"Unlimited Memory" by Kevin Horsley

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 AUTHOR: Kevin Horsley

AUTHOR: Kevin Horsley

We all have a tough time remembering from time to time, but what if we had the right techniques to remember just about anything? At operational level, remembering key facts, statistics, details and names would be incredibly useful, and one that would be highly favourable in international relations.

That is why we are recommending the book “Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and Be More Productive” by Kevin Horsley to support Chapter 1 “Skills for a Changing World” of the Diplomatic Planner. Out of  all of the memorisation books out in the market, we have have chosen this particular book because of the author himself. Horsley is an expert when it comes to how the mind works and he is one of the very few people in the world to have received the title of ‘International Grand Master of Memory’. His book is a goldmine of information to strengthen your memory and skills you can use on the go. If you want to improve your concentration, you’ve got to clear your mind and be in the present.

So, what does the International Grand Master of Memory have to say about this sometimes out-of-reach skill we all know we desperately want? First, Horsley asks us to get rid of conflict. This means anything that leads your mind in different directions and stops you from concentrating. Stop multitasking or doing more than one thing because the chances of you making a mistake and slowing your progress down goes up by 50 percent. Another smart move is to prevent your mind from wandering by giving yourself a purpose. That way, you put yourself in a position where you can remind yourself why you wanted to concentrate in the first place.

Horsley suggests the PIC rule. The acronym stands for: Purpose, Interest and Curiosity. “Purpose” is your reason for learning. “Interest” is something that you choose to learn. “Curiosity” is about the subject that you want to learn about. The PIC rule will help you to concentrate and keep you in a zen-like mode, but how do you then retain information?

Horsley suggests using creativity to bring information to life. For example, when you read a page of a book and start to see images, you are more likely to remember the story. This can work with any information. Words can be broken up into smaller words which sound similar to others. This is a great technique for remembering foreign words or capital cities. An example he provides is remembering the word “pollo” which is Spanish for chicken. Picture yourself playing polo while riding a massive chicken - how can you forget that hilarious image?! Or how about remembering Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Visualise a KANgaroo eating some BERRies to help jog your memory.

Once you have learned how to create memorable images, it is important to learn how to organise them in your mind. The best way to do this is to use the loci method, which is the practice of combining new information with something already familiar. We are experts at remembering specific routes like going home. Our minds remember specific locations along the route that is vivid and familiar to us. So if you use the loci method to memorise a speech, imagine yourself walking around your home along a particular route and start to put together a string of locations during your visit. This method is effective because it works with any structured location that you know well. And if you’re not convinced, the author used this method to remember the first 10,000 digits of the number π pi. The loci method has also been around for more than 2,500 years so it is bound to work well with practice.

Remembering names is not only an important skill to have for international relations but for life in general. We go through this important concept in Chapter 8 of the Diplomatic Planner. Forgetting names can be wildly alarming and cause unnecessary embarrassment. For this particular instance, Horsley recommends the C system to memorise this information. The four Cs stand for: concentrate, create, connect and continuous use. First, concentrate on the person’s name. Say it out loud and repeat. Then, pick the name apart and use any words that come to mind to create a memorable image. For Horsley’s last time, picture a fight between a HORSe and Bruce LEE. One your have created an image, connect it to the person’s face. In theory, seeing their face should immediately bring up their name.

To stop yourself from forgetting information, review is a must. It comes to no surprise that without training your memory, you will forget most of what you have learned. To remember better, leave a space of time between each review. Plan to review tomorrow, then two weeks after, then 3 months later. This will prevent you from losing your newfound knowledge.

Here, we have shared with you a brief amount of techniques suggested by the ‘International Grand Master of Memory’ himself. All we can say is, practice makes perfect. Once you read up on something, put it to practice and concentrate by giving yourself a purpose to your learning.

“Unlimited Memory” is recommended for the purposes of the Diplomatic Planner. The Diplomatic Planner is a 12-month career development toolkit for diplomacy and internationals for professionals looking to explore or grow their expertise in the field. Both books are available for purchase via Amazon. For further recommendations, insights, case studies and practicable worksheets, please join the Grassroot Diplomat Online Academy via: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/register