Challenge 8: Memorize something important to you.

It’s a useful thing to do. When I was a kid in the Middle East everything was taught by memorization; when I moved out west it was mocked as “parroting”. Nevertheless the habit stayed with me and because of it some of the most powerful words I’ve read or heard remain on the tip of my tongue. I’m going to memorize something new, something important to me; join in the Challenge!

The Challenge

This week’s challenge involves an aspect of personal improvement: mental ability.  Bear with me a while; this blog is about to get academic.

Memory is both an inherent ability and a learnable skill.  Most of us grasp how memory improves with adulthood and fades with age.  We understand that memory qualifies as a ‘use it or lose it’ talent.  Not many people use their memory for anything beyond necessity (phone numbers, addresses, etc.) and simple maintenance.  Fewer still actively exercise their memory with the intent of strengthening its span.  Even fewer – maybe only ‘savants’, Mensa show-offs, and cognitive scientists – deliberately study and train new techniques in order to become badass memory masters.

The formal arts of memory-do are called ‘mnemonics’.  Each mnemonic is a deliberate method used to exploit and expand the natural strengths of long-term memory storage.  One of the oldest and best known mnemonics is the method of loci: associating each item to be remembered…

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