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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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2 Change Your Memories

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

Marcel Proust

Most people would like to have a better memory, but you'll already find lots of tips and techniques online to help you with that. What this hack is about is giving you better memories.

By that, I don't mean giving you the tools to help you remember better. It's about making the memories you have, better.

Memories are so subjective. Two people can remember the same event completely differently. If we all remembered an event in exactly the same way, there would certainly be far fewer disagreements. We truly believe how we remember an event is how it happened.

The longer ago it was, the more chance there is for your unconscious to embellish it. Here's a perfect example: I remember when I was four, seeing a blue tin of salt in our kitchen at home. On the front of the tin was an illustration of a boy throwing salt on a bird. I asked my mother about it and she said if you threw salt on a bird, it would help you catch it.

My memory is of me sitting underneath the hedge in our garden, with a handful of salt, waiting patiently for a bird to come along so that I could throw the salt over it. In my memory, my mother is watching me from the kitchen window while she does the dishes. I spoke to her about the incident, and it's true she was watching me from the window, but she wasn't doing the dishes. She couldn't ...

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