You’re a bright student well on your way to completing your high school diploma, but also …
You’re a child of chaos. Yes, you love your parents, but …
It’s been a rocky road. You live an all too interesting life.
And most days, school is the last thing on your mind.
Plus … when you do go …
School Is Utterly Boring!
At least, that was almost always the case for me.
I mean … seriously?
What the heck is a high school diploma to a guy who just wants to play bass, write lyrics and hang out with his friends?
And the teachers?
Not exactly friendship material. And yet …
Why You Should Never Forget Any Of Your Teachers
Sure, I had some real characters for teachers.
For example, there was the guy who had a fishing boat on his truck. We always saw him leaning against it and smoking a pipe before wandering off to his classroom during the breaks.
Another teacher was a champion curler. He could make the trash bin stop on a dime right beside the desk of anyone chewing gum.
And then there was the math teacher who always used beer in his examples because it was the only thing he could do to get anyone’s attention.
And you know what? Even though I forget 99.99% of everything they taught me …
They still teach me because I use them as Bridging Figures in my Memory Palaces.
Milk Those Teachers For All They’re Worth!
Advanced memory improvement tip:Go through your life history and write down the name and a description of every teacher you've ever had.Click To Tweet
If you remember their names, all the better.
But more importantly, focus on their classrooms. What they looked like. How they moved.
Then keep these details in mind for the next time you need to remember something. If you’ve got the Magnetic Memory Method under your belt, those teachers will serve you very well as mnemonic tools for the rest of your life.
You just have to finesse them a little by doing the simple memory exercise of “excavating” them from your past.
… As amusing as those teachers were … I still thought grinding out the hours toward this abstract thing called a “high school diploma” was …
A Complete Waste Of Time!
It really felt that way.
Besides, almost every teacher I spent time with obviously had other things they would rather have been doing with their time.
Drinking beer …
No Wonder I Became A High School Dropout!
But here’s the thing …
Just because I dropped out of high school doesn’t mean I stopped learning.
Far from it!
When I took my leave from the hallowed halls of high school education …
I did it in a very sneaky way. (Hi Mom, if you’re reading this!)
Every morning, I’d head out to the bus like usual. But instead of standing and waiting for that rusted bucket along with the other kids …
I’d leave for school a little bit earlier.
No one ever saw me.
This was rural Canada, after all.
Frosty mornings …
Turkey farms …
Lots and lots of trees.
The True Story Of My Real High School Diploma
And back then, I carried one of razzmatazz yellow Walkman cassette-radio players.
You know the kind:
Chunky plastic that you bolted down.
Grey plastic nozzles to protect the headphone jacks from getting wet.
(Oh yes, multiple headphone jacks. You just never knew when there was going to be need for a spontenous listening share. We didn’t have Facebook for sharing music videos on YouTube, after all …)
But instead of my fave Metallica and Megadeth or Slayer cassettes those frosty schoolday mornings …
I would listen to CBC Radio.
Peter Gzowski’s Morningside, to be exact. I could get lost in his voice so easily.
Oh! and he always had great guests.
Amazing guests …
People who taught the listeners about themselves …
About the world …
And how to think about it from a myriad of exciting angles.
To hell with school!
I Learned Everything I Needed To Know About My Country And Science And Literature And World Political History During Those 6 Months Just By Walking Up Into The Hills With My Walkman!
To this day, I can’t quite understand why they even bothered having schools!
Why bother back when Gzowksi was so good at asking important authors, musicians and politicians the right questions. And my-oh-my, the stories they would tell!
Anyhow, about 10 minutes along the road, there was a path up into the mountains.
Like some kind of solace-seeking samurai of the mind, I would enter the forest.
And yes, it was dangerous. More than once I nearly got my head kicked off by a startled deer. I can only thank my Magnetic stars that I never encountered a bear.
Not Even That Tank Of A Walkman Could Have Defended Me …
Listening away, I would begin my hike.
Up, up, up.
And once I’d climbed to one of my favorite crests …
I would stand stoic over Silver Creek and watch the road.
I could monitor my mom’s place from that vantage point and even see a Lego-sized version of her scraping ice from the windshield of her car.
Then she’d unplug the engine from the wall, wrap up the orange cable and then motor her way up to the road.
I would half-chuckle, half recoil in horror as I watched her car wind its way towards town. I was getting away with educational-murder, after all, and couldn’t help but question when it was all going to catch up with me.
And here’s the thing:
Dropping Out Of School Always Catches Up With You!
So I would stand there awhile. A good long while.
And listen and listen and listen.
And remember some of the books that were mentioned on Morningside.
And then walk back down the mountain.
Once home, most kids probably would have switched on the TV and Nintendo.
I did neither.
None Of That Brain-Rotting Material Would Do!
Instead, I opened up the encyclopedia.
The same encyclopedia my mother had purchased for me piece by piece when I was a kid. (I’m so grateful for them – they’ve help me know how to live an interesting life!)
I remember her clipping coupons and all the excitement around getting a new edition month after month. I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but I understand now that she was investing in my future.
And if I hadn’t dropped out of high school …
The Opportunity To Soak Up All That
Knowledge Would Have Been Lost!
Back then, I hadn’t heard of memory techniques.
But in my own way (just as you should develop your own way), I was still using them.
Like a sponge …
Connecting data …
Linking pieces of an ever-expanding puzzle …
Referring backward and forwards.
Long before “hypertext,” I was making the volumes and pages of the encyclopedia connect.
No Tap. No Click. No Swipe.
For example, when an encyclopedia entry on an author like James Joyce would say “See Modernism,” I would obey.
I would have to down Collier’s Encyclopedia Book of J and haul out the Collier’s Encylopedia Book of M.
And those books I remembered from Morningside?
A lot of them were available at the public library!
And the odd time I would hitch a ride into town on the bus and go hang out there so I could read them.
I would even hang out in Bookingham Palace (where I would later work) to check out some of the books I heard mentioned.
And what exactly what I was doing in all this?
Exactly what we should all do in life.
Don’t Rely On Schools! Make Your Own Textbooks!
I don’t know exactly how I knew to do this. I was just following my instincts, I guess.
And my technique for reading encyclopedias and books would evolve into something I call Magnetic Bibliomancy. It’s not too different than what my good friend Jonathan Levi calls “Brute Force Learning.”
And it is delightful. You should learn it. Jonathan has a free trial just for Magnetic Memory Method fans and students so grab it now.
Looking back … there’s only one thing I would change.
I’d hop into a time machine and teach myself memory techniques so that my present self could …
Remember More Of Everything!
With mnemonics, that would have been more than possible.
It would be insanely possible.
In fact, if I’d only known what I know now …
I could have set a number (as I do now with learning projects) and simply reached it.Anything is possible when you have a combined memory and learning strategy.Click To Tweet
Not Just How To Memorize, But What To Memorize
This ability is important, and it’s what the Magnetic Memory Method is all about.
But as a young person, you mostly likely have a distinct advantage:
The time and energy to pursue your interests.
Mine was learning. And I didn’t let school get in my way.
And so if you’re a parent listening to this and you have any opportunity to give your son or daughter a “sabbatical” from school so they can pursue a passion or interest …
Just Do It!
I’ll bet your most precious family member has more self-direction than you imagine …
… if you just let them find their way to it.
Anyhow, that’s all I did during my months as a high school dropout.
Learning. Learning. And more learning.
Want to know what dragged me back into those hallowed halls so that I finally finished my high school diploma?
Make sure you’re subscribed and tune in for next week’s episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast and full text version on the only memory improvement website devoted to making school easy, fun and downright Magnetic.
Till soon! 🙂