Friday, February 25, 2011

Motivational Speaking - Can it Really Help Improve Your Life? The Power of the Spoken Word!

I am the worlds most dedicated seeker of good motivational speakers and motivational writers! I have always read anything I could get my hands on like, The Power of Positive Thinking, See You At the Top, What color is your Parachute, The Psychology of Selling, The One Minute Manager, Seven Habits of Effective Managers and on and on. I have attended numerous workshops and seminars on self-improvement in my professional, personal and spiritual life.

The one thing I always wished while attending one of those workshops was to be able to bottle up the feelings of power and enthusiasm I immediately felt myself springboard to. I would then as I felt the decline of power or enthusiasm be able to let a little bit of it out every couple of weeks to regain that high. You know what I mean capture it in a test tube, cork it and let a little out when I need it. I have been in the public speaking arena now for 20 years and still get an adrenaline rush at the onset of a new workshop. I see the changes that it makes everyday in people and experience the enhancements they enjoy using in their walks of life.

What makes us motivate? Is it the story telling and spice that speakers use when imparting their topics to us hoping to persuade us to align with their current theory or situations? Or do we just desire the same situations in our life styles. I think it's probably a combination of the two. I believe as human beings we have different motivations based on our experiences and reward systems. So we tend to migrate to the subjects we like and stay away from the ones we don't. So why do we walk out with such a high and in two or three weeks go back to our old state of mind and do the same habits we have always done. Are we such creatures of habit that we can't change unless some monumental occurrence takes place? You know the kind of change forcing us to awaken the sleeping giants lying dormant in each and everyone of us. The switches motivational experts activate through their rapid tongues and volleying of emotions?

Over the years I have seen public speakers eloquently portray their lives and theories to their audience with spice, embellishment and factual storytelling effectively touching their crowds. Orators do this in an effort to attain the immediate gratifications or affirmations they seek by seeing your validations. I have to tell you there are many that walk their talk and talk their walk. I have also witnessed the opposite though you know those that are verbal gymnast (I mean in the negative sense- someone who is intoxicated in the exuberance of their own verbosity) and talk just to hear themselves talk. Now the real question is do they really make a life changing impression on us?

The truth of the matter as I see it is - how hungry are you for the change? Life can have a redundancy factor and the level of change is really based on your own biases and prejudices you have accumulated in your lifetime. Let's take goal setting as an example. We all set goals for ourselves in some way or another. Just eating fulfills your basic goal to survive but that can be distorted and abused easily as we have seen over and over again.

I remember attending a time management seminar where the author and trainer used monkeys in his analogy to illustrate his theory of time management. In general he told us that we needed to control the monkeys on our backs to adjust time management. You can do that by feeding them, training them or letting them jump on to somebody else's back i.e. get the monkey off your back. By having them jump to another persons back you delegate there maintenance programs to someone else. He was quite effective in his analogies. Another program I attended was on goal planning where the instructor gave us an acronym of A.B.M.D, which when broken down stood for is the goal achievable, believable measurable, and could we set a deadline. I still use that technique today by the way.

I attended a three day workshop down in the hill country in Texas where at one point we had to get into our hotel room turn off all of the lights and lay naked under the covers for meditation. At first it was a strange feeling but different methods are used all over the country to get us to focus our minds and bodies in the moment. Then there is the method of mindfulness stress reduction where through some diaphragmatic breathing exercises, yoga positions or even mental gyrations it helps to center us. PBS programs schedule self-improvement gurus regularly to help blend the new methods into our new paradigms of existence.

I am a training psychologist and have studied the human mind for the last 20 plus years and still marvel at the human ability to change our surroundings or environments by concentration and mindfulness. It's probably not a coincidence that the sports business conference held in Florida this December had as its annual conference keynote speaker a well known neuroscientist. His particular address covered the new mind body relationship technology now being used in the business industry to become more efficient and productive. Its no secret that our minds are being taxed more today to buffer the toxic climates found in our work, educational, technical and business arenas we are living in. The standard for expert motivational speakers to be more adept to the multi tasking required in the information overload society we live in today demands the expert motivational speaker to fine tune his or her skills to be able to survive.

Motivational speakers, consultants, and trainers are trained today to give us a true ability to cope with the many challenges facing all of us in our world. We have to maintain a positive and optimistic approach to change in everything we do or every thing we are involved in today. We have had throughout the century's motivators in religion, business, personal, physical and educational. Today however their pursuit to be more effective is determined on their ability to adapt to the mind body relationship.

So does motivation come from within or do we glean it from the professional orators on the platforms today? I truly believe we must pull from both factions and use the soft tools that are available to us to perform at the levels demanded of us in today's arena. We are being challenged everyday to improve ourselves either in our jobs, personal or spiritual needs assessment that we should take as often as we can. Life can always be fun as long as we challenge ourselves to be better. It's like a poem I use in my workshop to end it and it goes like this:

"When you get what you want in your struggle for self and the world makes you King for the day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what that man has to say.
It's not your father, your mother, or even your wife who's Judgment upon you must pass,
But the man whose verdict counts most in this life is the man looking back from the glass.
For some may call you a square shooting chum and others a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you are only a bum if you can't look him straight in the eye.
He's the one to impress never mind the rest for he's there with you clear up to the end,
And then you will have passed your most difficult test when the man in the glass is your friend.
You May fool the whole world down your pathways of years & get pats on your back as you pass,
But your final rewards will be heartache and tears if you have cheated the man in the glass".

I use this to end the memory workshop I teach. I try to hook them into their individual challenges they each face but also to help them to go out and teach their newly learned skills to friends, family or associates. The old school of achieve, compete and hold possessively tight to your talents without sharing them is making way for the information highway now available via the Internet. One of the new theories is share, share, share and share some more!

How Our Brain Really Remembers Things

We have been equipped with the finest computer to ever be developed. It's positioned between your two ears and functions at speeds that would boggle the mind. The functionality of our brain is expressed in conscious and unconscious commands to our autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Systems that controls, stimulates and drives our dreams, feelings of emotion, fear, happiness, sadness, sexuality, sight, touch, and many other sensory perceptions. We have been gifted with a non-eraseable tape the problem is in accessing it sometimes. You also have the best camera because as you look around the room you are taking 52,000 pictures per second.

I am asked many times in our workshops what makes us forget? Am I getting early onset of Alzheimer's, or am I in the early stages of some other dastardly cognitive decline that will send me into a life of not knowing who I am or how I got here. The good news is everyone has a perfect memory it's just some are trained and some aren't. Were lucky in the fact, many of our motor skills and reflexes of our big, small or smooth muscles are driven by our autonomic nervous systems. This is in order to keep us breathing and our heart pumping while we sleep or relax.

Most people will never get Alzheimer's. We all have what we call MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairments because most of us have never been taught formalized memory training. I remember talking with my brother and sister in law who are both medical doctors at a family dinner. We normally have lunch at our mother or mother in laws home where we meet every Sunday. They both expressed how the inclusion of a formalized mnemonic or memory training class would have assisted them in loading pharmacology, microanatomy or some other integrative biological based medical school requirement. They both said that they had to create their own mnemonic systems to help in their studies. The use of acronyms, association, storytelling or just basic mnemonic systems to assist them in their studies involved research in the library to get the information they needed to help them.

I also recall teaching memory training to the graduating seniors at Yale law school in New Haven Connecticut back in 1993. The session was right before they had to sit for their bar exam and the universal comment from the majority of them was why weren't you here before law school?

I felt the same myself 19 years ago while sitting in the final night session of my formalized memory training workshop in Dallas, TX. I was one of a hundred and thirty other souls seeking help in multi-tasking. I had similar thoughts of why didn't they teach this in grade school? It would have given me the self confidence and self esteem needed to overcome what I didn't realize I had at the time, Dyslexia, and ADHD. Back in the late sixties the push was to achieve, don't share information and our ability to advance was measured by how well we did on test. We didn't have the advantage of being taught by affirmation it was usually by humiliation and not as productive as it could have been. The norm to achieve, compete, and advance didn't give you much chance to do the social connectedness or social norms now being considered to assist in the more casual creative way to learn. Therefore our bodies, and minds as well as our family involvement suffered a great deal. It caused us stresses that sent a lot of us spiraling into a medley of maladies both physically and mentally.

Our mind remembers through the experiences we encounter every day. Some transfer to our long term memory and allows us to recall when we are in a similar state. It is triggered by our cognitive ability to retrieve that memory. We can teach our brain techniques to proactively encode information, store it and retrieve it by a queue being stored with that memory. It's actually called the encoding specificity principle and says that stimuli can cause a memory to be recalled if the stimuli are created with a queue. So the queue actually retrieves the memory.

The types of memories we use are, flashbulb memory, iconic memory, semantic memory, and episodic memory, implicit memory and other types as well. Each type has its place in history and can be used individually or together. The state that we are in when the memory trace is laid down is also a major factor in recalling that memory. Some of these memories are transferred to the long term, some short term only and some developed at times we can't explain. So if you are drinking when you learn that joke you may have to be in that state again to remember it completely.

