The Language of Memory

Written On: February 23, 2020

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Written By: Robb Zbierski

Written On: February 23, 2020

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Written By: Robb Zbierski

“Oh, I can’t remember…”

How many times have you muttered those three words when answering a question?  They are about as popular as telling someone “I’ve been SOOOOO busy”.

While “forgetting” information when you need it has become commonplace, the good news is that with very little effort and in a very short amount of time you can train your memory in a way that will help you avoid ever needing to use those words again.

The act of training your memory is not new.  It’s been taught for thousands of years, but in today’s high-pace, technology enabled world, its often overlooked.  But in this same world, anything you do to stand out makes all the difference when it comes to being more memorable to your colleagues, your clients, your patients… ANYONE!

The first step in learning to train your memory is to understand how your memory works.  At the most basic level, the language of your memory is pictures; your memory “thinks” in pictures.  Here’s an example:  If I asked you to describe 50 things in your living room, the first thing you would need to do in order to answer me would be to picture your living room.  You would “see” everything in the room and could probably find 60, 80 or even 100 items to describe.  So when it comes to remembering anything, the more you can do to create a picture in your mind that relates to the info you want to remember, the higher the likelihood of you recalling it.

But thinking in pictures isn’t going to do it all for you.  In our On-Demand world, you need access to that information now, not an hour after the meeting.  In that case, use the FIG method for remembering information. 

FIG stands for File – Image – Glue and it will totally change (and likely improve) how you remember information.

File stands for a place to store the information.  Just like a computer or a filing cabinet, your brain is designed to store and retrieve information in a systematic way.  You must create a filing system either in your mind or by using a physical place in order to store the information you need to recall.

Image means a visual representation of the information you need to recall.  Again, your memory thinks in pictures.  Turn names into pictures.  See a picture for the items you need to get from the grocery store or turn the key points of your presentation into pictures that represent the main ideas you want to communicate.

Glue is how you stick the information into the file.  The good news is you already know how to use glue.  Glue is nothing more than action and emotion.  The more vivid the action and the more senses you involve, the stickier the glue.  Think of something that happened to you as a child that you can still remember today.  Fell out of a tree?  Hit by a car?  Broke a bone?  I’m guessing whatever happened to you has a fair amount of action and emotion tied to it.

Now that you know what FIG is, here’s how it works.  Let’s use remembering someone’s name as an example (because I’m sure no one reading this has EVER forgotten someone’s name five seconds after you met them…).  Let’s say you meet a woman named Robin.  In this scenario, her face (and specifically her nose) is the file.  Her name already IS a picture (a bird), so imagine a big fat robin pecking at her nose and pulling out a worm.  Yes, it seems weird at first, but the good news is A) you never need to tell her the picture or action you are using to remember her name and B) it actually works.

Try it out.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can remember more information.  There’s tons more ways to use this info, but for now, get in the habit of thinking in pictures in order to recall more information.  Oh, and one piece of advice that you might find beneficial… It helps to have a little bit of a dirty mind.

For a killer lesson in learning how to think in pictures, check out www.planetfreedom.com and sign up for the free training.  In less than an hour you will learn how to remember a list of 20 things in and out of order.  It’s pretty sweet.

What would you love to be better at remembering?  Drop an idea in the comments below!

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