Posted by: wordsmithsuk | February 11, 2010

Walk to freedom – lightbulb memory


Today Nelson Mandela, South Africa and whole world celebrate the 20th anniversary of his release from prison. Mandela walked free on 11 Feb 1990 after serving 27 years on the notorious Robben Island. It was a cold Sunday afternoon in the UK and I was hard at work removing wallpaper from the walls of a room in my house. But all aspects of this mundane task are perfectly preserved in my mind because they are associated with the emotional scenes and feelings of Mandela’s walk to freedom. The colour of the walls, the quality of the light, the smell of the old wallpaper, the cheerful chattering of my three year old son. It’s a 3D movie show involving all the senses.

A Light Bulb Memory is an extremely vivid memory. It’s called a Light Bulb Memory because it’s as if the flash of a camera goes off, perfectly capturing and preserving the memory of the event for life. These are almost always memories of important or traumatic events. You may remember clearly your 21st birthday, the day you landed a fantastic new job or seeing a loved one after a long absence. Or it may be that you remember exactly what you were doing when the twin towers were attacked or when Michael Jackson died.

You can use the brain’s ability to store lightbulb memories by making the things that you need to remember larger than life. To remember things well, you have to make them stand out from the crowd by making associations that are big, bright and positive. Listen to Wordsmiths’ audio book ‘Memory and Learning for Success’ to find out more about how to make the most of your fantastic memory.

Everyone has lightbulb moments. What are yours?

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