The technical way or physiological process of memory traces being built is phenomenal. Environmental factors play a very important role in creating and decaying memories. We do however have a proactive way to create the memories in our mind and then help the process of memory distribution into the neo-cortex of our brains. Technically what happens in our mind is electrical and chemical. We reach a plus or minus sodium solution of 70 which causes two or more brain cells to connect. This is done by the firing of synapses between receptors at the end of our dendrites spines in turn combining the two brain cells together. This completes the process of forming a new memory trace. The chemical neurotransmitters cause an electrical impulse of about 5 watts to join the two brain cells thus forming the new memory trace. The process of transferring it to the long term memory is dependent on many factors. One is the need, the selectiveness, the priority in life, our existence and the necessity to use it in the future.

Implicit memories are formed without our knowledge and locked in a lockbox of selective unconsciousness' within the brain. We are not sure how they get there are how our prejudices or biases are formed but the environment we are raised in must play a major part of the cohort effect of each 10 year time span. We now believe that our memories are actually laid down between the 3rd and 4th stage of our sleep cycle while we sleep and can be restructured over a possible 2 year time span.

We are still not a 100% sure how our memories are built but that's a pretty close explanation of the process as I see it now. These theories are based on the fact that we now have the technology to measure our brain more effectively. So I offer you this please take care of your brain. I tell my son-in-law and future son-in-law this cage fighting or mixed martial arts they pay to watch will ultimately lead to brain damage or trauma disorders. This ultimately will be something to be dealt with in the future for these young mindless athletes. The brain is the only organ in the body that is incased in a hard shell for a reason and not intended to be hit on or traumatized.

So exercise it, feed it the right nutrients and expand it every chance you get. We are living longer and will need it a lot longer in the future. I have to challenge myself everyday because my lovely wife has a rapid brain wave and processes much faster than the normal individual. So I have always told my children when mom finishes a subject and moves on we need to bring her back into our conversation because she is too smart. She was just gifted with a rapid brain wave and beautiful too! We still get a good laugh out of that process daily.

Training Our Memory Using the Experiential Method Not Rote Memorization

Over the past nineteen years I have conducted formalized mnemonic memory training of engineers, NASA scientists, analysts, sales and marketing specialists, doctors, dentists, CEOs and other students. The training method we now use in the memory training workshop is delivered over two days, two 3-1/2 hour sessions. The method we use is experiential and demonstratively more effective than the old rote memorization methods.

We are light years behind in the understanding of the brain due to the complexities of this wonderful organ. But on the other hand we are light years ahead in brain research and documented findings. Counterintuitive jar bal is not what I hope to sift out in this article, but a good mind vacuuming of useable collaboration may help in today's think tank. I say this with hopes of creating a true stimulus package not sanctioned, originated or owned by our current governing bodies. Some times the worker bee is more reflective of theory and practicality out of mere experiential exposure than the expert. I see this happen many times by accident.

Taking this into consideration I try to keep abreast of current studies on learning and teaching modalities and thread their outcomes into our experiential training approach. In line with that I constantly try to measure the effectiveness of the results. We are passionate in the motivation of others to achieve their individuality of memory styles. We do this based on their, what I will call their fist or inventory, of their biased, unbiased, moral or immoral picture vocabularies. They use these experiences or various cultures to remember new data on a daily basis.

I simply believe every one of us has our own unique picture vocabulary. Picture vocabularies gathered throughout the ages, however old they are, lying dormant many times waiting to be repositioned from negative status to positive position. We use these picture vocabularies in our day to day activities as well as our future learning environments. I also believe through positive and proactive placements we can greatly improve our fluid intelligence or working memories. I believe our brain with its growing nature will be able to better serve us if we learn how to train it and use it more efficiently. What we now know of the brains functionality, discovered by all of the scientific testing, measuring devices and observations, we can now prime it to be more effective consciously. I can't even fathom or imagine what levels GOD has built for our use of it and it sometimes boggles the mind.

I do wish many of you were in our position to see the blessings of the dedicated individuals looking day to day to improve their lifestyles and daily steps to be more proactive when it comes to remembering. I always reflect back on an article in USA today showing how much time a person spends in their life looking for lost, misplaced or hidden items. The result was that each of us spends one complete year of our life a 365 day, 24 hour day year, looking for lost hidden or misplaced items. That fact is sobering when you actually wrap your mind around what it means to each of us. That very fact is why we have have folded experiential training methods into the formalized memory training we teach in our workshops.

We truly see how the mindfulness based stress reducing techniques taught in our workshops are helping individuals achieve 500 to a 1000 percent increase in memory ability. This increase is actually realized in a relatively short period of time. We test our students in the first hour to achieve a baseline starting point of where they are when they start and then teach them for one hour using our techniques. We use conscious and subconscious training methods to teach them the first generation of mnemonics. We do this to show them how even the basic association method can improve their ability in such a short period of an hour. If you could see the facial expressions of individuals of all ages and walks of life how they light up when they realize how quickly their mind can improve. They immediately feel if they would have had formalized mnemonic training in school they too could have competed for the valedictorian position in their schools.

I actually feel if I would have learned the system in school instead the way I was taught 19 years ago I could have been a brain surgeon, except for the fact I probably would faint at the sight of my own blood. On a more serious note I could have learned and recalled the 12 cranial nerves faster having had this tool in college. We have thousands of testimonials of the results of the workshops after our students complete the 7 hours of training. I can only imagine where it has taken them to by now and the successes they have had. I am talking about testimonials on personal and company letterheads from the majority of those before mentioned students of memory. I should also say students of all ages from 10 years old to my oldest student a young lady 87 years young. I tell you how active she this 87 year old was she was still taking night classes at the University of Houston with her daughter. She came up to me when the two day seven hour workshop was over and said she wished that she had acquired the memory training 67 years ago. I still remember her charming and endearing face today.

You see the problem is back in the late 60's early 70's- achieve, compete and high testing results were the main drive to elevate your position in life. I feel many times we were taught through intimidation instead of affirmation. The toxic environments of corporate, college, and social norms abused us both mentally and physically to not take our body's seriously and the stress level of the fight or flight syndrome could have been alleviated. The technology of our ability to change our Autonomic Nervous System status was not documented to reduce the stress levels, blood pressure etc. The questions we need to ask ourselves today is are we happy in our 40 hour a week job and do we have a good happy family life for the proper social and emotional connectedness we deserve.

One of my favorite stories is of the brother of one of Zig Ziglars employees that told me her sibling suffered from ADHD and after her having attended the workshop herself she believed he would benefit from the training as well. She told me he was so heavily medicated on Ritalin that he swayed while standing. She also mentioned he was struggling trying to finish college and this may help to finally achieve his goals.

He did come and I knew of his condition and watched him throughout the program. We do a mock cocktail party over the last hour of our workshop (no alcohol) but we use our 6 step process for remembering names to practice in a role play. They are instructed to use the techniques they learned to introduce themselves to other workshop attendees and then review. After about 10 to 15 minutes they sit down and we ask for a couple of volunteers to see how many first and second names of individuals they met using the six step pattern for name retention. The young man I am speaking of stood up and volunteered. I was first reluctant to allow him in fear of his ADHD stressing him with possible embarrassment but then allowed it. I still get goose bumps telling it. I asked all that had met him to stand up and as he remembered their name first name worth 1/2 of a point and or last name the same to then be seated. If you get both names you get one full point. To my surprise 26 people arose and he started firing off first and second names and as they were called they sat down. After completing successfully I should add. He then proceeded to tell the 100 plus audience in that night session that he was ADHD heavily medicated and I knew about it because his sister had set the workshop up for him. He said that for the first time in his life he felt like he could remember things. He also mentioned that he had been struggling to finish college and now felt like he would be finishing faster. You know the exciting thing wasn't just that he went through the announcement of that story, or that he had remembered 26 names. The most exciting thing was that he had actually remembered 52 names because he remembered first and last names and I saw a glow of self confidence he probably had not felt in a long time! It was a blessing to be there and to know he did it all himself.

Now why do I feel it is so successful? I will tell you as best I can but without you actually experiencing it yourself it will probably seem impossible. We will personally send copies to anyone who would like to read any of those testimonials to show how achievable it really is. We see the results in the first hour of our workshop. We start with a test of 20 item list having to be recalled after we give it to them. The audience or attendees are not allowed to take notes or write anything down. We actually give them the 20 items in 2 second intervals, then test their results and log it in. We show the counts or test results to them in the workshop immediately. We then teach them the first generation of mnemonics basic association for one hour then test them again. The final startling outcome gives self confidence resulting in the majority getting 6, 7 items right on the first test and 19, to 20 right on the second test. It's like putting them under laughing gas they are ecstatic with their results. Then we tell them they will never use basic association again because it's just not very effective and it doesn't transfer new learned information from the short term memory to the long term memory. They are simply put astonished and then the learning begins. Their teach ability index soars.

