also just go year-by-year if you haven’t been in school for a very long time. The point of the warm up exercise is to stick with the yearly progression.

As an alternative, you can also use movies and try to match the year or grade you were in when you saw them.

Seven: The Movie Name Game

Take a movie that you know. Then, take the last letter in the name of the movie. Use it to name another movie.

For example, if you think of Aliens, then your next movie should start with S, such as Superman. Then you would think of one that starts with N.

This exercise can get challenging fast, but push through and see how far you get. Try to name at least 10 titles before you stop.

As an alternative, you can use book titles, names of people you know or celebrities.

Eight: Combine Products

Unlike the exercise where you name as many possible uses for an object as you can think of, here the goal is to think of mixing two objects together.

For example, imagine mixing cherry juice with mustard. Or attaching a chain saw to a car. How about an airplane that shoots spiderwebs?

spiderwebs

See if you can get 10 combinations together.

You can also take this to the next level by getting actual objects together on a table and trying to combine them. For example, you can play around with combining:

  • Fork
  • String
  • Coins
  • Salt shaker
  • Etc. 

To take a simple example, you could tie the string around the coin and use it as a swinging mallet to make a dinner bell out of the salt shaker.

Nine: Combine Stories

Imagine Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

But instead of having a dog named Toto, imagine that her pet is Scooby Doo. Then imagine how Scooby Doo would fit into the basket on Dorothy’s bike. And think about how he would react when meeting the Wicked Witch for the first time?

To continue this creative warm up exercise, have a number of movie and story titles on slips of paper. Mix them around and mishmash a few together. Then think of scenarios and what they would be like with the character swaps in place.

For more examples, imagine: 

  • James Bond in a battle against Kermit the Frog
  • Rambo taking on the Death Star in Star Wars
  • Sherlock Holmes in The Firm instead of Tom Cruise

Keeping physical books in the area where you complete your morning brain exercises is a great way to do this. Just grab a few novels or comic books and think of mix-and-match ways to create new and unusual combinations.

grab a book

Ten: Use a Memory Palace

One of the most ice-cold mental situations people face comes from problems like PTSD and depression.

Yet, as Nic Castle, a former police officer found, using a Memory Palace helped him reduce his symptoms.

It’s not just his anecdotal experience either. Dr. Gary Dalgleish and his co-researchers have found exactly these results in their clinical trials.

You don’t have to suffer in order to benefit from using this technique as a brain warm up, however.

All you have to do is:

  • Have at least one Memory Palace (here’s how to create your first)
  • Use it to memorize something (like a simple mantra)
  • Enter your Memory Palace first thing in the morning
  • Recite the mantra
  • Exit the Memory Palace feeling warmed up

If you really get into this practice, you can also memorize playing cards as a quick warm up. I sometimes do this before applying memory techniques to language learning.

card games

Eleven: Learn and Use a Speed Calculation System

Imagine being able to solve mathematical equations within seconds?

All you have to do is learn a simple system. I recommend the Trachtenberg method.

Although learning it might not itself serve as a brain warm up, using it certainly well.

It’s a lot of fun and you can learn to use it for addition, multiplication, division and even squaring and algebraic manipulation.

Twelve: Journal About Your Emotions

Researchers found that students who journaled for 10 minutes about their emotions scored better on their exams.

Imagine that:

Getting an A instead of a B+ just by writing about how you feel.

Researchers also found that if the participants focused on their breathing while journaling, they did even better.

The catch with this study is that it was useful for students with anxiety. Having dealt with anxiety myself and used journaling, I’ve found this approach excellent in my own life for getting my brain warmed up.

I don’t see why it wouldn’t help anyone, even if they don’t have anxiety themselves.

Give it a try!

Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain

As you can see, there are many routines you can follow.

In fact, we’re just scratching the surface.

If you find that you like these brain warm up routines, there are so many more things you can do.

And if you found the Memory Palace technique intriguing, why not learn the skill in earnest?

I’ve got a whole FREE course you can register for right now:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will take you through how to develop this simple tool so you can use it throughout the day to keep your brain sharp.

The best part?

It will help you remember the different brain warm up routines we discussed today.

So give it a try and just shout out if you have any questions along the way. I’ll get back to you a.s.a.p.

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If you're looking for simply the best brain warm up routines, check these out. Learn creative warm ups and morning brain exercises that work. If you're looking for simply the best brain warm up routines, check these out. Learn creative warm ups and morning brain exercises that work. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 29:02
Memory and Intelligence: Are They Connected? https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/memory-and-intelligence/ Wed, 25 May 2022 16:00:11 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=28575 Memory and intelligence are connected in fascinating ways. Learn all about memory and IQ and how to improve both quickly. memory and intelligence feature imageAre memory and intelligence connected?

Of course they are.

After all, how could you ever display your intelligence without using your memory to speak?

But let’s dig deeper.

Working memory and intelligence are connected in some interesting ways.

And when you understand these, you can use your natural memory to boost your own intelligence quickly.

Even better:

You can help others do the same.

Ready?

Let’s get started!

The Link Between Memory and Intelligence Explained

Intelligence comes down to drawing upon remembered experiences to plan and make decisions.

Indeed, it is a sign of high intelligence when individuals take time to plan before making snap decisions.

Of course, as neuroscientist David Eagleman points out in The Brain: The Story of You, we don’t always have time to plan out our decisions. 

To help us see how the intelligence centers of the brain light up when faced with logical problems that need to be decided quickly, neuroscientists study people’s brains as they consider the trolley problem

But here’s something interesting:

In these scenarios, it is typically not intelligence, but emotions that guide how people make decisions.

Emotional Intelligence and Memory

According to researchers, emotional memory always involves physiological responses. These can range from happiness to anger whenever our episodic memory brings up something from the past.

But the idea that emotions are not part of our intelligence is suspect at best. Of course we draw upon past emotional experiences to help us make decisions.

Not only that, but there are many subconscious mind exercises that seek to extract past emotions so that intelligent decisions can be made. Without using your emotional memory, it’s hard to elicit positive emotions required for motivation.

Music also involves both emotional intelligence and memory. To be able to memorize song lyrics and perform with gusto draws upon both.

 

music song lyrics

Plus, actors often draw upon emotions and memory that utilize many aspects of intelligence. They do this to memorize their lines and perform them.

Can You Have a High IQ and be Forgetful?

You can have a high IQ and suffer from low working memory. Or, you can experience the reverse.

This is because many things can cause working memory issues. You might be tired, distracted or simply not paying attention.

The truth is that everyone forgets, even if an individual has done a lot of work to improve their IQ. No matter how smart you might be on an average day, things can get in the way of both your memory and your intelligence.

Keep in mind too that IQ typically involves tests that rely upon abstract thinking and reasoning in response to symbols.

My Best Memory Resources

If you really want to experience better intelligence, it’s pretty simple. Set specific learning goals and use memory techniques to boost your understanding and recall.

Here’s a list of my best resources for learning these skills quickly:

By combining memory and reading techniques with critical thinking, you’ll automatically boost both your recall abilities and intelligence.

girls are reading red and green books

The reason this mix works is because we often cannot understand certain things until we get them into memory.

Yet, so many people persist in putting things aside and giving up. That’s simply not necessary. If you would just spend a bit of time committing things to memory, soon you’ll start to understand.

It’s like this in language learning as well. Many polyglots agree that you’re better off committing vocabulary and phrases to memory so that you can understand grammar more quickly. It seems like studying grammar is the thing to do, but it’s far from the smartest path.

Memory Vs Intelligence

At the end of the day, we need multiple levels of memory in order for our intelligence to work.

These levels go beyond the episodic memory we talked about above. We also can include:

And of course, there are even more categories to explore.

The more you know about memory, the more intelligent you can be about setting goals to improve it, write about it or simply enjoy thinking about it.

So what do you say?

If you’d like the ultimate guide to memory improvement, grab this FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It will help you rapidly learn the best techniques I know for improving your intelligence so that you have wonderful things worth remembering.

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Memory and intelligence are connected in fascinating ways. Learn all about memory and IQ and how to improve both quickly. Memory and intelligence are connected in fascinating ways. Learn all about memory and IQ and how to improve both quickly. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 30:49
How to Create A Memory Palace: A Proven Memory Palace Technique Approach https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/memory-palace/ Tue, 24 May 2022 14:00:19 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=6639 Want to know how to create a memory palace? I've been using the memory palace technique for years to memorize languages, key info, and more. Memory Palace image to convey their power for the Magnetic Memory Method blog and podcastIn the modern world of omnipresent information access, memorization using a Memory Palace is almost a thing of the past.

And this shift has occurred very quickly.

Little more than a decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon that a person had to memorize a sizable list of phone numbers belonging to partners, siblings, parents and close friends.

Now Many Of Us Forget Our Own Cell Phone Numbers!

 

Despite this fact, there are situations in the modern day that still require memorization.

Perhaps phone numbers and historical facts are better left to Google. But in reality, not everything can and should be searched via a computer.

A notable example which is becoming conversant is “language” – which requires that you memorize a huge amount of vocabulary and grammar.  Until now, there isn’t a technology effective enough to replace human ability to learn and master a language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5-YrZhudPU

In the past, having to memorize information was not optional because information wasn’t easily accessible. Up until the 19th century, paper was expensive, especially for quantities required to make a book.  To add to it was that not many people could read and write so the ability and need to memorize and recall information was critical.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

 

Why The Greeks Adored the Memory Palace Technique

 

That’s why a powerful memorization method was adored by the ancient Greeks. This technique is used today by memory experts to commit huge amounts of information to mind.

The only problem is this:

An abundance of terminology has emerged that all means essentially the same thing. For example, you’ll here some memory experts call the Memory Palace technique the Mind Palace. This term appears to come from the world of Sherlock Holmes, and it’s not really accurate.

After all, this detective is a fictional character, and we’re here to optimize our memory based on what is really scientifically possible, not fantastically described. Personally, I also dislike the idea of associating these techniques with crime, and Sherlock Holmes is a drug addict. Finally, the whole notion that the information is in our ‘mind’ is obvious, but also a deviation from the fact that this technique uses what is already in our memory to help us remember more.

You might also hear this called the Journey Method, the Roman Room or a related term like the Pegword Method. All of these have one thing in common: They are using space itself as a mnemonic.

The fact that all of these techniques draw upon your spatial memory explains why “Memory Palace” is in fact the better term: No matter what you call the technique, it’s a lot easier to use if you are basing it on space that is already remembered and easily recalled. This feature was noted by Thales of Miletus who lived during the pre-Socratic Era. He pointed out that “space is ultimate because it contains all things.”

And thanks to Thales and a long line of people who have used these techniques, we have an abundance of Ancient Greek facts and instructions that have been handed down, anyone can learn to use a Mind Palace at any time.

One such contemporary memory expert, used it to memorize Pi to over 100,000 digits. Our own MMM student Marno Hermann has used a Memory Palace to memorize 1200 digits of Pi.

This memorization technique is called the Method of Loci, or more commonly the “Memory Palace”. It is a memorization method that not only has held the test of time, but has been shown to be effective through modern-day studies.

You may even have heard of the Memory Palace without realizing it because it has been featured in multiple books and media.

 

The Silence Of The Memory Palace
In Fiction And Movies

 

For example, the technique was employed by the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the novel series Hannibal written by an American author Thomas Harris.

In several passages of the novel, Lecter was described as mentally walking through an elaborate Mind Palace to remember facts. That’s the basics of the Memory Palace.

Although relatively unknown, this method can be a game-changing technique for people who want to improve their ability to retain large amounts of information.

You might be a student trying to master information for an exam, or an aspiring polyglot trying to learn Italian. You might be aging and finding it more difficult to recall routine information.

Whatever memorization challenge you face, the Memory Palace is a proficient way to finally help you achieve your goals.

 

How the Memory Palace Evolved

 

The origin of the Memory Palace was traced to ancient Greece. As mentioned earlier, in the olden days, people had higher incentives to create effective methods of retaining information. Writing and writing materials were difficult to access.

The Memory Palace was introduced to the ancient Romans and the world via Greek rhetorical treatises.

The Roman Cicero described the Memory Palace in his writings on rhetoric, called De Oratore.

In De Oratore, Circero claims that his Mind Palace method originated from the Greek poet Simonides. Simonides was commissioned to recite a poem praising a group of nobles at a banquet. After the recitation, Simonides left the hall and shortly after the edifice collapsed and killed all the people in the banquet.

The bodies were so badly mangled that not even close relatives could identify the corpses of their own people. However, Simonides was able to identify each of the corpses by name based on their location. Based on this experience, Simonides devised the Memory Palace (Bower 1970).

Whether this story is reality or myth, it illustrates the basic idea behind the Memory Palace. Luckily, you don’t have to attend a tragic banquet to master the technique and start using it to improve your information retention.

For a true story that will rivet you from beginning to end, check out The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci.

 

How to Create a Memory Palace

 

The basic idea behind the Memory Palace is to associate pieces of information with a location that you are very familiar with. A prime example would be of your home.

If you’d like some free Memory Palace worksheets and a concise memory improvement video course, do this now:

Free Memory Improvement Course

 

If you close your eyes right now, you can probably picture your home with a high degree of detail. You know where the furniture is found, what colors the walls are, and even where small objects are placed.

The Memory Palace has to do with associating information with specific areas of that familiar location.

As you walk through that location, you place pieces of information that you wish to memorize in specific areas. When you want to recall the information, you go through that mental route, and the information will be easily accessible.

The technique is made more effective when you add surprising or out-of-the normal features to the information.

For example, assuming you would like to memorize this sequence of words:

  • hero
  • drill
  • spacecraft
  • music

You could imagine yourself at your front door, with a hero standing next to you. Here you’ve made an association between your door and a hero.

You can increase your ability to memorize and retain this by making the memory more distinctive or unusual. For example, you could imagine the hero opening the door for you, or banging on it before you enter.

You then walk down your hall, and before your feet is a drill. To increase the power of this imagery, imagine that it is turned on and you have to leap to avoid being hurt.

You then turn the corner and see a spacecraft flying out of the window leaving behind itself a trail of glitter.

Finally, you sat down on the couch, and as your bottom touches the cushion, your favorite song starts playing. You might even imagine the word “music” written on the cushion before you sit.

Anthony Metivier Memory Palace of Berlin Apartment

Quick Memory Palace Drawing by Anthony Metivier (Berlin apartment)

To get started creating a Mind Palace, do this now:

  1. Draw a floor plan of a familiar location.
  2. Create a journey that does not lead you into a dead end.
  3. Make sure that your journey is linear so that you don’t create confusion by crossing your own path.
  4. Don’t over clutter your first Memory Palace.
  5. Number each station and create a top-down list to help you mind remember the journey better. Optional: Use a Magnetic 00-99 P.O.A. to assign an image to each Magnetic Station
  6. Use the Memory Palace as quickly as possible with information that will improve your life.
  7. Use the Memory Palace to invoke the Primacy Effect and Recency effect for each Magnetic Station by using the Serial-Positioning Effect.
  8. Create more Memory Palaces and repeat the process, always taking care to memorize information that makes your life better professionally and personally.

The Definitive Guide To Reusing A Memory Palace

A lot of people ask me about using their Mind Palace a second or third time.

It is possible, but it can be a bit finicky. To explain, please check out this thorough guide on the topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umt-innA-u8

As you can see, not even the most skilled memory experts reuse Memory Palaces. If you set yourself up correctly, it’s not really necessary.

That said, doubling up does make for great brain exercise, and that’s usually the way I treat the practice. I think it might have helped me experience a breakthrough with aphantasia, actually.

But what this question has taught me the most over the years is that many students of memory improvement put the cart before the horse. They worry about advanced skills before they’ve mastered the fundamentals – advanced skills that the pros have already determined might be great, but aren’t really worth using.

Likewise, people sometimes worry about what will happen if the furniture in their Memory Palace moves around.

I understand why they are concerned, but it’s the kind of question that just doesn’t arise when you have the fundamentals mastered. Please make sure that you devote yourself to the loci method thoroughly and completely. It will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

This Memory Palace Technique Is Not Necessarily Visual

 

As you can see, the technique seems to require a vivid visual imagination. A lot of people get this wrong, confusing iconic memory with the fantasy of photographic memory.

However, when done correctly using all of the Magnetic Modes, you can memorize a very large amount of information relatively quickly without necessarily seeing the Memory Palace in your mind.

Here’s an infographic to teach you all about the different ways that your brain perceives information:

Magnetic Modes Infographic for Memory Palace blog post on the Magnetic Memory Method Blog

Keeping the full range of your Magnetic Modes in mind, you can use any home or location with which you are familiar.

You can even use small areas, such as the inside of a broom closet. You can even use your own body, attaching information to different limbs.

Just keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to see the Memory Palace. You can feel it, hear it, taste it, smell it and even just think about it.

If any of this seems odd, continue reading to be convinced of how seriously well this technique works. You might want to see just how well the Memory Palace can work in combination with Mind Mapping too.

 

The Science behind the Memory Palace

 

Many studies have been conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the Memory Palace. It’s all based on the scientific fact that your brain and spatial memory perceive space as a kind of image.

Check out this lecture with memory expert Stephen Kosslyn for more information about how that works:

https://youtu.be/FkhU7i8hRK4

Cool, right?

The answer is a resounding “yes!”

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

Incredible Experiments with Memory Palaces and Students

Even better:

In a study conducted by J. Ross and K. A. Lawrence in 1968, the Memory Palace was tested on a group of 40 students.

The students were asked to memorize a list of 40 items. They were given only a few minutes to do so, yet were able to recall an average of 38 out of 40 items upon immediate recall.

The next day, the average recall rate dropped to 34 out of 40 items – still very impressive!

Nature Magazine did an investigation of so-called superior memorizers (SM) in a 2002 paper (Maguire et al). They studied a group of 10 champions who had competed in the World Memory Championships.

The researchers first wanted to know if these SMs had some special natural advantages that other people do not have, such as a higher IQ.

They first found out that SMs did not have exceptional cognitive abilities. In fact, they did not even show superior performance on visual memory tasks (for example, the recall of faces).

Retrain your brain image of Albert Einstein

The paper further investigated the brain structure of these SMs, and found out that their brains were not significantly different from average brains (Maguire et al 2002).

The scientists also performed functional MRI scans to see if the SMs brains were activated differently when actively memorizing.

Here the SMs brains differed from normal brains – SM’s brains activated particularly when memorizing (Maguire et al 2002).

Significantly, scientists found out that SMs all used mnemonic techniques to aid in their memorization. Nine out of ten of these subjects were specifically using the Memory Palace (Maguire et al 2002).

Note: Some of people call it the Mind Palace method, but the basics are the same.

Plus, the different activation patterns observed were associated to the fact that SMs used mnemonic techniques, namely the Memory Palace, to memorize information (Maguire et al 2002).

 

No Need For A Huge IQ To Use A Memory Palace!

 

It’s not that SMs are smarter or have bigger brains than the rest of us. It’s that they use mnemonics, and specifically the Memory Palace to memorize semantic information.

That is the secret behind their impressive abilities. And because these SMs had been practicing the technique for a little over 11 years on average, they were really good (Maguire et al 2002).

This suggests that anyone with average abilities can use this technique to improve his/her memory.

And once you know the drill, it’s really just a matter of spending some time with a few solid Memory Palace training exercises. Like these:

https://youtu.be/px1O-j3BIHo

Even if you are not seeking to learn large amounts of information, the Memory Palace still has something to offer. There is even evidence that the Memory Palace can help maintain a healthy brain during old age.

As MMM student Sunil Khatri has explained, the Memory Palace is also great for language learning, including the difficulties of Japanese.

 

Benefits of the Memory Palace
Technique for the Aging Brain

 

As we age, our memories become weaker. In elderly people, this might lead to a frustrating situation where they are struggling to recall routine information.

There has been much study on age-related memory loss, but so far not many effective solutions to this problem.

Happily, the Memory Palace holds promise in aiding the enhancement of memory in the aging brain.

One study conducted in Norway in 2010 employed expert instructors, who taught the Memory Palace to 23 volunteers. The average age of these volunteers was 61 (Engvig et al 2010).

Portrait of memory expert Gary Small and author of 2 Weeks to a Younger Brain

After training, these volunteers were able to memorize a list of 30 words in sequential order in under 10 minutes – impressive!

A control group, a set of volunteers of the same average age, sex and education was included in the study. They were not trained in the Memory Palace technique, and were instructed to memorize the list as well (Engvig et al 2010).

Afterwards, both groups were released into the world to live normally for eight weeks.

When they returned to the study, researchers challenged both groups to a recall task.

The Results

They first flashed a list of 15 unrelated words, each for only a second. The volunteers were then instructed to recall the words in order.

Researchers then showed them a list of 30 words. Half of these words had been displayed in the initial 15 word list while the other half was completely new.

The volunteers were asked to pick out words that had previously appeared and also identify their correct position in the first list (Engvig et al 2010).

Volunteers trained in the Memory Palace outperformed the non-trained volunteers for recognizing the position of the words (Engvig et al 2010).

The study also measured the amount of brain thinning that occurred in the trained versus untrained groups of volunteers. Normal age causes the brain to shrink.

