Disposable geniuses remember information
When I was driving my kids to school recently, I asked my son to quickly list 30 English words. As you’d expect, he fought. But I knew he would make it.
I agree with Lisa Genova, author of Remember, who said the average person can remember over 100,000 words. In my son’s case, he could remember at least 200 words in five minutes. He just didn’t know yet.
So I asked him to remember his three lessons on synonyms. (Each day, he must master at least three keywords and at least two synonyms for each word. That means he learns at least nine words a day.)
“If you take 10 keywords and list their two synonyms,” I told him, “you should be able to find 30 words in no time.”
He immediately had the idea and started using “three synonyms: deserted, deserted, made up, gone. Three synonyms: above, above, higher. Three synonyms: clever, intelligent, smart…”
In about two minutes he had his required 30 words.
This means that you remember information faster when you organize it into categories. I learned from a book, an article, or a video (I can’t remember which) that this is how geniuses process information.
At the core of this idea is simplification. Instead of looking for an elaborate way to solve something, look for an easier way. One way to do this is through grouping.
And it works. try it yourself Here’s a question. How many plants can you name in 30 seconds? This is a task challenge. But if you categorize the plants into vegetable, fruit, and ornamental, many names will surely come to mind. Simply exhaust a category and then move on to the next group.
The same goes if you are trying to invite people to your wedding or any other occasion. To avoid angry reactions from friends you forget to invite, you can group friends in different places of residence and you are more likely to remember more of them.
So if this is the genius way, how do we define a genius? Nobody knows. Or it depends who you ask.
For example, in his 1904 research on geniuses, Havelock Ellis said that geniuses are conceived by men over 30 and women under 25, and are usually sick children.
Some say it’s high IQ. While Bill Gates, who deserves the label, has an IQ of 160, another genius and Nobel laureate in physics, Richard Fynmann, had an IQ of only 122. (That’s lower than mine.)
You may find that some people with very high IQs are actually not productive or don’t make effective contributions to humanity. Marilyn vos Savant is a case in point. Despite having the highest IQ ever recorded (of 228), she is only a question-and-answer column for Parade magazine.
You see, nobody knows! Just use the technique.
Edit at least three times!
Facebook just showed me a post I wrote four years ago on December 21, 2017. I saw two embarrassing typos in the update that gave me heartache this morning.
The first typo was in the first sentence. Grrr!
“AEDC, in a believable display of monopolistic power,” I wrote, “blacked out Minna for more than two days in response to a protest by our youth.”
The first sentence! The scribe’s hand is blind; because I wrote “incredible” and not “believable” in my head.
So I still feel sorry for the author who complained about a typo on his book cover. The front cover! But what would you do after you’ve probably printed a thousand copies?
It is therefore best to proofread your article at least three times. Or leave it for a while. After it cools down, come back to it. Read my article “The 24-hour rule”.
Sometimes I don’t submit my columns to the Daily Trust for this reason. No time for proofreading. And when the mistakes appear in the newspaper, they are a permanent record.
But with social media, you have some flexibility. You can slap “unedited version” on it and edit it later. That’s why I’ve been doing this on social media since last year.
So please, go through your written copy three times. At least.