I promise you it's like watching 80-150 people in the audience realizing for the first time in their life they can learn. It's nothing short of a miracle I promise you and it's like a shot of adrenaline for our instructors and me. Now I know you ask why and how does it work. First let me explain I am dyslexic and being a psychologist I know I meet the criteria for ADHD and probably should be medicated. I was to old to be tested so here I am. Seriously though back in those days they didn't even have testing. The reason it works is because we all have the ability to have a trained memory lying dormant in our mind and it's just a matter of turning the switch on. That switch we turn on is used for the best computer that's ever been developed or ever will be built and God gave it to you it's your brain! You just weren't taught the software program effectively enough. There is where we help them to learn the software program.

Now I am going to give you my theory of memory and why I believe formalized mnemonic training will forever be the new way of learning in schools in the near future. It may be a bit over the top but if you can decipher it you will have the truth of memory as I see it.

My Theory of Our Memory-Harold Mangum

People do not live in the objective world alone, or in a world of social activity as we ordinarily understand it. We are at the mercy of the picture language which has become the medium of expression or communication of our immediate society. It is an illusion to think that one learns, adjust to reality or perception of our surroundings, based without the use of our picture vocabulary. That picture vocabulary is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of memory or reflection. The real fact of the matter is the" real world" to a large extent is built on the unconscious picture vocabulary habits of the society or group we live in. No two picture vocabularies are ever sufficiently similar to be considered representative of the same social reality. The worlds in which the different picture vocabulary worlds live in are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached. We see, hear and remember and otherwise experience as we do because the memory habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.

We dissect our learning life based on premises laid down by our native memories we have built. The memory traces and recalls that we isolate from the world of phenomena are not there because they stare every recollect in the face; on the contrary our memory world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions. Impressions, which has to be organized by our minds-and this means largely by the picture vocabulary systems of our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts and assign significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way. - An agreement that holds throughout our memory community and is codified in the patterns of our memory. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one but its terms are absolutely obligatory. We cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of memory which the mind decrees. The adaptive unconscious or lock box of our mind, the one which we cannot explain how it got there or even how it checks our bias or prejudice is individual to each of us.

So the real world is to a large extent built upon the memory habits of the group. We see, hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the memory habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation. The memory worlds in which our societies live are distinct memory worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached to it. - H.M.

So again, I leave you with this reiteration, don't use some one else's memories, memory switches brands or picture vocabularies. Use the memory predispositions' you now have, laid down by your maker. The predispositions I speak of are those that you have worked so hard to create and continue to work hard daily to create. You do this in the journey to turn your memory switches to the positive position! When I say positive position I mean the process we all go through of priming our minds to position our learning ability from passive to proactive.

When we go through mindfulness based stress reducing methods of focused learning we then move what we now know as our memories, picture vocabularies or memory switches to a compartmentalized inventory. An inventory primed to be recalled by the cues we organized them with. The encoding specificity principle we teach states that through experiential learning stimuli can retrieve a memory as long as the stimuli is coded with a cue. The cue actually retrieves the memory.

By doing the skill experimentally instead of reading or seeing it you then structure your memory by laying it down with all of your abilities to remember. These abilities are sensory perceptions, of sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing, emotion, with the added implicit memories in our locked box of unconsciousness. We experientially create our new found memories store them and prepare them for ease of retrieval. We do this by teaching our students using analogies, and stories with spice and emotion that they can relate to. These every day stories are life changing to those students because they are situations they have experienced themselves. Life is fun when you make it fun. We teach students to picturerize their way through life not memorize. That is my friend the secret to mind priming and Rapid Cognition. You see every thing in life is what you make it; it's not what is that counts but how you take it!

A life of learning is forever, not just for the young, because our brain has plasticity and it evolves every day. Challenge your life to learn every day of your life. Why spend it any other way?

How to Replace Paper Crutches, Day Timers, to Do Lists, and Calendars

I used to be a slave to my day timer. I would fly from Anchorage, Alaska back to Dallas, Texas and leave it on the plane in Seattle. Consequently, the next week, if my assistant wasn't with me or until the airlines would send it back to me, I would be lost. I didn't know where I had to go, who I had to see or even when to be there! I don't even carry one today! I load everything I have to do the next week on my body files, things like, my appointments, addresses, phone numbers, or anything else that cover these same scheduled events. I actually load them sometimes Sunday night or Monday morning while I shower. It's definitely the best stress reliever I have ever found and I teach it in our workshops. I can make it adjustable for any given day, or a month at a time. That's my choice!

Imagine never ever having to be the poster child for sticky notes. Impossible you say, well ask the 1000's of students graduated from MTI's 7-hour workshop. By priming your mind, with mindful based stress reduction techniques, and using mental file folders or body files, it's definitely achievable. You see, I never have left my house, my office. or anywhere else and left an arm or a leg, they're always with me.

Yes, I know how your husband or wife calls you at the office or home and says, "Hey sweetheart before you come home do you mind picking up these things? Then they give you the list and say. "Oh and don't forget to write them down." You know what happens next. The list you made while on the phone in your office or on the dining room table is still exactly where you left it before you walked through the door of that grocery store. You immediately stress out thinking what was it I was supposed to get? Or you do the universal shuffle and embarrass yourself by calling your loved one to explain how it blew out the window, or someone spilled coffee on it and you can no longer read it. How creative you get with your excuse is your own vice.

The body files I am referring to are 10 files built right on your body. You can load it with grocery items, things to do, flight information, or a list of other important things you normally carry around in your notebooks, purses, wallets, or the famous day timer. Yes the one I left on the plane I mentioned above. Oh and by the way if you find my day timer no need to return it, remember my day timer is in my mind!

Well strap in and let me take you through a short explanation of what we teach to those 1000's of workshop attendees I referred to above. That's right, a system to change their life. Hopefully to help us build the memory traces, or tangles we need to have when those fearful cognitive declines hit us in our latter years. Or I might even mention the mental disorders caused by internal or external diseases, the kinds that grasp so many unfortunate individuals in life today. I hate to even have to think about the existing brain maladies of life today our medical professionals have to treat. Diseases we get because we didn't have some forethought or guidance in designing our lifestyles, or brain maintenance techniques. Research or developments in science are now being discovered through longitudinal or double blind studies today to help eliminate those maladies.

I hope I haven't alarmed you or maybe I do hope I have alarmed you. I am not trying to cause you Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am merely trying to make you aware of the benefits of brain development and maintenance on a daily basis. Yes, today with the new findings and technical breakthroughs, we can have the healthy brain now being shown on TV and the internet you too can have a healthy brain.

After attending a program with, my brother in law and sister in law who are both M.D.'s one in internal medicine and his wife rehabilatative medicine, put on by the ANNENBERG CENTER FOR HEALTH SCIENCES AT EISENHOWER I quickly became aware of the problem. In that program called "The Memory Prescription: Assessing and Treating the Spectrum of Brain Impairment" in 2004, I realized the major problem most individuals are having universally is M.C.I. It's called Mild Cognitive Impairment it is alive and running wild. The real reason is because we have not been taught formalized Mnemonic training or proper brain maintenance. Lack of programs like these causes us to continue encoding, storing and poorly retrieving the same way we always have. I then realized how important memory training will become in the future. It solidified in my mind why people are so adamant about looking for ways to avoid the cognitive decline that comes with aging. Sometimes these cognitive declines are due to environmental toxins or just the dreaded inflammations our body gets internally because of the stress levels we don't recognize we have or intend to cause ourselves.

We do have internal and external environmental toxins that can be diminished or lightened with proper brain care and nourishment. Most are agricultural toxins or our internal inflamation of the body due to stress, or other chemical transmitters. By training your working memory you wil alleviate some of the cortisol stress hormones generated by the Adrenal gland.

At MTI we teach and deliver formalized memory training workshops in businesses today. We either do by way of a public forum or at in-house venues it's our effort to contribute. Even though many are generic basic programs we can customize programs based on industry or corporation management styles or new paradigms. We have been hired to teach how to remember paradigms such as Six Sigma Training or Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers. We teach these skills to help people remember by using the following tools: A blended combination of body files, picture vocabularies for numbers and mnemonic devices for formulas, concepts or theory education.

The important things you have to remember you need to learn by using experiential instruction. This makes it more conducive to everyday multi-tasking operations within your mind. Organization is the key to memory. What I mean is having a mental location to store information. Your normal process of data gathering through encoding, storage and retrieval processes are rearranged to Encode, recode then store for retrieval. Where better to be able to do that than by using your mental and physical capacities you now have?

When we build these body files, we call look files, because you can see them in your external view as well as your mind's eye, we then teach our attendee's how to utilize them. A person's intuitive nature then becomes an active tool along with memory fabrication. When you utilize the different learning mechanisms such as sight, touch, hearing, smelling, and emotional attachment values you can more effectively recode data you have learned or learn every day. I believe your picture vocabularies we each individually build proactively create conscious and unconscious memories. These memories acquired by us form our mind and otherwise are the essence of our long term and short term capacities.

The "Body Files" we help you create are also tied through a memory matrix to learning and utilizing mnemonic devices. In addition, at the same time you learn these files in an order we then we teach to file in that same exact order. We create file structures you will use now and in the future using phonetic tools and applications. The combination of files, time intervals daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly help us recall. It then gives us the springboard effect to broaden our comprehension, increase our retention values ultimately reducing the time involved in the learning curve.

