What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.- Arnold Palmer
The above quote beautifully illustrates the meaning of Concentration. To concentrate is to channelize all your mental powers on the job at hand. Concentration and memory cannot be separated. They go hand in hand. While concentration is to focus on a particular work, Memory is to be able to recall the information that is stored in our brains. This information can be anything from our experiences, the people we meet, the various things that we see, etc. In other words, Memory can also be defined as our ability to remember.
As a student, concentration and memory are keys to one’s success. How you focus and what you focus on determines the kind of life that you are going to have. There are certain skills which need to be practised for the enhancement of both concentration and memory. It is also important to remember that once something is stored in our brains, we do not forget it. The problem, however, lies in being able to recall the information.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your concentration and memory.
- You need to have a clear mind: When you need to concentrate and consign something to memory, you must ensure that there are no other thoughts in your mind at that time. You must make sure that all other thoughts, other than what you need to concentrate on, do not clutter your mind. In order to focus on something you need to take care of yourself. If you feel you are tired, take some rest. If you are likely to get hungry, eat something. Do some exercises if you are feeling restless. All these will help clear your mind and will increase your capacity to concentrate better on your work.
- You need to get into the concentration mode quickly: Have you ever watched a tiger focus intently on the deer in front of it? Or have you observed an athlete concentrate on the goal in front of him? They forget everything else around them. It is almost as if time stands still. When you concentrate on something this hard, time just flies by. It may seem a difficult task but can be quite easy. Try this simple exercise. Close your eyes and think of the person who you idolise a lot for their concentration powers. It can be a sports person, an artist, a painter or even someone from your family or friend circle. Now imagine you are that person and feel that level of concentration. Now feel the same level of concentration on the work that you need to complete. While your eyes are still closed, feel like even a cyclone cannot distract you. And you will see that everything else just disappears except for the task at hand.
- You need to memorise through association: Memorizing anything by the process of association increases your ability to recall. As an example: How do you recall the first three astronauts to land on the moon? Remember ABC, i.e., Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Micheal C This process of memorising through association is called “Mnemonics”. The more vivid and weird your visualisation is, the stronger the memory of that information will be. Now this is how you consign something to your memory. How do you recall?
- You need to throw away the trash from your mind: You do not have an endless capacity to concentrate. So if you are going to indulge in other activities like watching television, browsing the net, chatting with friends, you are likely to reduce your capacity of concentration and also reduce the time that you need to concentrate. All these activities are mindless distractions that you can do without. Fix specific times during the day when you can do these so that the other times you can concentrate on your work/study.
- You need to learn to control your state of mind: Recalling something is easier if you can get to the same state of mind as you were when you were consigning the information to your memory. This process is known as state-bound recall. If you are very happy while memorising something, then the chances of you being able to recall the same thing will be higher when you are in the same happy state of mind. If you were angry, then you can recall better when you are in anger. So while you are trying to recall something, take a few seconds to think of the feelings you experienced while you were memorising and you will see that you recall will be much better.
Finally, remember that concentration can help you achieve anything that you want.
In the words of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of Telephone: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to focus.