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The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read
From Lifehack - November 8, 2017

Our brains arent made to remember everything that we encounter. Unless youre one of the rare individuals who has a photographic memory, its likely that details about the content you consume fade quickly.

How often do you recall reading an article, but forgetting what its about? Have you ever recognized a movie title but failed to remember the plot? If you frequently forget the things youve read and the movies youve watched, you arent alone.

Think about what you had for lunch yesterday or what you did last weekend. Those memories are probably blurry because they arent critical for your survival. Our brains have about 8 GB of capacity for immediate recall, and only the most essential information will make the cut. This can leave us with a blurred picture of nonessential information. Learn more about this inmy other article:Youve Been Using Your Brain Wrong: Human Brains Arent Designed to Remember Things

The human brain is not designed to help you handle with massive amounts of data. Were bombarded with stimuli every day. If we processed and remembered everything, then it would probably make it difficult for us to function. Your brain sorts through all your experiences to weed out the significant and insignifcant things that we encounter.1

The first time you read something, finishing it is the only aim.

It doesnt matter how much youve been looking forward to seeing a movie or reading a book. Unless the content is linked to your survival, chances are that youll forget what youve seen or read soon after viewing it.

Part of this is because your primary objective was to watch the film or read the book. When youve never seen something, your urge to finish the story is your main concern. After youve satisfied your desire, you probably wont remember what youve seen. Finishing the movie or book is not the same as remembering all the details.

Human beings store memories through a process called encoding. Our brain is better at encoding information when it can associate new information with pre-existing experiences.2

The first time we encounter information is akin to us passing strangers on the street. Your neurons process that youve encountered someone, and thats the end of it. Theres no recognition, and after you leave the situation, you probably wont remember who you saw.

Some people do remember what they see, though. Why?

You might feel frustrated when you cant recall what youve just seen, but it can be even more maddening when you run into someone who seems to have absorbed everything. This is the friend that recites details from the movies that you watched months ago. Long after the finer points of a text have slipped your mind, theyre still talking about it. How do they do it?

These people dont have extraordinary memories. They simply take in the information actively. Since theyre actively processing information, they are able to experience the book details or the movie scenes repeatedly in a short time. They revise and synthesize the information so that it becomes their own.

Its like taking the same route every day and running into the same people. You begin to recognize people and observe more about them because they are already familiar to you. Likewise, your neurons can easily make new connections when they have been asked to revisit and analyze new information instead of passively observing it.

The key is to see, connect, and then repeat.

The more you actively engage with the content that you are consuming, the more readily youll remember it. As your neurons revisit the same subject over and over, its easier for them to make new connections.

Think of it like taking a walk through the woods. At first there is no path, but if you take the same route every day, eventually, youll create a trail. Youll be able to move quickly and easily in a place where you used to have to move slowly. Your brain handles memory like this too. You want to build a well-worn path for your neurons.

Dont rely on your initial memory

Replaying or rereading isnt enough

Have a question at the back of your mind before you read/watch it

Have a mind like a steel trap

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