50 Ways To Leave Your Lover: 6 To Boost Your Memory


Can you boost your memory?

The first two lines of Paul Simon’s 1975 hit, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, give you an indication:

“The problem is all inside your head,” she said to me.

“The answer is easy if you take it logically.”

The same words could apply to your memory

What you believe about your memory and ability to re-member will have a tremendous impact on how much information you retain.

Scientists still can’t agree if memory deteriorates as we age. One theory is that it takes longer to find memories as we age because there are more of them. Regardless of what science’s current theory is, there are plenty of people complaining about their ability to remember. But do they really have poor memories?

We lose some of our 86 billion brain cells each day

But we’re also growing new ones (a process called neurogenesis).

One thing I know is that if you believe something, that’s what you’ll experience

You filter your experiences through what you believe (amongst other things). So, it makes sense that if you’re bombarded with messages about how your memory worsens as you age, it would be easy for you to believe this. Then, because of this belief, you filter information such that you only notice when you can’t remember something.

People often tell me, “I have a terrible memory for names.”

That’s their belief right there. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I reply, “Really? What’s your name?” Then I ask for all their family, friends, and colleagues’ names!

Funnily enough, they can remember all of them!

I like to remind them they clearly have an excellent memory for remembering names.

Often, they have simpler yet more encompassing beliefs

Beliefs such as, “My memory is useless”. These types of statements make me rub my hands together with glee (metaphorically, although I will admit to sometimes doing it for real!). Then I ask them a variety of inane questions, such as;

  • Where do you live?
  • How many children do you have?
  • What are their names?
  • Where do they work?
  • What kind of car do you drive?

When they answer, I point out to them it appears their memory is working just fine. (Yes, I know, I’m a proper pain in the proverbial — but it’s part of my charm!)

Most people don’t have a poor memory

People are more likely to have problems paying attention than problems with their memory. It’s often that their mind is elsewhere when they hear critical information. For instance, at the time they’re introduced to someone, they’re preoccupied.

Their internal conversation is running a kind of interference pattern; “Oh no! I haven’t ironed that shirt for work tomorrow — and I still have to make lunch. Who was that man Petra introduced me to earlier? I can’t speak to him now because I can’t remember his name. I probably look completely vacant!”

embarrassed looking guy

Amid this internal gabfest and feeling of overwhelm, they hear, as if through dense fog, “Hi, I’m George.” No wonder they can’t remember George’s name — they didn’t pay attention when they heard it. So they don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of recalling it!

You have plenty of memory capacity

I admit, we have a lot more to remember in today’s world than people would have had to remember even 50 years ago. Just keeping track of internet passwords can sometimes occupy an entire block of memory banks! And we know many more people than would our ancestors. But, hey, we’ve got 86 billion brain cells. How many do you need to remember a few names?

Want to boost your memory for remembering names?

Here are six simple ways to begin:

1. Change your beliefs about memory

You do this by refraining from saying things like, “I’m terrible at remembering names.” Change your language to, “I’m getting better at remembering names.” Or, “I’m good at remembering names.”

2. Stop making excuses — and start making an effort!

Make remembering people’s names a priority. Individuals who remember names often believe that remembering names is important. They want others to feel valued and affirmed. Is remembering a person’s name something that’s important to you?

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language ~ Dale Carnegie

3. Begin noticing what you can remember

Think about the people whose names you recall. How did you remember their names?

  • Was it through repetition?
  • Did you associate a name using alliteration, such as Petra from the Post Office or George the Giant (if he’s unusually tall!)?
  • Maybe you linked a name to someone famous, such as George Clooney.

4. Make a vivid image

If you can link the name of the person to some ludicrous internal image, it will also boost your memory. For example, perhaps you could link George to the nursery rhyme, Georgy Porgy Pudding and Pie, and imagine George kissing hundreds of girls and making them cry. (Remember this is only in your imagining — you will not tell George!)

5. Focus, focus, focus

When you meet new people, if you want to boost your memory, look at them give them your full attention. Concentrate on the person and listen to what he or she has to say — rather than having a private summit meeting in your head!

6. Repeat the person’s name

If you want to remember people’s names you could say, “Nice to meet you, George.” Then find other ways of using George’s name in the conversation, perhaps asking a question, “George, what did you enjoy most about the speaker this evening?” Repetition is a key way of learning anything. Repeat his name in your head as well. Use the name again as you leave, “Look forward to seeing you again, George.”

Remember Paul Simon’s song:

“The problem is all inside your head,” she said to me.

“The answer is easy if you take it logically.”

So, while there might be 50 ways to leave your lover, if you still believe you have a poor memory, you might be glad I only gave you six ways to boost your memory for remembering people’s names.????

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Interesting observation: Paul Simon only mentions 4 of the 50 ways in the song. Maybe forgot the others!

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Tags: Beliefs and values, Interpersonal skills, Learning and memory, Self-awareness, Thinking and mindset


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