Like death and taxes, memory loss, as you go past the prime of adulthood, is inevitable. As an indicator of how important this fact is for people, google memory tricks and you’ll find dozens of pages of search results regarding memory improvement tips and hacks. Partly because of the discovery and study of neuroplasticity in recent decades, taking steps to stem memory loss have become very popular. Here follows our take on the best memory tips based on popularity and readings of academic references.
- Playing brain games. Sudoku, chess, and crossword puzzles have been found to improve memory and slow decline. While the exact mechanism for this is not exactly known, the theory is that it activates synapses around the brain, and not just the areas responsible for memory. In a study conducted less than a decade ago, a computer game known as Double Decision was found to improve concentration significantly after having been played for several years. In fact, this game was attributed to players who drive having fewer car accidents. Other software that have been shown to have an impact on improving memory include SuperMemo and Luminosity. Playing 3D video games, far from being an idle pastime, was shown recently by the University of California to improve learning ability and problem-solving skills by up to 12%. This is the memory loss adults from 45-70 normally experience. Who’s up for a 3D Mario challenge?
- Aerobic exercise. A Harvard study found that even just 2 hours of brisk walking a week improved the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and verbal memory. The type of exercise has to be aerobic in general, where your heart pumps more rapidly and the sweat glands work. Gym type exercise like weight training, balancing, and muscle toning does not have the same effect. With cases of dementia recorded every 4 seconds globally, keeping to an active lifestyle seems to be a requirement for quality of life as you age.
- Eat right. The majority of advice on brain-friendly nutrition includes eating a variety of food rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables. Fish is rich in Omega-3 fat, which have been found to be highly beneficial not just for the brain but also for the heart. Conversely, a diet rich in meat seems to promote brain inflammation, which has been linked to neurological disorders. Junk food is also a no-go, which is just common sense if you want to stay healthy.
- Forget multitasking. Multitasking is for the 90s. Although still adhered to (or at least boasted about) by a lot of people, it’s come to light that multitasking doesn’t lead to increased productivity. Not focusing on tasks makes us forgetful, as it has been determined that it takes a minimum of 8 seconds to commit a piece of information to memory. Furthermore, things that need our brain’s attention go into some queue, which the brain processes. Too many things happening at once will result in the brain ignoring some of the input. While you can probably answer that email while waiting for the spin cycle to finish, focusing solely on higher order tasks will be more productive in the end.
- Get more sleep. Not only does lack of sleep make us cranky, it’s been found that sleep loss also erodes memory. And for aging adults, length and quality of sleep has been found to affect the general rate of decline. Skip those videos and movies before you go to bed and get something to read. If you’re using a phone or tablet for reading, install one of those dimming apps (Lux or Twilight come to mind) to tone down the harsh screen backlight during the evening hours.
- Mnemonic devices. So far, the tips we’ve discussed are ones that involve simple lifestyle changes. Mnemonics involves a more structured implementation that significantly improves recall. A study performed in 1976 showed that students who regularly used mnemonic devices increased test scores by 77%. Mnemonic devices that can be used to recall large pieces of information include music, names, word expressions, rhymes, notes, images, connections, and spellings. It’s been suggested that music mnemonics help with remembering long lists (making a song out of the information to be remembered), while a silly drawing or picture (image mnemonics) helps with remembering names or sets (such as a group of drugs). Acronyms are a form of mnemonic device that helps you recall a long name or list. Visualizing dialing on a keypad to remember a number series is another mnemonic device. Another age-old mnemonic device are notes. As a mentor once told this writer, the best memory is pen and paper. Its interesting that notebooks and a pen are currently fashionable as everyday carry devices, despite the prevalence of smartphones.
- Build a memory palace. A memory palace is a device used to associated things with a familiar place, such as your home or the route to work. Using distinctive features in your palace, such as a room, or a store on the route to work, associate these distinctive features as a memory peg for a specific item you need to imprint in your mind. The great thing about memory palaces is that you can create multiple palaces in your mind to remember specific chunks of related information. Don’t think this is some newfangled theory. The Romans were known to have used this method.