Now let me go back and try to explain what I mean by the above sequence of applications and events. There are 10 files we build on your body. They are listed below and I will build them in your mind if you will allow me. I say that with no reservation that it can be done because every one of us has this innate ability laying dormant in our mind. It is actually just a matter of turning the switches on. Your mind works the same way your laptop or desktop computer works it's just that you haven't been given or taught the software program to make it run more efficiently. Yes better than any computer built today, or I personally believe, will ever be built in the future.

Let me say we have in the past and currently do deliver workshops both in-house and publicly to employees and management levels of fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Dell and the other major designers of computer equipment, or operating systems, and software. They probably would not like me to say that but no doubt that they are intellectually and managerially confident in their respective climates. That being said you also have the best camera ever developed or probably will be developed in your eyesight. (ditto on the above disclaimer as well). Your mind works in pictures and searches for action to drive the learning ability. Actually it drives the acronym F.P.G. I will tell you about soon.

The ten files are:

1.- Toes Where I would file the first item to pick up or thing to do.
2.- Knees The next position I would use to store the next item I need to remember.
3.- Muscle I am almost halfway up my body files and have many more. Files that is.
4.- Rear It's not called a derriere, buttocks, tush, or booty its a rear for a reason.
5.- Lungs I'm halfway there with plenty to spare.
6.- Shoulders It's a strong place to put things I carry a lot around on it daily.
7.- Collar I sometimes have to stretch It open to file the next item here.
8.- Face I hope egg on it is not the only thing that gets there without planning.
9.- Point The name of the thing I try to make sometimes and my family miss it.
10.-Ceiling The very thing my wife says I hit some times instead of filing to it.

Yes, I know the last file number 10-Ceiling is not actually on your body but it will always be wherever you are. Most people say wait a minute when I go to the grocery store I have to buy a lot more than 10 items and we know that. We teach our students not to worry about the number of items at that point because before the end of their workshop we show them how to load hundreds of items on those same ten files! Yes, it is exciting, unbelievable, mysterious and rewarding. It's just the opposite way you install a new program on your computer. Instead of unfolding, decompressing or extrapolating the files outward, we compress the files inward in your mind and use bullet points to store multiple items or pictures.

Once we establish the files, we show our students how to file anything to those files. In fact, I have written an audio cd program on how to load all 66 books of the Bible on nine of those ten files so that you can recall them in order or backwards and forwards. We actually, load the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament on your first 9 body files. My wife and I taught tenth grade students in Sunday school for years using these same ten files to remember scripture, key authors and pertinent information about the books of the Bible.

Most of us were taught to read left to right top to bottom, and I recognize not all of us were taught that method, but most of us in the U.S. were. Given that fact, we teach you how to file exactly the opposite way from the bottom up. Our mind, like the computers we created, cannot read a blank or a space so we teach you to how to load your mental file folders accordingly. There are also other rules we teach to expedite your learning of these techniques and processes.

We teach the file picture-glue-method of learning. This is the fourth generation of mnemonics and we are currently working on the fifth as you read this. Now let me explain the F.P.G. system to you.

File- It's a mental location or somewhere to store information in.
Pictures-That's because our mind works more efficiently through the use of pictures.
Glue- For the bonding agent used to keep the picture in the file long enough to create a long term memory trace starting in the short term memory status.

The filing of such items as dates, numbers, texts, appointments, abstracts or formulas using this system allows us to recall the items or information at our mental fingertips. We do this eliminating the stresses causing the ultimate memory deficiencies due to age related cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairments. You hold the power to avoid such problems by exercising your brain much like you do for your physical ability. Oh yeah in case you didn't realize it I just taught you the ten basic phonetic sounds commonly used in our workshops to remember names and other pertinent information. And I did it in your subconscious mind and now can you figure it out. Let me say I am of the opinion that the age related cognitive declines I referred to before I personally believe are not really necessary. I believe research and training of the working memory or fluid intelligence as we psychologist technically call it will begin to change in the future to read just cognitive decline and not age related. I believe in the plasticity of the brain and its ability to reconstruct itself. I don't really think the age is all it's made up to be.

To learn more of these types of files and even the more detailed think files we teach used for detailed data recall Please visit our website. If you would like to find out how one can attend our public workshop, have us develop an in-house customized workshop or purchase the systems on audio, you can find it all there. I hope you have enjoyed the read. Please send your comments or questions.

10 Ways to Raise Children - A Father's Perspective

I want to begin this article by first saying our two girls now 21 and 25 are not without faults. When I say faults I mean all children experience life the way we all have, by trial and error. I will also qualify that statement by saying the majority of those experiences hopefully are good trials and not so bad errors. I should mention as a parent most of us feel like our children could never do anything that would make us stop loving them. I know sometimes you will wish that you would have done some things differently, but overall I hope you will feel pretty good about what you have accomplished.

To my wife and me children are blessings from God. We feel they are our number one priority until we finish equipping them with the tools of life. I must also say that I definitely do not believe that my wife and I are the perfect parents. Who are? I am venturing off somewhat of what I feel my true expertise is as a management training psychologist. I do so to create this article only because I am proud of the results we have accomplished. We have two beautiful fun loving and compassionate girls. This could not have happened without first having a best friend, partner and God fearing wife. The fact is she probably played a bigger role in the raising of our children than I did. However; we both take credit for it with unselfish and undying respect for the both of them.

I must tell you that we have made some mistakes as parents and wish that we could have done some things differently. I will say as parents when it comes to our children we should all try to do our best. We do fall short sometimes. My wife and I planned a four year difference in the birth of our children. We did so after reading studies that show decreased sibling rivalry is greater within that time span. I must tell you though it's been a dance and even sibling rivalry changes come with normal rites of passages. I can also admit that being the eternal optimist that I am I really don't think someone makes a good decision or a bad decision. It either turns out good or it turns out bad and it all depends on how you look at it. I do believe though that the journey should be as great of a reward as the arrival.

In this article I hope to give you a recipe we tried to follow as close as possible in raising our girls. Some might even say that it worked. I must admit sometimes I marvel at the results as well. The ten points I will give you are merely guidelines gathered from various symposiums studies or journals we have attended or chose as our framework and should be looked at accordingly. Having spent most of my life studying human behavior in management training the experiences we have lived prove that these ten points have high times and not so high times. Looking back however; it seems there have been very few lows. I will try to explain to some extent the meaning of each guideline from our perspective. I do hope you can strengthen your experiences and rely on your own assets accordingly should you decide to use these or combine them with your own parenting styles.


1. MODEL THE PERSPECTIVE- Now what is meant by that is follow the perspective you would like your children to follow and model that. If you model the wrong perspective they will follow in your footsteps. Children are like little mirrors they will mirror the ways you walk and the things you do. I believe they are always watching so mind your habits and routines. They truly are like little tablets waiting for you to help them write their stories in life.

2. TEACH PROBLEM SOLVING- Teach your children problem solving skills. They will not always be with mom and dad. They will be with their siblings, peers, other parents or authoritative figures at times. So give them some simple problem solving skills they can use without you. Good decisions will go a long way to keep them safe and out of harms way or caught in life's uncertain situations.

3. CREATE A SAFE HOME ENVIRONMENT- I can remember going home to my parents' house when my children were young and my wife and I were new parents. As soon as I walked through the door it was like I was off duty. I would sit in my dad's favorite chair, or out on the porch in a couch for a well deserved nap. I knew it was safe and my parents kept it that way for my sisters and me. Your children need to feel that kind of relaxation as well and their little nerve endings need to feel that way too. They definitely don't need to be on pins and needles at their one safe place that place is home.

4. PROMOTE EMOTIONAL MATURITY- Teach your children to be little adults, by that I don't mean take their childhood away from them, but just teach them to be respectable and respectful to their elders. It can take all forms from older siblings, peers or just adults. Show them what emotional maturity can give them by learning the traits of respectability. Again, I must emphasize not taking their childhood away from them, but there's a time to be a kid and a time to be a friend, a sister or a young person.

5. BE PREDICTABLE- Your children need to know that mom and dad are the same today, tomorrow and next month. Mom and dad don't go through all of these mood swings because of outside situations. Show your children your stability it will go a long way in life for the both of you. Stand by your principles and show them the difference between black, white and the gray areas through your predictability.

6. LISTEN TO SELF TALK- Listen to what your children are saying to their siblings, peers, other parents or even newcomers. They will tell you what's going on in their life and you will not be surprised unexpectedly. So listen to self talk that's the difference between perception and reality. By knowing their feelings and what the environment is for them at all times you can ward off the unacceptable or even the unthinkable.

7. PROMOTE RESPECT THROUGH EXPRESSION- By you the parents being respectful in your expression with others, your children will learn to show respect in their expressions. Everyone has an opinion and healthy expression allows the channels of communication to remain open. The best way is for you to express your respect with your wife and your wife with you. This should also be practiced with acquaintances or strangers. It really is contagious and a great redeeming attribute to value.