The brain of the individuals showed thickening in areas of the brain which were key for visual abstract memory (Engvig et al 2010).

What should we conclude from these findings? It’s clear that using a Memory Palace makes for great brain exercise.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

 

Why The Memory Palace Technique Is Not Snake Oil

 

This research and others like it have shown that the Memory Palace is not snake oil.

Sadly, most adults in the modern world are not encouraged to use their imagination. It might therefore be slightly challenging for someone newly using the technique to really get into it. This is especially true if they don’t have the kind of Memory Palace example you can get when you take my free memory improvement course.

However, after practice, many find out that this memory technique is not only effective in memorization, but is also very engaging. Certainly more engaging than the traditional rote memorization technique, especially when you use Magnetic Note Taking as part of the process.

With some practice, you’ll be impressing all of your friends and family with how good your memorization has gotten in no time. And if it’s still not clear how and why this incredible tool works so well, here are 5 Memory Palace Examples that make everything clear.

 

Memory Palace References & Further Resources

 

Bower, G. H., “Analysis of a Mnemonic Device: Modern psychology uncovers the powerful components of an ancient system for improving memory” American Scientist, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp. 496-510, September–October 1970 Web. 21 Jan. 2016..

Engvig, Andreas, Anders M. Fjell, Lars T. Westlye, Torgeir Moberget, Øyvind Sundseth, Vivi Agnete Larsen, and Kristine B. Walhovd. “Effects of Memory Training on Cortical Thickness in the Elderly.” NeuroImage 52.4 (2010): 1667-676. 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Fan, Shelley. “Can a Mnemonic Slow Memory Loss with Age?” Scientific American Blog Network. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Maguire, Eleanor A., Elizabeth R. Valentine, John M. Wilding, and Narinder Kapur. “Routes to Remembering: The Brains behind Superior Memory.” Nature Neuroscience Nat Neurosci 6.1 (2002): 90-95. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Want to Become a Mnemonics Dictionary? 5 Powerful Secrets Revealed!

7 More Mental Exercises From Around the World

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Want to know how to create a memory palace? I've been using the memory palace technique for years to memorize languages, key info, and more. Want to know how to create a memory palace? I've been using the memory palace technique for years to memorize languages, key info, and more. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 41:37
14 Of The Best Critical Thinking Books That Come Packed With Examples https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/best-critical-thinking-books/ Wed, 18 May 2022 16:00:05 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=24857 The best critical thinking books always come packed with examples. These 14 books on critical thinking really deliver. critical thinking books that come packed with examples feature imageCritical thinking books are a dime a dozen.

However, few of them come packed with examples.

Even fewer come with exercises. 

Examples and exercises are important because critical thinking is not just something you learn. 

It’s something you develop through practical application. 

Here’s another problem that might be frustrating you if you’re looking for the best critical thinking books:

A lot of them are either irrelevant, “dumbed-down” for the mass market, or already abandoned by their authors.

For example, the famous Thinking, Fast and Slow on just about every list has big problems. 

Its author, Daniel Khaneman has agreed that several entire chapters need to be removed in a future edition. 

Why?

The reproducibility problem. Many of the studies he refers to weren’t scientifically valid. 

But critical thinking is based on reproducible models.

So on this page, let’s dig into a comprehensive list of critical thinking books that won’t go out of date.

The 14 Best Critical Thinking Books Packed With Examples For Improving Your Mind

As you go through these examples, consider your specific goals.

As you’ll see, each of these examples are related, but each has different strengths. 

You’ll want to beef up on each of these areas, but as you gather your collection, I suggest you start with where you currently feel you need the most help. 

One: Scientific Critical Thinking

In Critical Thinking for Better Learning: New Insights from Cognitive Science, Carole Hamilton helps you understand how the brain creates categories in the mind. 

critical thinking for better learning new insights from cognitive science

Knowledge of how your mind works helps you tap into how your memory deals with examples and analogies that can improve your thinking skills.

Some of the best parts of this book teach you:

  • How to study topics thoroughly so that you can think critically about them.
  • How to develop creative analogies so you can see the “shape” and dynamics of larger topics. 
  • Threshold concepts, which are “the central, defining truths in a given discipline, the ideas that open a gateway to deeper understanding.”
  • Why some ideas are obvious to certain people but take others a long time to learn.

As an example of how this book helped me, when I was working on my Art of Memory project, it reminded me to read both the historical summary and also the specific books about memory during that period. This is what Hamilton means by knowing the “shape” of a topic.

Other great aspects of this book include its points on:

  • How beliefs can distort facts
  • Who really benefits and who suffered from environmental damage in the world
  • The concept of opportunity cost
  • How to assess critical thinking

It gives examples of each and concludes strong with its best tip: 

Study real problems and how they were solved, and then recall these frequently to test your memory for accuracy about the details. 

Two: A Jargon Free Toolkit

the critical thinking toolkit

Critical thinking often involves a lot of complex terminology. You have to learn about antecedents in logic and the concept of paraconsistencies.

But if you’re just beginning and don’t have a Memory Palace, such terms can be hard to learn and remember. 

Enter The Critical Thinking Toolkit.

This book provides a wonderful introduction with examples from:

  • Rhetoric
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Political science

Three: How To Think About Arguments

We all get into arguments.

That’s not a problem, but the ways we use language while arguing often causes more problems than necessary. 

Enter The Uses of Argument by Stephen E. Toulmin.

the uses of argumentThere are many reasons many of us fail to be persuasive. Worse, we are unaware of the reasons we are so easily persuaded.

But in this excellent book, Toulmin shows you:

  • What it means to make a valid argument
  • How to lay out valid arguments
  • The difference between working logic and idealised logic
  • How that validity must be intra-field, not inter-field (so that you approach critical thinking comparatively)

It boils down to this:

Arguments have patterns and we can learn to perceive those patterns. 

One pro tip in this book is to find ways to see logic and critical thinking as historical. 

When you know how logic has changed over time, you’re able to note the patterns that shape how we communicate and use them better. 

That’s just one benefit. Here are 11 more benefits of critical thinking you can expect after reading the books on this page.

Four: Validity In Your Thinking

I’ll never forget hearing The Amazing Kreskin discuss hypnosis. He said:

“Hypnosis is nothing more than the acceptance of a suggestion.”

critical thinking a concise guideIn other words, it’s just persuasion. And since we’re persuaded all the time, there’s a strong suggestion that our behavior is being shaped outside of our awareness more often than we think.

If you don’t have much time to learn how this is happening to you, I suggest Critical Thinking : A Concise Guide by Tracy Bowell and Gary Kemp.

This book’s strength is how it helps you determine whether an argument is valid. 

To do so, the authors teach you the connection between critical thinking and symbolic logic, informal logic and formal logic.

You also learn how to determine which parts of an argument are relevant. You get real world examples with detailed commentary on each.

A v Hoare is one of my favorite examples. In it, you learn about how the amount of detail shapes our perceptions. You also learn how to determine what information is valuable to properly assess the context and shape of an argument.

Five: How To Stop Thinking Against Yourself

I used to think very darkly. 

Little did I know that I was using my thoughts against myself, practically making it impossible to see opportunities.

Then I discovered The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.

This book not only goes through numerous examples of how people use cynical thinking against themselves. It also gives powerful exercises that help your critical thinking skills see opportunities your own thinking patterns might be hiding from you.

Six: Understanding Your Personality

critical thinking the basicsFew books in this field approach the topic with personality types in mind. 

That’s why I recommend Stuart Hanscomb’s Critical Thinking: The Basics.

Looking at your personal dispositions can help you avoid many of the problems created by emotions and cognitive biases. 

You may even want to go further by looking into the OCEAN model to help better understand how your personality might help or hinder your thinking abilities.

Either way, Hanscomb’s book is great. Pay extra attention to the final chapter. It’s pack with additional examples of fallacies you’ll want to avoid. 

Seven: Simple, But Not “Dumbed Down”

critical thinking skills for dummies

Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies, like many books in the “dummies” series is actually quite valuable.

Its biggest strengths are: 

  • Strong examples of false dichotomies
  • How to avoid logical pitfalls
  • Examples of key arguments

Pay special attention to the final chapter and its list of “arguments that changed the world.” These are interesting and useful case studies. 

Eight: Thinking On Autopilot

One of the most challenging critical thinking examples to work through involves the topic of free will.

free will by sam harris

My favorite book on the topic is also one of the most hotly contested. 

But it’s the examples in Free Will by Sam Harris that really bring it all together.

And although Daniel Dennet strongly disagrees with its thesis, going through the for and against will give your thinking abilities a stretch.

Without a doubt, contending with the issue of free will is one of the best ways you can practice critical thinking. It will also give you a better understanding of human consciousness too. 

Nine: The Humpty Dumpty Of Thought

thinking from a to z by nigel warburtonThinking from A to Z by Nigel Warburton is a fantastic encyclopedia of terms and concepts you’ll want to be familiar with.

As the cohost of Philosophy Bites, a fantastic philosophy podcast, Warburton has packed this book with excellent critical thinking tools to up your game.

Some of my favorites include:

Weasel Words

“Advertisers who declare the food they are selling to be a ‘healthier alternative’ need to specify precisely what the food is healthier than and why. If they cannot do this, then the weasel words ‘healthier alternative’ are meaningless – mere rhetoric”

Humptydumptying

Giving private meanings to words in common use

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty answers, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Ten: The Power of Analysis

critical thinking skills effective analysis argument and reflectionCheck out Critical Thinking Skills: Effective Analysis, Argument and Reflection by Stella Cottrell.

This book proves a number of self assessment activities, including several sub-skills, such as identifying similarities and differences.

It also includes material on:

  • Note taking in a critical manner
  • Critical writing
  • Reflective thinking tips as a mental discipline
  • Multiple models of reflective thinking
  • Bonus practice activities

If you do any kind of reading and writing, this book is a must. 

Eleven: Improve Your Research Skills

If you do anything involved in research, you know just how difficult interpreting data accurately can be. 

critical thinking about research psychology and related fieldsThis is where Critical Thinking About Research: Psychology and Related Fields by Julian Meltzoff and Harris Cooper will help you up your game.

In this book, you’ll learn all about:

  • How to seek trustworthy knowledge
  • How to understand the role of hypothetical questions
  • How samples are chosen and validated
  • Aspects that threaten the validity of a research project
  • The role of ethics in research
  • Examples of multiple studies in different fields of interest

There are a large number of practice articles too. These will help you better engage with scientific reporting you encounter in the media. 

Twelve: Avoiding Errors

If you’re like me, you probably prefer to avoid mistakes whenever possible. 

critical thinking learning form mistakes and how to prevent themLet me suggest Critical Thinking: Learning from Mistakes and How to Prevent Them by Gerald J. Watson and Jesse J. Derouin.

This book exposes the many poor thinking habits we have. Here are just a few the book covers and then repairs:

  • Being in a hurry
  • Missing a deadline
  • Faulty cost analyses
  • Failing to ask for help

I’ve personally found this book helpful, especially when dealing with customers and personal coaching clients. It’s great to be able to ascertain what errors people are making and help guide them to more logical conclusions.

Anyone can do this for themselves too. Read this book. 

Thirteen: Know Your Science

The lack of scientific literacy in society is a huge problem. 

That’s why I recommend Science, Pseudo-science, Non-sense, and Critical Thinking: Why the Differences Matter.

In this book by Marianna Barr and Gershon Ben-Shakhar, you get detailed chapters that use critical thinking to debunk:

  • Cold reading
  • Astrology
  • Graphology
  • Mysticism

Another thing that makes this critical thinking book unique is that it includes:

  • Correspondence with Houdini
  • Good movie and literature examples
  • Excellent lists of books to follow-up on with for further information about each pseudoscientific topic

I also like how the book discusses the reasons why people need to believe – or at least think they do.

Fourteen: An Ancient Critical Thinking Book

inquiry into existenceOf all the schools of philosophy, I personally find Advaita Vedanta the most interesting. 

Basically, this term translates to a statement like: “the culmination of the Vedas is ‘not two’”.

In other words, the philosophy works to demonstrate a “oneness” in human consciousness. 

One of the most interesting books uses critical thinking to demonstrate this principle. It is called Panchadasi.

My favorite commentary on this text, which includes a translation, is Inquiry Into Existence, by James Swartz.

This philosophy will probably stretch your mind.

The trick is not to mistake its conclusions for solipsism, which is arguably nonsense. It’s really just a way of thinking through the situation we all find ourselves in as the bearers of consciousness. 

Crafting A Library Of Critical Thinking Books

I hope you enjoyed checking out this list of books on critical thinking. Please let me know which ones you check out and how you helpful you found them. 

There are many more out there, and keep in mind that you can find texts that will help you improve many types of thinking

The important thing is to have a library that you continually build and read thoroughly. 

And to get it all in, I recommend that you check out how to read faster next.

Need help with remembering what you read from these books? Check out my free memory improvement course:

Free Memory Improvement Course

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The best critical thinking books always come packed with examples. These 14 books on critical thinking really deliver. The best critical thinking books always come packed with examples. These 14 books on critical thinking really deliver. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 45:11
How to Learn New Skills Quickly (And Keep Them Forever) https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/learn-new-skills/ Wed, 11 May 2022 16:00:50 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27489 If you want to learn new skills quickly, the standard advice won't do. Learn from a world renowned memory expert how to pick up skills fast. how to learn new skills quickly feature imageIf you want to learn new skills, the process doesn’t have to be difficult.

What might challenge you, however, is first learning the most effective process for rapidly acquiring expertise. 

Then you have all the gurus telling you what to do and how to do it based on their journeys.

Sure, sometimes you can follow their tips.

But let’s get one huge problem out of the way from the get go:

You should not try to reproduce anyone else’s journey.

To really learn new skills, you ultimately have to enter the territory so that your mind can map it.

And no amount of “tips” will prepare you better than your own experience as you map your way through the jungle of what you currently do not know.

With that in mind, on this page, I’ll be covering what I’ve learned about how to develop skills over my years of learning.

Why should you take me seriously – apart from the fact that I just gave you the most powerful advice upfront?

I have:

  • Written multiple bestselling books
  • Accomplished goals in multiple languages
  • Delivered a TEDx Talk with over 2 million views
  • Built the world’s leading memory improvement website
  • Completed a PhD, two MAs and multiple certificates
  • Toured as a musician in multiple bands
  • … and much, much more

Despite all those experiences, I’ll be the first to tell you that I still have a lot to learn. And that’s the next best tip I can give you upfront:

Keep humble. It helps you learn faster no matter how good you get.

So are you ready for the best nitty-gritty learning tactics I know?

Let’s get started.

How to Learn and Master New Skills Quickly

The first thing I would point out is that technically there’s no such thing as a “new skill.”

Now, this might be getting a bit philosophical, but I think the point is important.

Just because it’s “new to you,” doesn’t make it new. In fact, it wouldn’t even be called a “skill” if someone else hadn’t learned it first.

That’s why this first tip is so important.

One: Get Clarity On How The Skill Is Defined

Often, the people who have mastered skills completely define them very differently than those who want to learn it.

For example, if you read a book by Bruce Lee, you’re not going to get a lot of technical verbiage about the physics of movement. You will get something more akin to philosophy, which is very important.

Plus, you have a lot of publishing companies out there who hire people to write books about skills they don’t actually possess.

a man is working in a company

So rather than look at just how the mass media or publishers define the skill, make sure you also go to the source.

Two: Seek Experiences Wherever Possible

As part of going to the source, try to find ways to learn the skills through experience.

This doesn’t mean not reading books or taking video courses. You definitely want to do that, and make sure you read in a way that makes the information memorable.

I’m talking about supplementing the skill you want to learn with:

  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Apprenticeships
  • Field trips
  • Long term coaching
  • Working with a mentor

Even skills that are solitary, like reading and writing, benefit from working in groups. You can take breaks and talk with others, rapidly accelerating how you learn.

Three: Remove Limiting Beliefs

A lot of people think they have a particular learning style.

Whereas you might respond better to different kinds of visualization related to reading, there’s no reason to believe that anything holds you back.

As Tesia Marshik has shown in her research, learning outcomes don’t budge at all when educational material is presented in ways that cater to different learning styles. Check out her TEDx Talk for a quick overview of her work in this area.

Four: Make Your Own Metaphor

One of the reasons people blame “learning styles” for their failure to master skills is having a low-self image.

a pink shirt woman is not happy

Fortunately, it’s fun and easy to use positive visualization to correct this issue.

You can also craft a personal metaphor. As Nir Eyal has shown in his research, many addicts have recovered thoroughly and completely after adopting a new persona.

The science behind this strategy is solid, but it’s also not new. Many philosophers, ranging from Plato to Nietzsche and beyond have suggested this strategy.

In my own case, I have often adopted personal metaphors like:

  • My memory flourishes like a garden
  • I am a Discipline Engine
  • My life is floating along with calm and enjoyable cruising altitude

Practice creating and using your own metaphors and I’m confident you’ll find yourself learning new skills much faster.

Five: Embrace Mistakes

Fear of failure spreads like a disease.

It’s a particularly savage blight on the learning community because few things can be learned without making mistakes.

Many times when I want to learn a new skill, I know in advance that I’ll be making tons of mistakes.

When you accept and embrace this fact, you’ll enjoy more fulfilling success.

The trick is to employ the next step.

Six: Journal and Analyze

I always counsel my students in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass to use a Memory Journal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BracGhyKS4I

It’s an essential tool because it helps you keep track of your progress.

And when failure happens – as it inevitably will – keeping a journal helps you reflect on the exact nature of what went wrong.

Without analysis, it’s difficult to make corrections.

It also makes deliberate practice nearly impossible.

Seven: Break Things Down

It’s important to eat the elephant one bite at a time.

I’m not necessarily talking about microlearning, but rather seeing the component parts and seeing how they can be divided into small components.

For example, when I learned the very difficult skill of writing books, I didn’t just dive into 100,000 word tomes.

I started with small articles.

Even to this day, I write books one chapter at a time. And these are written one page at a time.

Likewise, when learning to market my books, I didn’t try to advertise on dozens of platforms all at once. I picked just one, learned its ropes and grew from there.

If you struggle with breaking things down, this is where adopting a personal metaphor can help. You can say, for example, “I am a master at breaking skills down.”

Eight: Balance the Challenge-Frustration Curve

Largely due to fear of failure, many people avoid challenges.

a woman wants to do climbing

The problem is, if you don’t take on challenges, you cannot grow.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many people rush into things so quickly that they wind up frustrated. That leads them to give up prematurely.

With this in mind, the best thing to do is balance what I think of as the Challenge-Frustration Curve.

There’s no chart or diagram that will show you how to do this. You simply have to maintain an awareness that you cannot grow without taking on challenges. And if things get too tough, you need to explore ways to reduce the frustration that will inevitably occur when you’re not skilled enough to continue – yet.

Nine: Avoid Unanswerable Questions

How long does it take to learn a new skill?

Well, let me ask you this:

If you really want the skill, does it really matter how long it takes?

Personally, I focus on acquiring new skills that I want to enjoy maintaining for life. I don’t want my mind cluttered with worrying about when I’ll finally master a skill.

Instead, I want to enjoy each and every step of the way.

In other words, mastery is ongoing practice. And the best way to pick up new skills is to act as if you will be learning them forever. This is another kind of mental metaphor that helps keep your focus where it belongs.

Ten: Take Breaks Strategically

Did you know that there’s a highly scientific way to take breaks?

It’s called interleaving. You literally focus on learning one skill for 15-20 minutes, then switch to something else.

coffee and beans and a book

The best part about it is that you can pick up multiple skills at the same time while accelerating your progress.

My fellow memory expert Dave Farrow has talked about how it helped him learn robotics quickly.

I find interleaving especially useful when reading, especially dense and technical books about philosophy.

Eleven: Be a Completionist

In the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass, I pass on a few notes my best students have urged me to show new students.

To take one example, from Adolfo Artigas you get the stern warning not to skip around the program or “cherrypick.”

I find this important in every course I take myself.

And the only reason I can see why more and more people are missing out on crucial details is that digital amnesia is ruining their ability to focus for more than a few moments at a time.

The reason completing books and programs from beginning to end is so important has to do with your brain chemistry is that thorough learning requires tonic dopamine. In other words, you need a stable level of the brain chemical across time.

But when you flip between screens and tabs on your computer, you’re blasting yourself with phasic dopamine. It ruins your attention span.

Now, there are ways to skim and scan through books that doesn’t wreck your focus, but they’re not a replacement for being a completionist most of the time.


books in front of a yellow background

Twelve: Get Help If You Need It

Many people are too proud to get a coach or mentor.

That’s a shame because often times, personal guidance is the only thing that will help them move forward.

I’ve had many coaches and mentors and the only downside is that you sometimes have to experiment with a couple of them until you find a fit.

But that’s the same thing with trying on shoes, so it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

If you’re journaling as I suggested above, you should be able to find the right fit for you a lot sooner.

And when you’re practicing the mental metaphor technique I shared with you today, you’ll soon be able to add your mentor’s style to your mind.

You can literally save yourself a coaching hour by asking yourself, “What would my coach tell me to do about learning this skill?”

Learning New Skills Could Not Be Easier

Now that you’re equipped with some of my best tips, I hope you agree that learning any new skill is a lot easier than it seems.

