How Humans Learn And How It Affects You
Learning is a human talent and there are no boundaries to the quantity or quality of skills that we can learn. Discover the incredible nature of how your brain learns new skills and improve memory.
One day my son ask me when can he take off the training wheels from his bicycle. I replied, “When I was your age, my father pushed me. I fell and bruised my knee. But I wanted to ride my bicycle so badly that I always got up and tried again”. My son frown at the prospect of constant falls and said, “Did you always fall every time you got up on your bicycle?” “No”, I replied, “If you practise you will learn, and it will work out fine, soon you’ll be an expert.” My son grinned and he got on his bicycle and tried again. Sure enough, he was soon paddling his merry way in a couple of days.
Whether you are learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time or learning to play the piano, most of us need time to master any new skills we desire to learn. It may take some time and effort in the beginning but it’s all worth it, considering we retain the ability to learn right into old age. If you want to learn a complicated skill, you need time and patience. And as soon as the right sequence of movements has been learnt, you can no longer imagine how difficult to take those first steps.
The human mind and body has an innate ability to learn almost anything imaginable. From learning to play the guitar to juggling balls. In any circus or carnival, mind-boggling array of skills and stunts are demonstrated. For example, performing somersaults in the air, juggling knives, balancing spinning plates on sticks. If you hold a baby upright with her feet touching the floor, she will instinctively start making walking movements with her feet. Almost a year will pass before she has found the muscle control to be able o put one foot in front of the other all by herself. In this time, the baby gradually learns to control her movements, first learning to creep, then to crawl and finally to stand upright without holding onto someone or something. It is during this process that she progressively establishes the necessary nerve links between the brain and the muscles.
Just like learning to walk upright is a skill that almost everyone can master, we too have the mental skills to train our memory to perform astonishing feats of memory and improve memory. Memory trainers use an array of clever techniques like mental association. Such techniques have been used for centuries by the Greeks and ancient cultures to amass large amounts of information long before printing was the common enough to hold the massive information required to be pass from generations to generations.
An example of association is to use a technique known as pegging as an anchor or source to hold a piece of information. The body can be used as a reference for pegging. For example, the toes, the knee, muscle, shoulder, collar to the face. Extremely easy to use, it can be the basis of more advance methods of association. Soon, just like learning to ride a bicycle, anyone can use such techniques to master long chains of numbers, lists or mathematical formulas. There are of course many other methods that anyone can use to boost his memory. Dominic O’Brien for example, likes to use the loci method as pegs for his memory feats. Dominic is of course, the world memory Olympiad champion and uses his jogging route to help him remember long strands of numbers or long list of items in the hundreds.
There is much to be gained from a trained memory. Besides making tests and exams a walk in the park, learning a foreign language or “cheating” in a card game, a trained memory has been known to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other age related memory problems. You might want to explore the different ways you brain can be trained today both to improve memory and for a healthier mental health.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martin Mak has put together a new program to help people train their memory and enhance their learning experience. Find out how you can benefit from his free ecourse, visit