“You can improve your memory by 500% OR MORE!” and “Switch on your mega memory” are some of the quirky phrases written on Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory program package. My dad bought me this expensive package when I was 10 years old after watching Mr Trudeau on late night TV wow an audience with his ‘photographic memory’. Now, at 24 years of age, I can’t help but feel a little cynical/skeptical as I revisit the Mega Memory program knowing that Mr Trudeau has recently released a book called ‘The weight loss cure’.
Did I ever get a photographic memory from doing Mega Memory as a child? I’m afraid not. Perhaps a better question to ask is, did the program help me to improve my memory? You bet. Let’s face it, there was nothing new or particularly special about the information contained in Mega Memory. All Mr Trudeau did was package a bunch of memory techniques (that have been around for well over a century) nicely together. More importantly and impressively, he managed to get millions of people (my dad and I included) excited about learning more about the human mind and memory. He sparked curiosity in us and forced us to think about how far we could push ourselves mentally and what was possible. To be engaged in this kind of conversation as a child was priceless.
I have to hand it to Mr Trudeau, he knew a thing or two about effective learning. In lesson 1 of his program he sets out some really smart ‘ground rules’ for studying his program. These are:
Take a 10 minute break between lessons No heavy eating before going through a lesson No alcohol or drugs before going through a lesson No sugar or white flour before going through a lesson
Most of us know the effect of eating too much sugar or a greasy, heavy meal before studying or working – we can become ineffective, lack concentration, have a poor memory, feel agitated, etc. Mr Trudeau’s ground rules do not and should not be limited to studying memory techniques, but applied to all areas of our lives.
He also knew about the importance of taking baby steps to slowly build confidence. One of the first memory techniques his program teaches is the peg-word mnemonic. In my opinion, it is the simplest memory technique to learn (it takes about 5 minutes to learn). I often teach students this technique in workshops for several reasons. Firstly, it helps them to memorise lists of information really easily and quickly. Secondly, it shows students how they learn information best and thirdly, it builds their confidence. Once they realise ‘Hey, this actually works! I can do this!’, they are more open to learning about other strategies that will make a difference to their studies and life.
I don’t know if I ever did improve my memory by ‘500%’. In fact, it doesn’t matter at all if I did or didn’t. As skeptical as I am of smooth, charismatic salesmen like Kevin Trudeau, I have to say that his product (Mega Memory) contained some good ideas and techniques that did inspire me as a child and continue to inspire me.