Positive Influences Negative Influences

Interest in the subject or event Number of distracting stimuli

High attention and concentration Dull content that evokes no emotion

Importance of the event in your life Lack of familiarity with the event

The event occurs repeatedly High stress level

Link to familiar things or themes Depression or severe anxiety

Simple events are easier to recall Poor health, experience of pain

5. Stay motivated. Scientists, athletes, writers, artists, computer scientists—they do not forget what they're supposed to do. Their motivation is so high that total concentration is a given, and the notion that they will lose track of what they're doing is unthinkable. In fact, on the rare occasion that it does occur—when a tennis star swings and completely misses the ball, or a baseball player takes his eye off the ball and makes an error in the field—we are surprised, even shocked. These maestros never forget their goal, and their focus is so strong that they can lose track of the passage of time.

And in your own life, when you are really enjoying a movie does your attention waver and lose track of what's happening? Of course not. You are so engrossed in the movie's details that forgetting isn't an issue. The same thing applies to reading a book that fascinates you. Motivation is what generates a high degree of concentration, and this leads to excellent recall of the event. But if you're not motivated to remember what you need to remember, here are a couple of tips:

a. Place the event in context to give it meaning. Focus on why you need to remember. Think about the positive aspects of the event and relate it to something else you like and know well. For example, if you're in a boring meeting, focus on someone you know or like in the room and link the points that you need to remember to imaginary actions carried out by this person.

b. Practice repetition. Even if you're not very motivated, repeating things in your mind will help you register the event. If you hear a piece of music often enough, and this includes music you don't really like, the tune will start playing in your head. That is how your hippocampus operates: if it receives a stimulus often enough, it gets registered as a piece of memory.

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