Where are my pants?

Are You This Guy?

Did you ever walk into a room and ask yourself why you went in there in the first place?

  • Or wonder where you left your keys, or your wallet, or your watch?
  • Or freeze when you couldn’t remember what you were just about to say?
  • Or go nuts trying to find your eyeglasses only to find that you were wearing them on top of your head the whole time?
  • If the title of the movie, “Dude, Where’s My Car,” reminds you of every time you leave the supermarket…

…you just might be in the right place!

My goal is to help you improve your memory and mental focus so you can stop worrying about it and get on with your life. If you’re like me, you’d like your life to be more productive and satisfying, in business and at home. You’d like more clarity in your thoughts and more energy to carry them out. You’d like to clear up any fog or cob-webs in your mind.

Well, let me tell you the good news first. After that, I’ll tell you the other good news. (I’m not here to bring you bad news.)

There are some truly helpful methods out there for you to try. Most of them do not require much effort and they will not stress you out. In fact, most of them help decrease your stress. That’s my goal.

I’m a “recovering procrastinator” who struggles every day with mental focus. I’ve made some inroads and I think I can offer some help and encouragement to you if you would like to make progress getting more clarity of purpose and a better memory.

As far as memory goes, I have some actual cred. Most of my life I had a miserable memory. At least that’s what everyone told me. In fact, I have ADHD, and couldn’t concentrate on much, except for magic. I was interested in magic since I was about eleven (eventually I became a professional magician.) I could manage to read magic books and practice for up to fourteen hours at a time without a break when I was a kid. But I couldn’t manage to get chores, homework, or anything else done. I had a C average in school, and I never really passed a math class except for geometry, which for some reason made sense to me.

Books that were assigned to me in class never seemed to get read. Essays never finished. I couldn’t remember history or dates. They bored me to tears. On the other hand, I could remember magic trick instructions and biographies of the great magicians. I could also remember “The Lord of the Rings” chapter and verse (oh, would that I still could. How I miss you, Middle Earth! I must read you again.)

As you can certainly tell, if I was terribly interested in something, I could remember it fine, as I’m sure you’ve noticed about yourself as well. But if it was information about something that I didn’t care about, or wanted to avoid, it was as gone in a second.

One day, I was taking a trip from Kingston, NY to Austin, Texas, by bus. We stopped in Joplin, Missouri at a lunch counter. Outside the diner was a used book fair. I found an old, dog-eared copy of a book on how to improve your memory, which I bought on a whim. On the rest of the trip, I was going crazy from boredom, so I dove into the book. By the time I reached Austin, I felt like a genius. I couldn’t believe that mnemonics could be so easy.

It turned out that the techniques from the book were great for short-term memory, but there was a lot more to improving my memory than that. Since then I’ve been developing my own methods, as well as learning more from other sources. Did it work?

Let me tell you a story: As I mentioned, I became a professional magician. It helped me pay part of my college tuition. I eventually went on a foreign exchange program to Germany, and I stayed there for seventeen years (!) In my second year there, I started performing magic in German. I began as a street-performer and eventually became a popular corporate and society entertainer.

Once, in an unfortunate, non-magic-related incident, I managed to have fingers broken on both of my hands. I ended up with both hands in casts, and I couldn’t rely on dexterity for my magic performances. I had contracts for shows for the rest of the month that I couldn’t afford to miss. What to do?

I did a “memory and math” show. I had learned some mathematical magic tricks (yes, me, the guy who barely ever passed a math class) and I’d memorized square numbers, large multiplications, the amount of minutes and seconds in a day, a week, a month, a year, and some other mathematical nuggets. During those shows in which I couldn’t use the sleight-of-hand magic I’d been practicing for thousands and thousands of hours, I entertained with math tricks and by memorizing long strings of digits (more than a hundred) and all the names in the audiences (sometimes a few hundred.)

