Improving Your Memory: ASOE

In order to remember something, you first need to make it memorable. You need to picture it in your mind’s eye and it needs to be so unusual that it is hard to forget.

Image that your are a world class animator working for the Walt Disney Company. Your job is to “cartoonize” the world around you and transform the dull and mundane into something that is wonderfully wacky and distinctive, where heads are too big, and gravity is defied, and where fantasies come true.

To help your make things more memorable, remember the following acronym: ASOE, which stands for Action, Substitution, Out-of-Proportion, and Exaggeration.

Let’s pretend you were asked to go to the store for someone and they wanted you to purchase a package of yellow pencils. Assuming you had a really bad memory and were afraid you couldn’t remember even one item, how could you apply ASOE to help you remember this item?

Action. Your goal is to add some action to the item. And the more wild, violent, extreme, and crazy the action is, the more likely it will be remembered. So instead of remembering to buy a package of pencils, imagine the sharpened pencils flying out of the package and hitting your eyeball.

Substitution. Substitute your items for things that might be more memorable to you. In other words, you’ll picture one item instead of another. For example, buying a package of severed bloody fingers instead of pencils.

Out-of-Proportion. Picture your items out-of-proportion from reality. In other words, you’ll make them too large or too small. Use descriptive words like huge, gigantic, jumbo, and enormous. Or words like tiny, miniscule, puny, or mini. Perhaps your package of pencils is so big that the individual pencils are as big as gigantic trees that stretch from the floor of the store all the way through the roof.

Exaggeration. Exaggerate the number of items. Perhaps your package of pencils contains millions of needle-sized pencils that are flying out and hitting you in the eyeball over and over again. Did you notice how I combined action, out-of-proportion, and exaggeration into one dramatic picture?

The more ASOE you put into the picture, the more memorable it becomes!

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