8. AVOID HOSTILITY- Today's world can be very hostile. Your children need to know that you avoid hostile situations for a reason and they should also. Road rage and such has prematurely ended families or the nucleus of that family because of a misjudgment of decisions and actions. You don't want to end your loving parenting style because of anger. Anger management isn't just a movie with Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler playing roles. Control is an attribute that you want your children to have and they will learn it by showing them your ability to control yourself.

9. HUSBAND LOVE YOUR WIFE-WIFE LOVE YOUR HUSBAND- I am not suggesting a public display of affection that could embarrass you or your children. However; affection through body language or touch in the home will show that love. Their future family will appreciate your timed display of affection in the home or wherever. They really do need to know that dad loves mom and mom loves dad. Parents it's the best unselfish security you can give them ever! It's a proven fact that children feel responsible for parents' disagreements many times. A great rule is don't let the sun go down on a argument. Most important tell them you love them every chance you get. You can never say it to much.

10. YOU SPELL LOVE T.I.M.E- This maybe the most important point and if you miss this one the other nine may not work successfully at all. Spend time with your children doing the things they like to do. By showing them new things and explaining the why and how of it they will cherish that time through out their life. Time as they say is a non renewable resource and believe me it can slip past you in life faster than anything else. Quality time is important I mean full attention and focus on their needs, likes and dislikes it will build trust and compassion in a child. Emotional IQ is so much more important than intellectual IQ. I can't emphasize this too much. It is definitely the most important one as a stand alone. When you don't have it you will miss it.

My oldest daughter married after college with a ready made family in a Christian husband and daughter. You would think she had given birth to her if you didn't know the difference. In today's extended family situations, compassion and love are important to all concerned. My youngest daughter will finish college this year and she is engaged to be married the fourth of July again to a strong Christian young man. What greater of a gift can parents ask for. After college and weddings my wife and I may be a little less financially ahead than we were before, but the rewards we have and will reap in their family's will be invaluable.

Now I suspect that you may never be able to do these ten things perfectly all of the time, we didn't. I do know that if you strive to apply them or something like them it will be a rewarding journey through life as a parent. I truly believe it will be as rewarding as you make it. I will share this with you and the thoughts behind it. I keep journals and have for a long time one for each of my daughters and one for my wife. I do so to tell them the things I can't tell them either because I am traveling or because it's an observation I think will give them some wisdom or pleasure after I graduate. My wife says it is morbid and it makes her tear up whenever I mention them. I think it will be a gift to them I hope that can keep giving even after I am gone. I hope they can agree some day it's a gift as well.

Now through all of this I wish you many happy fun filled parenting years! I hope you look as forward to your years of blessings, for the time you will have tried to spend productively in the lives of your children. Someday, if not now, they will be thankful that you loved them enough to give them that advantage in life because of your parenting efforts.

This comes from a parent that had great parents. A parent who learned a great deal of shortcuts, pleasures and great emotional rollercoaster's in life because of those parents! It was also possible because my wife was in total agreement of our responsibility and our honor to be able to do so. Ultimately it was all God's doing. And if I didn't mention him enough he understands why! He is the true parent the teaching parent!

Would You Rather Die Or Speak in Public? Cure For the Number 1 Fear in America

The first real keynote address I gave was the drug that brought me to the oratory achievements I now have. I was asked to be a keynote speaker and thought I was one of several that night to address some of my peers and associates at a retirement celebration. I had just been married to the most beautiful woman in the whole state of Texas and the most intelligent woman I have ever met. So on the way to the banquet 90 miles outside of Dallas is when I mentally began to prepare. I had gone to many motivational programs, conducted college recruiting and had been put on the impromptu pedestal several times before, feeling I had met the challenged successfully.

I didn't know until 20 minutes before the presentation that I was as they say single billed after all along thinking I was one of several speakers . Oh my God I thought what am I going to do. It was the first time ever to speak publicly before my wife, my friends, my peers and some of the most influential executives of the seventh largest corporation in the whole world at that time. What do you think happened? I became deathly ill mentally and the physical part of me wasn't doing so well either. I excused myself to go to the restroom and thought I was going to upchuck right there right then. I mean I tried to wash my sweat filled brow with cold water and tried to calm my own nerves as quickly as I could.

Now I should tell you I am a psychologist equipped with multiple bio-feedback methods and exercises to handle the fight or flight syndrome I was currently thrust into without any warning. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I couldn't thank of the right one should it be to lower my blood pressure, or the anxiety breath system to reduce the stress. Which one rolled across my ordinarily level headed mind that kept vacillating back and forth unsuccessfully I might add.

Well I was out of time and patience and if I didn't get back to the front table I was most definitely going to be missed. I envisioned my vacant chair standing out like the chair in the middle of the execution room in the movies where a crowd of victims eagerly are waiting to see the switch thrown. That little analogy managed to conjure its way up instantly flashing through my already stressed out brain awaiting the downward spiral of what would surely be my inadequate speech.

Well I do have a happy ending and I promise I will tell you about it in just a few moments. First though here are the key points of public speaking that will help you for the rest of your speaking life.

1.- Always prepare adequately.
2.- Never wear tight fitting or soiled attire unless you have spilled something on it between home/speech.
3.- Take 3 deep breathes before you begin. That's sooner than you walking up to begin to address your audience.
4.- Grasp the bottom sides of your chair if possible and discreetly pull up with all of your strength.
5.- Pan out over the crowd and find the people paying the most attention.
6.- Know your audience. I mean know what they are expecting so you can give them just that.
7.- Have a system of organized bullet points in a file system somewhere. In your mind/body/room files.
8.- Tell them what you are going to tell them.
9.- Tell Them.
10.- Then tell them what you just told them.

Now after 22 years of giving speeches, keynote addresses, impromptu talks, or round table discussions, I am here to tell you it is like an adrenaline rush. I mean I would rather be giving a program by instruction, a keynote address or any other platform type speech
than most anything. Well within reason.

What you say you must be out of your ever loving mind! No actually here is how it works. I always get into a room ahead of time if I can to load my room files with the speech content, workshop materials or topic I am teaching or speaking on. I always prime my brain; prepare my program and all of the steps 2 through 10 for my audience. Not just because they have paid me a ticket price or a speakers fee but because I want to give them my best. It's like my father bless his soul told me from the time I was able to understand till the day he passed, If it's worth doing it's worth doing the very best you can.

I guess that's the underlying sub conscious basis but really I want the people to get more than their moneys worth. I have the good fortune of knowing how the mind works, how people learn and what it takes to keep their attention. Now the more important thing is that you can do this too and I'm sure much better. Here's how I do it or should I say how it can be done.

I teach memory training for a living so I have the blessing of using a system to remember anything I chose to remember and I mean all things. So when I prepare my program I load everything into mental file folders. I pull from these file folders as I deliver my program and never refer back to an outline, power point, note cards or any other visual crutch that most speakers have to rely on heavily. God bless him even or current president would run amuck if he didn't have his see through prompters.

As an example the first day of our workshop contains 67 pages of script that has been turned into bullet points and some times as many as 50 plus per page. I either load the information in a 300 file list I have access to that I expanded for myself, or I use room files and place the information on those files for access as I need them. I know this sounds a little strange, what do mean body files, room files, car files, alphabet files?
Well I teach the file, picture, glue, mnemonic method. That's, where the file is a mental location somewhere to store information. Everything I have to remember is turned into a picture or story format, using rules for handling abstracts and tangible items. Then I glue the picture or story to the file I have created with visual bonding.

When I do this it takes all stresses off of me to look at notes, outlines, or even projected material on a screen. Now sometimes you may have to use a projected format for the visual aid of your audience. I believe you should do exactly just that and not use it for a crutch to remember your presentation order or material. When using my system it gives me the flexibility to stop answer a question learn a name or even say God bless you when someone sneezes. Now let's just see what that affords some one like me, 1. Walking around the audience more freely, 2. The advantage of not having to break eye contact with them, 3. Not being tied to a podium. Now don't forget the most important thing of all, I believe by using these techniques you will never be perceived as not knowing the subject matter! When you use a mental file folder system you will be the only person who will be able to see the notes!

Now I venture to that probably all or most of you know your subject matter or job duties so well that sometimes you skip things. That's only because you don't have a file list or check list to run through before you finish that job or your day. I know this is hitting pretty close to a lot of you reading this and I don't tell you these things to offend you, only to tell you there is a better way out there. I know I use it every day of my life in every walk of my life. It's just that I hate not being prepared don't you!

Let me review I build my subject to be presented, dress in loose clothes to feel comfortable, grab the bottom of my chair to take the anxiety out of my body, take 3 deep lung filling breathes before approaching the podium or standing position, I talk to the people that are interested or appear to be I scanned before go up, I tell them what I am going to tell them, then tell them and then finish by telling them what I told them.

One more thing that I do is leave them with a poem, or a quote, something to challenge them pertaining to what I just taught them. The last and most important thing I do is tell them thank you! Public speaking should always be something you look forward to doing. So maybe you are not the most fluid speaker combining spice with your analogies and story or topic. You can make sure your presentation or every thing that comes out of you mouth should be and is measured, organized, dissected, up beat and as much as possible worth saying well!

