Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Remember This! - a #PNSQC2019 Live Blog

Day Two is underway! Before I start, I want to say thank you so very much to Erin Dees for inviting me and a group of people out to Mother's Bistro for what turned out to be an evening of great food, hilarious conversation and me getting back to my hotel room and just deciding I was done for the day. I like when that happens :).

Today's first keynote talk is being given by Scott Crabtree. Scott is the founder of Happy Brain Science and his message for today is
"Constant change means constant learning".

Scott's opening monologue was an amazing dream sequence and an interesting phenomenon. Have you ever noticed that there is a break ith your immediate memory when you wal through a doorway? I've certainly noticed this every time I try to remember something I need to be doing.

Scott is going to lead a "memory palace" game, so I am going to literally sketch this idea:

- Come up with a space that has twelve distinct areas to remember (interestingly enough, my house with its rooms, halls, and garage works for this :) ).

- Go into all of the spaces one by one and imaging them empty.

- In the first place, I put berries (master bedroom has berries, the brain is in my body, berries boost memory. neat :)!!!). Lots of berries, make it weird. I'm picturing a ship made out of berries because of pirates :p.

- In the second space, put meditation there. That's my son's room, or what up until a few years ago was his room. It's aquamarine in color, so this is easy for me to envision. Scott says get weird, so I'll picture my son in his over the top hip hop gear sitting in the lotus position. Actually, I'm not sure that's all that weird, that just kind of sounds like my son (LOL!). For the record, I do see a value in meditation and I do it, not as frequently as I probably should.

- Repetition causes learning. Brains are wired to remember visuals than raw facts. Repeat to teach. In the third room, create repetition. Scott recommended a record skipping. For me, I prefer a looping rhythm and melody. There' a melody that is famously called "The Riff" that I can picture looping as a great sense of repetition. The third spot is my downstairs bathroom, so in some ways, this is really appropriate.

- The fourth location in testing. Ironically, the fourth location is my daughter's bedroom and they are both recent high school graduates so I can think of them both taking tests and testing limits. My daughter recently did her driving tests so hey, it works :).

- The fifth place, place a smell. I absolutely agree that smell can intensely focus on thinking, both pleasant and unpleasant. I keep an essential oil diffuser in my office and I use it regularly. I don't place any "woo" in the value of essential oils, to be clear, but I do find that intense smells to be focusing so I use them. Scott recommends Rosemary and while it is good, I find that a mix of Lemongrass and Tea Tree Oil to be the most effective because together they are distinct and fairly pungent. This is my hallway that connects these previous four rooms.

- The sixth place is focused on picturing memories. This would actually normally be my hallway but since I've used that already, lt's go with our front room/dining room combo. It has a fair amount of decor, some pictures, some curios, but it's a definite visual room so this works :).

- The seventh spot is emotional. THAT IS MY KITCHEN (LOL!). I love to cook, especially stuff that is uncommon and unique. Some of my cooking adventures have been sublime, some of them have been terrifying, but cooking is a peak of emotion. The kitchen is my emotional center and I can work with that! Emotion is me throwing food around from pan to pan over a set of running burners. It may not work for anyone else but it works for me.

- The eighth spot is my stairway that leads upstairs, and Scott is recommending exercise. this is easy because the one exercise thing I tend to struggle with exercise-wise is climbing floors. I have a set number I try to get to each day and some days I succeed and some days I don't. Thus stairs work for me.

- The ninth spot is space or spacing out learning. this space is our family room upstairs. It's an all-purpose room with a lot going on so it works as a space-out place. It's also where my daughter draws and does a lot of her artwork so that is easy to picture :).

- Tenth spot. Look left and right to find a memory. The upstairs bathroom has a weird configuration with two carriage lights and a mirror in the center. It sort of looks like a face so left and right looking works for this room :). Scott recommends eyes, and in this case, the carriage lamps work for eyes. Neat!

- Eleventh Spot. The doorway effect. This represents my office and I can honestly say that more times than not the doorway effect has happened as I leave this room more than any other. My office is already weird as it represents everything I do as far as picturing things, I already have a memorable image, it has a poster of the Attack on Titan protagonists (Eren, Mikasa, and Armin). I'll mentally picture the flying image as the whole door.

- Twelfth and Last Spot. End with the most important information. There's just one place left in my house and ironically it's where I figured it needs to be the last spot. It's my garage. Yes, we put our car in the garage (and amazingly, we can actually do that in our San Francisco Peninsula neighborhood. Thus I picture END being my garage. The way I represent that is with an eight-foot closet rod. Why this? It's where all of my re-enactment creations get hung and stored and categorized (oh, now there' a topic ;) ). It's the end result of a lot of work and creativity so it's easy to remember END in this capacity.

So what is this actually? It's called a "memory palace" and it's a way to help us to keep memories vivid and intact. If you walk through these steps, my guess is that you will likewise sharpen your memory. This looks like something I can actively play with when I get home :).

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