The trick is to adapt a policy of complete and “radical” honesty.

Don’t let yourself or anyone else pull the wool over your eyes. There’s nothing to be gained from self-deception.

And one of the best skills of all to learn involves amping up your memory. That way, you won’t forget the tips you learned today.

If you’re interested, grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

In it, you’ll learn to use a Memory Palace. This is a skill that gives you a mental toolbox for storing lessons like the ones you learned today.

And if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to get out there and learn something new?

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If you want to learn new skills quickly, the standard advice won't do. Learn from a world renowned memory expert how to pick up skills fast. If you want to learn new skills quickly, the standard advice won't do. Learn from a world renowned memory expert how to pick up skills fast. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 47:26
Visual Memory: What It Is & How to Improve It https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/visual-memory/ Wed, 04 May 2022 16:00:38 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=25858 Visual memory involves a lot more than how things look. It can also involve what you hear. Improve it with these 13 visual memory exercises. visual memory feature imageSome people say that visual memory boils down to recalling what things look like. 

That’s part of the picture, sure. 

But if you really want to understand visual memory thoroughly, you need to dig deeper. 

And that’s exactly what we’re going to get into on this page. 

Visual memory ranges from the concrete to the incredibly abstract. It is essential for navigating the world and you can improve it. 

So if you’re ready to “see” what visual recall is really all about, let’s get started. 

What Is Visual Memory?

Visual memory is not merely the ability to recall what you see. This kind of “visual recall” may include:

  • Objects
  • Words
  • People
  • Activities and events
  • Mental images that appear in your imagination
  • Dreams

How do you use it? To take just a few examples, a healthy visual memory helps you:

Thus, visual memory is technically any kind of memory formed by information that enters your mind through a visual system. 

This foundational principle is where things get really interesting. For example, there are types of synesthesia where some individuals might experience sounds in highly visual ways.

And if you think about it, most of our experience in watching a movie is built not from what we see. The brain builds 70% of the experience (or more) from what we hear. 

people watching a movie and eating popcorns

We often think of movies as a visual medium, but studies have shown that our brains build pictures largely from what we hear.

With that in mind, Steven J. Luck and Andrew Hollingworth define this term in their book Visual Memory like this:

“The memory must retain properties of the original perceptual states generated when the memory was encoded.” 

This definition of visual memorization means that you could feel something but if your brain translates it into a visual concept at any time, it will count as a visual memory. 

Let me give you an example:

In choreography, many people close their eyes to help them remember moves. Later, they will picture themselves or others going through these movements. There are granular details they can visually focus on in their imagination without ever having “seen” them. 

As Susanna Siegel points out in The Contents of Visual Experience, there are a number of ways information (content) enters our minds:

  • We have beliefs about what we see before it is seen (which can cause us to mistake what we’re seeing)
  • What we see guides our physical actions in concrete ways (like when you open your hand to a particular size to accommodate a door handle)
  • We introspect about what something might look like (as in the choreography example above)

You also have to think about situations where the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic branch has been stimulated – such as when your pupils dilate. Optical illusions often draw upon these automatic responses to trick our minds.

nervous system

Some of these points might seem abstract, but everything comes down to one word: context. Keep context in mind when defining visual memory and you will enjoy greater accuracy when describing it.

How Does Visual Memory Work?

As we’ve just discovered, the context matters. 

For example, if we’re talking about memorizing the content of scenes or events, we need to take how our eyes move into account. 

As John Henderson demonstrates, eye movements are very important to understanding how we remember various scenes and events. These directly impact on how the brain makes a “composite” mental image of what we’ve experienced.

This means that visual memory is not really experienced or built. It is composed after the fact in collaboration with our working memory.

If we’re talking about short term memory as it relates to visual and spatial memory concerns (visuo-spatial), Mitchell R. Riley and Christos Constantinidis urge us to look at neurons in the prefrontal cortex. They conclude that focused attention is the main role the brain performs before visual memories can form.

beautiful blue eyes

According to Greg D. Reynolds and Alexandra C. Romano, the real place to get an understanding of visual memory is to look at early development. In an article called “The Development of Attention Systems and Working Memory in Infancy,” they show that eye fixation is involuntary. 

This means that something in our brains drives us to look at things and fix on them until our “posterior orienting system” develops voluntary abilities. In other words, our visual memory trains us to “remember” how to control our eyes by controlling them for us!

How is visual memory tested? 

Typically, you’ll see scientists using the Arthur Benton Visual Retention Test.

But here’s an important learning tip:

If you’re looking for visual memory examples, it’s useful to look at each stage of life, rather than a blanket approach. How visual memory works when you’re an infant is very different from when you’re age one or ninety one. 

How to Improve Visual Memory: 13 Visual Memory Exercises and Activities

Now we come to the question of improving visual memory.

Yes, you can.

Keep context in mind as you go through these twelve approaches, however. Your exact definition of visual memory in a specific context matters if you want to reach your goal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht7Kj0p887k

Exercise One: Describe Objects Without Using Certain Words

Can you tell me what color an orange is without using the word “orange”? 

This is an incredible visual memory exercise and perhaps the most challenging. 

For more challenges, try to describe these objects without referring to them by name:

  • Truck
  • Map
  • Pencil
  • Elf

Exercise Two: Use Number Rhymes

Have you ever heard of this memory technique for memorizing lists?

If you had to memorize the word orange as the first listed word, you could associate it with a gun. 

That’s because one rhymes with “gun.” You would imagine the gun shooting the orange and the resultant explosion. 

If you had to memorize “map” as the second word, you could have it rolled up and inserted into a shoe. Shoe is the image for two because the two words rhyme. 

yellow shoes

Come up with your rhymes or learn this pegword method and then memorize ten items in order by causing your rhymed words to interact with the list. 

Exercise Three: Visualize Acronyms In Space

You know what “FBI” stands for, right?

But have you ever tried visualizing the letters floating over your head? 

Here’s a robust list of acronyms to work with, along with a few more related visualization exercises.

Exercise Four: Recall An Entire Day

When you’re lying in bed tonight, try to recall as much as you can of the day. Make sure you see what’s happening from the minute you wake up and sustain continuous recall as long as you can.

If you have aphantasia and can’t see images in your mind, focus on other representations. You can also try my hyperphantasia guided meditation.

Exercise Five: Recall Your Dreams

Keeping a dream journal is a powerful way to exercise your visual memory. 

For many years now, I’ve hardly skipped a morning without remembering my dreams. You can learn more about how to remember dreams if you’d like an established procedure to follow. 

Exercise Six: Visual Meditation

meditating on a beach

There are many ways to meditate. Many will improve your visual memory in a general way.

But did you know there are 9 powerful visual meditation exercises you can complete? Try them all!

The trick with visual meditation is to pick interesting and engaging material to work with.

And you can increase the challenge over time.

For example, start with a simple candle flame. Bring an imaginary flame to mind and animate it.

Then meditate while thinking about a memorized poem or song lyrics. Try to see the lyrics coming out with correct spelling as your favorite singer performs the song.

Can you tell just how much more challenging this second exercise will be? It’s this additional level of challenge that makes it so powerful for your growth.

Exercise Seven: Scan Pictures

Get out a magazine and look for the main details on your first pass. Name them out loud. 

Then, take a second pass. Look for things that you missed the first time around, including shadows. 

Consider visual aspects like the height and width of objects. Also mentally measure the distances between things in the image. 

Finally, try to figure out the vanishing point and the negative space. These are skills that artists develop, and they are good for your visual memory. It also counts as a powerful cognitive activity that is especially good for adults. 

Exercise Eight: Verbalize Pictures

A simple way to improve your visual memory is to talk about what you see when looking at art. 

Take this medieval art, for example:

visual memory exercise

It’s challenging to describe, isn’t it? 

That’s why giving it a go will help your visual memory grow. 

As you describe what you see, work in different directions. For example, you can start with the birds at the top and work your way down. 

Then, on your second pass, you can start with the man on the left and move to the right (or vice versa). 

As you proceed, monitor yourself. Try to make sure that you’re using unique words as much as possible. 

Instead of always saying “man,” add some variety with words like “monk,” “penitent,” etc. 

Exercise Nine: Draw A Story From A Book

Stephen King says in On Writing that readers rarely imagine characters as he visually describes them. That’s why there aren’t a lot of details about clothing and the like. 

One excellent way to exercise a number of visual memory aspects is to draw what you imagine with your own hands. 

If you struggle to visualize characters at all, you can start with ones that you have seen. For example, here’s a drawing of Bender from Futurama I did to create a mnemonic device for myself.

visual memory exercise example of bender from futurama

You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from the visual memory exercise of drawing characters you know from books, movies or TV programs.

Exercise Ten: Draw A Story From Your Life

We all have many interesting experiences. 

But few of us take time to visualize them in a meaningful way. 

One theme I’ve noticed in my life is the ongoing lack of a stable, permanent home.

When I completed this visual memory exercise, I expressed the pain by using fire.

Then, I colored a stylized letter “I” in a cooling color. Finally, I added an acronym-poem to help feel okay about this lack of stability in my life.

visual memory strategies example

Of all the visual memory strategies I know, this has been the most rewarding. It also plugs deeply into sensory memory and gives it a good exercise.

If you like this kind of activity, also consider giving mind mapping a try.

Exercise Eleven: Teach Something

This approach can take a bit of patience, but it works for a clear and obvious reason.

When you teach someone else a skill, you access at least two parts of your visual mind:

  • Your mental image of how you do it
  • A new mental image of how the learner sees an alien task

As a bonus variation, try to remember learning to tie your own shoes. You might have a memory of someone explaining it to you as well. 

Moving between first and third person points of view on a teaching and learning experience is a great way to stretch your visual skills. 

Exercise Twelve: Study Resemblances And Patterns

Do owners really look like their pets?

the resemblance visual memory exercise

I don’t know, but the more interesting point is to work out why your brain thinks so.

Study the picture above. Can you spot the exact characteristics that make you think that there’s a relationship between these two? 

Write out your answer to verbalize what you’re seeing. Feel free to get your hand out and trace certain features, or even draw them out. 

You’ll learn a lot in the process. 

Exercise Thirteen: Use A Memory Palace

One of the most effective visual memory exercises involves the Memory Palace technique.

It’s a fun way to take locations you see with your own eyes everyday and turn them into a tool that helps you remember things better. 

To get started, you’ll want to draw your first Memory Palace and then select a few things you want to remember – like words from a language you’ve always wanted to learn.

Then, you mentally navigate your way through the rooms you’ve selected, literally using your mind’s eye to help you “see” a journey.

I can’t think of a better workout for the visual aspects of your memory than this ancient technique. To learn more about how it can help you exercise your brain and help you remember anything, enrol here:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Short Term Visual Memory Vs. Holistic Hyperphantasia

Over the years, thousands of people have told me that they want to improve their short term memory.

Although that’s fine, really what we all need to be focused on is holistic memory improvement that includes visual improvements. 

For that, you might benefit from developing hyperphantasia (the opposite of aphantasia). Here’s a guided meditation for that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAz3_pkqXqc

By extending your practice into the multi sensory aspects of your brain, you’ve got a much better chance of eliminating any visual memory deficits currently holding you back.

And now you have a ton of exercises you can run through to experience rapid improvement.

So what do you say? 

Which exercise are you going to add to your memory workout first?

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Visual memory involves a lot more than how things look. It can also involve what you hear. Improve it with these 13 visual memory exercises. Visual memory involves a lot more than how things look. It can also involve what you hear. Improve it with these 13 visual memory exercises. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 34:24
What Is Intrapersonal Intelligence? (And How to Improve Yours) https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/intrapersonal-intelligence/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 16:00:50 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27476 Intrapersonal intelligence is easy to understand when you have the best possible examples. Learn what it is and improve it now. what is intrapersonal intelligence feature imageIntrapersonal intelligence is one of the most powerful psychological assets you can develop.

Why?

Because it’s the key to studying independently.

This is because intrapersonal intelligence allows you to imagine what other people think and the thought processes they use to accomplish their goals.

In other words, if you want to succeed like Einstein, you need to be able to create a mental image like he did.

Fortunately, this is easier to do than most people think.

And as you’ll discover, intrapersonal intelligence can not only be developed readily by anyone.

It is the key to improving how you learn a wide variety of topics, from math to languages, philosophy to acquiring new skills.

Ready to improve this aspect of your intelligence?

Let’s dive in!

What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

“Intrapersonal” literally means within a person. It is a form of insight typically arrived at through reflective thinking.

Another way of thinking about it involves realizing that you are not one fixed personality. Rather, your personality is built from multiple parts.

Sometimes these parts compete with one another. For example, research has shown that young people choosing vocations might not yet have enough insight about the different parts of their personalities to make solid career decisions.

Yet, when these students are given insight into the theory of multiple intelligences, they feel less confused and more confident in the choices they make, even at a younger age.

As another study puts it:

“Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself and act on that understanding which includes awareness of moods, intentions, motivations, temperaments, desires, self-discipline and self-respecting abilities.”

In other words, it’s not just about understanding the different parts of your psychological experience. It’s about using that insight to act in particular ways to produce positive outcomes.

Origins and Research

Much of the research into intrapersonal intelligence stems from Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

Although many people have criticized Gardner’s approach, it has led to many positive changes to education. In particular, many teachers now know how to help young people cultivate metacognitive thinking skills.

three young students

Helping students improve their intrapersonal intelligence has even been shown to improve math scores. They experience better outcomes because of their increased analytical thinking abilities as such.

Similar research has shown improvements in other skills, such as artistic ability and the medical sciences. Indeed, as we learned from Dr. David Reser on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast, medical students who learned memory techniques as a group by tapping into aspects of their personalities that often go unexercised.

Intrapersonal Intelligence Examples

To sum up, intrapersonal involves finding the different aspects of your personality and then utilizing them as resources.

Many incredible example are available, so let’s get started with some of the most impactful.

One: Image Streaming

Einstein wasn’t just smart. He was imaginative.

And he took every opportunity to visualize the problems in physics he was trying to solve.

One technique he used was image streaming.

Not only does the technique (as I teach it), walk you through multiple aspects of your personality. It helps you experience the fullest range of sensory visualization modalities. Once you start experiencing these different resources within yourself, you’ll be able to take action on them.

Not only that, but if you’ve ever worried that your intelligence is fixed, image streaming helps prove that it isn’t.

Two: Masterminding

Although it would be a stretch to call Napoleon Hill scientific, many accomplished people have used a technique he called “masterminding” in his book, Think and Grow Rich.

In brief, you call up people you’ve read about (like Einstein) and ask them to help you solve various problems.

a letter to someone

It sounds ridiculous on its face. But in a letter to Lucy Donnelly, the highly influential philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote:

“And another thing I greatly value is the kind of communion with past and future discoverers. I often have imaginary conversations with Leibniz, in which I tell him how fruitful his ideas have proved, and how much more beautiful the result is than he could have foreseen; and in moments of self-confidence, I imagine students hereafter having similar thoughts about me. There is a ‘communion of philosophers’…”

I often hold conversations with philosophers myself and it is a tremendous tool for solving problems.

Rest assured, I have no belief that I’m actually talking to my favorite philosophers. But provided I know their writing well, it’s a perfectly reasonable way of accessing my intrapersonal intelligence and taking action on what comes out. It’s also another reason why philosophy is so important.

Three: Battling Monkey Mind

Many people struggle with thoughts gone wild.

But recent psychological therapies like Internal Family Systems therapy have been helping people tap into their intrapersonal intelligence to deal with psychological problems. In No Bad Parts, Dr. Richard Schwartz helps people identify and tap into their many “sub-minds.”

This approach has even shown positive outcomes for certain kinds of chronic pain.

Likewise, I have worked with a metacognitive and memory-based meditation technique that helps you experience the multiple parts of the mind.

As I shared in my TEDx Talk, this approach works by using questions that help you identify the different parts of your mind and then neutralize them.

Four: Bringing Science to Your Intuitions

Has anyone ever told you to “follow your gut”? So you did, and yet you still wound up failing badly?

Chip and Dan Heath explain why our intuitions often fail in their book Decisive.

It’s not that you shouldn’t rely on your intuitions forevermore, but rather, they should be tested. They suggest using their W.R.A.P. technique, which essentially draws upon different aspects of your personality:

  • Widen your options (patience and due diligence)
  • Reality test (analytical thinking)
  • Attain distance (giving yourself space for reflection)
  • Prepare to fail (maturity and discernment)

They also recommend talking with experts as much as possible, something that builds your own inner expertise as you learn new skills.

Another tool you can use is taught in The Wise Advocate. One of my favorite exercises from the book has you asking yourself if you feel limited or expansive when faced with a decision.

By consulting those feelings within yourself, you’ll be sure to make better decisions because you’re using structure to test them. That’s not only what scientific living is all about. It’s also a reliable way to improve your IQ.

Five: Mental Strength

Often called “resilience,” this intrapersonal strategy involves finding inner resources to help you overcome obstacles.

a man overcome obstacles

But at an even higher level, you want to set the stage so that you don’t have to call upon resilience in the first place.

To help yourself with that, give my mental strength exercises a try.

6 Intrapersonal Intelligence Activities That Can Increase Your Skills

Now that we’ve seen some examples of how intrapersonal intelligence plays out, let’s dive into some activities.

Please don’t feel that you have to try them all. Pick the ones that make most sense to you.

Journal About Your “Selves”

Using a journal is an excellent means of self-expression. But we often lock it into the myth of our identity as some kind of unified whole.

For the purpose of this exercise, explore different aspects of your many selves.

To give you a personal example, I’m responsible for a ton of different activities related to the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

As a strategy for maximizing my time as a solopreneur, I keep multiple journals. One is for my “Inner CEO.” Others are for my content creator, my marketer and my researcher.

By journaling for each of these aspects of my personality, I’m able to nurture them all and keep this project growing without burning out.

Use Memory-Based Meditation

There are many kinds of meditation. For example, here’s a number of concentration meditation techniques to explore.

But by memory-based meditation, I mean more specifically learning and reciting specific material from memory.

The material I have found most successful comes from the work of Gary Weber in books like Happiness Beyond Thought and Evolving Beyond Thought.

I’ve summarized the material and teach you how to memorize it in a book called The Victorious Mind.

meditation on wooden board

Read Multiple Biographies

Once while being interviewed, I told the host that my hardest lesson in life has been remembering that other people do not think the same way I do.

As soon as I heard myself say it, I realized that I needed to read more biographies and autobiographies. I was literally starved for perspective!

So what’s the trick?

Compare and contrast your way of thinking with the thought processes of the people you’re reading – as many other people as possible. And pay extra-special attention to their problem-solving models.

Practice Taking Action On Discoveries

As you now know, the definition of intrapersonal intelligence is not just insight about your inner workings. It’s about taking action on those insights.

How?

Try this simple exercise:

When you observe an aspect of your personality, create a vision statement around it.

If you follow the specific guidelines I give for crafting such a statement, you’ll thoroughly vet the actions you want to take. They’ll be focused towards positive outcomes that will reveal even more about your many inner resources.

Write Fiction

Even if you have no plans to storm the world with bestselling novels, taking some time to write simple stories will help you explore different aspects of your own personality.

sitting on grass and writing

When you make up characters or base them on people you know, you’ll be exercising that inner reflection so central to this psychological skill.

Plus, because writing is action, you’ll have the full definition covered as you flex your imagination and take action by writing.

Learn a Language

Without a doubt, language learning is about talking with others.

But it creates great internal exercise as you explore different aspects of language as it flows through your mind.

It also gives you the opportunity to use a Memory Palace. This learning strategy involves using multiple people and locations in combination to help you absorb vocabulary and phrases faster.

As you do, you’ll utilize and improve multiple levels of your personality.

Improve Your Intrapersonal Intelligence

As you can tell, all it really takes to boost this aspect of your life is a bit of self-reflection and consistent action.

You now have a bunch of activities to explore and scientific studies to read.

And if you’d like the ultimate learning experience that will help you remember everything you encountered today, consider signing up for my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It comes with four videos and a number of worksheets you can fill out as you improve your memory.

The more you explore your memory, the more you’ll exercise your intrapersonal intelligence.

After all, what are we other than the quality of our memory abilities? And where else is our intelligence stored?

So what do you say?

Are you feeling equipped with knowledge about intrapersonal intelligence and how to improve it?

Just shout out if you have any thoughts or questions. I appreciate you visiting the site today and hope to hear about your experiences with this form of personal development soon!

 

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Intrapersonal intelligence is easy to understand when you have the best possible examples. Learn what it is and improve it now. Intrapersonal intelligence is easy to understand when you have the best possible examples. Learn what it is and improve it now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 40:25
How to Remember a Story Using a Memory Palace https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/how-to-remember-a-story/ Wed, 20 Apr 2022 16:00:23 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=1265 If you want to know how to remember a story, these 7 tips will make it easy and fun. Commit a variety of tales to memory fast. how to remember a story feature imageIf you want to remember a story, the process is actually pretty simple.

You can be as detailed as you like, or just recite the general gist of a tale.

And by the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to entertain people at parties or include stories in your speeches and presentations.

Or maybe you want to better convince your friends to read stories and watch the movies you love. That will be much easier for you to do as well.

