Advertising
Advertising

The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

The Only Way to Remember Everything You Have Read

Our brains aren’t made to remember everything that we encounter. Unless you’re one of the rare individuals who has a photographic memory, it’s likely that details about the content you consume fade quickly.

How often do you recall reading an article, but forgetting what it’s about? Have you ever recognized a movie title but failed to remember the plot? If you frequently forget the things you’ve read and the movies you’ve watched, you aren’t alone.

Think about what you had for lunch yesterday or what you did last weekend. Those memories are probably blurry because they aren’t 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 in my other article: You’ve Been Using Your Brain Wrong: Human Brains Aren’t Designed to Remember Things

The human brain is not designed to help you handle with massive amounts of data. We’re 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 doesn’t matter how much you’ve been looking forward to seeing a movie or reading a book. Unless the content is linked to your survival, chances are that you’ll forget what you’ve 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 you’ve never seen something, your urge to finish the story is your main concern. After you’ve satisfied your desire, you probably won’t remember what you’ve seen. Finishing the movie or book is not the same as remembering all the details.

Advertising

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 you’ve encountered someone, and that’s the end of it. There’s no recognition, and after you leave the situation, you probably won’t remember who you saw.

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

    You might feel frustrated when you can’t recall what you’ve 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, they’re still talking about it. How do they do it?

    These people don’t have extraordinary memories. They simply take in the information actively. Since they’re 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.

    Advertising

      It’s 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 you’ll remember it. As your neurons revisit the same subject over and over, it’s 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, you’ll create a trail. You’ll 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.

      Don’t rely on your initial memory

      The first time you go through something, you’ll probably forget many details. You may find it difficult to absorb specifics because there’s too much new information. When you watch movies or read books, you may find yourself obsessed with what will happen next. Your goal is just to get to the end.

      It’s helpful to revisit the content several times. You may find that since you already know what happens, you’ll be able to appreciate the details.

      Replaying or rereading isn’t enough

      You can look at the same piece of information over and over, but it doesn’t mean that it will stay in your head. Rote memorization (memorizing by repetition) doesn’t allow you to make meaningful connections with what you’re seeing.[3]

      Advertising

      To remember something, you need to apply it. Instead of passively taking in information or actively trying to memorize it by rote, it’s important to make connections. If you can apply what you’ve learned, get feedback, and re-apply a concept with feedback, it’s much more likely to stick.

      For example, reading a recipe alone won’t help you learn to cook. Cooking a meal and having the combined feedback of your taste-buds and the comments of others will stand out in your mind. Watching someone do an exercise never has the same impact as doing it yourself. A framework is all but useless unless you apply it.

      When you apply a concept or practice to your life, it becomes easier to internalize the information. Think about the first time you had to travel to work versus now. At first, you had to think about each step on the route, but now, you don’t even have to think about it. It is the combination of repetition and application that solidifies neuron connections.

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

      When you pick up a book or sit down to watch a movie, have a purpose in mind. If you don’t, your default mode will simply be to get to the end of the book or film. Have a question that you’d like to answer before you begin.

      For example, reading The Power of Habit without a purpose will not be very helpful. It will seem useless to anyone who isn’t ready to build a habit no matter how good the book is. On the other hand, if you think of a bad habit that you’d like to quit before you start reading, you can instantly connect what you’re reading with your own life.

      When you spot related chapters or ideas in books, find ways to connect them. Highlight them, write notes, or clip the sections that are related. Taking notes by hand is an especially valuable way to help you remember important concepts.[4]

      Advertising

      People who watch lots of movies or read lots of books, but can’t remember them, waste a lot of time. They haven’t taken in any information that will actually help them. To avoid forgetting everything you see, apply it immediately after you see it, and revisit the concepts often.

      Have a mind like a steel trap

      Chances are that by tomorrow you will forget what you’ve read in this article unless you save it, highlight it, and make a point of relating it to your life. Bookmark this and come back to it so that you can remember what you need to do to have better recall on the media you consume.

      Watching movies and reading mindlessly is a a waste of time. Make the most of everything that you see and read by finding ways to engage with the content. Think of what you’ll be missing if you allow these learning opportunities to pass you by.

      Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

      Announcing Our New Podcast: The Lifehack Show Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back 14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

      Trending in Smartcut

      1 How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor 2 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 3 7 Most Difficult Languages In The World to Learn For English Speakers 4 7 Ways Learning a Language Will Make You a Better Person 5 8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on June 25, 2019

      100 Motivational Quotes That Will Guide You To Massive Success

      100 Motivational Quotes That Will Guide You To Massive Success

      Below are the 100 most motivational quotes ever. Read them and get motivated for success, and share this post to help your friends get success too!

      1. All our dream can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

      walt2

        2. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. – Zig Ziglar

        zig1

          3. The Man Who Has Confidence In Himself Gains The Confidence Of Others. – Hasidic Proverb

          hasidic1

            4. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.– Napoleon Hill

            napoleon3

              5. For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

              arnold1

                6. What you seek is seeking you. – Rumi

                rumi1

                  7. It is never too late to be what you might have been. —George Eliot

                  eliot1

                    8. Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once. —Drew Houston

                    drew1

                      9. The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. – Bruce Lee

                      bruce1

                        10. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson

                        jefferson1

                          11. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu

                          tzu1

                            12.The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand

                            ayr3

                              13. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi

                              gandhi2

                                14. The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it. –  Jordan Belfort

                                jordanb1

                                  15. When you can’t change the direction of the wind, just adjust your sails. – H. Jackson Brown Jr

                                  hjackson

                                    16. Security Is Mostly A Superstition. Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing. – Helen Keller

                                    keller2

                                      17. Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions. – Tony Robbins

                                      robbins1

                                        18. We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret. – Earl Nightingale

                                        earl1

                                          19. Double down on whats working. Cut the rest. – Tai Lopez

                                          tailopez1

                                            20. The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra

                                            sinatra1

                                              21. Tough times never last, but tough people do. – Dr. Robert Schuller

                                              schuller

                                                22. Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion. Tony Hsieh

                                                hsieh1

                                                  23. I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have. – Russell Simmons

                                                  russels1

                                                    24. The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. – Benjamin Disraeli

                                                    disrael1

                                                      25. Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – Napoleon Hill

                                                      napoleon2

                                                        26. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

                                                        rohn4

                                                          27. People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do. – Rob Siltanen

                                                          robs1

                                                            28. Poor people have big TVs. Rich people have a big library. – Jim Rohn

                                                            rohn3

                                                              29. A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship. – John D. Rockefeller

                                                              rockefeller2

                                                                30. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney

                                                                walt1

                                                                  31. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. – Mark Zuckerburg

                                                                  markz1

                                                                    32. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

                                                                    markt1

                                                                      33. Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”– Jack Canfield

                                                                      canfield1

                                                                        34. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. – Malcolm X

                                                                        maclcomx

                                                                          35. Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy. or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan. – Larry Winget

                                                                          larry1

                                                                            36. Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning. – Robert Kiyosaki

                                                                            kiyosaki1

                                                                              37. If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results. – Tony Robbins

                                                                              robbins2

                                                                                38. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. – John F. Kennedy

                                                                                kennedy1

                                                                                  39. Reading is to the mind, as exercise is to the body. – Brian Tracy

                                                                                  tracy2

                                                                                    40. The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place. – Guy Kawasaki

                                                                                    kawasaki1

                                                                                      41.You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them. —Michael Jordan

                                                                                      jordan1

                                                                                        42. Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. – John D. Rockefeller

                                                                                        feller1

                                                                                          43. Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success. – Dale Carnegie

                                                                                          carnegie1

                                                                                            44. The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself. – Mark Caine

                                                                                            caine1

                                                                                              45. Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. —Warren Buffett

                                                                                              buffet1

                                                                                                46. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real, it is possible, it’s yours. – Ayr Rand