Well back to the story. Yes I did give the first speech of my life that night to about 100 people including the love of my life and best friend who sat anxiously waiting and praying for me to not pass out, fall flat on my face or embarrass either of us. What I did was prayed before I left the bathroom, and tried to be myself. I did however attempt to say things I would like someone to say about me at the end of my career. I tried the technique of folding in a few stories we both lived and shared at the north slope of Alaska where we had both worked together years before.

It was by no means the best speech I have ever given nor was it the last speech my wife and the retiree or his family have ever seen. I know the retiree still attends the company retirement association meetings. God love her I drag my wife along as much as I can for spiritual and emotional support. I really should say I think she actually accompanies me because she knows there is no telling what I might say next. She is probably the best critic a speaker could ask for, being she is someone that loves me enough to help me correct my shortfalls and gives me the necessary affirmations

So I will say again. Prepare, prepare, and then prepare again. The number one fear in America today is public speaking, the 6th fear is death. So don't be one of those that say if I have to get up in front of an audience to speak just shoot me! I know most of you can appreciate that little chuckle and I truly don't expect you to love it as much as I do. I do however believe as my dad once said "Do it the very best you can and then when you put your head on that pillow to rest at night you can say I gave it my best!"

Here's another little tool to use the acronym THINK- is it truthful, is it helpful, is it inspirational, is it necessary and is it kind! Let the acronym THINK be your guiding tool for your next address. It was placed in my mind after attending a memory workshop 19 years ago. I got it while I was talking to a wonderful friend the talented Reverend Roger McDonald who actually married me 28 years ago.

Thanks for reading this article I hope you have learned something you can walk away with and use in your future to overcome the number one fear of America today. Public Speaking! You know if we can't learn to laugh at ourselves sometime the journey may be a little less fun.

Learning forever I stay committed!

Can Stress Make You Forgetful?

We form long term memories that can be affected by 3 things. The 3 things interfere with our retrieval system to recall those same long term memories. The three are clogging at the synapse, gradual deterioration of neuronal pathways ultimately involved and the final but big one STRESS! The clogging can occur when over time you have a collection of protein particles that accumulate at the synaptic gap. Sometimes referred to pre-gap or dendrite cloggers, or post-gap sometimes referred as axonic cloggersj they can be a problem.

Now let me try to give that to you in layman terms. Let's say you have a microscope that builds a film around the lens causing it to blur like someone wearing a contact lens and protein from their eyes builds up causing clogging. So like a soapy water can wash the lens of the film so can our body clean the receptors by using something called calpain which comes from calcium. The neuronal clusters are the makings of our memories. So they need to be kept pliable and not become brittle. Clinical research has shown that something called amyloidal proteins build up rock hard in Alzheimer's patients and stop effective transmissions of the neurotransmitters required to store and retrieve memories. The process is normally due to deficiency in our acetylcholine which is necessary to break down the amyeloid proteins. We normally get the acetylcholine from fat.

So dietary low fat diets cause low levels of our acetylcholine neurotransmitter production which is essential in the membrane maintenance. Some neurons deteriorate naturally with age. The one source of deterioration that we can control is the Acetylcholine production as a neurotransmitter for cell membrane maintenance we can control it somewhat through some high fat diets. However normal or high fat content in your diet will not necessarily ensure sufficient levels of acetylcholine. The reason is other factors like hereditary genetics, medications, diseases and unhealthy stress can cause a deficiency or low acetylcholine levels negatively as well.

Where stress plays such an important role is when the limbic system of your brain works to much in the foreground of proper brain activity. The limbic system then causes drastic reduction in the cortical systems of the brain, therefore resulting in memory retrieval that is less than desirable, both highly ineffective and unreliable during high periods of stress. It's almost like your brain says, "hey if you put me under stress then I am out of here until you take the stress off of me". Now that's a little animated but it's probably pretty much the way it is.

Elderly individuals tend to have problems with short term memories, originally thought to be due to the cognitive decline of our mind and ultimately being tied to age related symptoms. New research into the plasticity of the brain is rapidly disproving such a theory. Sure people that are older have more pains and tend to get depressed from time to time but that doesn't equate to their contracting Alzheimer's. The truth is it's primarily MCI or mild cognitive impairment which can be improved upon with training of the working memory. Short term memory problems in many seniors are stress related and loss of self confidence more than anything else a lot of times. Sadly though their are to many cases where it is more serious than that and actually the onset of early Alzheimer's.

Memory deficiencies many times that were originally thought to be age related cognitive decline can be the lack of proper exercise, lack of sleep, insufficient levels of dietary fats and general lack of self esteem or confidence. It tends to fuel the theory that if you don't think that you can remember anything you generally don't. The self full filling prophecy sometimes kicks in to take over your efficiencies or I should say deficiencies. So to answer the question can stress cause our forgetfulness the verdict is most certainly yes!

One of the methods used to enhance your memory efficiency is to train the working memory so that through preparation the stress level is reduced through mindful based stress reduction. There are 4 generations of Mnemonics - or the science of memory taught in our company. The first is the basic association; second the chain of visualization or story telling-linking method. The third is the peg system, and the fourth is mental file folders processing. Research published in the New York Times in April of 2008 cited a study conducted and presented at the PNAS Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. The study essentially showed how by training the working memory a person could improve their fluid intelligence thus improving their ability to remember. The study showed that all participants improved substantially in fluid intelligence. Moreover the more they trained the higher their scores were. All from the weakest to the strongest showed significant improvement. The reason is everyone has an innate ability to have a perfect memory it's just that it has to be formally trained. The main key factors discovered in the study were, 1) ignoring irrelevant items, 2) monitoring your performance, 3) doing two things simultaneously, and 4) connecting related items to one another in space and time

So the thought that our cognitive decline is age related is currently being overthrown by the new mind body technology being discovered in the research of the plasticity of the brain! These are exciting times in terms of the ability of the mind to improve itself. So don't fall into being one of those people that believe that they have passed the time that they can learn or improve themselves. You can learn until the day you die if you just apply yourself. I have a passion for the potential being a psychologist with dyslexia and ADHD. Mnemonics has changed my world and my life of learning has taken on exciting new avenues.

Training Your Mind to Avoid Stress

We all have a molecule of comfort of about 21 inches around our body from head to toe. The best way to be able to step out of that zone and feel comfortable in doing so is to prepare for the surprises you will encounter. Mind management is something everyone can do! You just have to train your mind to plan your steps.

Over the past 19 years I have been training people of all walks of life to learn how to improve their lifestyles by just planning their steps through mind management. The primary tools used are the attention/focusing of their memory. USA today published an article in the mid nineties that reported that most individuals spend 1 complete year looking for lost misplaced or hidden items. I say hidden meaning they didn't plan to hide it they just did. Now that's one year of 24 hour days, a 365 day year of looking for lost misplaced or hidden items.

If I could save you half of that unproductive time and if you are already through half of your life wouldn't you want to know how? Of course you would, unless you are mentally challenged and can't understand what I am referring to that is. Now when they conducted that study it was considered a longitudinal long term study. Meaning it was conducted over an 18+ year term and represented a mortality rate of around 78 years of age. So let's see if you are half of that age or 39 years or older and you could change your habits to reduce that lost time for the next 39 years you would want to know how wouldn't you?

Ok here it is plain and simple. Mind management is just exactly what it says or sounds like, managing your mind or being more focused or attentive to your ways of doing things. Now if you are a person who walks through life blaming everyone else for your screw ups you may not be able to adjust your habits the way I am going to explain to you. Not that you can't it's just that you probably won't. Now If I have offended you I am truly sorry, not. Let me say a new habit is formed by doing something for 21 days then the old habit is replaced with the new one. So for the interested party here we go.

I believe we all possess the ability to change ourselves, short of some form of dementia or debilitating problem.

That being said mind management is simply controlling your ability to be in the moment. That is a statement that is so profound that many people walk through life without ever knowing exactly how to do it. Impulsivity and just plain being arrogant or rude is another matter, so when I talk about mind management I am speaking to the person that really cares to be self managed.

The way we wake up every day or the selection of our daily menu for life is something we all can determine right out of the gate. I strongly believe that everything in life is what you make it; it's not what is that counts but simply how you take it. Positive views of situations will go a long way in helping to manage your mind. Short of unbridled ADD or ADHD you can be attentive, controlled and positive everyday. It's a concentrated effort that makes you a positive person in your outlook of things.

Stress is something that can be controlled in your life to a great extent. Some stress is inevitable and you can learn how to harness your periods of stress to a great degree. That being said let me say that some stress is positive and only you can determine what that level is. Some people work better under stress others don't.

Here are some techniques on how to lower your stress levels when it comes to remembering what, when, where and why. The article I mentioned above centered on looking for lost misplaced or hidden items. You know like when you come into your office in the morning and you lay your keys down on the table, desk, bookshelf or hopefully not some final resting place. You work a while slaying those dragons that raise their ugly head and got your attention when you walked in. Then, it turns out to be a couple of hours of dragon slaying and now its 11:30 and you have to rush out to your lunch appointment. Uh oh now you are late for that appointment you made because not only do you stress out looking for your car keys over the next ten minutes, but you have the whole office stressed out helping you look as well.