If you want to become a better writer, nothing will help you more than knowing stories inside and out.

Even better than that, on this page, I’m also going to show you how to memorize the ins-and-outs of plot.

Who am I to teach you about remembering stories?

Well, in addition to having told a story at a TEDx event that now has nearly 2.5 million views, I spent nearly a decade as a Film Studies professor.

I also spent a few years working as a story consultant on movies that actually got made. And I’ve written two well-received books about screenwriting.

Indeed, I got my story consulting gigs partly because of the books I’ve written on screenwriting. I even have a writing credit on my IMDB profile.

Anthony Metivier on the set of Bailout with Eddie Furlong, Dominic Purcell and Uwe Boll

Anthony Metivier on the set of Bailout with Eddie Furlong, Dominic Purcell and Uwe Boll

Although I certainly don’t know everything under the sun, I’ve proven that I can write and help craft successful stories. I’ve memorized detailed stories and delivered them before the masses.

And if you’re ready to remember any story, I’m confident my tips will help you out

So let’s get started!

What is a Story Anyway?

One of the most interesting aspects involved in memorizing stories, is that you soon discover every narrative is composed of many different kinds of information.

Just about every story will involve:

  • Names, places, locations
  • Descriptions
  • Special terms (sometimes foreign vocabulary)
  • Quotes and epigraphs
  • Actions
  • Dialogue
  • Numbers
  • Themes
  • Plot
  • Characterization
  • Details about the author, publishing history, audience reception

The more you divide these types of information in your mind, the more you’ll be able to approach the story as a whole with dexterity.

With these different types of story information in mind, let’s look at the process step-by-step.

How to Remember A Story in 7 Easy Steps

As you go through these steps, keep in mind that you don’t have to master each and every one the first time you commit a story to memory.

The more you allow yourself to grow with the story memorizing process, the more success you’ll have.

Horror Genre Secrets for Screenwriters by Anthony Metivier Book Cover

That said, it’s important to focus on these fundamentals. We don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse and wind up frustrated. That’s why I’ve done my best to arrange the steps in order of priority, keeping beginners with no prior experience with remembering stories in mind.

Step One: Decide on the Exact Goal

Before you start committing any of the story to memory, think about your exact goal.

Are you:

  • Delivering the story as part of a memorized speech?
  • Committing scripture to memory?
  • Memorizing stories to prepare for any type of exam?
  • Required to recite the story verbatim?
  • Or are you allowed to work from bullet points?

I ask these questions because when I gave my TEDx Talk, I memorized the entire story word for word.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvtYjdriSpM

 

But when I was a film professor and summarized stories as part of my lectures, I usually memorized just the bullet point version of those stories. Because I know all of the plot points by memory, I often didn’t even need to do that. (We’ll talk more about the plot points method in a moment.)

When I memorize scripture, I sometimes include the verse number, which involves knowing a technique called the Major System or 00-99 PAO.

Step Two: Get Familiar with the Story

This probably goes without saying, but you’ll want to read the story in its entirety first, or watch the movie in full.

And I would suggest you go a few steps further.

In addition to going through the material thoroughly, read about the story.

One thing I used to do as a Film Studies professor was to read the screenplay before watching a movie. Then I’d watch the movie and read as many reviews and critical interpretations as I could find. If I had time, I’d watch the movie at least one more time before writing my lecture.

In the case of short stories or novels, there is no screenplay. However, you can follow-up by reading articles, interviews with the author and reviews on bookseller pages and book reviews.

All of these efforts will help build a larger web of associations in your mind that make the actual memorization a lot easier. It also makes everything a lot more fun because you’re making yourself an expert about the story itself.

Do this enough times, and you’ll come to think about the place of the stories you remember in the context of history, philosophy and the culture at large, all of which is very rewarding.

Step Three: Create a Primary and Secondary Memory Palace

When you really want to know a story well, I suggest you have at least two Memory Palaces instead of just one.

What’s a Memory Palace?

It’s a simple mnemonic device that allows you to create mental versions of locations. Typically, you would base them on homes, offices, schools and any location you’re familiar with and can easily organize into a simple journey.

Why two Memory Palaces?

I’ve found it very helpful to have all the names of the characters and location names in one Memory Palace, and the major plot points in another.

Free Memory Improvement Course

This approach is useful even if you’re memorizing the story verbatim. It helps you get some of the harder elements out of the way first. And knowing character names also serves as a kind of time signature. It’s easier to remember parts of the plot because you’ll remember the names of the characters and place names with knowledge of the order in which they come up.

If you like, you can extract the character names while you’re reading by using the technique I teach in how to memorize a textbook.

Step Four: Memorize Word for Word

To memorize verbatim is a simple affair.

You just need to create associative images for the words and lay those associations out along your Memory Palace journey.

Now, if you’re new to the practice, you might need more images than a more experienced memorizer. For example, there are tons of operator words, like “to,” “it,” “he,” etc.

For these words, it’s no more or less difficult to come up with images than it is for more complex words. Basically, everything comes down to your level of skill with the techniques and completing the exercises in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.

Often, you can get away without having an image for such words. When I memorized the story I told in my TEDx Talk, I managed to relate it word-for-word by just encoding the keywords. Because I know English, most of the smaller words fell logically into place. And if they were slightly different here and there, it did not change the theme or message of the story I told.

The final part of this step is to segment the memorization. Rather than expect to memorize the entire thing in one go, break it down. I like to memorize for 5-10 minutes, then take a break.

This might seem slow to you, but in the end, it’s actually faster. You’ll make fewer encoding errors and spend a lot more time with your full mental powers charged. If you plow on while drained, you’ll wind up spending too much time correcting issues that didn’t need to be there in the first place.

Step Five: Robust Rehearsal

Once you have any amount of material memorized, it’s important to start reviewing it.

For this, I use a process called Recall Rehearsal. It taps into the memory science of active recall.

To make the process as effective and efficient as possible, I follow these steps:

  • Find a quiet place where I won’t be disturbed
  • Have pen and paper ready
  • Write out the memorized narrative material in forward order
  • Check the accuracy
  • Use the memory techniques to correct any unacceptable errors

But when I really want to present at my best and feel “bulletproof” on the stage, I go further.

I write out the speech in reverse order and out of order.

For example, the odd numbered sentences are typically on the odd-numbered stations in the Memory Palace I use. That means I can write the entire speech forwards with only the odd numbered sentences forward.

Then I write the even numbered sentences on the second pass, but this time in reverse order.

Why do this?

The answer is simple: It gives each sentence extra doses of primacy effect and recency effect.

Not everyone has to go to this extent. But I always do it when I want to speed up the memorization process and feel extra-familiar with each and every word I’m delivering on the stage.

Step Six: Practice Your Delivery

Although writing out the story from memory is a form of practice, it’s important to practice verbally delivering your story as often as you can.

Thomas Kraft suggested that I walk while reciting the talk. Since I could take my walks in the Memory Palace I used for my TEDx Talk, I did exactly that.

Since I walk relatively quickly, I slowed down so I could pace the talk with my progress along the Memory Palace path.

I also recorded myself delivering the talk so I could watch for opportunities to improve the delivery.

Step Seven: Memorize and Recite More Stories

Mastery won’t come from memorizing just one story. You’ll want to carry on and remember many more.

It’s also advisable to remember several kinds of stories:

  • Short anecdotes
  • Jokes
  • Narrative poetry
  • Parables

The more variety you work with, the more your skills will grow.

How to Remember Plot Points

Again, the Memory Palace will be your go-to technique for this.

I would string out the following narrative elements along a journey, perhaps using the story method.

The major plot points in most stories are:

  • Character is haunted by a ghost from the past
  • The world is in some kind of flux or change
  • Character has a driving ambition that is in conflict with an unconscious need
  • Character encounters a problem that must be solved
  • There is a period of delay as the character resists the dilemma or thinks through multiple avenues of action
  • A crisis forces the character to take action (usually the least desirable option)
  • Along the way to solving the problem the character either:
    • Gathers allies that help
    • Undergoes a training sequence
  • During the battle, the character experiences a self-revelation that resolves the ghost and the conflict between the driving ambition and the unconscious need
  • Following the problem-resolution, the world of flux resolves to a stable state

Note that not all of these plot points necessarily unfold in the same order in every story. And not every story has all of them.

But if you commit this general structure to memory, they will start leaping out at you as you read stories and watch movies.

And this knowledge of story architecture itself will help you remember stories much better.

Remembering Stories Is Easy

So, what do you say?

Are you ready to commit your first story to memory?

How will you do it?

Verbatim or just based on the general plot?

I suggest you spend some part of your life mastering both. It’s tremendously rewarding.

And if you’d like more context with respect to lines of dialog, check out my article on how to memorize lines next.

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If you want to know how to remember a story, these 7 tips will make it easy and fun. Commit a variety of tales to memory fast. If you want to know how to remember a story, these 7 tips will make it easy and fun. Commit a variety of tales to memory fast. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 28:07
Linear Thinking: What It Is and How It Can Help You https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/linear-thinking/ Wed, 13 Apr 2022 16:00:30 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27913 Linear thinking examples are hard to come by. Read this post for linear thinking vs nonlinear thinking with heaps of linear thought examples. linear thinking feature imageHave you been told that you’re a linear thinker?

You might have received it as a compliment or a criticism.

Either way, people use the term in so many different ways, it can be hard to figure out what exactly linear thinking is supposed to be.

Well, if you want to become a better thinker, you’re in the right place.

We’re about to think linearly about linear thinking together.

And we’re going to think about it in some alinear ways too.

The best part?

By the time you finish reading this page, you’ll be equipped to think in a variety of ways, in any direction you wish.

Perhaps even in an “impossible” direction that follows no line at all because it is completely free from having a point of view.

Intrigued?

Let’s get started!

What is Linear Thinking?

Before defining linear thinking, let’s take a step back. Ideally in a “straight” line.

When trying to define any kind of thinking, we’re assuming that there are multiple kinds of thinking or thinking styles.

This means that we have to sort out the relationships between these thinking styles. But more importantly, we have to think about who is creating their definitions.

Linear Thinking in Entrepreneurialism

Researchers Charles Vance, Kevin Groves and Herb Kindler devised the LNTSP or Linear-Nonlinear Thinking Style Profile.

Their assumption is that linear thinking is characterized by logical and analytical thinking. Nonlinear thinking, they claim, is defined by intuition, insight and creativity.

In a follow-up study, they proposed that entrepreneurs would think more linearly than actors. As a subset of this, they predicted that entrepreneurs would also think more linearly than accountants and managers.

Is it really true that thinking styles exist? And what did they find out?

The answer is complicated because entrepreneurs are often visionary in nature. They respond in off-the-wall ways to unseen market demands only they can perceive.

Creativity Can Be Linear

The notion of “creativity” when it comes to acting is also problematic.

For one thing, there are many different kinds of actors. Method actors, for example, might need to be incredibly logical in order to play the role of a certain character, but use creativity and intuition in order to create the illusion that they are such a person. In other words, actors often “reverse engineer” characters they did not create and base them on studies of people who actually exist. This approach often involves just as much mathematical precision as it does going with gut instinct. Even a highly responsive comic like Robin Williams knows the structural rules that govern how a joke works.

Thus, Vance et al’s study ends with the call for more research, noting that educational background experiences might hold the ultimate key to why some people wind up thinking in the ways that they do.

If we were to think in a “straight line” about these findings, we would want to note that these researchers are using their own definition of linear thinking. And they’re using their tool for testing their hypothesis. I’d humbly suggest that the entire study is suspect at best, a case of inventing solutions for invented problems without carefully demonstrating that thinking styles exist in the first place.

Linear Thinking In Philosophy

Now, I’m not saying that thinking styles don’t exist. But as Tesia Marshik has shown in her TEDx Talk and other research about learning styles, such notions are complicated.

When it comes to linear thinking in philosophy, Patrick Finn sees linear thinking as a negative aspect of critical thinking. In Critical Condition, he indicts “regulated systems of education” as using “a muscular, linear form of thought” to “control information and training citizens to think in a particular way.”

He sees this as a problem in politics, science and especially education. As he points out, universities are no longer related to the meaning of the word:

Universitas: the whole. The word for university came from this Latin root. To be educated at the university was to engage with the whole – the whole being, the whole body of knowledge, and the whole of society.

group students are studying in a university

Although I don’t disagree with Finn’s discussion of the meaning of this word, it’s not clear to me that knowledge is a “body.” But if it is, it probably doesn’t have any straight lines, and his point is taken.

The notion of knowledge as being rounded, rather than straight, is a point made by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus and other co-author works. They think of knowledge, not as a top-down structure, or a tree as Renaissance scholars like Petrus Ramus described it.

Linear Thinking As Escape or Destination?

Rather, Deleuze and Guattari think of knowledge as rhizomatic, a lattice-like structure that travels in multiple directions at the same time. In another book called What is Philosophy?, they claim that “to think is always to follow the witch’s flight.”

I’m not sure, but I think they are referring to the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz, who sometimes chases after Dorothy in a straight line. But other times, she flees in frustration from Dorothy, as if trying to escape.

This means that thinking is not always directed at arriving somewhere. Sometimes we do it just to flee the present conditions, commonly known as escapism.

The witch also disappears in a puff of smoke after she’s killed. Perhaps Deleuze and Guattari are referring to their notion of deterritorialization as the thoughts of an individual ultimately disappear after they die.

Or they might be thinking about philosophy’s ability to neutralize unwanted thoughts, which was the subject of my TEDx Talk. In it, I discuss the highly linear use of good thoughts to remove unhealthy and unpleasant thought patterns – as if they were disappearing into a puff of smoke.

Linear Thinking And Time

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a lot about what he called the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. He challenges us to think about how we would live today as perfectly as possible so that we could make full use of it should a “curse” cause it to repeat again and again. In other words, he’s anticipating the movie Groundhog Day by over 100 years. 

But his concept is a bit more complex than that. As Heidegger explores this idea in his second commentary on Nietzsche, Heidegger suggests that all of the past appears in the present.

In other words, all thinking is both linear and alinear. If time is traveling in a straight line, then all thought unfolds as having a beginning, middle and end. Yet, if the entirety of the past is contained in each present moment, then any thought you have in the present moment has perhaps transcended any and all notions of the straight line as we understand it.

Linear Thinking In Art

Art is either representative or abstract. Representative art is often called pictorial, but art that seeks to explore the representation of representation itself is often called an example of linear thinking.

That said, M. C. Escher often used linear thinking in pictorial ways. He frequently drew upon the impossible cube as a reference in many of the rooms he created featuring people navigating impossible staircases, or waterfalls that fed themselves after flowing upwards.

impossible cube as linear thinking example in art

Linear Thinking in the Movies

Many movies start at the beginning and conclude at the end. Or at least, movies typically start when a character encounters a problem they need to solve and then end when the solution is found.

But not all movies work this way. There’s a great western called The Searchers. Like a Greek tragedy, it begins in medias res, or in the middle of things. A lot of subtle clues in the dialog and how the character Ethan dresses fill you in on what his past was like. You need to think in a nonlinear way to properly understand the complexity of his motivations.

David Lynch makes movies that mess with time in very intense ways. Both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive employ a fugue narrative, or what is sometimes called a Möbius strip applied to a story.

mobius strip visual example of nonlinear thinking in David Lynch movies

It’s difficult to explain, but if you read the plot of Lost Highway, you’ll get a sense for how two things are happening at the same time. But you can only really think it through when you see the movie for the second time.

More recently, Christopher Nolan has made films that employ similar nonlinear plot devices, such as Inception and Tenet. In fact, Nolan’s The Prestige is adopted from a Christopher Priest novel. Priest has been playing with such nonlinear narrative structures since at least writing his novel The Affirmation.

All of these movie and novel examples give you the opportunity to experience nonlinear thinking, noting that it all takes place or unfolds in linear time in your mind. David Lynch uses words like “melt” to describe the effect he’s trying to create, as in story, time and your mind fusing into something else as you experience recursion.

By “recursion” I mean the term in the sense of programming where you define a problem in terms of itself, usually a simpler version of the problem. Storytellers using this kind of narrative form ultimately construct an experience of consciousness itself by creating a simpler version of what we imagine consciousness to be in story form.

An excellent book that will help you understand this aspect of self-referential thinking further is Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel Escher Bach.

Linear Thinking in Magic

In a book called The Illusionist Brain, Jordi Cami and Luis M. Martinez detail how magicians take advantage of how people think.

Magicians are incredibly linear thinkers, even if they appear quite creative. This only highlights the problem of trying to divide linear and nonlinear thinking.

magicians are performing with a white circle

Magic is an example where logical and linear thinking is used to establish astonishing feats of creativity.

There are many books in the world of magic that demonstrate just how logical and linear true creative thinking needs to be. A few quick suggestions include:

  • Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz
  • Shattering Illusions by Jamie Ian Swiss

In sum, magicians often describe an illusion they want to create and then call it a “problem” they need to solve. There are often many possible solutions, and magicians use linear thinking to find the best possible strategies for creating the illusions, both as individuals and as communities.

The community aspect is part of what can make their linear thinking seem alinear. Different magicians sometimes arrive at various solutions independently and only work out later how to attribute “credit” for the solution to an illusion. This process sometimes creates controversy in the magic community, but they typically use logical reasoning to sort things out charitably in the end.

Understanding the Linear Thought Process

With all these definitions in mind, let’s look at linear reasoning as a process.

Typically, we use reasoning to solve problems. One of the best ways to start is by gathering as many possible solutions as possible.

This stage of the process is called divergent thinking. You’re literally focusing on quantity over quality.

During the convergent thinking process, you filter those ideas, combine and refine them.

Linear Thought Process Example

I do this week after week on my blog, podcast and YouTube channel using mind mapping.

linear thought process example using mind mapping

Mind mapping using linear and nonlinear thinking at the same time in order to help create multimedia content.

Using the topic as a central keyword, I move outward in clockwise formation. Each tributary is an idea that helps explain the central concept.

Once a set of divergent ideas have been collected, I let them sit for a while. And I often come back and add a few more ideas, stimulated by having the mind map in my environment.

Then, I converge the ideas into a linear outline. Finally, I write the article and record the audio visual component.

Ultimately, this is a linear thinking example even though it contains some alinear elements. Using a circle instead of top-down structure in the beginning makes it easy to incorporate arrows that show connections at a glance. If it were created in a document, it would wind up “locking” material onto individual pages.

Either way, the process unfolds over time and is much more linear as a result. And even if people consume my content “out of order,” they still take in the snippets according to the flow of time.

Linear Analysis

Of course, creating diverging ideas and synthesizing them through convergence is not enough.

Once you’ve arrived at the final product, you need to put it out there and analyze the response.

Depending on your field, there may be just a few diagnostic tools you use. Or you might need to combine dozens in order to get a picture of what the data is telling you.

When it comes to a mental performance activity like memory training, the metrics for analysis are usually quite simple. You have very few gray areas because you’ve either remembered something or you haven’t. 

But you can test how much of a Memory Palace worked vs. how much gave you issues. And you can look at how many of the Magnetic Modes you used and chart out a path for improvement by making sure you also include more.

In the case of the mind mapping I use before creating content on this blog, I analyze multiple metrics, including:

  • How many people visit the content
  • How long they interact with it
  • Have they interacted with other content before and what kinds
  • What part of the world they’re from
  • What time of day they visited
  • Did they leave comments or not
  • Did they share or not

Because I have thousands of multimedia articles I’ve produced over the years and they are all live and online at the same time, the data pool is intense.

To help think through everything as thoroughly as possible, my team and I visualize the data by transforming the raw numbers into charts and graphs.

linear reasoning example

A linear reasoning example using a graph to help make decisions about content creation.

Using linear reasoning, it’s useful to think about what kinds of content to create more of and what to deemphasize.

Although this kind of data science sometimes leads to brutal decision making that temporarily feels like it’s squashing your creativity, that’s not really the case. True creativity comes back to solving problems like a magician in order to achieve your goals.

Expect in this case, there are no illusions and the success is real.

Linear Thinking vs. Nonlinear Thinking

As we’ve seen, some scientists approach the definition of these two kinds of thinking quite simply. They divide logic and rationality from creativity and intuition.

But as I’ve shown, there are many creative arts that involve strict linearity in order to create innovations.

Ultimately, I’m not convinced that “nonlinear” thinking exists, if only because the stuff of thought unfolds in time. We not only think forwards, but also consume and interpret information following time’s arrow.

Plus, just because we might be consciously aware of having followed our intuitions, this does not mean that the unconscious mind that gives birth to intuition isn’t linear.

Although controversial, this was the great contribution of psychoanalysis, which boils down to the idea that a hidden part of our mind makes calculations on our behalf. One thinker, Jacques Lacan, argued that the unconscious is in fact structured like a language.

Symbolic Thinking

Instead of approaching it as the difference between linear and nonlinear thinking, he thought it was more a matter of deep structures and surface structures – but not quite.

nonlinear thinking example from Jacques Lacan

Imagine that you have three different kinds of minds at the same time. One is tracking the real world, one is creating the world as it needs to be in order to avoid overwhelm, and the third is constantly tapping into a mind that symbolizes the entire species.

