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How To Remember Names And Details About People Better

How To Remember Names And Details About People Better

You’re introduced to a friend of a friend and two sentences into the conversation you have completely forgotten their name. Suddenly you lose all ability to pay attention to the conversation while your mind races for a way to figure out their name. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there more than I care to admit and only recently did I realize that this disease of forgetting names is actually quite curable.

Here are three easy steps I’ve learned for how to remember names and details about people you meet.

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1. Care About People

I shouldn’t even have to write this, but if you don’t care about the people around you, you’ll never be good at remembering their names. People easily forget about things they attach no importance to. You can learn to care more about people by losing yourself in the service of others, but that’s a topic for another time.

2. Remember To Follow Through

The same way a good golf swing requires more than just striking the ball, you’ll remember names far better if you follow through. Thurlow Weed, the man who is given credit for mentoring William H. Seward, understood this principle well. He was concerned that he “lacked a native facility for remembering names and appointments.” As a result, he consciously trained his memory by spending 15 minutes every night recalling everyone he met and everything that was said. It’s no surprise he became especially well known for his amazing ability to remember information.

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Every night I like to give myself a few minutes to remember as many details as I can about my day. Once or twice a week I also try to see how many days I can go back and recall using the same technique. This constant exercise has proven to be the vital follow through I needed in order to improve my memory. Now when I meet someone new, I instinctively attach more value to names and details because I know I will be going over them later. Thank you, Mr. Weed!

3. Say The Name Out Loud

One of my favorite, yet extreme, examples of this is Anna Faris in House Bunny. If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember that when someone new introduces themselves to her, she gets a serious look on her face and repeats the name in her deepest, raspiest voice possible. It’s pretty hilarious. She claims it helps her remember names better. While it might just be a funny quirk to add dimension to the personality of her main character, it is directly in line with a simple truth. If you repeat a person’s name back when they introduce themselves, you are much more likely to remember it.

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Think of a person’s name as a key to your conversation. Once they give it to you, use it once or twice throughout the conversation to keep it going. The quicker you commit a name to memory, the more you can focus on the details of the actual conversation.

Repeating names not only helps you focus and remember, it’s also an excellent way to build better relationships. In Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, he teaches that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

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Remember, care about people, follow through, and say the name out loud. If you still struggle, there is no shame in openly admitting you are trying to be better. Everyone learns at their own pace. Even the slowest progress is better than no progress.

If you struggle with remembering names and details, I would love to hear your experiences trying these tips. Let me know how it goes in the comments below. What other methods do you have for remembering names and details?

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Braden Thompson

Braden is an advocate for better living who finds fulfillment in helping others become better.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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