Well here is the simple way to avoid that happening to you ever again. I call it the F.P.G. system. F=File. a mental location or somewhere to store information, P - Stands for picture, because your mind works in pictures and G- stands for glue it's the bonding agent to keep the picture in the file long enough to transfer from your short term memory to the long term memory. Just to clear up that statement let me say your mind works in pictures, for instance, do not think of an elephant. What just happened, when you read that last sentence did you see a big grey body, big ears, long trunk, fat legs huge body. Sure it did you didn't spell e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t out you can do that if I ask you to but no your mind threw up a large animal picture into your mind of an elephant. You see your mind works in pictures! Your remember when you were in kindergarten, 1st grade etc and above the walls on a border you saw the alphabet and under A was a picture of an apple B a boy or a bat, C a cat or a cow, D a dog or a deer and pretty soon you learned enough pictures and alphabet to come up with words, then sentences, and paragraphs and on and on.

So see your mind works in pictures. So if that's how it works let's give it pictures or learn to picture our way through life not memorize our way through life. You see memorization causes stress. Rote, recapitulation stresses us out believe me.

Now let's get back to the scene where you and your associates are scrambling around the office stressed out looking for your keys. In that scenario our formula of FPG the keys are the pictures, the Desk etc is the file and all you have to add to the formula is the glue or the bonding agent to keep the picture in the file long enough to move it from the short term memory to the long term memory. Now action active action drives the glue, and the larger than life more animated picture the better it will bond.

Let's go back over when you came into the office and laid your keys down and reconstruct how to not lose, misplace, hide them or forget where you put them ever again. Here's how I would do it. When I come into the office and lay the keys down on the desk in my mind I fly the keys through the air 90 miles and hour and make them stick into the top of the desk. That way when I start looking for my keys at 11:30 in preparation to go to my appointment I just reconstruct the scenario in my mind, let's see where are my keys oh when I came in this morning they were flying through the air at 90 miles and hour and they stuck up into the top of that desk. Then when I walk over to the desk and no matter how many papers, file folders, books etc that are laying on top of my keys I simply just move them aside grab my keys and off I go to my lunch date.

Simple mind management is what I use to remember where I put things. Some people might make the desk blow up or melt down or grow little animated feet and run off with your keys. No matter what action you use the action of File Picture Glue will bond the process so that you can recall where your keys are every time. Well unless you have a daughter like mine that when she found out when dad grabbed his keys an went to work yesterday she remembered that and so today she hides your keys, you see then no system will work for that.

Stress can be controlled if you discipline your life positively. You can step out of the molecule of comfort every time and know that you are prepared. This is just one simple way to help your recall, there are many more techniques to use for your steps in life to lower and many times eliminate the stressors you commonly encounter.

Another one I use is a set of body files. These body files are predetermined files on my body that I file information on to recall where, what, when and why. Let's say I get up to go into the kitchen leaving my easy chair at a commercial break to get a snack and come back with it. Oh you know the scenario you are hungry you go into the kitchen to get a snack. On the way to the kitchen after leaving the safety of your easy chair, a phone call comes in or one of your family members yell something at you. Now that requires you to go into thinking mode about what the question is that they asked. You answer after logically reconstructing what they needed in your mind and you offer the solution. They go on about their way leaving you standing in the kitchen wondering what you came into the kitchen for. All of a sudden the show comes back on and you scamper back into the den to see what is happening on your show. A little while later that hunger pain hits again and you think well heck you didn't get what you wanted in the kitchen and when the next commercial comes on you will get up and go back in there to get something to snack on.

I know I used to do the same thing, but not anymore, I simply put the FPG system to work. I simply file whatever I am going to get up and get in the kitchen on my toes with a lot of visualization imagery and action, before I do get up to go to the kitchen. Then, no matter how many interruptions I have on the way to the kitchen I look down on my toes after the problem or the interruption is solved and see the snack on my toes. I visualized it and I put on my toes before I came in to the kitchen to get it and am on about my business before the show starts again. Simple mind management goes a long way in life believe me.

I use my body files to store my things to do list for everyday events for work and play, believe me when I say I am not going to use the last six months of my year looking for lost misplaced or hidden items in my lifetime! I am going to live in the moment as much as possible and by using the FPG method lower my stress levels every chance I get. Remember mind management is attainable by everyone if you just learn how to plan your steps and step through your plan. Preparation is the name of the game, just do it!

Learning That Sticks! The Real Way to Study, Learn and Remember What You Learn!

In the last 19 years I have traveled the U.S. teaching memory training to students of all ages in an effort to develop their true potential learning abilities. I have determined that there are two types of students in the broad spectrum of learning ability versus learning potential. For the sake of this article I will call them START students and STOP students. I should say S.T.A.R.T. and S.T.O.P. students. Let me explain what I mean by that. There a few people in this world that has self motivation, drive, desire and the need to excel. You know the one's that apply themselves to everything they do whether it be activities that involve work or just plain fun.

I have yet to meet a student that couldn't fit in one of those categories with the exception of the unfortunate soul, limited due to mental structure and capacity. Even many of those have excelled in their given situations. The students I am going to describe are those that putting their mind to it, could be more, have more, and do more by just applying the tools available to them The same tools that I am going to describe to you in this article. So when I say the S.T.A.R.T. student I mean the "Students That Are Really Trying" the S.T.A.R.T. student. When I say the S.T.O.P. students I am referring to the, "Students That Often Procrastinate", yes the real S.T.O.P. students.

So let me explain the difference a START student is the student that constantly strives to do his or her best. You know the student that goes the extra mile to make their best grade on everything the touch. The students when meeting challenges they always look for ways of improving their grades and then doing it when they find it. Students researching ways to make learning stick and then doing what it takes. They sometimes spend countless hours studying to know the material the best they can and plan for surprises. They are students that know their own limitations when it comes to learning new material. The boy, girl, man or woman students that searches for new strategies to make their efforts count and then use those same strategies.

Now let me explain my next student or the STOP student. STOP students always look for the shortcut or the easiest way to get by, not necessarily by the skin of their teeth but making at least a passing grade. This student tends to procrastinate and barely meet the deadline for their academic efforts. They may be students that could do more, be more and have more but they choose for whatever reason to do less, have less, and be less. Procrastination is a terrible time waster that brings many failures or less than desirable results.

To be a student that continues to learn the whole journey of their life requires doing a simple set of certain things to make sure that their efforts are always rewarded. It's what I call having the winning edge when it comes to Making Learning Stick. Some simple tools that successful people use to make life more rewarding when it comes to learning will be folded into this article and tools that easily attained by everyone that wants to be a START student.

The first thing that a student needs is the will to achieve. I.Q. or intelligent quotient is a number that measures the results of a test of your intelligence. Stick-to-itiveness is a trait that a START student has internally and approaches learning in a positive attitude way. Start students see problems as opportunities and ways to learn a new path to fulfill their goals. Goals will play a big part in this article and be something that you will need to use in all walks of your journey. When learning is approached positively it will only result in positive results if you have a positive attitude. I strongly believe that your attitude not your aptitude determines your platitude. I call this have the winning edge or winners' advantage.

I will spell out the components you will use and give you an explanation as briefly as I can as how I see your steps to becoming a START student for the rest of your life if you so choose.


1-Make learning a game.
2-Plan your study and study your plan.
3-Set Goals.
4-Track Results
5-Make Adjustments
6-Review results for future improvements.

Each component has individual steps and I will cover a few in each to give you a picture of How Making Learning Stick will work to make you a START student and not a STOP student.

Make learning a game works more than you can imagine, because the brain can learn more through building memory by making it novel and not just plain as it may appear as a subject. The plasticity of the brain allows us the ability to learn for our entire life not just in our early thought to be learning years in school. It was thought that our cognitive decline was age related wrongly unfortunately so many put learning on the back burner when they reached elderly status. The quote by Dostoevsky "that mans second half of his life is spent doing habits learned in the first half", has been played out to long. (To paraphrase the quote) I must tell you that I feel have learned more in the first nine years of my latter half than I feel I learned in the first 50 though I know that's not true it feels that way. This is because I learned how the mind really learns and remembers.

That is why I say make learning a game that's fun! It will last your whole life!

The second component is very important. Plan your study and study your plan it is something I have observed more in the past 19 years of teaching Mnemonics as a training psychologist in the industrial and business climate, than any of the other components. I had a good friend that was Valedictorian in my class and I always wished that I could have been as smart as he was. You see little did I know that I had the intelligence I just didn't have the know how. You see most of the students I meet that are STOP students are limited only by the limitations in their own minds and I have had a passion for potential to change the ones I can. I always thought that the Peter Principle was a mistake.

The planning process is one of the most underutilized components in all success. I am not saying that spontaneity or starting with no end in mind doesn't work, what I am saying is that planning your study and studying your plan is more predictable. When doing this you are in control of the adjustments and priorities. System analysis is the result of such works. This one component is a lead in to most important part of studying and that is setting goals.

