You are driving a bus which contains fifty people. The bus makes one stop and ten people get-off, while three people get on. At the next stop seven people get-off the bus, and two people get on. There are two more stops at which four passengers get off each time, and three fares get on at one stop, and none at the other. At this point, the bus has to stop because of mechanical trouble. Some of the passengers are in a hurry and decides to walk. So, eight people get off the bus. When the mechanical trouble is taken care of, the bus goes to the stop and rest of the people gets off.

I know you may be thinking that I will ask questions over the paragraph above. Of course, I will. But what are these questions is what you don’t know. If I ask you the total stop the bus makes altogether, you might have an answer for that. Or if I ask you the total number of the passengers, you may as well provide the answer. But my questions will not touch those areas. I have two questions to ask you. The first question is, without re-reading the paragraph, how many passengers remained in the bus before it developed mechanical fault?

I know, to get the answer may not take your entire time. Don’t be elated because if you get an answer for the first question, you don’t know what the second question is. Well, despite the simpleness of the first question, I still get some people who read the paragraph but don’t observe or pay attention as Samuel Johnson once said “The true art of memory is the art of attention”. For such people to get the answer, somehow it will be difficult for them. It is not because they have poor memory but they fail to pay attention to what they read. After all, there is nothing like poor memory but untrained memory. Every memory needs to be trained through observation, simply because we can only remember what we observe.

I know you are eager, after you have answered the first question, to have the second question. Exercise patience. I will ask but am shedding more lights on those facts about memory. Are you ready for the second question?

If yes, wait let me give you answer for the first question. The answer is 33 passengers.
You can now give the paragraph another look to be very sure of the provided answer.

Welcome back for the second question. What is the bus driver’s name? Remember the rule: no re-read.

I’ve tried this on many people but alas only 30% of them all got the answer correctly. What I’m doing now is what the magicians called “misdirection”- To take you out of the correct path in the presence of your confidence. To know how keen your observation is and to take you along to where you have no business. Because without this, making you doubts your answer, you will arrive easily on a right answer.

You may be saying to yourself that I’m saying too much. Well, you are very correct, but it is very good to do that since I know you have no answer for the second question, have you? Don’t forget that you have read the paragraph twice.

The second question asks you the name of the bus driver. The name of the bus driver is your name! The paragraph starts with the word YOU.
Only people with vast observation and retentive memory can answer the second question in a blink of an eye. Of course, I must show you how mediocre your memory is. In fact, I know some people who don’t know whether the number on their wristwatch is written in Roman figure or Arabic number. I bet it, you don’t know yours, do you?

In fact, you may, as well, have no answer for the following question:
Which light is on the top of the traffic light?
No! Don’t get discouraged or feel embarrassed, I’m just testing your observation. You can even do this on your friend(s).

Well, if not every day at least once in a week you do come across traffic light but what you fail to do is you don’t pay attention to what you see.
Red is always on top of the traffic light. Green is always on the bottom. If there is a third color, it is usually yellow, for caution, and that one is always in the center.

Verdict: We have interest in only the things we are interested. Make up your mind that you will be interested in remembering names, faces, dates, figures, facts, anything. Not everything you see or hear should be in writing. I concur on what Harry Lorayne said ” However, using pencil and paper as substitute for memory is certainly not going to improve memory” Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to write things down but what if the paper gets lost or torn. Mind you, there are some things you only need to memorize.

About Abdulrasheed Lawal

He is an experienced Educationist, a Poet and an Inspirational Writer who has touched many lives immensely through his creative Poems,  Articles and Short Stories. He currently resides in Ibadan, Nigeria. You can reach him via Email at ‘


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