Lacan called these three kinds of simultaneous thinking:

  • Symbolic
  • Real
  • Imaginary

Many cultures, philosophies, and thinkers have presented similar ways of describing thinking.

What makes Lacan’s interesting is how he discussed the impossibility of speaking the truth for human beings. We cannot represent the real in human language because, as he put it, there are simply too many words. We always have to choose a certain set of words at the expense of not using others.

Let’s face it:

Reality is not made of words, or at least it doesn’t seem to be. And no one has time to speak or listen to an attempt at arriving at the truth through words. It would take too long and there are too many potential words a person could use.

Yet, the brain uses imagination to help us approximate the experience of truth at a metaphorical level.

And the symbolic thinking level, sometimes called the “Big Other,” is a mental representation of the human species at large. If it exists, this “Big Other” helps us behave properly, according to this theory, because it creates the sense it monitors our every move. It helps us feel guilty when we transgress social codes and encourages us to follow the moral compass our cultural upbringing has helped us imagine.

In this way, we can say that there is a lot of nonlinear thinking going on, insofar as Lacan and similar thinkers are correct. Jung’s collective unconscious is another, similar model from the 20th century, and you can look to schools like Zen and Advaita Vedanta for earlier examples from different parts of the world. They all share the linguistic character of Lacan’s approach.

Paraconsistencies

Another example of nonlinear thinking comes from the world of Dialetheism, a branch of logic. This term descends from the ancient Greek word for truth, and “di” means “two.”

In other words, we’re talking about two seemingly contradictory things being true at the same time without contradiction. A simple example is trying to quit caffeine for health reasons. You can both want and not want caffeine at the same time. Both states are true without any contradiction.

Where nonlinear thinking comes in is how you’re going to find strategies for one of those truths to win. If you want to avoid drinking coffee, for example, you have to think ahead of yourself to build strategies that prevent you from letting one truth out-truth the other.

Now let’s circle back to where we started:

It’s perfectly possible for linear thinkers to be creative and follow their intuitions in linear ways. You can analyze creativity in a linear fashion and reproduce the creativity of others by unfolding specific steps with the exact timing they used.

This kind of analysis is possible in just about every field of performance, from martial arts to chess, music, philosophy or learning a language.

Thinking from No Point Of View

A.W. Moore is a highly accomplished philosopher who thinks it is possible to think from no point of view at all.

This is the subject of his excellent book, Points of View.

One issue more raises involves the fact that some knowledge cannot be put into words. He talks about physics and how it uses symbols to represent truths about how the universe works.

But there is more. We have knowledge about our own experience and what it is like to be alive. Yet, this experience is “ineffable” and impossible to describe. Jacques Lacan would say that there are too many possible words for any individual to even get started explaining the experience of life.

The paradox Moore is gunning for is that we know what life is, yet when we try to describe it, either nonsense comes out or we can only get at part of the description. Although Moore does not use the terms Dialetheism or paraconsistency, much of what he’s talking about gets at the same point. The only way to think linearly about complex issues like the nature of being is to allow for and even embrace contradictions.

And in order to do that, you need to change your point of view and turn toward the concept of infinity so you can at least try and experience what it would be like for all possible combinations to play out. As another philosopher named Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz put it, “Everything possible has an urge to exist.” When we think about this from the perspective of infinity, which is from no perspective at all, it is possible for us to think in all possible directions at once.

You Are A Linear Thinker

As a result, I feel we can all rest assured that each and every person is a linear thinker.

Certainly, you can go with the uncomplicated science story that divides the two. But the research we looked at above is ultimately inconclusive and seems to contradict itself. At best, it reveals a paradox, which we have used linear thinking to identify as a paraconsistency.

If nothing else, I hope you walk away from this article with a new way of thinking about thinking itself.

I realize that some of these ideas are complex, so if you’d like to understand them better, here’s why I suggest.

Learn to improve your memory. The more memory power you have, the more you can rotate these ideas around in your mind and experience deep knowledge.

For that, I have a free memory improvement kit you can sign up for here:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Give it a try and just take it one step at a time.

The more you think about memory itself in a linear fashion, the more you’ll be able to experience and use your mind in both linear and nonlinear ways. 

Even better, you stand a chance to go quite beyond this world of name and form as you experience the unfolding plane of thinking itself.

After all, thinking is what we use to solve problems. And what bigger problem do we have than solving, like a magician, the mystery of why anything exists at all?

If just one of us can do that, perhaps all of us can be free.

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Linear thinking examples are hard to come by. Read this post for linear thinking vs nonlinear thinking with heaps of linear thought examples. Linear thinking examples are hard to come by. Read this post for linear thinking vs nonlinear thinking with heaps of linear thought examples. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 41:14
How to Stop Forgetting Things Once and For All https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/how-to-stop-forgetting-things/ Wed, 06 Apr 2022 16:00:01 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27903 If you want to know how to stop forgetting things, the trick is really simple. Learn how to not forget using this list of fast and fun tips. how to stop forgetting things feature imageWhy do I keep forgetting things?

I’m an internationally acclaimed memory expert, after all.

The answer is actually very simple, and it will probably surprise you.

But even better than shock and amaze you, I think the answer will help you tremendously.

You see, there are some incredibly simple techniques that will help you remember just about anything you want.

And when you do forget, your annoyance with losing track of the information will completely disappear.

Follow the steps on this page, and you may wind up never being bothered by forgetfulness again.

Ready?

Let’s dig in!

Why Do I Keep Forgetting Things? The Answer

Forgetting plays an important role in human experience.

And yet, some people have doubted that forgetting actually exists. For example, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:

The existence of forgetting has never been proved: we only know that some things do not come to our mind when we want them to.

Nietzsche clues us in on something very important with this quote:

In order for things to come to mind, they need to have entered the mind in the first place.

My point?

It’s this:

One: Not Paying Attention in the First Place

A major reason we think we’ve forgotten things isn’t a reason at all. If we haven’t paid proper attention to a detail, then it never entered long term memory in the first place.

It can be humbling to admit that we haven’t been attentive. But it’s one of the keys to experiencing improvement, as we’ll discuss in a moment.

Two: Storage Failure

Let’s say that you did pay attention, however.

It’s possible that a memory was formed, but it was nonetheless not stored correctly.

This can happen because incoming information often has to compete with other stimuli. For example, when you’re meeting new people, you might also be given details about where they live and their occupation.

Another term for this is cue overload. As a result, the flow of multiple data points somehow corrupts how the main detail you wanted got stored.

John Wixted outlines a few different kinds of interference. In addition to competing stimuli, you might also experience storage failure from:

  • Proactive interference
  • Retroactive interference

The first happens when something you’ve learned before messes with the learning of something new. For example, if you learned something that was incorrect in the past and discover a correct version of that fact, the primacy effect might maintain the storage of the inaccurate data despite new learning. Your brain thus fails to store the truth.

The second kind of interference happens when something about the way you’re learning a new detail interferes. You might experience this kind of storage failure when ineffectively using a software like Anki or even old-fashioned flashcards.

Three: Retrieval Failure

Let’s assume that your brain has recorded everything absolutely correctly.

You might still forget something if something interferes with the retrieval process. These kinds of interferences can literally cause information you know very well to evaporate.

Scientists have found this kind of forgetting interesting, but don’t yet know exactly why it happens. Endel Tulving linked it to cue-dependent forgetting. The research basically suggests that if words are grouped in categories, you might remember more of them better. But when randomness is introduced, forgetting goes up.

Part of the issue relates to how memory works, particularly spatial memory. And that’s why when someone prompts you or gives you a trigger that relates thematically or categorically, you can sometimes get back the information that you forgot or felt lingering on the tip of your tongue.

Four: The Influence of Time

Did you know that it’s possible to forget your mother tongue without suffering a brain injury or symptoms of a disease? 

The problem is called linguistic deskilling. I experienced it myself while living in Germany and speaking hardly any English.

Basically, this kind of forgetting follows the “use it or lose it,” principle. Or, more scientifically, we can think about the forgetting curve, which helps predict how time will degrade the ability to remember things if they aren’t recalled regularly.

hour glass in sunset

Five: Repression

Sigmund Freud is a controversial figure. But many people forget the value of his goals.

For example, in Remembering and Forgetting Freud in Early Twentieth-Century Dreams, John Forrester reminds us that psychoanalysis was meant to be “self-annihilating.” When it worked, the point was never to need it again or even think about it.

To help heal people from their ailments, psychoanalysis explores ways to uncover repressed memories. The theory goes that because these memories are still lingering in the unconscious mind, they are trying to “return” so that you’ll attend to them. This is the so-called “return of the repressed” that has been so influential on the horror genre in novels and film.

More sophisticated psychoanalytical research has extended the notion of repression to a kind of filtering. Dr. Robert Langs, for example, influenced many practitioners with his suggestion that the unconscious prevents certain “threats” from getting noticed by the conscious mind.

If true, his theory explains why we are sometimes told by our partners and loved ones critical details. We not only can’t remember the details. We can’t even remember being told. For whatever reason, the unconscious mind has perceived it as a threat and completely filtered it out.

Six: Adaptation

Another reason people forget is that some information is simply deprecated.

For example, there’s zero reason for me to remember the phone number my family had when I was 7 years old. I can remember our area code, but that’s because the information is still useful. The actual phone number, which hasn’t been used in decades, is not.

a pink phone

I also can’t remember the exact number of the house, though I can still remember the street name. Again, this kind of forgetting happens because specific details are no longer useful. I still refer to that street and the entire neighborhood when using a Memory Palace, but the exact house number has no particular function.

How to Stop Forgetting Things Once and For All: 7 Tips

Now that we’ve looked at the many reasons why we forget, let’s remove the problem altogether.

I said that the solution might surprise you, and I’m confident it will.

When you operate in this way, I think you’ll soon be completely unbothered by forgetting, even if it still happens from time to time.

Tip One: Pause, Label, Carry On

I give many presentations. Even though I’m a memory expert who exercises my mind regularly, I still forget things. I probably forget things more than the average person because I present off-the-cuff so often.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to simply call a spade a spade. Specifically, I do this:

  • Pause to give myself a second to see if I’ll remember the detail
  • If I don’t, I label it as “yet to come” and state, “it’ll probably come to me in a second”
  • Carry on with the presentation or conversation

I don’t have an exact percentage, but much more often than not, the information I was looking for will suddenly pop into my mind.

Tip Two: Run the Alphabet

An alternative strategy I’ll use when I really want to remember a detail is to start reciting the alphabet.

wooden cube alphabet

This strategy isn’t as foolproof as the first tip, but can still be effective. It’s also great mental exercise.

The reason I think it works is that it tackles the Ugly Sister Effect head on. Instead of getting overwhelmed by many possible names of actors or whatever you’re searching for, you actually cause your brain to run through a list in a structured manner.

As an example, let’s say I’m trying to remember an actor’s name like Tom Cruise. If it doesn’t come to mind, I’ll start silently naming actors I can remember by starting at A. (Adam West… Bill Murray… Christian Bale…) etc.

Give it a try the next time you forget something.

Tip Three: Memorize a Wide Variety Of Information Types

Although I do still forget things – usually temporarily – one thing I believe helps reduce this from happening is memorizing multiple types of information.

In your personal memory practice, I recommend you balance your time by practicing memorizing:

Tip Four: Use a Memory Palace Network

Simply the best tool for exercising your memory is a technique called the Memory Palace.

Basically, you bring rooms that you’re familiar with to mind and then imaginatively layer associations on the walls and furniture. These associations help you recall things in turn.

It’s fast, fun and like a video game you play in your mind.

If you’d like to learn it, give this free course a try:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Make sure to use your Memory Palaces in combination with Recall Rehearsal for best results.

Tip Five: Creative Repetition

Another major reason people forget things is that they use rote learning.

Not only does rote learning suck the life out of engaging with information. It’s been shown to harm your ability to think critically.

The alternative is creative repetition, which involves elaborative encoding and following the rules of active recall.

As a quick example, to help remember that ALF is an acronym for “accelerated long term forgetting,” I will:

  • Imagine Alf from the show about an alien
  • Hear his voice in my mind
  • Compound in an image of Alfred, Batman’s butler
  • Layer in the feeling of holding a butler’s tray in my hand and forgetting it’s there
  • Feel Alf’s emotional reaction to the horror at forgetting such an object
  • Imaginatively taste and smell the coffee on the tray

Then, when mentally recalling all of these details, I’ll trigger those different creative sensations. Operating this way encodes memories so much faster and more thoroughly for the long term.

Tip Six: Focus On Laser Specific Learning Goals

Some people are so focused on having it all that they can’t think analytically about how the universe really works.

In reality, we only have so much time and no one has to remember everything about any single topic.

Instead of trying to have it all, focus on well-selected and carefully formed learning goals. There’s an art and science to how to select and create such projects, so you might want to check out Read with Momentum for information about how to do that.

Specificity is itself a memory aid. The goal is to create a strong network of references. These help you trigger off the information you want to remember because the knowledge web is tight by design.

colourful network

There’s another reason specificity is so important.

You’re here because you searched for how to stop forgetting things. The problem is that this term could mean anything whatsoever.

A sure fire to forget more is to learn and live in unstructured ways. But when we focus our memory training on dedicated outcomes, our results are astonishing.

Tip Seven: Value Forgetting

As you’ve discovered, we forget for a variety of reasons. Some of them are normal and healthy, such as information that will never be used again.

If we couldn’t forget, we’d probably experience torture. Jill Price’s experience should be a wakeup call to anyone who fantasizes about having photographic memory, for example.

There’s another reason I value forgetting:

If I didn’t forget from time to time, I wouldn’t have discovered the tips you’ve learned today. And I wouldn’t have been able to find ways to improve my personal use of memory techniques.

As a result, it would be fair to say that forgetting has been more valuable than remembering in many ways.

So, what do you say?

Was Nietzsche right? Has forgetting never been proven to exist?

Or does it have a healthy place in our lives?

Although I take Nietzsche’s point and find it useful as a philosophical question, it’s clear to me personally that forgetting is a powerful asset.

And whenever we want to remember? We can. We just need to use the tools and strategies that work.

 

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If you want to know how to stop forgetting things, the trick is really simple. Learn how to not forget using this list of fast and fun tips. If you want to know how to stop forgetting things, the trick is really simple. Learn how to not forget using this list of fast and fun tips. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 36:35
11 Memory Exercises That Ensure Memory Improvement https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/brain-exercises/ Thu, 31 Mar 2022 00:43:42 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=6278 Would you like simple brain exercises that you can complete just about anywhere? These brain exercises require limited effort and pack a punch. You'll love them! Image of a brain filled with games and activities for the brain exercises episode of the magnetic memory method podcast

Lots of people do brain exercises, often in the form of brain games. 

You’ve probably even tried a few, right?

That’s all fine and dandy, but there’s a catch:

Playing mental exercise games on your “smartphone” is not necessarily brain exercise.

It might not even be mentally stimulating.

Not by a long shot.

But don’t worry.

I’m about to reveal some memory exercises that actually work. That’s because they really do exercise your brain. I’ll show you how to put them into action and also help you understand why they boost brain health.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

To help you navigate this post, here’s a preview of what you’re about to discover:

  • Brain Exercise and Memory Exercise? – What Makes Them Good?
  • The 11 Best Brain Exercises For Memory Improvement
  • What Is The Best Brain Activity For You?
  • How To Stimulate Your Brain To Be Smarter and Faster
  • How To Improve Concentration And Focus

Brain Exercise And Memory Exercise? – What Makes Them Good?

Let’s face it:

Smartphone-based brain games don’t exercise your brain at all.

Any exercise you get is quickly wasted on the ads you’ll be shown and tracking graphs that no robot can accurately help you understand.

Instead of helping you, brain game apps train you to get good at completing tasks within the world of those apps. This is called context dependent memory.

Any mental fitness you enjoy from such software rarely applies to the aspects of your life where you need to be sharp, such as during conversations or on the job.

Bottom Line: Use Concrete Brain Exercises And Avoid Abstract Ones

If you’re exercising your brain on an abstract level but not directing the fitness at specific life improvement goals, you’re missing out. Your brain fitness must be targeted at specific goals to get tangible results and avoid cognitive decline. 

Real brain exercise must also follow these four rules:

  • It always involves new learning
  • It is always reasonably complex (and sometimes unreasonably complex)
  • It is always varied and interesting
  • It is always engaged in frequently

Without following these rules, it is unlikely that the exercise will improve your memory.

But on this page, I promise you will experience a number of fun exercises that stimulate both short-term memory and long-term memory.

Ready?

Let’s get started!

How to Exercise Your Brain: The 11 Best Brain Exercises For Memory Improvementf

1. The 4-Details Observation Exercise

Gary Small talks about memorizing four details of people you encounter out in public.

For example, let’s say someone is wearing a black hat, has blonde hair, a triangular ring, and a green sweater.

Illustration of the 4 Details Brain Exercise

Illustration of the 4 Details Exercise

The goal is to observe the details first and then recall them later.

Some scientists call memory exercises like these “passive memory training.”

They’re passive because you’re not using any special memory techniques. You’re just asking your mind to do what it was designed to do: to remember.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we don’t ask our minds to practise observation enough.

Because we don’t practice observation, we fail to observe and receive the memory exercise simply asking our brains to recall information brings.

We also fail to observe things that we aren’t seeing – making it impossible to make mental pictures of them. I teach you all about how to do that with these 3 simple visualization exercises

If you’d like to be a better observer of the world around you, noting and visualizing details will help far better than brain training software like Cogmed.

It’s also scalable. You can start by observing just one person per day. Once you’ve gotten good at recalling four details of just one person, you can add more information or more people (or both).

You can scale this memory exercise even further by memorizing the details using a Memory Palace.

If you like, you can also notice details about buildings, cars, movies or series and foods that improve memory to boost your cognitive abilities.

But focusing on real people is the more potent memory exercise. Being observant of others around you is a great social skill.

2. A Number Exercise That Will Skyrocket Your Concentration 

I can’t emphasize this enough:

Numeracy is a powerful skill to boost your cognitive abilities. It’s something I work on to boost logical thinking – both with and without memory techniques in play.

“Add 3 Minus 7” is a fun numerical memory exercise you can try today. To get started, all you do is pick any 3-digit number. Then, add 3 to that digit 3 times. Then minus 7 from the new number 7 times.

Image of a calculator with brains in the display to illustrate the Plus 3 Minus 7 Exercise

Repeat the process at least 5 times and pick a new 3-digit number the next time. You can also take a different route and start with a 4-digit number and use other numbers to challenge your working memory further.

For example, you could start with 1278 and add 12, 12 times and minus 11, 11 times.

It’s up to you and the amount of numbers to dictate the level of challenge. Remember, this brain exercise strengthens your working memory because of the amount of detail you need to hold in mind to complete it.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

4. Number Skipping

In a book called Happiness Beyond Thought, Dr. Gary Weber shares a powerful means of experiencing your conscious mind directly.

It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s actually quite a challenge.

To complete the exercise, you count from one to ten.

But instead of visualizing each number, you skip the even numbers on the way up.

By “skip,” you don’t count 1, 3, 5, etc.

You actually pause on where the even digits should be. But you actively try to not represent them.

There are a few variations on this technique, so if you want more nuance, give this tutorial a view:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7NPia_lkaE

 

Important Tip: Don’t make the memory exercise so easy that you get bored with it. We all need challenge from our brain exercises in order to grow.

You can also skip using the alphabet by exploring a Renaissance brain exercise called The Field:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRFNXZxjGEU

 

5. Repeat What People Say In Your Mind 

We all know in our hearts that no one is really listening when we speak. And that’s sad.

But here’s the good news:

You don’t have to be another person who is just nodding your head like a puppet while actually thinking about something else.

You can train your brain to focus on what people are telling you and remember everything they say.

It all begins by creating presence in the moment in an easy way:

Follow the words being spoken to you by repeating them in your mind.

For example, imagine that someone is saying the following to you:

“Tomorrow I want to go to a movie called Memory Maverick. It’s about a guy who cannot forget. He’s hired by a group known only as ‘The Agency’ to infiltrate a competitor. But once the hero learns the secrets, he doesn’t want to hand them over. But since he can’t forget, The Agency starts making his life miserable.”

All you would need to do to complete this brain exercise is repeat everything the person is saying silently in your mind. You’ll automatically boost your cognitive function and remember more by doing this.

It works because simply asking your memory to recall information exercises it. The more challenging the information, the more exercise your brain will get.

5. Visualization Exercise Secrets Of A Memory Maverick

To remember even more, you can practise creating pictures in your head.

But go beyond the visual. Also add in multisensory elements.

For example, using the sample conversation above, you might see an image of Mel Gibson as he looked in the movie Maverick trying to remember something. Imagine that you are trying to feel what this is like as if you were Mel Gibson yourself.

Or you might get a picture in your mind of an agency building and scenes of evil men in suits torturing the hero. Feel their clothes on your skin. Smell the air through their nostrils. Hear the world through their ears.

For more cognitive exercises on remembering what people are saying with visualization practice, check out this interview with Jim Samuels on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. He has some great ideas, and the benefits include:

  • Being more present.
  • Remembering more of what was said.
  • Showing people that you’re interested in them and their lives.
  • Easing conflicts when they arise because you remember the issues in greater detail.

