Skip to main content
The Daily Paradox

The Memory & The Cloud

Our memory plays funny tricks with us. I used to think we could remember what we wanted to remember and forget what we wanted to forget. It is not that simple. Often we don’t know what we want to remember or forget. Have you experienced the phenomenon of finding there is one person’s name you can never remember? You may recall most people well, especially if you meet them ‘in context’. But this person’s name always escapes you. Older people forget things that have just happened too, due to loss of short-term memory.

Remembering is one thing; remembering to associate is quite another. Creativity is the ability to perceive relationships. But you cannot perceive relationships unless you cast your mind wide for associations – and remember the perceptions you have. It is about ‘where have I seen something like this before?’ and ‘what does this remind me of?’ The classic systems of Memory Hooks and Journey Associations rely on rote-remembered sequence and a current list. Creativity makes these tools effective.

People who drive cars that have had a bump or a near accident become alert to similar situations. They perceive the relationship between what happened and how and where they are driving now. It is more than learning from what happened. It involves imagining that something similar could happen in different situations.

An example of this is the classic hustle tactic of distraction. Walking down the street in a strange country, someone starts talking to you, perhaps in a foreign language. Your reaction is to concentrate on what they are saying. You lower your guard. That is when your bag, case or wallet is snatched. Once this has happened you are alert to distraction – until the distraction is different. Your alertness is memory.

There are different ways of distracting you. If you see two people near-by pointing up into the sky as though there was something unusual taking place you will look in the same direction. You shouldn’t. You should first look to see why someone might be trying to distract you. Thieves make millions by distracting.

Use memory to increase your creativity by exercising it.  We instinctively play “tastes like” so play “looks like” and “sounds like”, too. That is how we warn ourselves when something may be poisonous. We also play “feels like” to tell ourselves when we feel something of which we are uncertain. But “looks like” and “sounds like” are unusual games for us to play and must be practiced if we are to make them work. Their purpose is not simply to identify what we see or hear but to see what else it resembles.

Clouds are a good starting point. They can look like many things, changing as they float along and reconfiguring on the way. It is good practice to see as many things as we can when we look at a cloud formation. Build your own dictionary of similar sounding words; you will be surprised by how appropriate the “sounds like” words are. All good memory improvement starts by linking the familiar with the unfamiliar.

Do try it if you want to keep your memory fresh and improve its performance.

It’s fun. And it lengthens the life of your mind.

Good morning
John Bittleston

Think you have a weakening memory? Try the ‘Appreciation Approach’. It helped me. And please do tell us if you have a good memory jogger. [email protected]

22 March 2024