I know what it is like to forget someone’s name. In my time, I have forgotten appointments, telephone numbers, speeches, punch lines of jokes, directions, even whole chapters of my life. Up until recently, I was the most absent-minded, forgetful person you could imagine. I once saw a cartoon of two people dancing rather awkwardly at the Amnesiacs’ Annual Ball. The man was saying to the woman, ‘Do I come here often?’ I knew how he felt.
Within the last four years, I have become the World Memory- Champion. I regularly appear on television and tour the country- as a celebrity- ‘Memory-Man’, rather like Leslie Welch did in the 1950s. There’s no trickery- in what I do – no special effects or electronic aids. I just sat down one day and decided enough was enough: I was going to train my memory.
LEARNING HOW TO USE YOUR BRAIN
Imagine going out and buying the most powerful computer in the w-orld. You stagger home with it, hoping that it will do everything for you, even write your letters. Unfortunately, there’s no instruction manual and you don’t know the first thing about computers. So it just sits there on the kitchen table, staring back at you. You plug it in, fiddle around with the keyboard, walk around it, kick it, remember how much money it cost. Try as you might, you can’t get the stupid thing to work. Ifs much the same with your brain.
The brain is more powerful than any computer, far better than anything money can buy. Scientists barely understand how a mere ten per cent of it works. They know-, how-ever, that it is capable of storing and recalling enormous amounts of information.
If, as is now widely accepted, it contains an estimated 1012 neurons, the number of possible combinations between them (which is the way scientists think information is stored) is greater than the number of particles in the universe. For most of us, how-ever, the memory sits up there unused, like the computer on the kitchen table.
There are various ways of getting it to work, some based on theory, some on practice. What you are about to read is a method I have developed independently over the last five years.
Throughout this book, you will be asked to create images for everything you want to remember. These images will come from your imagination; often bizarre, they are based on the principles of association (we are reminded of one thing by its relation to another).
Don’t worry that your head may become too cluttered by images. They are solely a means of making information more palatable for your memory and will fade once the data has been stored.
It is essential, however, that you form your own images. I have given examples throughout the book, but they are not meant to be copied verbatim. Your own inventions will work much better for you than mine.
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