As people speak, they “translate” their ideas into pictures, feelings, related concepts and even tastes and smells.

Take this training seriously:

You’ll feel better about your connection to people because you’re really with them. 

6. The Metronome-Clapping Exercise

Back in grad school, I had a great professor named Matthew Clark. For some reason, he told our class in Classical Literature about a great concentration exercise that I’ve practiced ever since.

It’s simple: You put on a metronome at a slow speed and then practice “covering the click.”

Such neurobic exercises can help us focus on things that our brains have been automated to perform. The increased focus that neurobic exercises develop helps you zero-in on your surroundings to boost your memory skills.

If you’d like a practical example of the metronome exercise on video, please check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaiF3DL-ens

To be clear:

I don’t think this memory exercise helps memory in any direct way.

But it is excellent for improving concentration and presence.

Here’s why these mental states matter:

Both concentration and presence are cognitive skills we all need. The more concentration and presence we have, the more we can remember by default.

The better you get at this mind exercise, the longer the amount of time between clicks you should place. Accurately covering the metronome with a minute between clicks would be impressive!

7. Create A Memory Palace

The ultimate brain exercise to boost overall cognitive function is also the easiest. It involves nothing more than a simple drawing that follows some simple principles.

What’s a Memory Palace?

It’s a mental recreation of a familiar location. You use it to chart out a simple journey that you can follow with your mind.

Then, using associations, you “place” mental images along this journey that help you remember things.

Why is creating a Memory Palace such a powerful memory exercise?

First, complete my FREE memory improvement course and find out for yourself:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Second, creating a Memory Palace draws upon your spatial and visual memory.

It’s also a great recovered memory and autobiographical memory exercise.

As far as mind exercises go, the Memory Palace training exercise works kind of in reverse.

Why?

Because you’re accessing visual memory cues that are usually blueprinted in your mind outside of your awareness.

Think about it:

You’ve rarely gone into a new home or store with the conscious intent of memorizing its features.

Yet, if you think back to the last home of a friend you visited, here’s a fact:

Most people can recall an insane amount of detail with visual memory. Creating a Memory Palace lets you exercise that inborn ability.

You can even use it for memory and learning stunts like memorizing all the Prime Ministers of Canada.

Second, creating a Memory Palace is creating a tool that you can use for life. Once you have one and you’ve mastered using it, you can create dozens more.

And if you can do that, you can do great things with your memory, like how Matteo Ricci learned Chinese in record time. You can also easily remember names at events and accomplish any memory-associated goal.

And what goal doesn’t involve memory?

8. Learn a Foreign Language

You’ve probably heard that bilingualism is good for the brain, right? 

It is, and one of the reasons why is that you are continually asking your brain to recall information. 

Take advantage of your brain’s neuroplasticity and learn a new skill at any age to keep it active and ticking!

This is a great brain exercise for people of any age because it keeps you talking with people.

Image of a frustrated language learner

Regular conversation also helps stimulate the production of healthy chemicals for better mental health. Ideally, you would have conversations about books you’ve read. That way you dig into memory at multiple levels, especially verbal memory.

But if you don’t like to talk, you can also sing. Or do both. For a double-whammy of health and brain benefits, singing has been shown by researchers like Gunter Kreutz to increase cortisol and other chemicals involved in healing.

For this reason, singing in a foreign language you’re learning can increase the impact and effectiveness of this brain exercise.

However, that isn’t all – you get more health benefits. 

Researchers conducted a study that found that learning a second language can delay the onset of cognitive impairment like dementia in Alzheimer’s disease by around 4-5 years!

The best part?

Learning anything new is good for your brain!

Whether it’s learning to play a new musical instrument or working with your non-dominant hand, new neural pathways will form – helping you boost your brain power.

9. Mind Mapping For Maximum Brain Health

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tony Buzan’s approach to mind mapping.

And that’s because I used to mind map in ways that weren’t effective at all.

But after training with Tony and world mind mapping champion Phil Chambers, I discovered a new route and I’m way better at the practice and share it in real-time on my YouTube live streams:

Anthony Metivier with a Much Improved Tony Buzan Style Mind Map

What is mind mapping?

It’s a graphic means of brainstorming and planning. You can even use it for note taking and review.

The question is…

Why is mind mapping great for boosting cognitive function?

One reason Tony Buzan hints at is very compelling. The process reproduces the role of nerve cells on the paper.

Think it through:

Just as a brain cell has a central nucleus with synapses that flow outward like a river, the mind map has a central idea that feeds several streams with mental power. By creating mindmaps, you’re making it easier on your brain – thereby increasing its processing speed. Just like more water increases the flow of a stream.

Interested?

Give these 10 mind mapping rules a try whenever you want a cognitive training workout.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

10. The Memory Exercise Of Sports And Fitness

I love physical activity like aerobic exercise.

And not just to workout my muscles and boost my heart rate.

Physical activity is a great place for including a mental workout.

For example, you can memorize the number of sets and reps you complete using the Major System.

You can also rehearse the content in your Memory Palaces during and after your workout. I often recite Sanskrit I’ve memorized or perform number skipping while I’m at the gym.

11. Memory-Based Meditation

Did you know that you can clear out old memories that you’d rather not have?

You can even help reduce symptoms of PTSD and depression.

These outcomes are produced by creating a “Happy Memory Palace.”

I started doing this after reading Tim Dalgleish’s research on using the method of loci to help heal the mind.

For this exercise, you’ll need a Memory Palace and 5-10 happy memories. Then, along the journey, you’ll place each memory in a strategic location.

In my Happy Memory Palace, I used a small office I had when I was a graduate student. On the first corner, I placed a memory of when I graduated with my PhD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs9UHz4pVuM

 

Then, when I feel down, I revisit this Memory Palace and start feeling better quickly. The trick is to keep creating these Memory Palaces. When something good happens to you, the brain exercise is to transport it into a Memory Palace and revisit it often so that the memory sticks.

What Are the Best Brain Exercises for Memory?

At the end of the day, memory exercises are best when they’re applied to problem-solving in our daily life.

For example, forgetting important details can turn our lives upside down.

You can now choose memory loss exercises that also show you how to be happy and positive.

Not being able to focus on numbers leads us to making all kinds of mistakes that prevent us from memorizing information quickly. The simple game you’ve just learned is just one step towards improved numerical memory skills.

You’ve also learned to listen better, be more present and develop concentration for extended periods of time.

In many ways, repeating the words of others in your mind or “covering the click” can help you meditate and practice mindfulness – skills known to improve memory.

But what matters above all is that the best memory exercises are the ones that you actually use. If sudoku is what works, then go for it. If it’s brain teasers – then that’s fine too.

Remember, you cannot get the benefits from them without consistent application.

Yours Free: A Private Course With Cheat Sheets For Becoming A Memory Master, Starting From Scratch.

>>> Click Here For This Special Free Offer.

How to Stimulate Your Brain To Be Smarter & Faster!

Now that you have this pile of authentic exercises, consistency is the key.

In order to show up regularly enough, I recommend that you start tracking your time.

That’s right. Instead of making a to-do list that you’ll probably ignore, start by writing down where you time has gone on a day by day basis.

For this, I like to use a Snapshot Journal.

These are wonderful tools because you can keep them on your desk and see them every day. They remind you of your goals for you.

Original image of a 5 year snapshot journal

The Snapshot Journal I’m using

You just fill them out with what you’ve accomplished during the day, and each day gives you a reminder of how far you’ve come. You can see your progress for up to five years at a glance.

I haven’t missed a day and am in my fourth year now of the current Snapshot journal. It’s wonderfully fulfilling to see all of the many accomplishments build up over time.

How These Free Brain Games For Adults Improve Memory and Concentration

For example, thanks to constantly reminding myself of my goals, I’ve found time to practice juggling, writing with both hands and writing backwards to involve both my brain and body.

As you can see in this brain exercise challenge, I’ve managed to bring both worlds together in a way that is easy and fun.

You can also get out to art galleries. Then, exercise your memory by recreating a painting in your mind. I’ll walk you through this exercise here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJbRKxDEHJE

Not only will you get a great memory workout. Visiting an art galley gives you physical exercise too.

The Truth About How To Improve Concentration And Focus

It’s not just about concentration exercises.

It’s also about making sure we don’t fall into the traps of smartphone and video game addiction.

Sure, you can get some great brain fitness reading from the Kindle app or solving online crossword puzzles. Maybe you excel at Nintendo’s brain age game.

But if you’re constantly interrupted by notifications on your reading device, you’re damaging your focus and concentration more than helping improve it. Memory exercises truly require the right environment.

Brain Rehabilitation Exercises For Overcoming Depression (+ Memory Loss Exercises)

Just so you know, the reason I’m so passionate about sharing my knowledge about how to improve brain function, it’s because these activities saved my life.

I once nearly lost my life. But these exercises helped save me along with general memory improvement efforts, like those I discuss in my book, The Victorious Mind.

You might also want to consider learning more about vitamins for memory improvement because the ones you’re taking now might be causing more damage than good to your cognitive health.

If you’re looking for information on how to boost brain activity, definitely add dietary considerations to your neurobic exercise routine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MlDePoXWuY

Summary Of The Most Potent Brain Exercises

  1. The 4-details mental workout is excellent for “passive memory training.” 
  2. Number exercises result in better working memory, an increased attention span and greater numerical memory skills.
  3. Repeat and Recall exercises also increase your concentration and ability to pay attention to others for longer periods of time. You’ll also remember more.
  4. Create images, associations and other related sensations as you listen to people speak. This will create intense brain fitness to reduce the chances of memory impairment.
  5. The Metronome exercise. This simple device can be found at any music store or downloaded as an app. “Covering the click” has many mental benefits and provides a fun challenge as a solo effort or group activity. You can perform such neurobic exercises several times a day.
  6. Create and use Memory Palaces. Both of these activities create a lot of mental exercise.
  7. Learn a language consistently over time. It might not feel like brain workout, but it is and the benefits of being bilingual provide ongoing mental benefits. These include helping with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive decline associated with brain age.
  8. Mind Map. There are many interesting rules you can follow to maximize the process. Following them is part of what creates the mental benefits of this creative brain game.
  9. Use memory techniques while getting physical fitness. Using your body and mind at the same time maximizes your time and is a win-win for total psychological and physical optimization. Don’t forget to sleep enough, though!
  10. Brain exercises must follow the four rules outlined above in order to qualify.

Improve Your Memory With Games

What are your thoughts about the brain exercise principles discussed in this post? Are these amazing free brain games, or what? 

Do you think these are activities you will bring into your life? Did you develop better memory? Is there anything I’m missing?

Let me know in the discussion area below and I’ll gladly respond and update this post.

In fact, for more brain training games that really improve your memory, please read Brain Games: The Truth You Need To Know For Memory Improvement.

Or, if you’d like more practical, hands on help, join my…

Brain Exercise Bootcamp!

 

Brain Exercise Bootcamp

This exclusive training comes packed with over 40 brain and memory exercises. You’ll be taken step-by-step through everything you need to create a detailed program of fitness that keeps you focused and sharp for life.

So if you enjoyed the 11 memory exercises on this page, don’t hesitate to dive in deeper and enjoy 40 more! Take your brain for a spin!

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Would you like simple brain exercises that you can complete just about anywhere? These brain exercises require limited effort and pack a punch. You'll love them! Would you like simple brain exercises that you can complete just about anywhere? These brain exercises require limited effort and pack a punch. You'll love them! Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 41:44
How to Overcome a Memory Block (Guide From a Memory Expert) https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/how-to-overcome-memory-block/ Wed, 23 Mar 2022 03:28:21 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27816 Overcoming mental blocks is easy when you have the right strategies. Get rid of any mental or memory block quickly with these tips. how to overcome a memory block feature imageMy worst mental block happened back in 2008 while giving a lecture.

I was standing behind the podium when a huge panic attack burst inside my chest.

Although I’m usually very good at remembering what I want to say, when I want to say it… during that moment, I found myself speechless.

I had no idea what I had just been talking about and couldn’t find the thread needed to get myself back on track.

Embarrassed beyond belief, I dismissed the class and retreated home. I decided I would never be caught cold like that again.

Fast-forward to February 2020. I made a small error while delivering a TEDx speech.

Using the techniques you’re about to discover, I rapidly recovered because I not only had the thread firmly in my hands. But overcoming mental blocks under pressure has become my speciality.

Are you ready for all my best tips?

Great! Let’s get started!

What is a Mental Block?

Mental blocks can be defined in a few different ways. I think Tobore Onojighofia Tobore gets the definition best when he relates the sudden inability to focus and remember to a failure of learning and mental representation.

Tobore gives us an important way to think about it because mental blocks can happen to anyone, no matter how skilled or experienced they might be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpjjATXXRq8

There are also levels of mental blocks a person can experience.

For example, think of the difference between writer’s block, when the person can’t write at all, and writing a bad book. 

An experienced author should know better than to produce second-rate work, yet even Stephen King has admitted in On Writing that he’s capable of producing a dud. He may not have been blocked from writing altogether, but something in his brain failed to remember what makes a story great.

Likewise, a student can show up to an exam and often remember enough to answer the questions. But they might struggle to recall the nuances that make the difference between a C+ and an A.

Tobore thinks that it boils down to the strength of your neuronal connections and their resistance to disruption.

brain network conections

The 5 Main Mental Block Causes

If Tobore is correct (and I think he is), this means that the typical explanations for why we experience mental blocks are incorrect.

Typically, we’re told that we experience them when we’re:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Tired
  • Stressed
  • Unrested

Although these states certainly can contribute to poor focus and an inability to access memory (stress in particular), they are not strong explanations.

We know this because many people who play Jeopardy, act on stage or give speeches face all of these factors and yet still perform well. Athletes also have to access procedural memory under grueling conditions, so it just doesn’t make sense that these oft-cited factors are to blame.

I know from personal experience that they aren’t to blame because I often perform perfectly well despite suffering all of the above issues, including chronic pain.

So if we can’t point the finger at those issues, what factors do reliably explain our mental blocks when we have them?

One: Lack of Preparation

Most people experience blocks because they simply haven’t prepared themselves thoroughly enough.

They may have skimmed or scanned books instead of reading them thoroughly. This prevents the brain from forming enough connections to frame a complete enough picture. Instead of a study foundation, you wind up with sand that easily blows away in the wind.

red sweater woman is reading a green book

When I had my panic attack in front of the lecture hall, I was still a rookie. A huge part of my problem was that I hadn’t put a lot of thought into how I was going to end the lecture. I was okay up until the close and thought I could wing it. But I was wrong and that led to me experiencing a massive mental block.

Two: Lack of Practice

As a professor, I’ve marked hundreds of exams and essays.

It’s easy to spot the work of students who have put in the practice and those who have not.

When I myself had field exams and a dissertation defense to pass before getting my Phd, I practiced each and every one. It was as simple as getting friends to test me and following the rules around what is called dedicated pactice.

Performance-wise, when I gave my TEDx Talk, I wasn’t feeling all that well. But it didn’t matter because I’d practiced reciting the talk multiple times. I’d even memorized it and written it out by hand three times to make sure I knew it inside and out.

That way, no matter how tired, overwhelmed or stressed I felt, I knew I could rely on memory consolidation alone both in terms of the procedural memory of delivering the talk and semantic memory of the words and phrases.

Three: Communication Challenges

Some people have congenital issues or brain disease. For example, some people might suffer from aphasia and need to be trained to rely on formulaic speech patterns. But because the flows of normal speech are not necessarily tidy, people with these issues can quickly find themselves blocked.

Although you could interpret such situations as “overwhelm,” it is a very specific kind of overwhelm based on the fact that parts of the brain have been impaired.

Looking back at the panic attack I had in the lecture hall, it happened during a time when I did a lot of drinking. This left my brain dehydrated and because I privileged alcohol over nutritious food, it’s little wonder I couldn’t even innovate a conclusion to my talk that day.

empty lecture hall

Four: Focusing On The Block

It’s easy to get caught like a deer in headlights when a mental block arises. Instead of easing your way out of it, you wind up doubling down on the symptoms. This happens because your brain focuses on the problem instead of possible solutions.

Options include:

  • Taking a few deep breaths
  • Getting a drink of water and/or a snack
  • Taking a walk or stretching

If you’re in an exam, you might be pleasantly surprised by how generous your examiner might be if you need to take a break. But if you hyper-focus on the problem, you might not even think about asking.

In the case of my lecture, I could have easily excused myself for a moment and used a few breathing routines I knew to bring myself back to center. I was too involved in the panic attack itself to even think about pursuing this possible solution.

You might doubt that taking a few deep breaths will help. However, studies have shown that there’s a relationship between breathing and memory formation.

Five: Negative Patterns

Related to focusing on the mental block itself, it’s easy to repeat negative thoughts that make the problem worse.

For example, students often tell themselves during exams, “I don’t know this!” They repeat the statement like a mantra instead of moving on to the next question and coming back to where they’re blocked.

students are doing their exam

Even as a person experienced at speaking and taking multiple exams, that day in the lecture hall, I found myself repeating, “I’m freaking out!”

Although it can be good to acknowledge whatever state you’re in, you need to label it as fear, not participate in the fear. This is an important finding of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which reveals that people are often more afraid of the fear itself than they are of the consequence of failing or looking silly because they forget what they were going to say.

Research in this area is relatively new, but some researchers have found that practicing giving public talks in a virtual reality environment can help people with public speaking anxiety learn not to get into such mental downward spirals just as well as CBT. Such findings substantiate Tobere’s argument that mental blocks ultimately come down to the strength of memory consolidation at the cellular level because strong neural connections help prevent falling into the spiral in the first place.

How to Overcome Any Memory Block in 9 Steps

Now that you know what really causes mental blocks, let’s look at removing them on demand. These suggestions will work no matter how overwhelmed or stressed you might find yourself.

Do they require extra effort?

Sure.

But at the end of the day, it’s usually the absence of effort that leads to the problem in the first palace.

And since you’re here, you obviously want to be a top performer. Let me share my best solutions, earned from the trenches of having suffered myself from mental blocks.

a key solution

If some of my solutions seem quirky, it’s because things like getting enough sleep or chatting with friends just weren’t options for me.

Plan Ahead and Finish Early

I suffered anxiety for many decades, not just during my first years as a university professor.

As an undergrad, one of my go-to strategies for making sure I got top grades involved discovering what would be required of me as far ahead as possible.

To do this, the moment I knew what courses I would be taking, I would email my professor and ask for the course syllabi. They weren’t always willing to give them ahead of the class start day, but often enough they would.

Then, I would get the exam and assignment dates on my calendar and start reading. In courses where I had to wait for the start to get this information, I would immediately add those dates.

Because I usually worked at least one, but sometimes two or more jobs while studying, I reduced my stress and overwhelm by starting the essay assignments early. When professors were receptive to it, I would hand them in early as well and try to get advance feedback. That way I could improve them before the due date and get even better grades.

This might seem over the top, but the top grades I earned helped in earning scholarships that kept my student debt as low as possible. As a result, I had much less stress. 

Customize the Questions

In my last year as an undergrad, I was required to complete a fourth year level course in Romantic literature.

old book with flowers

I loved the topic, but for some reason, the professor was hard on me. When I asked for an alternative assignment to giving an oral presentation because I was still getting used to shaking from lithium I had to take, he made me spend my precious study time getting a letter to prove that I had the issue. And he wouldn’t accept the letter from my doctor. He wanted it from a counselor at the university’s Behavioral Sciences department.

When I finally got the alternative assignment, he made me read Goethe novels that were 3x longer than the material I would have read for the oral assignment. This meant that I had less study time for the final exam in the course.

During the final exam, I was unprepared for an entire question on a play called Cain by Lord Byron. Rather than leave the question blank and accept a zero for such a huge portion of the exam, I scratched out the question. In its place, I wrote, “Explain the difference between Coleridge and Wordsworth’s approaches to Romanticism.”

I’d relied on this tactic a few times before and thought for sure that this particular professor would still give me a zero. But as things turned out, I passed the course with an A.

Learn and Practice Depth Relaxation

I have been interested in meditation since high school. But it wasn’t until my PhD years that I really got into practicing it seriously. And as part of my research into friendship, I took a course to become a certified hypnotherapist, largely to explore the role of persuasion in friendship.

In the hypnotherapy program, I learned to relax myself deeply on demand. The guided visualizations I learned to create for myself were golden. I still struggled with panic attacks from time to time, largely because I still drank and would sometimes show up unprepared, but overall, I enjoyed a much more relaxed life.

One thing that I’ve found tremendously helpful is to relax while studying. Like Pavlovian conditioning, it seems to help bring the feeling of relaxation back when drawing upon the material. Although not entirely scientific, the advantage this brings possibly relates to what is called context dependent memory.

a woman is relaxing in a black bed

Expand Your Context

One reason we experience memory blocks that we can’t get out of is that we simply don’t have a wide enough frame of reference.

But by expanding what we know through effective reading strategies, we’re less likely to get blocked in the first place. Our minds will find related topics to discuss or near-substitutes.

All people get mentally blocked, but if you watch enough smart people give talks or interviews, you’ll notice that they are expert at finding detours when the perfect answer doesn’t immediately come to mind.