Goal planning is important to achieve the results you desire, you may still achieve results but those that come as a result of goal planning hold a different set of properties. Goal planning allows for priority setting and priority adjustment. Goals are not only the end of the steps to achievement; the steps are the most important learning processes we walk away with. Sometimes it takes the final successes to understand that particular point. I will tell you the best goal planning includes these key points: Is it achievable Is it believable Is it measurable and can you set deadlines. In conclusion is the simple ABMD method.

The component that involves tracking your results involves reviewing your results to look for potential adjustments, modifications or total alleviation. Learning comes from change in your mind at looking for at or within the coded data in your mind. The way we learn is to take data in and hopefully with the proper construction or reconstruction of existing knowledge to form a new data acquisition resulting in learning. Making it learning that sticks is entirely dependent on the way that you construct, reconstruct or lay down the new memory trace. That's really where the making learning a game comes in to play. Excuse the pun. I have folded the next component into this paragraph unintentionally but I will approach it now.

Making adjustments will come in two forms one being a new construction of knowledge or reconstruction of the existing knowledge or both. Memory traces are formed as understood now by two brain cells or neurons forming together by firing an electrical and chemical reaction called a an action potential or synapse. I use this integrative biological term only to let you know that learning is now understood at new levels. It use to be thought that memory was a structure in our mind but now the understanding is that memory is not a structure but a process of many structures pulled together by a part of our brain called the hippocampus.

I recently attended a brain symposium at the brain health center in Dallas where the father of cognitive science Michael Gazzaniga of the university of California Santa Barber was awarded the 1st Charles Branch award in Dallas that day. After Dr. Gazzaniga accepted the award he made a presentation about the brain and the law that explained why he is called The Father Of Cognitive Science and the major researcher in split brain studies. The current research in the plasticity of the brain and its function will bring further understanding of why lifelong learning is the basis for new methods of learning.

This leads me to the final component of reviewing results for future improvements. The review of your final results will show you the true paths that lead to your achievement and allow you to learn where the adjustments or modifications for future learning will be required. We learn every day how our mind learns and still have a lot to learn. The shortcuts we learn are due to new research and our ability to improve our learning methods will give us the ability to create more START students and fewer STOP students.

We have developed a Successful Student System to give the aspiring student the tools necessary to improve learning and get the better results for the time invested in learning. We continue to develop such tools through experiential training and insure that you use methods that create Learning That Sticks. Researches in how memories are created are being unfolded at universities like U T and U of H proving that the proteins such as Protein Kinase C (PKC) and Transforming Formation Growth Factor B (TFG-B) are instrumental in our learning process. MTI continues to bring such research findings and interpretation of into how we can learn to be better developed through our experiential learning styles.

We have developed principles for Power note taking, Goal Setting, Project management, Developing a Winning attitude, Successful study skills, and Test taking techniques to enable the aspiring student to do more, have more and be more for the rest of their learning life. These skills with the aforementioned components will help make START students in the future.

A famous researcher of memory stated it best when explaining, "Memory is not the re-exercitation of enumerable fixed lifeless fragmentary pieces, but an imaginative reconstruction or construction built out of the relationship of our attitude, toward the whole active mass, organized by past reactions of experience. And to a little outstanding detail, that which commonly appears in image or language form thus hardly ever really exact, even in the most rudimentary cases of rote recapitulation and it is not at all important that it should be so."

Students have the ability to be the best they can be with the proper studying and learning tools. Mnemonics are playing an important part of that process. Developing our brain to be the best it can be is a goal we must all strive to achieve.

Our brain is the only organ encased in a hard boney case to protect it from traumatic exposure. That very fact is thrust to the forefront of my understanding when watching the senseless sport of cage fighting and trying to fathom how it can be allowed, let alone entertaining to the observer of such a so called sport.

So students protect and feed your brain constantly and it will be the best back up for you in all of your life short of God's grace.

Stress Hormones - CORTISOL - The Stress Hormone That Makes Us Forget and Wonder If It's Alzheimer's

You have a wonderful organ in your body called the Adrenal Gland and when it produces a stress hormone called CORTISOL, it becomes your worst nightmare! When ever we are asked to step out of our comfort zone which is a bubble of about 21 inches around our feet we stress out. Our brain says I am out of here until you can take the stress off of me! So is it any wonder why you feel like you are getting the early onset of Alzheimer's. We build memories throughout life using the wonderful senses GOD gave us when he created us. He knew we were incapable of working efficiently without some practice. He also gave us a way to not lose all of our ability to remember by breaking up memories into various areas of our brain where they are initially created. Yes, stored in a way, that if we were to accidentally destroy one of the areas by abuse, trauma, or unhealthy means, we could reestablish our memory by using one of the other areas.

Let me explain what I mean. When you learn something new say colors, objects, pain, emotion, love, etc we store that new learned memory in the area that is stimulated first or the most. Encoding a memory is just that, new information laid down in a memory trace by visual, auditory, touch, smell etc. Now the way that cluster of neurons is established is like drawing a circle with a dot in the middle of the circle. Let's call that a brain cell. Then draw a line out of the edge of the circle to a smaller dot. We will call that the receptor at the point of that smaller dot. Now the line between the circle and the dot is called a Dendrite or Axon depending on which side you draw a line, oh yeah there will actually be two lines coming out of the brain cell with little dots on the end. Now what we wind up with is a circle with a dot in the middle of it called a nucleus and two lines maybe out of opposite ends of the circle drawn to a smaller dot on the end of each line. Now we have a brain cell or neuron. Now along the line parallel to the line are wrappings like taking a long hair and wrapping scotch tape around it lengthwise. Let's say every one inch along the way with a 1/4 inch gap before wrapping another inch of more scotch tape around it and doing this all the way to the end of the line to the small dot. Now this is called the myelin sheath where the tape is wrapped around the lines several times along the line each 1 inch area with a gap of 1/4 inch between each or space. It might look like this O---------0. Except the first or big O would have a dot in the middle and I can't make this draw such so you will just have to imagine it's there!

Now when you learn some new data or information like a memory this little diagram I have just abstractly laid down in your mind (or tried to illustrate above) is created. Neurotransmitters or chemicals travel along this little line to the small dot called a receptor and another just like it almost butts up against the first circle line dot connection with a gap between each area. It might look like this O------00------O. When in our brain we get to a salt solution action potential they call it of Plus or Minus 70 salt or sodium solution a synapse fires electrically (about 5 watts) between the little dots in the middle connecting those two brain cells (nucleus) at each end making one memory trace or neuron cluster.

Now that is as graphic, abstract or technical as I will get just to let you know where memories are built. Now imagine 26 Billion neurons in the average person made up of these little connectors and brain cells that make up your memory. Imagine every time you have seen, read, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted something new a brand new cluster of these neurons are built. Also they are still up there in your non erasable tape that you try to retrieve at your beckon call if there was enough emotion or novelty to make it unique.. This is where the problem lies you did not store it efficiently by focusing on it so it's just thrown up into your brain where you have trouble retrieving it. And this why your concern of early onset of Alzheimer's plays out in your mind every time you forget.

The exciting thing is that you have the power to control how these neuron clusters are stored for retrieval at your command. The problem is you haven't been taught formally how to do just that. You see in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade you were doing ok because you were using the best system ever developed. Then wham in 3rd, 4th and on you became brain dead. Why because you were being taught from then on how to memorize. There lies the dilemma of why you can't retrieve the things you want when you want them. Because of that wonderful Cortisol hormone that shuts you down on retrieving from the long term memory or storing of new short term memories.

Let me explain it to you another way when you use to play the game Pong on your computer or Nintendo player whatever, you tried to make the ball hit the paddle and back over to the other side and back and on and on. Well when the memory trace or neuron cluster is formed in the visual cortex then the auditory and then the taste or smell on and on the little chemical and electrical firings from cell body to cell body keeps going back and forth echoing until you either transfer it to long term memory or to oblivion. The real secret of how to control that echoing and lying down of new information or details of that memory is that you have to be focused. You also need to have a place to tie the stimuli to, in order for it to transfer to your long term memory for future recall.

Your brain works in pictures and the sooner you learn how to create those mental file folders (a mental location to store information in) and then how to put the picture in the file folder and glue it to the file the sooner you will be able to remember. You then will be able to have the self confidence that Alzheimer's will never have a place in your life. Neither will absentmindedness, stress or any other Mild Cognitive Impairment be able to embarrass you ever again. By having a place to file something hold on to it long enough for the echoing and firing to keep echoing or firing continuously longer the better those memory traces will be laid down. Then when you need it the same neurons that fired originally will fire again in a clear synchronized manner to retrieve and give it back to you almost identical to the way you built it. It will never be identical because you would not know the difference of a memory and reality. If you allow enough novelty or emotion to store with the cluster the memory has a chance over the next 10 minutes to 2 years through hippocampul consolidation to lay down into the long term memory transferred from the working or short term memory. Actually the memory is laid down between stage 3 and 4 of your sleep cycles somewhere in the a.m. of sleep. So by learning how to organize and file pictures into you files and bonding them with glue you can keep it for as long as you deem necessary. The process we call Mindful Based Stress Reduction.

Life is fun and easy when you pictureize your way through life instead of memorize. More detail and explanation of how memory can be improved will be forthcoming in future articles.