Activity 15 – 30 days of remembering

The talks
This activity was not in my original schedule, it really came about from Joshua Foer’s talk at TED2012. Joshua’s talk is Feats of memory anyone can do, based on his experience of learning the memory techniques used by ordinary people to achieve extraordinary memory tasks in the championship events held around the world. The other talk is Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs memory in which he discusses the experiencing-self and the remembering-self and how they work in our minds.

The challenge
Joshua’s talk is not just about how to build memory palaces and remember people’s names, it is a commentary on our modern lives, and how we don’t take the time to remember things anymore because we have so many devices to do that for us. The thing is that as he says, “To live a memorable life, you have to be the kind of person who remembers to remember”. This feeds in very well to Daniel’s talk where he explains that it is our remembering-self that makes decisions: “We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences”.

The challenge for me is that I will be to spend 30 days remembering to remember, to learn the ancient techniques that Joshua talks about, and to try to be more aware of taking the time to remember.

The activity
This is a fairly simple activity to explain, I will learn and practice the memory techniques that Joshua discusses to improve my ability to remember. Particularly, I will learn the memory palace and visualisation techniques to improve my ability to remember people’s names, shopping lists and other seemingly random things.

The other underlying part of this activity is that I will take the time to remember experiences that occur in the 30 days, to see whether I feel like I am better able to recall these experiences by the end. This will involve being more attentive to things as I experience them, processing information more deeply and focusing on remembering.

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