I have a secret. O.K., so if you know me personally it’s not much of a secret. Up until just a few weeks ago I thought that I had a learning disability when it comes to remembering names. I’m not kidding. Just ask my wife. When we first started dating one of the first things that I told her was that I have two major weaknesses. (She’s since found more, but that’s another story…) One weakness is that I am direction-challenged. The second is that I am horrible at remembering names. I told her that it wasn’t that I wanted to be rude, it’s just that she would need to step in and introduce herself when meeting people she hadn’t yet met because I would likely blank on their names. Embarrassing, right? This is particularly embarrassing when you’re a teacher with around 130 students and close to 100 colleagues that you see on a regular basis. Very… The trouble is that I can remember faces, and all sorts of other facts extremely well, but it’s just proper names that are my arch-nemesis.
That is until just a few short weeks ago. A few weeks ago I was thinking, “What is something that I would like to change in my life?” One of the top things was remembering names. I really do enjoy people, and consider myself to be rather outgoing most of the time, but it feels debilitating when you can’t remember other people’s names. So, I did what any modern person would do. I Googled it. And, lo and behold, I ran across a video by Ron White. (And, yes, I can now remember his name!) Here is a link to the particular article that I’m referring to: How to Memorize Names At first I was a bit skeptical, since I really had tried many different ways to remember names, with very little success. You can follow the link to find out all the details, but the part that really clicked with me was coming up with a particular image for each name. (Thankfully he has a list of the most common names with images that he has decided upon already.) So, once you have memorized the images for each name you then visualize the image for the person when you meet them, and then repeat it again later to make sure you have it down. For example, Ron’s image is rum. So, I imagine Ron drinking rum, and then the next time I see him I can remember rum, and since rum = Ron I can then remember his name. It’s like magic!
Of course, it still takes a lot of practice to get down all of the images for each name, but once you have those down it makes it much easier (at least for me) to remember their names. I’ve been practicing with my students and have been able to get all of their names down, which has almost never happened for me before, as much as it pains me to say it. Of course, I’m still not perfect at it, and it will take me more time to get the system down for all of the common names, and then even more time for the uncommon ones. but I’m just excited that I have found a way that can help me to remember something that I seriously thought I was completely incapable of doing. I know that it still takes work, and an investment in time, but I can now see that is possible for me to remember names. If you have this same problem I would really encourage you to follow the link above and find out more. I already feel more empowered and more able to show that I care for others in a way that I didn’t think I could before.