Memory, Math and Magic Show

The response almost scared me. People went nuts. I got better reviews than ever. My agent got me more return bookings then he’d ever done for any of his other performers. My fee went way up. Many of the audience member told me, “Young man, I’ve seen you perform before, and your magic tricks were very good, but how on earth did you remember all those names and numbers!?”I’m not telling you this to make myself look good. (Okay, that’s a big, fat lie.) But the greater point is that I did not have to put nearly as much effort into the mental part of my show as I did the regular magic, yet the mental part blew them away. Until that day, I had not even thought that the memory stuff was that impressive. I thought almost anyone could do it.

The truth? Almost anyone COULD, if they learned and put it into practice in their everyday lives. But almost nobody DOES.

Almost everyone thinks they know about memory. They’ll tell you why theirs is not good, and they’ll tell you all about the stuff they’ve heard about improving your memory, and how “you just have to make ups stories.” (Wrong!) It’s like all those overweight people who have the best advice about losing weight. (Don’t take weight-reduction advice from me!)

This site will not be about “theory” or the newest “neuroscience.” You’ve probably read enough BS about “neuroscience” from people who are not scientists. Like how this or that game or herb or whatever is “based on neuroscience.” Isn’t that like the horror movies that are “based on a true story?” The only truth was that there was once somebody who made up some baloney story to scare you. (Irrelevant side note – I was actually in the house on which the “Amityville Horror” was based, long before there was ever a movie about it. It wasn’t anything like in the movie, and the only thing that scared me were the police who were patrolling the neighborhood trying to keep kids like me from getting into the house.) If we talk about neuroscience, it will be from information from real neuroscientists, psychiatrists, etc.

The site will be about exploring some Ideas that I will offer for you to try, and for getting feedback about them, and maybe starting a discussion about what you have gotten out of them.

I’ll also be documenting some of my own results, so you can compare and contrast your own experiences.In my attempts to improve my own memory and focus, I’ve tried many things – many of which are not the obvious ones of “get more sleep, eat better, exercise more…” (Although those are certainly part of the mix.) I’d like to share them with you, for you to test them out in your own life.

Unlike many other “brain training” sites, I won’t be giving you questionable solutions that require no effort at all on your part. I’m not peddling “miracle cures” (you know – the ones that don’t work.) I’m not claiming to be a guru, an “award-winning” anything, or a “leading expert.

All I offer are things that I’ve tried that have worked for me, to greater or lesser extents.

My real claim to being able to help is not that I am great at this stuff, it’s that I was terrible at it and have made great improvements.

See, the problem with most memory or productivity courses is that they are run by people who don’t have a clue what it’s like to be bad at those things. They know what it’s like to be good at them, but they don’t know what it’s like to improve from bad to good. They don’t know what we struggle with. They offer solutions that work (or sometimes don’t even do that) for them, but would not work for us. Did you ever sit in a classroom, boardroom, lecture or seminar where some talking head his telling you, “All you have to do is this, and they you do that, and they you take and do this, and go and do that, then I can move this around and get that result and… on and on….?”

It’s true that so many of the “experts” just don’t get it that you don’t get it. They go too fast, don’t take your feedback into account, and just lose you. They speak “geek speak.”  I remember many frustrating math classes where they just droned on and on, and I kept wondering, “What the hell are they talking about?” Some of the other students got it and some didn’t. Those of us who didn’t just fell through the cracks.

I don’t want you to fall through the cracks. I’d like to gently guide you to some information that you can try and then evaluate for yourself. Let me know how you do, and what you feel about your own progress in the comments section.I hope we can establish a mutually beneficial relationship, and encourage each other’s progress.

Remember I mentioned that there would be some other good news? Here it is:
The rest of the blog will be have more actual helpful techniques.

Here’s to your finding some help and inspiration in the some of the following posts.

Yours truly,

~ Brian

1 Comment

  • Jean Mosher

    Reply Reply September 6, 2015

    Congratulations Brian
    This is great can’t wait to hear/read more
    I didn’t get past your bio– but I will

    Hope to make the meeting Thursday but not sure yet
    Jean from Albany

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