And the best speakers of all will use rhetorical devices. For example, they’ll say, “I’ll get back to this in a moment, but let me first talk about _____.” Often, when an expert uses a phrase like this, it’s because they’re buying time.

Place the Focus Elsewhere

Although I’m a memory expert, I sometimes can’t find the word or reference I’m looking for. When this happens, I simply call a spade a spade and say, “It will come back to me.” 

Usually, simply by being willing to admit what’s going on in my mind and focus for a moment on something else, the original thought I was looking for pops up on its own.

Consult the Alphabet

Sometimes when I can’t find the names of people I’m looking for, I choose a simple strategy instead of getting frustated.

It happened to me today, for example. I was thinking about Dan Harlan, and for some reason, his last name just wouldn’t come to me.

Why?

Well, I was tired. Hungry. And frankly, I had no particular big reason why I needed his name at that moment.

Nonetheless, I’m a person who works on my memory, so I wanted to remember it.

One of my favorite tactics to nudge such information out of memory is to simply run through the alphabet. Like this:

  • Dan A…?
  • Dan B…?
  • Dan C…?
  • Etc.

I actually went past H without getting it, but it wasn’t much further before his last name popped into my mind.

The next step is to use memory techniques, which we’ll discuss next.

Use Memory Techniques

That said, if you use the Memory Palace technique effectively, such mental blocks will happen to you much less frequently.

The trick is to use the technique properly. It’s a real skill and like other skills, can only serve you to the extent that you master it. If you need help learning to use it, register for this FREE COURSE:

Free Memory Improvement Course

In it, I’ll guide you through a number of simple exercises and steps to follow so that you have multiple Memory Palaces.

Here’s a simple use case:

To make the name Dan Harlan stronger so I get it more immediately the next time, he is placed in a Memory Palace. In this case, it’s a building I’m aware of in Harlem, New York.

I imagine him standing out side of this location with a giant harpoon. I choose this image because harpoon has the Harlan sound in it.

Then I have him harpooning a LAN Internet device with a Lando sticker on it (the character from Star Wars) in that location. After visiting this association a few times, Dan Harlan’s name should come back with much greater ease in the future.

Use Other Accelerated Learning Techniques

There’s a vast world of tactics you can use in addition to memory techniques. You can learn to read faster and mind map, to take just a few examples.

However, don’t be a dabbler. None of these techniques will help much if you don’t pay them their due. And that’s why the next point is so important.

Practice Thoroughly

As I mentioned above, I’ve spent a lot of time practicing for exams and presentations.

When it comes to practice, the amount of time you practice usually isn’t as important as what you practice during the time you have.

Plus, you have to think deeply about the exact area you need practice in. How you practice for taking tests will be different from practicing to give a speech or to perform a magic trick.

beautiful magician performing in front of a red background

Know what the masters in your field practice and model them so that you know you’re maximizing the time you have at your disposal.

By getting out there and taking the exams or giving speeches from memory, you’ll give yourself important frames of reference. If you don’t make mistakes, it’s hard to see what to improve.

Develop the Right Attitude

In The Positive Mental Attitude Pocketbook, Douglas Miller talks about having “firelighters.”

These help you stop mental blocks and get back on track. They include:

  • Avoiding limiting descriptions of yourself, (i.e. I’m a failure)
  • Find the source of the problem
  • Evaluate the situation from a broad perspective
  • Don’t let one failure derail you completely
  • Expect future success

Each of these points have helped me tremendously. Whereas I used to repeat negative phrases about myself compulsively, now I recite Sanskrit phrases I’ve memorized instead. Instead of thinking the smallest failure is the end of the world, I zoom out and think of all human and cosmological history and how my life is merely a speck in the grand scheme of things.

And regular readers of this blog might find this surprising, but I not only expect future success. I expect and embrace future failure too.

I know that mental blocks are coming, but I keep moving forward anyway. Case in point:

At the very end of my Read with Momentum program, I was tired after seven hours of live streaming. I probably shouldn’t have tried a memory demonstration, but I believe in taking my best shot anyway.

a girl is reading on a green sofa

Names had come up, and to help answer some questions for Robert, I pulled up a software used by some memory competitors.

Now, I actually didn’t do that bad when I typed out the names, but I made a critical error. I was so hyper-focused on encoding the names that I didn’t pay attention to the faces on the screen. But instead of getting blocked by this obvious failure, I opened a new tab and typed out what I remembered anyway.

I fully expect that if I’m going to continue this work, I’ll wind up making “errors” like this in the future. It’s just part of what’s involved in memory as an art, craft and science.

But if you have the right attitude and expectations, you’ll always learn from whatever happens. And in the future, you can use those past experiences as “firelighters,” as Miller calls them.

Say GoodBye To Memory Blocks

We’ve talked about a lot of circumstances in which you can experience a mental block or temporary memory loss.

A subtheme throughout today’s tutorial is that life itself is a kind of exam.

When you treat it that way, and always show up prepared to do your best, you’ll do so much better.

As a final thought, I would suggest that you be willing to let go of the outcome. As I often tell my memory students in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass, you have to be like a samurai. You have to be prepared to execute one final perfect move, even with your head cut off.

In the memory demonstration that failed, I did my best to squeeze in one more name than I thought I could.

different names on a blackboard

Although I wasn’t able to place the names next to the faces, the names I did recall were mostly correct. And I had one syllable for one last name that I hadn’t even mentioned during the demonstration.

True, the demonstration was far from perfect. But the one last move, the one I made while admitting my head had been cut off, produced an audible gasp.

But it was only possible for me to have the guts to make such a mistake in front of so many people because I am willing to let go of the outcome.

And if you want to stop mental blocks from holding you back, I suggest you cultivate this skill too. When you do, you’ll develop the reinforced mental representations Tobore’s research has discovered. In other words, the more you practice being your best possible self, the easier it will be for that person to emerge, fully knowledgeable and perfectly capable, even when the chips are down.

So what do you say? Are you ready to treat life itself like an exam and show up with your best possible attitude?

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Overcoming mental blocks is easy when you have the right strategies. Get rid of any mental or memory block quickly with these tips. Overcoming mental blocks is easy when you have the right strategies. Get rid of any mental or memory block quickly with these tips. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 42:26
Mental Stimulation: Everything You Need to Know About Brain Health https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/mental-stimulation/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 09:02:40 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27613 Mental stimulation is key for optimum brain health. Learn what it means to be mentally stimulated with powerful mental activity examples. mental stimulation feature imageDid you know that you can use mental stimulation to cause new brain cells to grow and connect?

It’s true. The process is called neurogenesis and anyone can do it.

But you might lack confidence when it comes to understanding and using the techniques.

And I can’t blame you. Tinkering with your brain can feel scary.

But rest assured. I do it all the time, as do millions of others around the planet.

It’s safe, healthy and really does boost your brain.

So if you’re ready for a simple explanation of the science and a list of fun steps to follow, let’s get started.

What is Mental Stimulation?

Think about the difference between your brain and your mind.

You’ve probably seen documentaries where surgeons use electrodes to stimulate parts of the brain. Sometimes touching a part of the brain causes the patient’s limbs to move. Other times, they might think they are smelling toast.

This is the difference between stimulating the brain’s connection to the body and its connection to mental imagery. Whereas brain stimulation that causes muscle movement is physical, stimulation that triggers a mental experience is mental stimulation.

Do the two types of stimulation ever combine?

In a word, yes.

One of the scientific terms for the physical aspect of brain stimulation is called “neuromodulation.” As Clement Hamani and his co-authors show in Neuromodulation in Psychiatry, manipulating physical brain structures has a long, and sometimes troubling history.

For example, gamma knife radiation, normally used to treat lesions and tumors, has been used experimentally to treat obsessive compulsive disorder. Some positive results have been seen in how such patients think and behave. But there have also been some not so positive outcomes as well.

gamma knife radiation

However, this is not what we usually mean by mental stimulation. Usually what we mean are topics like the ones categorized by John Clement in Creative Model Construction in Scientists and Students: The Role of Imagery, Analogy, and Mental Simulation:

  • Using your imagination to mentally simulate experiences like using image streaming
  • Conducting thought experiments
  • Using analogies
  • Thinking philosophically
  • Reasoning through problems objectively and subjectively
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Playing a musical instrument

The Impact of Mental Stimulation

The benefits of such activities can increase creativity, memory, productivity, consistency, decision-making and goal completion.

Mental activity is key in each of these areas. As the co-authors of The Wise Advocate show, thinking in particular ways helps improve brain structures. It also helps new neural pathways form, helping people lead themselves and others much better.

Plus, you’ll also feel sharper when you stimulate the brain. The question is, what kinds of activities do this effectively and efficiently?

Let’s have a look at some of the best.

brain stimulation

Mental Activities That Can Stimulate Your Brain

As we dive into this list, please beware of other lists that talk about improving your blood sugar, cholesterol or other aspects of physical health. While all of those things are good in themselves, to get the benefits of brain stimulation, we need to engage in mental exercises.

Authentic mental activities will stretch you. If they don’t, they’re probably not stimulating enough.

To make sure you’re getting proper levels of challenge, make sure that the activities you choose to get mentally stimulated involve:

  • Learning or relearning
  • Reasonable complexity
  • Variation
  • Frequent engagement

If you’re missing any of these criteria, make sure to include them in for a good brain workout.

One: Learn a Language

One of the most proven ways to increase what is called “cognitive reserve” is to study a foreign language.

What is cognitive reserve?

It is robust brain health that people free from Alzheimer’s and Dementia show in old age. It’s well-known that keeping your brain active throughout life, but especially in old age helps increase this aspect of mental fitness.

Some studies I’ve discussed in my post on bilingualism show that learning just one language can provide up to 32 years of cognitive reserve.

Luckily, learning a new language provides a range of challenges, and is also really fun.

Two: Study Music

Music provides a similar level of challenge as language learning. There are at least as many ins-and-ands you’ll stretch your brain to accommodate.

Whether it’s learning the key signatures or the names of the notes for each string on a guitar, your brain will benefit.

a woman is playing with guitar strings

Keep in mind that you don’t have to learn an instrument. Studies have shown that even just regular singing stimulates the brain so much, people who do it recover better from surgeries than those who don’t.

Plus, you can also stimulate your brain by learning about the history of different musical styles, along with the biographies of great composers and musicians.

Three: Long Form Reading

Many people graze in their reading. They dip in and out of things.

But long form reading stimulates your brain much more profoundly when you read:

  • Multiple books on the same topic
  • A variety of books by the same author so your mind can build a paracosm
  • Several books that compare and contrast topics to expand your perspective

There are many other reading strategies, but the three listed above are some of my favorites.

Four: Neurobics

If aerobic exercise gets your lungs and heart to change their normal resting pattern, neurobics changes the normal patterns of your brain.

A simple example is changing your route to and from work. It can even be just a simple detour down a street you’ve never explored that awakens your brain.

a beautiful street

Or, you can:

  • Brush your teeth using your non-dominant hand
  • Unlock your door with your eyes closed
  • Learn to recite the alphabet backwards

Five: Brain Exercise

Brain exercise is controversial. Tons of companies have created apps that claim they will help keep your brain sharp.

However, as I discussed with Dr. Christine Till, there’s little to no evidence that they have any effect.

That said, there are a number of mentally stimulating brain exercises you can engage in that will stretch your figural memory. For example, you can imagine taking different letters of the alphabet apart and reorganizing them in unique ways.

Six: Puzzles and Games

Solving puzzles is very stimulating.

But I don’t mean crossword puzzles, where the temptation to cheat is strong.

I’m talking about physical puzzles that require you to complete a picture. For the strongest possible challenge, choose densely colored abstract images to work on.

When it comes to games, check out my list of the best adult brain games.

women are playing puzzels

Seven: Memory-Based Meditation

Many types of meditation are fantastic. But the most stimulating tend to involve chanting and mudras.

To get started, I suggest learning Kirtan Kriya. It’s good for reducing stress while improving concentration and memory.

For greater levels of challenge, memorize chants like the kind I discuss in my book, The Victorious Mind.

If you need help memorizing long chants, it’s also great mental stimulation to use a Memory Palace. You can ultimately tie this form of meditation back to language learning, such as by memorizing a book of chants in another language.

Eight: Develop Your Critical Thinking Skills

In a world filled with so much gullibility and strife, it’s easy to stand out just by being a reasonable person.

But how do you get started if you’re currently struggling with falling for bad ideas and disinformation?

Here’s a simple exercise that Lisa Mendelman rightly argues sounds simplistic, but is incredibly effective.

As you read, circle the concepts and the images authors use to try and persuade you. For example, in this section, you might circle the word “strife.”

a woman is writing on a pink book

This in itself will help you think more critically. But to take it to the next level, start questioning while reading. Ask questions like:

  • According to whom?
  • What’s the evidence?
  • Who benefits if this claim is true?

This kind of real-time reflective thinking is incredibly stimulating – and beneficial.

Can You Really Boost Your Brain?

As we’ve seen, this is not really the right question. What we need to do is stimulate our minds.

Or course, there’s a time and a place for stimulating the physical brain, ideally with physical exercise.

But when it comes to stimulating the mind so that it really does get a boost, we need to challenge it.

I’ve shared a bunch of powerful activities on this page, and you can rest assured that your intelligence is not fixed. You even stand to improve your IQ if you set goals around learning and complete them.

For some people, the real challenge is going to be taking on the challenge in the first place.

And no doubt. Modern life is hectic. Many of us are tired. Digital amnesia has frazzled our brain and Johan Hari has gone deep into how and why this has happened in his book Stolen Focus.

But if you’re stuck, there are always options.

One of those options is memory training. It is perhaps the most stimulating option of them all because it works out multiple levels of your memory.

Get my FREE MEMORY IMPROVEMENT KIT now if you’re interested:

Free Memory Improvement Course

The mental stimulation you’ll receive in this course includes stimulation of your:

All you have to do is dive in and get started.

It truly is up to you. All you have to do is take that first step.

So what do you say?

Are you ready for some authentic mental stimulation? Stimulate yourself now by saying yes and I can’t wait to read your progress reports.

In case it hasn’t already leapt to your mind, engaging in correspondence is yet another powerful way to invite more mental stimulation into your life. All the more so when you’re taking on the challenge of expressing your experiences of taking on more challenges.

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Mental stimulation is key for optimum brain health. Learn what it means to be mentally stimulated with powerful mental activity examples. Mental stimulation is key for optimum brain health. Learn what it means to be mentally stimulated with powerful mental activity examples. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 28:30
How to Remember What You Study (Almost Without Trying!) https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/how-to-remember-what-you-study/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 17:00:43 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=26854 If you want to know how to remember what you study, the standard advice won't help. Read these memory expert tips from a PhD now and succeed. how to remember what you study feature imageWant the best way to study and memorize?

Without all the pain and hassle of boring scientific explanations that are themselves hard to understand?

You’re in luck.

I’ve sat for some of the most competitive exams that exist over eleven years of university.

Despite many personal challenges, I managed to get my Ph.d. and have picked up many other certifications along the way. 

I’ve even used what you’re about to discover to help me learn languages and earn certifications for both German and Mandarin.

So whatever you’re studying, I’m qualified to help you get some quick wins.

Ready?

Let’s dive in!

How to Remember What You Study Fast: 10 Quick-Win Strategies

Later, I’m going to give you a more robust strategy that will take you approximately one weekend to learn.

But we’re going to start with some powerful strategies that you can start applying today. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-95LBlPS2pY

One: Get Your Mindset Sorted

Negativity is a major reason that so many people fail.

They play a little story repetitively through their minds about how “hard” everything feels.

Instead of focusing on the task at hand, they visualize the stress of the exam and the consequences of failure.

This is not helpful.

The alternative?

Relaxation and deliberately letting go of the outcome.

Simply being willing to fail if that’s what was going to happen was the number one strategy that helped me most before and during the toughest exam of my life.

Sound hard?

It isn’t really when you have mental strength exercises to guide you.

Even if mindset isn’t a problem for you, it’s useful to focus on the positive.

Two: Take Intelligent Breaks

Many people force themselves to study for hours at a time.

You cannot expect to succeed by doing this – at least not many of us can.

Personally, I love studying for long periods at a time, but I do take plenty of breaks.

I get up, walk around, drink plenty of water and practice the next tip. It’s one of the simplest ways to help you study and remember.

During your breaks, you can also spend time on relaxation, meditation and breathing exercises.

Three: Switch Things Up

The special technique I use as part of taking breaks is to read other kinds of books.

They can be either related or unrelated to the topic at hand.

The point is to switch things up so that your brain has time to percolate the ideas you’re learning and make unexpected connections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U34nJGuFvQ

You don’t have to follow any particular pattern, but an easy way to take action with interleaving is to have three books at all times.

Switch from book one to book two and then book three on a loose pattern.

Don’t “try” to recall different elements or connect them. Just plow forward and enjoy the benefits of what your mind will do for you on autopilot.

This is one simple strategy where the “let go of the outcome” attitude is really important.

Four: Use Your Hands

We often hear about different note taking and mind mapping techniques.

Although neither of them are the best way to study and memorize, they’re great because of how they get the hands involved.

But scientists have shown that the deliberate use of gestures helps you learn.

You can also use your fingers to learn different ideas.

For example, take an example of abstract thinking you want to learn.

  • Name the concept out loud
  • Press your thumb and pointer finger together
  • Focus on mentally “linking” the idea to the connection between thumb and finger
  • Take 2-3 deep breaths as you focus
  • Revisit the connection throughout the day

This simple technique can be used in combination with gestures.

True, it’s hard to imagine how it will scale to help you remember dozens of ideas. But give it a try. If you can make it work for one idea, you can reuse the technique to help you remember dozens.

press thum and pointer finger together

Five: Draw

I used to struggle to understand charts and graphs. This is because I’m easily overwhelmed by too much information displayed on a page that isn’t text.

Then Tony Buzan gave me the idea of re-drawing those charts and graphs with my own hand.

While taking a few minutes to manually reproduce information charted out visually, I was able to explain to myself their meaning.

I’ve since used this technique to help me remember harder vocabulary in various languages that other memory techniques for some reason could not penetrate.

Six: Verbalize

When I was struggling to understand various aspects of French philosophy, I read it out loud.

Back then, iPhones were still a daydream. I recorded myself reading into a micro-cassette recorder.

Then, I would listen back to the recording while reading the book.

You might think, “That sounds time-consuming!”

It isn’t.If you’re spending time reading and failing to comprehend the material, that’s 100% consuming time you

cannot get back.

But narrating material and then listening back to it in a way that captivates your mind so information can integrate into memory?

That’s just smart learning.

woman wears red cloth reading and listening

Seven: Use Spaced Repetition Properly

People love their spaced-repetition apps.

Yet, so many fail to show positive results despite spending hundreds of hours using them.

Worse, they might be able to answer correctly on the app. But in the real world?

No such luck.

This is because spaced-repetition must involve active recall in order to be truly effective.

To get more out of each and every card or slide in your app, do this:

  • Add multisensory associations to the information
  • Never show yourself the answer until you’ve tried to recall the information through association
  • Be suspicious of the answers you give the app (in other words, be honest)
  • Recall information even when the app isn’t asking you to learn

For example, let’s say you’ve got a list of medical terms.

Rather than have “edema” on one side of the card and the definition of the other, try this:

Imagine a famous person named Ed and an emu or someone named Emma swelling up with fluid. Hear the sound of them stretching. Feel it physically, as if it were your own body. Imagine the emotions involved and focus on what the situation would look like.

You might even write out this scenario on the card instead of the word or the definition. When you try to recall the word, treating it like a puzzle to solve will help your brain create connections.

A faster and more physical way to do this is by using physical index cards. Learn more by reading my how to memorize a textbook post.

a black pen and white cards

Eight: Study In Multiple Locations

One of the quickest wins of all is to keep moving.

The best part is that moving from spot to spot while you’re studying not only helps your memory. It’s an easy way to incorporate taking breaks and getting a bit of physical fitness.

There are at least three ways to approach this principle:

  • In your home
  • On campus
  • Around town

While at home, pick 2-3 locations you can tackle your study materials. For example, your room, the kitchen table and the back porch. Deliberately switch things up over twenty minutes or so.

On campus, have a few different spots in the library. Move to a cafe and look for empty lecture halls or classrooms you can park in to read a chapter or two.

Now that I have a Ph.d., I don’t have the benefit of a campus anymore. But I still cart my books around with me for my current research projects. I read at the beach, in front of stores while my wife is shopping, on the bus, etc.

Nine: Use Those Locations

Although it’s beneficial to move around, you can get even more bang for your buck by turning those locations into Memory Palaces.

This technique is more robust and will take at least a weekend to learn thoroughly.

To use it, turn any location into a mental reference tool.

If one of your study spots is the kitchen, use the walls to create associations and hold in place.

For example, instead of placing the “edema” example we used before on a card in SRS software, you can mentally project it onto a wall.

There are a few ins-and-outs to learn, so if you’d like more info, please grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Magnetic Memory Method Free Memory Improvement Course

Ten: Make It A Game

A lot of learning apps try to “gamify” the learning process.

I think they’re heading in the right direction.

However, I think they’re missing a piece of the puzzle.

It relates to the mindset issue we mentioned at the beginning.

Anything can be a game if you simply decide to make it one.

