Over 70% of students and executives we asked to rate their memory, complained it was not sufficient for the Internet Age. Like stress, everyone has it and no one can delete it without more effort than it’s worth. Stress destroys memory.

Past age fifty, 90% of executives call memory loss their primary problem and fear.

New research by Dr. Tracy Alloway of Britain’s Durham University indicates
working-memory is the new I.Q. Lousy working-memory produces low grades and
limited success in school and your career.

Is there really anything we can do to improve working-memory?

Working Memory

When you are reading or listening, your brain has to hold in temporary storage
the first half of the sentence your read or hear, and link it in context with the
second half. When you improve your working-memory, you enhance your knowledge and information skills.

Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and even limited forms of Autism interfere with your brain’s ability to associate parts of a sentence you
read or hear, with the context, the whole meaning. Good working-memory saves the beginning, and connects (associates) it with the other ideas in the sentence.

No one thinks about working-memory when it functions. Why worry about
memory when it has worked without a hitch since childhood?

Attitude

Students (high school, college and grad school) get the shakes about their memory when they face testing. The rest of the time memory is nothing but an abstract,
theoretical word. Unless you pay attention (focus) to remembering, it is deleted
within twenty-seconds.

Secret

Surprise, it is the fear of failing (stress) that causes short-term and long-term (permanent) memory to tank. Some people forget how to spell their own name when facing the SATs, finals or state exams.

When you are afraid, your right-hemisphere activates mental-movies of failure.
This kind of imagery causes you to trigger your negative emotions. Next, your consciousness (Left-Hemisphere) produces new thoughts of getting “Fs” in the course and not graduating.

It is a feedback cycle of stress, scary mental imagery, and worse feelings, leading to thinking-paralysis.

Solution

Stop raising your brain’s electrical system (cycles-per-second) into high Beta Hz.
Success occurs in testing when you can downshift your brain into Alpha (alert relaxation) cycles per second.

How

You have to inhibit your right-brain and activate your left (thinking) brain. Your right-brain controls pattern recognition, mental imagery, emotions and intuition. That specialization is totally different from how your left-brain controls your
thinking, organizing, logic and reasoning and planning.

But How

Sing this song to yourself and you automatically shift your brain from right-brain
imagery of failure, to left-brain thinking about organizing the words.

The name of the song is B.I.N.G.O

“There was a farmer who had a dog, and BINGO was his name-o.
B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and BINGO was his name-o.”

The next sentence calls for slapping your leg to replace each letter of
Bingo’s name. You end with five-slaps and no more letters.

In one-minute you move your brain into Alpha from Beta Hz (cycles per second)
and you memory is ready to excel on the exam. Bingo banishes your negative mental-movies.

Mental Imagery

There are two elements required to a great memory: one, using your imagination to create mental imagery relating to what you want to recall later. Example: I want
to remember these seven question words in order.

Who-What-When-Where-Why-Which-How. I picture in my mind an Owl repeating
Who-Who for the word ‘who’. Next this owl jumps on a Hat, which reminds me of the word ‘What’. Notice’ hat’ uses three of the four letters of the word ‘what’.

The owl morphs (turns into) a Hen which reminds me of ‘when”. Now try it your- self.

What does the Hen become to remind you of “where”? Answer: a Hare. Continue until you can automatically mentally see in your mind’s eye the seven-question words and their specific images.

The purpose in having the Seven-Questions on auto-pilot is to listen or read,
and then answer these questions in a sentence or two, to remember the gist of what
you read or listened to. It moves the knowledge into long-term memory.

Law of Association is Number Two

We only remember when we link (connect) new knowledge and information to old
stuff already stored in long-term memory. When you associate (link) the sound of
“Who” with the Owl image, you have connected your left and right hemispheres
using long-term memory.

We call the use of the Seven-Questions to trigger your long-term memory – FistNoting. This skill enables you to remember books, articles, reports and
lectures for improving your knowledge in order to ace exams.

Saccades

The eyes of Homo sapiens do not move continuously across the pages we read.
They make short, rapid, irregular eye movements called saccades. Your eyes
move-and-stop when we read. First saccades (moves), and then fixations (stops).

Comprehension (learning) occurs only when our eye stops, accord to the experts.
Working memory is temporary storage until we use left-brain cognition (thinking)
into long-term memory or delete the telephone number you looked up but no long need.

Endwords

If you place the B.I.N.G.O. song into long-term memory as a special strategy
to move you out of stress and depression, you have a new skill to improve your
psychological life.

If you learn FistBusting, the seven-questions to becoming a scholar and maybe
a genius, you own a strategy for lifelong learning.

We suggest one more skill. Would it help you in school and career to read and remember three (3) books, articles and reports in the time your competitors
can hardly finish one? Ask us how to become a speed reader.

See ya,

Copyright © 2008 H. Bernard Wechsler www.speedlearning.org hbw@speedlearning.org
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Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading,
graduating 2 million including the White House staffs of four
U.S. Presidents.