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Visualization And Memory

Visualization is another working principle in the ope ration of our mental camera. True, it may almost be taken for granted if the student has acquired attention and concentration. It inevitably follows these two principles in logical sequence, and is closely allied to them yet it is possible to develop attention and concentration and still lack the power of visualization, so I hold that it merits consideration as a separate and distinct factor. It means, in connection with memory, the formation of mental pictures. Clearness and vividness are of paramount importance in mental photography.

Visualization helps concentration; it is much easier to focus the mental camera on concrete pictures. Avoid the abstract—use concrete symbols—concrete imagery, concrete visualization. Never forget that the intensity of the impression determines the degree of future remembrance. To bring your attention to a definite point and hold it there steadily until that point is firmly fixed in the memory, to bring all your mental force to bear upon a certain problem until it is solved—this is a mental achievement worth working for.

Here we enter more into the realm of imagination. Some one has said that imagination is memory gone wild—or gone to work. Certainly picturing is the very basis of imagination. Certainly, memory furnishes imagination the material to work upon, and imagination helps to fill out the mental images or pictures. In other words, imagination takes the thing upon which the attention has once been concentrated and paints the picture. Memory is often blamed for forgetting something it never knew, simply be-cause of faulty visualization in the beginning. The trouble was that there never was a clear-cut picture recorded to develop. Intensity means so much. One vivid, intense impression is worth a dozen ordinary impressions. Can you visualize? I once took an automobile drive with a man who was an. executive of one of the largest automobile companies in the world. He had made a phenomenal record, having risen rapidly. As we drove along he remarked, " I can picture in my mind every working part of this car as I drive along. I can see each little part as well as the big, just as clearly as if they were all before my eyes right now." No wonder that this man had been given one promotion after another until he had risen to the top. He could visualize. Shut your eyes and try to visualize the component parts of anything you may be working upon.

Here is another suggestion: visualize those things you desire. Don't paint the picture too far in the future. Blend your colors in the living present. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, " Don't be a has-been, or a going-to-be; don't be a waser—be an izzer." And again, visualize clearly—make your picture distinct and vivid.

" In proportion to the clearness and distinctness of the image, will be the understanding of it by the mind and the hold taken of it by the memory." *

Every mental picture of a fine mind is splendidly distinct. The persons I have known with exceptional memory efficiency have invariably been keen observers coupled with high visualization power.

Summarizing, we find that by means of interest—accurate perception—attention—concentration—visualization, the great mental camera is operated.


He who would excel in mental photography must keep an open and receptive mind. The vividness of early pictures is significant. How vividly the scenes of childhood stand out in our memory gallery ! Simply because the mind of the child is more receptive and more plastic than that of the adult. His imagination is better, his visualization power is better, and until some arbitrary education system stifles it, he has a wonderful faculty for translating his impressions into pictures. Some one has said that the things in life which we learn first, we forget last, and that, which we learn last, we forget first. But the fact that the mind of the child is more plastic and that he learns as a rule more quickly than the adult should not discourage the older student of memory. Rather it should spur him on, for he can make a wiser use of what he learns and remembers than the child can. After all, most people spend their time after reaching the age of adolescence, in blowing bubbles in the air, building castles in Spain, or chasing rainbows. Why not spend some of it in painting pictures to hang on memory's walls?

Mental photography is more than a scientific fact. It is a fascinating study—a delightful hobby--a rare accomplishment, and an art—the art of picture-making in the brain.

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