How to Improve Memory

One thing a spy really needs is a good memory. Here's how to improve memory. Remember, not only good for spies...

Spies need to have a great memory. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Time is limited. A spy must be able to take off for an operation within a matter of days, sometimes hours. In that time, all information on your cover and legend must be internalized. So you must be able to learn, and learn quickly!

  • Notes are deadly. Suppose you are caught, and notes on your operation are found on your body or in your room. Not only do they know that you're a spy, the entire operation may be blown wide open, leaving your country and (possibly) fellow spies in the cold. And you? Well...

  • No time to check notes. Imagine you're dropped in pitch darkness in enemy territory. Secret information is somewehere on the premisis, and so are guards. Do you think you have time to check a map and other notes? ... Nope. Same if you get caught. Be sure that they won't let you read up on your legend!

  • Too secret. Sometimes the secret is so secret, that you aren't even allowed to write it down!

So a good memory is a spy's most used weapon. In fact, even if you're not really a spy, but say, a student, or a manager, or an adolescent, a good memory can help you in life. A good memory can be a life saver when studying for an exam or when you're grilled during a sales presentation.

So, how to improve memory?

If you regard your mind as a muscle, then it's easy to understand that training is key.

An average mind can hold a maximum of 7-10 items in short-term memory. A simple way to train your ability to memorize items is to let someone put 10 items under a blanket. Then, you get 30 seconds to study the items before they are covered again. Now, are you able to recall all items under the blanket?

Practice this often, and you'll see a dramatic improvement in your ability to memorize. But this is just one simple method.

Another method is to group items together. This works especially well with numbers. For instance, if you have a number of 10 figures 8 5 4 2 9 7 0 0 2 2 8 3, remembering each individual figure is much more difficult than if you group two items together: 85 42 97 00 22 83.

Why is this?

Remember that I said that the average mind can hold 7-10 items in short-term memory? For your memory, each digit is considered an individual item. 10 digits, 10 items. But when you group them together, it magically turns into 5 items: 85 42 97 00 22 83. Much easier to remember.

Another way how to improve memory is by association. With this method you associate the things you want to remember with things you have already put into your long-term memory. The idea is that it's easier to retrieve associated items, than totally unrelated items.

When you train your brain regularly, you'll remember how to improve memory!

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