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Rev Up Your Brain

08 September 2011

The more you use it, the stronger it’ll be, says memory guru Nishant Kasibhatla.

Almost everyone I have spoken to agrees that they had a better memory when they were in secondary school. As days and years go by and life gets busier and more complicated, most people feel their memory and brainpower deteriorating. Is there a way in which we can get our brains into top gear and make them work better? Oh, yes!

Imagine that your brain has two pipes fitted onto it. One of these pipes is the ‘input pipe’ and the other the ‘output pipe’. Every day when you read books, magazines, billboards and marketing flyers or attend meetings, training programmes and seminars or watch TV, the input pipe of your brain is super active. Information is constantly going into your brain at a rapid pace day in and day out, whether you like it or not. Now, let’s look at the activity of your brain’s output pipe. It is incredibly low by any standards. Have a look at these scenarios.

Your friend asks you the name of the restaurant you went to last month. You can’t recall it quickly. What do you do? Visit a food review website and search for the name.

Someone asks you for a sales figure for the last week (or other work-related information). What do you do? You log into your computer and search for the data.

You want to talk about an interesting piece of research you read last week, but can’t recall some critical facts. What do you do? Go online and ‘Google’ it.

In many similar situations, where we want to recall something, most people simply use Google or look into their smartphone or some other external memory device. We do not give any work to the recall faculty of our brain; instead we rely on the ‘output pipe’ of the external memory device. As a result of this, the brain’s output pipe gets clogged.

You must have heard of the ‘use it or lose it’ adage when talking about brainpower.

That’s so true. The more exercise you give to your brain, the sharper it gets.

Let’s go back to your school days. Why was your memory so good back then? Because your brain’s output pipe was very active. You had to prepare for your weekly, monthly and half-yearly tests. During the test, you had to give work to your output pipe. Since your brain’s input and output pipes were very active, you had a good memory.

So, how do you start using your brain’s output pipe and thereby boost your brainpower? Simple. Here are a few ways:

1. Look at the address book in your phone and identify the five most important telephone numbers. Remember these numbers. If you can’t remember all five numbers in a day, you can remember one telephone number a day. You can easily do that, can’t you?

2. Write a list of the 10 critical bits of information you need to remember at work. Commit them to your memory.

3. Finally, give work to your ‘memory muscles’. It’s so easy to store everything on your smartphone or tablet computer these days. However, understand that if you don’t commit things to memory on a regular basis, your natural memory ability will decline. You will tend to be more absentminded and will experience mind-blocks frequently.

I am not saying you have to remember everything in your brain. That is unnecessary and will lead to stress. However, if you become a slave to your phones and computers, your brain will become lazy.

Your memory is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. In other words, look for opportunities where you have to use your brain’s output pipe.


For more tips by Nishant Kasibhatla on improving memory, go to Challenge Online's Insider’s Take. Nishant Kasibhatla is the only Grand Master of Memory in Singapore. He is an author, speaker and trainer with more than 15 years’ experience in the areas of speed-reading, motivation and success, and memory management. www.RememberNishant.com

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