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Memory - The Art of Attention

Improving one's memory is not all that difficult. Most of us simply don't expend the time or effort required. 'the true art of memory,? wrote an English historian, "is the art of attention.? We can improve our memories by simply putting our minds to it and by following a few simple rules:

1. Remember to remember. Telling yourself that you want to remember this or that fact and concentrating on it will improve your memory immediately. We remember what we WANT to remember.

2. Sharpen your observation. Pay close attention to what you see and hear. Use images. Shut your eyes and try to SEE it. Notice details. Really LOOK at things. Few people actually do.

3. Practice recall. Forgetting is most rapid soon after learning. It helps, therefore, to make a deliberate effort to repeat and review immediately. Repetition will help fix the fact or image in our minds.

4. Concentrate. Eliminate distractions. The mind is at its best when it is centered on one thing at a time. Avoid such things as fatigue, noise, and competing visual images during the time you are trying to learn.

Bits and Pieces, October, 1989.