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March 9, 2021

Tips from the International Man of Memory You Can Use Today

GUEST: Chester Santos, U.S. Memory Champion & Author of Mastering Memory

 
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If you had the superpower of a flawless memory, what would you do?

How many fights could you have avoided with your spouse?

How much further in your career could that superpower take you?

Well, you don’t have to fantasize about it when you can achieve it.

According to International Man of Memory, Chester Santos — U.S. Memory Champion and author of Mastering Memory — his champion memory isn’t a superpower he was born with. It’s a skill he developed with hard work.

And it’s one anyone can learn.

I had a chance to sit down with Chester and learn his secrets, including:

  • Why the inner workings of memory are something you can hack
  • The 3 secrets to remembering anything
  • How you can apply memory techniques to improve your life and career

Everyone can improve their memory

Yes, everyone — even me. It just takes the right techniques.

“Everyone out there — no matter your current level of memory ability — can dramatically improve it with the right techniques, a little bit of training, and practice.

Chester Santos, Author of Mastering Memory


Memory is a skill anyone can cultivate.

But it helps to understand a couple of key principles of how memory works.

You aren’t going to run out of space

Memory is not like the hard disc on your computer. No matter how many Spice Girls lyrics are stored in there forever, you can always learn the lyrics to another sickeningly catchy pop song.

In fact, knowing all the “zig-a-zig-ahs” can better prepare you for the next time you hear some incoherent lyrics from the next big craze.

This is because memories are actually the easiest to store when we associate something with something we already know.

Put simply: The more you already know, the easier it will be to learn more.

Weird things are easier to remember

If, while reading this, the Spice Girls break into your house — angry over that last section — that’s something you are going to remember for life. You’ll be telling your grandkids about how aging British pop stars stormed your home over a joke you didn’t even write.

In an instant, you’ve created an indestructible memory.

Scientists don’t know the exact mechanics behind our capacity to instantaneously store information like this, but they don’t have to — it just works.

“We just need to realize there is a psychological aspect to how human memory works. Then we can apply it to things that are useful.”

Chester Santos, Author of Mastering Memory

Knowing this, you can find ways to make new information weird or unexpected, and it will be much easier to remember.

That’s one of the ways Chester went from someone with a slightly-better-than-average memory to the U.S. Memory Champion.

And his techniques even worked on me.

In less than five minutes, I was able to remember every word in a long string of random words just by creating an unusual story around them.

But that’s only one of many techniques you can use when you understand the secrets to memory.

Three things you should never forget about memory

No matter what type of information you are trying to commit to memory, these three principles will help you remember.

1) Visualization

Think about someone whose name you forgot. You’re picturing their face, aren’t you?

That’s because, as a species, our memory is much better equipped to store visual details than semantic details.

If you can visualize it, it will go a long way toward remembering something.

2) Involve other senses

The more senses involved, the better. If you can imagine the taste, smell, sound, and feel of something on top of the visualization, chances are good that you will never forget it.

3) Make it extraordinary

We’ve already covered this, but the more unusual something is, the quicker you commit it to your long-term memory.

How to use this information

During our discussion, I was able to apply this knowledge through an unusual story told about the long list of arbitrary objects I was given.

That’s because I visualized, imagined the sounds and textures of those objects as Chester told a bizarre story connecting them all.

In fact, I still remember those objects.

Depending on where you work, however, you typically won’t be tasked with remembering a list of objects that include cheese, monkeys, and kites — unless, of course, you are on the birthday-party planning committee at a really cool zoo.

But it doesn’t take much to see the possibilities.

Take a presentation, for example.

How much better would you be as a presenter if you didn’t need so many slides or notes?

What about networking? It certainly helps if you can remember the names of those in your network.

And how much more will your prospects be persuaded to purchase from you if you seem like you know everything about the topic? We perceive people with razor-sharp memories as experts who know what they are talking about.

“With a little bit of memory training, you're much more memorable in business.

Chester Santos, Author of Mastering Memory

Memory is a superpower.

But gaining it doesn’t take you being bitten by a radioactive spider, and it doesn’t take being an alien who wears his underwear outside his pants and is allergic to rocks.

You just need to train it — and you can start today.

This post includes highlights from our podcast interview with Chester Santos, Author of Mastering Memory.

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.