                                                                                                ayr2

                                                                                                  47. If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do. – Anonymous

                                                                                                  anony1

                                                                                                    48. Make each day your masterpiece.  – John Wooden

                                                                                                    wooden1

                                                                                                      49. You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

                                                                                                      stevej1

                                                                                                        50. Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

                                                                                                        wolfgang1

                                                                                                          51. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. – Jack Welch

                                                                                                          welsh1

                                                                                                            52. People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. – Tony Robbins

                                                                                                            robbins3

                                                                                                              53. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

                                                                                                              wayne1

                                                                                                                54. You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. – Margaret Thatcher

                                                                                                                thatcher1

                                                                                                                  55. If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you! – T. Harv Eker

                                                                                                                  tharv1

                                                                                                                    56. Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment. – Stephen Covey

                                                                                                                    stephen1

                                                                                                                      57. Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. – Pablo Picasso

                                                                                                                      picasso

                                                                                                                        58 – Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

                                                                                                                        oprah1

                                                                                                                          59. I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. – Neil Armstrong

                                                                                                                          neil1

                                                                                                                            60. A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

                                                                                                                            napoleon1

                                                                                                                              61.You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. – John C. Maxwell

                                                                                                                              maxwell1

                                                                                                                                62. The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey

                                                                                                                                oprah1

                                                                                                                                  63. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain

                                                                                                                                  mark1

                                                                                                                                    64. Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. – Les Brown

                                                                                                                                    les1

                                                                                                                                      65. Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. – Stephen King

                                                                                                                                      king1

                                                                                                                                        66. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success. – Joyce Brothers

                                                                                                                                        joyce1

                                                                                                                                          67. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

                                                                                                                                          john1

                                                                                                                                            68. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve. – Jeff Bezos

                                                                                                                                            jeff1

                                                                                                                                              69. Imagine Your Life Is Perfect In Every Respect; What Would It Look Like? – Brian Tracy

                                                                                                                                              ideal1

                                                                                                                                                70. First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. –  Mahatma Gandhi

                                                                                                                                                gandhi1

                                                                                                                                                  71. Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt

                                                                                                                                                  eleanor1

                                                                                                                                                    72. Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. – John Maxwell

                                                                                                                                                    maxwell2

                                                                                                                                                      73. It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop. – Confucius

                                                                                                                                                      confucius1

                                                                                                                                                        74. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs. – Dhirubhai Ambani

                                                                                                                                                        buildDream

                                                                                                                                                          75. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley

                                                                                                                                                          brinkley1

                                                                                                                                                            76. Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. – Ayr Rand

                                                                                                                                                            ayr1

                                                                                                                                                              77. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

                                                                                                                                                              alexbell1

                                                                                                                                                                78. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein

                                                                                                                                                                albert1

                                                                                                                                                                  79. The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbors. – Napoleon Hill

                                                                                                                                                                  hill1

                                                                                                                                                                    80. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt

                                                                                                                                                                    elle

                                                                                                                                                                      81. The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

                                                                                                                                                                      roose1

                                                                                                                                                                        82. If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn

                                                                                                                                                                        rohn5

                                                                                                                                                                          83. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                                                          winston2

                                                                                                                                                                            84. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. – Henry David Thoreau

                                                                                                                                                                            henrydavid1

                                                                                                                                                                              85. Take one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is the way great spiritual giants are produced. – Swami Vivekananda

                                                                                                                                                                              savi1

                                                                                                                                                                                86. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

                                                                                                                                                                                ford1

                                                                                                                                                                                  87. It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

                                                                                                                                                                                  nelson1

                                                                                                                                                                                    88. Be so good they can’t ignore you. – Steve Martin

                                                                                                                                                                                    martin

                                                                                                                                                                                      89. If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.

                                                                                                                                                                                      luther

                                                                                                                                                                                        90. In the end, we only regret the chance we didn’t take – Lewis Carroll

                                                                                                                                                                                        lewiscarroll

                                                                                                                                                                                          91. Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world… if you do so, you are insulting yourself – Bill Gates

                                                                                                                                                                                          gates

                                                                                                                                                                                            92. Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long term results – Unknown

                                                                                                                                                                                            smalla

                                                                                                                                                                                              93. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

                                                                                                                                                                                              edison

                                                                                                                                                                                                94. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going – Jim Rohn

                                                                                                                                                                                                rohnnny

                                                                                                                                                                                                  95. The best way to predict the future is to create it – Peter Drucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                  druckz

                                                                                                                                                                                                    96. It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up. – Vince Lombardi

                                                                                                                                                                                                    lombarz

                                                                                                                                                                                                      97. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ralhpo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        98. Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today. – Will Rogers

                                                                                                                                                                                                        gghg

                                                                                                                                                                                                          99.You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character. – Unknown

                                                                                                                                                                                                          unkkk

                                                                                                                                                                                                            100. Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other. – Brian Tracy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            lastone!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You made it to the end! Are you feeling motivated? Awesome, now share this post with your friends to help them achieve success too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Featured photo credit: http://www.unusual-concepts.ru/ via unusual-concepts.ru

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Advertising

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Read Next