And the best games we play are the ones we design ourselves.

My personal philosophy around the best designed games is simple:

Only play the games that you are happy and willing to play again and again.

Voluntarily.

At the end of the day, those kinds of games are easy for me to define:

They involve tons of variety and plenty of options for flexibility and personalization.

As for rewards, sure. They can be useful.

But for the best possible results, make playing the game itself a reward. Not even the toughest topics will ever seem boring to you again.

wooden play blocks

Why can’t I remember anything I study?

If you’re still asking that question, chances are you haven’t turned learning into a game you can win.

So to sum up:

  • Work on your mindset
  • Take breaks properly
  • Use interleaving
  • Get your hands involved in multiple ways
  • Copy hard graphs you cannot understand
  • Verbalize and record
  • Use spaced-repetition correctly
  • Change your location frequently
  • Maximize the locations by using the Memory Palace technique
  • Make learning a game

Even if you pick just 2-3 of these tips and get started with them, your ability to remember what you study will quickly soar.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to get more out of your study sessions? This set of tips truly is the best way to study and remember fast.

Let me know in the comments and enjoy the blessings of knowledge!

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If you want to know how to remember what you study, the standard advice won't help. Read these memory expert tips from a PhD now and succeed. If you want to know how to remember what you study, the standard advice won't help. Read these memory expert tips from a PhD now and succeed. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 32:25
The Surprising Difference Between Philosophy and Psychology https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/psychology-vs-philosophy/ Thu, 03 Mar 2022 08:11:33 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27459 It's easy to understand the difference between philosophy and psychology. Go beyond psychology vs philosophy and discover the full truth now. the surprising difference between philosophy and psychology feature imageAlthough philosophy and psychology have always been intertwined, the surprising difference you’re about to discover is incredibly valuable to understand.

You see, there are a lot of simplistic discussions about philosophy vs psychology.

For example, some people will say things like:

  • Philosophy studies wisdom while psychology studies the soul
  • Philosophy and psychology both study humans and how they behave
  • Whereas philosophy leads to one set of career options, psychology leads to another
  • Psychology can observe behavior in laboratory settings, but philosophy cannot

Although there is some truth to some of those statements, frankly, they’re all missing the most important point.

So if you’re a lifelong learner and ready to solve the riddle, let’s dive in.

What’s the Difference Between Philosophy and Psychology? 4 Things to Know

Both philosophy and psychology are rich fields that involve many branches. Arguably, philosophy gave birth to psychology, and there’s a simple way to demonstrate why this is true.

Let’s look at this simple fact first and then explore other things you need to know about the differences between these two fields.

One: Philosophy Is What We Use When We Don’t Have A Science

Technically speaking, psychology is a science. There are many kinds of psychological sciences, ranging from cognitive neuroscience to the study of personality, forensic psychology and more.

In order to study aspects of the human mind related to cognition, performance at work, development from childhood into adulthood, etc, psychologists use tools of observation, measurement, analysis and scientific writing.

But when we have questions about the nature of existence for which no such scientific tools exist, we use philosophy. This is not to say that philosophy cannot be scientific. Much of the best philosophy draws upon all the science the philosophy has on hand.

However, it would be ridiculous to say that anyone has tools to measure concepts like infinity.

Yet, we still manage to think about the infinite in a variety of ways despite not having a science of infinity. You don’t even have to understand mathematics particularly well to arrive at certain conclusions about this aspect of reality. This is why philosophy is important.

When I say that philosophy gave birth to psychology, I am pointing to the fact that most of our records show that philosophy predates psychology. People seem to have been asking questions about the nature of reality somewhat before they were asking about the nature of the mind.

Two: Philosophy Combats Confusion, Psychology Creates It

This point might have you scratching your head.

a confused girl is scratching her head

Why on earth would psychology create confusion?

It absolutely does because it is a science.

Science is a tool that allows us to ask hypothetical questions and then produce evidence that either confirms or denies our hypotheses.

There’s going to be confusion along the way any time science is correctly performed.

Philosophy, on the other hand, looks at confusing data or stimuli and tries to make sense of it. Indeed, this is precisely why we have the philosophy of science.

Because philosophy is concerned with truths about reality and science is concerned with providing evidence that helps clarify the validity of our questions, this difference between the two fields is essential. Science is much more concerned with validation than it is with truth, and that is why science must constantly test and retest.

And make no mistake. If you thought that science was about truth, this is simply not the case. In fact, there is something called the reproducibility crisis. An extraordinary number of studies that scientists have assumed give us an accurate picture of the world do not work when other scientists try to produce the same results.

If we did not have philosophy to try and help us figure this out, we would be in big trouble indeed.

Three: Philosophy Has Multiple Methods, But Science Boils Down To Just One

Although science is of course incredibly complex, it ultimately has just one method: the scientific method, or empiricism. Our claims are valid when they can be reproduced.

There are a lot of ins-and-outs to the scientific method, such as falsifiability. This is an important principle, so please look into it.

a woman is learning with a laptop and books

Philosophy, on the other hand, does not rely on falsifiability. It might refer to it, but more often than not, philosophers rotate problems through a variety of philosophical methods. For example, an individual philosophy might look at a given problem through the lenses of:

  • Ontology and metaphysics
  • Epistemology 
  • Related fields like psychoanalysis, economics, sociology and other disciplines

Indeed, a philosopher does not need to be a Marxist (or even a Marxoid) in order to benefit from wondering how such a person would try to solve a particular problem.

Likewise, a philosopher can provide incredibly useful ways of looking at things by simply wondering how a psychoanalyst would answer a question that has arisen either personally, regionally or on the world stage.

One problem we face in today’s world is that many scientists now use social media to share their views. Many people take those views to be scientifically valid because they are coming from scientists.

Doing so causes us a lot of heartache because those scientists are in fact being philosophical. But when you know the definition of philosophy, you know it’s possible to be philosophical without actually being a trained philosopher.

As a result, often their philosophical views are much weaker than they would be if they had as many methods as a trained philosopher typically uses.

Four: Philosophy Broadens And Deepens, Psychology Explains How That’s Possible

Although there is a field called philosophy of mind, often it tries to account for differences between mind and matter. It is highly speculative about where the mind ends and matter begins and vice versa.

But overall, philosophy’s main role is to help us broaden and deepen our understanding of reality, truth and answer the hard questions for which no science yet exists that can help us. As soon as a science emerges, philosophy tends to let it do its work and then help make sense of the data.

What makes psychology so exciting is how it works to tell us how it’s possible for the three pounds of brain matter in our skulls to produce philosophical thoughts in the first place. Psychology is literally the psychological study of how the many parts of this one organ called the brain collaborate together to create the experiences of thinking, using language to communicate and complete goals in competitive environments.

black and white brain with a background of a woman

Certainly, philosophers have done a lot to help us learn how to cope with adversity. But psychology, not philosophy, is behind the development of pharmaceuticals. Many of them have been incredibly helpful for people around the world. And when ethical issues arise, philosophy is there to help us work out what is right.

Psychology vs. Philosophy: How Are They They Same?

As we’ve seen, there are several critical differences that make philosophy and psychology very different.

Yet, there is at least one way that they are the same:

They both combine many sub-disciplines.

They are also able to work together.

And the surprise ending I’ve been leading us toward all along?

It is this:

These days, you really cannot be a philosopher without understanding as much about psychology as you possibly can.

One would hope that psychologists would also be guided by philosophy, particularly in the realm of ethics. But let’s call a spade a spade. It is in no particular way necessary to know about philosophy in order to engage in psychology. Sadly, many people aren’t even aware of what philosophy really is.

But philosophers must be aware of psychology and that is because philosophy deals with the nature of reality. Science has evolved to become a very key part of reality indeed, and its importance is only growing.

scientist is doing research in a lab

The Future of Philosophy and Psychology

In order to ensure that psychology helps humanity flourish and doesn’t drown it in psychiatric pills or what Jerry Muller calls the Tyranny of Metrics, it’s imperative that we all practice philosophy at its highest level.

This means that we must practice free inquiry. We must keep our critical thinking skills sharp. We must be able to reflect deeply on how psychology affects our individual experiences and our global culture.

The ability of philosophy to help make sense of what psychology tells us about the human brain and how it produces our experience of mind should never nudge psychology out of the way.

Rather, we must use our philosophical skills to help us understand what is empirically justified in psychology. And as philosophy continues to evolve, we as sophisticated philosophers must recognize the limits of philosophy when it cannot be empirically justified.

When well-used, philosophy’s many methods bolster psychology’s main scientific method. And at the end of the day, the earliest philosophy on record points us to precisely this quest.

As discussed in A Companion to African Philosophy, the Ancient Egyptian philosophers talked about tep-heseb, or the “correct method.” They believed that correct thinking was possible. In other words, that thinking can and should be correct.

In that regard, our best philosophers and psychologists of today surely agree.

And if you’d like to remember everything we discussed today, please consider grabbing my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

I have combined the best of the philosophy of memory and the psychology of memory in this program to help you learn faster and remember more.

So what do you say?

Is the difference between psychology and philosophy clearer to you now?

I hope you can see that we don’t have to think in terms of psychology vs philosophy. Although they cannot be evenly weighted in any meaningful way, as the Ancient Egyptians indicated, they can be combined in ways that support “correct thinking” for one and all.

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It's easy to understand the difference between philosophy and psychology. Go beyond psychology vs philosophy and discover the full truth now. It's easy to understand the difference between philosophy and psychology. Go beyond psychology vs philosophy and discover the full truth now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 20:57
The 15 Main Thought Processes and How to Improve Them https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/thought-process/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 17:00:30 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=26892 Looking for the ultimate thought process? How about 15? You'll learn how to master each and improve your overall thinking. Think better now. the 15 main thought processes and how to improve them feature imageWouldn’t it be great if there was an ultimate list of thought processes?

A definitive resource you could bookmark and refer to whenever you want to sharpen your thinking?

I thought so too, and that’s why I decided to create one.

Who am I to care so much about thought processes and talk about them in-depth?

Well, I taught an advanced critical thinking course for years at a university.

And I personally practice many types of thought as I continue to absorb many philosophical traditions from around the globe.

So if you want multiple thought process examples and sure fire ways to improve your thinking, let’s dig in.

What Are Thought Processes?

According to researchers, a thought process can be both conscious and unconscious. In fact, your mind can be processing more than one thought at the same time.

For this reason, the exact definition of a thought process is simple:

It is being engaged with the stuff of thought.

The fact that many of your thoughts are outside of your awareness is cause for concern. Although many positive types of thought process stimulate our creativity and problem-solving capacities, Daniel Kahneman’s work has shown us to be at the mercy of many cognitive biases.

Cognitive bias is any of a wide number of thought processes that cause us to take shortcuts. We distort reality and make irrational decisions as a result.

For this reason, it’s a very good idea to become familiar with as many thought processes as possible.

Types of Thought Processes (with Examples)

As an exercise, don’t just read the following list passively. Try to think of a time you’ve either thought these ways yourself, or observed others involved in these thinking processes.

For best results, write your personal examples and observations down.

Also, reflect on whether or not each thought process is positive, negative, neutral or more than one of these options at the same time.

One: Associative Thinking

Being able to see how one thing connects to another is an important skill. In healthy children, the ability to think in terms of association begins early. Most of us get better at it as we age because more life experiences creates pattern recognition.

For example, we often relate things we see in life to mythological patterns. You might associate someone with King Midas if they’re greedy, or say that a Pandora’s box has been opened. These are kinds of associative thinking stimulated by pattern recognition.

pandora box

It doesn’t have to be Greek myths either. Since 1999, it’s been very common for people to respond to certain events in the age of the Internet by saying, “It’s just like in The Matrix.”

Freud famously asked his patients to engaging in free association, leading to many new psychological therapies and procedures, such as the Rorshach test. 

And association is widely used. Creative people frequently allow themselves to follow random trains of thought in order to come up with interesting and unique ideas. Students use mind mapping and association is a key mnemonic strategy.

Two: Abductive Thinking

This form of thinking involves drawing conclusions based on observations. It is also called inferential reasoning and Sherlock Holmes provides the most well-known examples. Real life detectives use it as well.

A simple way to think about this thought process is that you’re arriving at a conclusion without having the full picture. If you arrive at a crime scene and find a knife covered in blood, you can reasonably conclude that it is the murder weapon. But you don’t actually know – you’re inducing the conclusion.

Note that many people mistake this kind of reasoning with deductive thinking. So let’s look at that next.

Three: Deductive Thinking

Deductive thinking is often formulaic. It usually involves an “if this then that” structure. For example, you can deduce that if you don’t get on the freeway before rush hour, it will take you longer to get home.

Unlike induction where you are drawing a conclusion from an incomplete picture, you do have a complete picture of how traffic works on the highway.

how traffic works on the highway

Deductive reasoning is typically easier to test when there is an abundance of evidence. There are three main types to master:

  • Syllogisms
  • Modus ponens
  • Modus tollens

To help yourself further, check out these critical thinking book recommendations.

Combined, inductive and deductive thinking form what we tend to think of as logical or rational thinking.

Four: Social Thinking

We tend to think of ourselves as individuals.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Humans share a variety of languages, and when you think about it, none of the words or phrases belong to any individual. Rather, we collaborate on the continuous evolution of this communication tool.

We’re increasingly using the Internet to communicate using our languages as well. Students use it to study together, which means thinking together to help one another achieve goals.

We can also think about transpersonal thinking in this regard. When we realize that the role of the individual isn’t all that it’s made out to be, we’re able to transcend the ego and resolve ourselves into the great river of life.

Sound abstract? Never fear. We’ll be tackling that kind of thinking next.

Five: Abstract Thinking

To think abstractly is to literally pull away from an idea or concept. 

a woman is thinking of her ideas

We just did that by thinking about how language is not owned by any individual person, even if it is experienced in personal ways.

This is an “abstract” thought precisely because we’re pulling back from the individual and looking at the entire species.

This is a nuanced thought process, so you can read more about abstract thinking with other examples if you’re interested.

Six: Concrete Thinking

Concrete thinking involves ideas that are directly related to material reality. For example, you might think about how things feel and make comparisons and contrasts in your mind.

An orange and an apple feel more similar to one another than an orange and the handle of a shovel, for example.

Talking about rain “pounding” is another example. 

Seven: Analogical Thinking

Analogical thinking involves making comparisons and assuming that when something is true for one thing, it is also true for the other.

We can use them well, such as when we say that an argument is going in circles. If the same points keep coming up again and again, they really do feel like they are on a loop.

But analogies often fall apart because things are rarely as similar as they seem. Watch out anytime you hear someone saying, “it’s like x.” Although the comparison they are about to make sense on the surface, all too often the connection winds up being facile.

Eight: Analytical Thinking

Analysis literally involves taking things apart.

For example, when a Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass participant comes to me with a problem they’re trying to solve, I analyze what they’re saying by looking for the individual components.

That’s not to say I don’t also take the problem as a “whole.” Rather, analytical thinking takes as a basic premise that everything is built from parts.

In philosophy, the notion of deconstruction is an analytical process that reveals how many of our most cherished truths were built over time. It is an innovation on what Nietzsche called genealogical thinking.

white t shirt woman thinking and reading

A simple way to get better at this form of thinking is to practice observation and questioning literally everything.

Nine: Linear Thinking

Linear thinking is all about structure and following a particular process.

But that doesn’t make it boring. 

In fact, Triz is one of the most interesting collection of tools for linear thinking on the planet. It’s also incredibly inventive.

Nonlinear thinkers are sometimes thought to use fewer structures, or purposefully introduce randomness.

For example, the German band Einstürzende Neubauten create new songs by drawing ideas and roles from a hat. Although the singer might not be a world class drummer, if he selects a slip that requires him to play percussion while composing a new song, he will.

Although this form of creativity looks like it is nonlinear and “outside the box,” it’s also procedural and linear in its own way. If we “deconstruct” the notion of linear thinking by using analytical thinking, we might find that there really is no such thing as nonlinear thinking at the end of the day.

Ten: Reflective Thinking

Making time to contemplate is incredibly important.

It’s simple and easy to practice and there are many powerful reflective thinkers you can draw inspiration from.

Simply put, find a place to sit, pour your thoughts out onto paper and use analytical thinking to sort, sift and screen through the material of your mind.
a girl is thinking and writing notes

It’s perfect for helping yourself make better decisions and expand your mind.

Eleven: Counterfactual Thinking

We often think of alternative histories as the stuff of fiction. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is a common example.

However, it’s very useful to think about what could have happened in our everyday lives.

For example, sometimes when I’m feeling down, I create a “counterfactual” image of what my life would be like if I’d never completed my Ph.d.

I happen to know a few people who didn’t finish. The thought of working at an ice cream parlor like one failed PhD I know makes me grateful for everything in my life – especially because the accomplishment led to me writing this blog.

Let’s look at the opposite of this kind of thinking next. It’s also very useful.

Twelve: Speculative Thinking

If counterfactual thinking involves imagining alternative scenarios in the past, speculative thinking involves running through two or more possible future outcomes.

One simple exercise for thinking through your future is Dan Sullivan’s “dangers, opportunities, strengths” routine.

By asking yourself questions around these three core areas, you can imagine a practical path forward for your future.

You can also use the journaling exercise I share in this video about how to think correctly about the path to mastering your memory:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k7hotyHROk

Thirteen: Decisive Thinking

When it comes to the future, you’ll never get there without being able to make decisions.

One of my favorite problem solving models is found in Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath. It’s called the W.R.A.P. technique:

  • Widen your options
  • Reality test
  • Attain distance
  • Prepare to fail

Using step-by-step decision processes like this can always be considered “heuristic thinking,” because you’re making using the tool a rule of thumb.

I’ve connected this technique with a much older tool called ars combinatoria that you might want to become acquainted with on your quest to master multiple thought processes.

Fourteen: Metacognition

Ever heard of Zen?

It’s a fairly radical philosophy that helps you realize that the present moment is all we really have – and since it’s slipping by so quickly, the notion that we have it at all is an illusion.

In order to realize this fact and hold onto the realization so that you can experience lasting mental peace, the great masters of meditation use metacognition.

To become a master yourself, you just need to cultivate an awareness of the operation of your own thoughts and a meta-level awareness of how the thoughts about your thoughts operate too.

I’m a big fan of this form of thinking and wrote about a powerful process in my book, The Victorious Mind

You could also call this form of thinking, “mindfulness thinking.”

Fifteen: Skeptical Thinking

I’ve saved the most important form of thinking for the end. And I want you to use it on everything I’ve just said.

a girl is thinking for herself

Why?

Because one of the most powerful things you can do is to question the validity of the claims people make.

Think for yourself.

Do your own research.

Test.

If you don’t, you risk being naive.

Of course, you don’t want to go overboard. It’s also useful to be curious and allow certain things the benefit of the doubt from time to time.

This is where you want to use your discernment, which is where practicing all of the skills on this page will really come in handy over time.

How to Improve Your Thinking

The best way to experience significant gains in your thinking abilities is to complete critical thinking exercises.

On top of that, you’ll want to improve your: 

But above all, you want to set aside time for studying great thinkers and time for practicing thinking.

It just takes commitment and consistency. 

And the best part?

You now have new ways to think about how you might increase your commitment and consistency by using tools like analytical thinking and speculative thinking to become the architect of your future.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to enjoy multiple types of thought?

Dive in!

 

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Looking for the ultimate thought process? How about 15? You'll learn how to master each and improve your overall thinking. Think better now. Looking for the ultimate thought process? How about 15? You'll learn how to master each and improve your overall thinking. Think better now. Anthony Metivier's Magnetic Memory Method Podcast 36:10
What Is Philosophy? A Life Changing Answer https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/what-is-philosophy/ Thu, 17 Feb 2022 11:19:39 +0000 https://www.magneticmemorymethod.com/?p=27391 End your confusion around philosophy now. This complete philosophy definition give you examples of the use of philosophy in-depth. what is philosophy feature imageA major problem with philosophy is that just about every philosopher has a different definition of what they do as a philosopher.

This is sad because it turns a lot of people off who would otherwise benefit tremendously from exploring the art, science and craft of philosophy.

So let’s simplify things by looking at the two ways philosophers define the field first.

  1. Descriptive (what philosophy is)
  2. Prescriptive (what philosophy should be)

Once we realize that people rotate between these two categories of definition, everything will become much clearer.

Ready?

Let’s dive deeper into the wonderful realm of philosophy!

What Is Philosophy? The Simple Answer

The most direct philosophy definition I’ve ever seen is that philosophy tries to make sense of existence. And more than merely make sense of it, know that the sense we make is true, or at least accurate. Typically, this is done through the use of reason, though there are many other philosophical tools.

Now, you might be wondering…

Why doesn’t science take all of this up?

The problem is that science is a tool that helps us gather evidence to validate or invalidate our ideas about the world. But existence itself? We don’t even know what being is or have the tools needed to study whatever existence is. And until we do, we’ll need philosophy.

Now, within existence, we find many ideas, concepts, people and objects. They all seem to exist in different ways. Yet, they are bound by a major similarity. They exist.

Philosophy tries to figure out the what, why and how of existence, or what some philosophers call Being with a capital B. Then, they work on figuring out what that knowledge about being tells us about how we should live in the world.