• Nicola Shelley

The Art of Remembering and Techniques to Forget

Updated: Dec 17, 2019



'Do you know I find it so hard to remember things any more.'

'It must be my age!'

'Honestly I am so forgetful these days'

Does any of this sound familiar? If so this blog is for you!

I've noticed that (some) people have established very good techniques to make remembering hard work and make forgetting easy.

It goes a bit like this:

'Oh what was her name? Oh I can't remember...

See what happened there? You told yourself you can't remember. Brilliant. Now you are wiring that in as a common thought process for the next time.

...in fact I am really useless at recalling information these days.

another excellent piece of metal programming - I'm really useless. In other words there is no way I could be good at this.

Must be my age

And finally a reason. So it must be true! The more you make this a reason, the bigger it will become. In the end it could become an excuse...


Let's say you do find yourself forgetting things. Frequently. What can you do to improve your skills of remembering and, more importantly stop rehearsing the brilliant techniques for forgetting?

I'll use the example of a name of a person

1. Ask for help from someone- but NOT google! see 3

2. No help around? Think of other things about that person. Where did you see them last? What were they doing? Any small thing you can recall- e.g. their name sounded Italian. The stronger you can make this memory and recreate it the more likely it is to come back to you.

3. Reaching for your phone/tablet/ipad to google an answer may well bring you the answer very quickly. However it does not help your techniques for remembering! Rather it defers this job to a piece of technology. If your technique for remembering is a muscle (which it is -sort of) then not using it will mean it shrinks.

4. Let it sit for a while. Don't chase it. The name will come back at some point.

5. There is a great technique to try out here:

https://artofmemory.com/wiki/How_to_Build_a_Memory_Palace

This is aimed at people who are remembering a lot of facts and can be very helpful.

Memory recall comes up in so many situations.

  • Remembering faces and people's names.

  • Remembering where you put your keys!

  • Recalling facts for exams/studies

More to come on this in another blog about how to remember names of people.


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