- Chunking. The chunking technique helps one get around our short-term memory limitation of being able to remember only 4-7 pieces of information at a time. Chunking uses the brain’s pattern recognition ability to help you remember more things. For example a seemingly common name might be the first letters in a 120-character passphrase. In a way, chunking is an implementation of the connection mnemonic. To become good with this technique, practice looking for connections in the bits of information you need to remember, and associate bits of information with a whole. For example, you can associate, flour, butter, and eggs with a cookie and its ingredients.
- Sensory integration. The process of organizing information based on our senses (visual, aural, taste, smell, touch). More commonly used to treat children and adults with learning disabilities, sensory integration can be used when learning new things such learning to play an instrument or taking dance lessons. When we try to remember or learn, it helps to remove extraneous stimuli from the environment. For example, studying is helped by removing distractions like music or a noisy environment. Conversely, some people are able to better concentrate by having an ocean soundtrack playing in the background.
- Emotional cues. In the same way that a particular chair or restaurant make us remember a loved one, so can emotional cues make us remember other bits of information. An example of the use of an emotional cue is medication. A sick person will most likely remember the schedule of when to take his or her medicine. But persons who are on maintenance meds sometimes forget to take them – or forget if they have taken them or not, especially if they are feeling okay or are busy. When the person who forgot his medication suddenly feels off, the feeling of loss of well-being usually prompts a review of whether a medication has been taken or not. The motivation of wanting to feel good is an emotional cue in remembering to take that medicine.
It’s been observed that improvements in memory depends more on a person’s attitude rather than intelligence, education, or even ability. One must realize that committing something to memory involves the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain. As we have seen, there are many things we can do to improve our memory as a whole. For special needs, one can also use a specific device to concentrate on a particular memorization task.
In the previous parts we discussed the link system
Techniques of Mnemonics #1,
the substitute word system
Techniques of Mnemonics #2,
how to remember names and faces
Techniques of Mnemonics #3,
and the art of remembering long-digit numbers
Techniques of Mnemonics #4;
If you haven’t read those articles you should go back and have a look at them…
I bet, that many of you thought: What if I need to know the 7th item of my 10 words list? So, in this part we will learn the system which will give us the mental skill to do that.
The Peg System
The only method to recall the 7th item of your 10 items list you can apply is to run your list counting in which place it occurs. But this will cause time loss, and apropos there is another mnemonics technique which will help you find that 7th item instantly!
It is called the peg system. First you have to recall how you learned the numbers, and know by heart which sound converts to which number. And, then you have to learn a new alphabet, which you will create on your own and will be based on the phonetic alphabet learned previously!
Number 1 was represented with “t” or “d”, so the peg word for 1 (one) must be a word which contains only that sound → for example: tie, die, dye, etc.
Number 2 is “n”, so the peg word for 2 (two) can be → for example: Noah, or No, nah!, etc.
Number 3 is “m”, so the peg for 3 (three) could be → for example: Ma (Mum), Moo (cow sound), etc.
Number 4 is “r”, so the peg word might be → for example: Ra (the Egyptian God), Rye, etc.
Number 5 was represented with “L” so the peg word we use could be → for example: Law, Lee (imagine Bruce “Lee”), etc.
Number 6 was “j” “sh” “ch” and soft “g” so → for example: Shoe, Chew, Chi, etc.
Number 7 “k” and hard “g” → for example: cow, key, gay, guy, etc.
Number 8 was “f” or “v” → examples: Ivy, wifi, etc.
Number 9 was “p” or “b” → examples: Bee, booh!, etc.
Number 10 will be represented with a “d” or “t” (number 1), and an “s” or “z” (number 0) → example: toes, dose, etc.
1.tie, dye, die 6.Shoe, Chew, Chi
2.noah, no, nah! 7.cow, key, gay, guy
3.Ma, Mooh 8.ivy, wifi
4.Ra, rye 9.bee, booh!
5.Law, Lee 10.toes, dose
The words you use should usually be the same, so that you construct the system in your mind, and it will become part of your nature after enough practice and usage.
Now try and remember the first list we learned in part #1, the first word was “airplane”:
Associate the word airplane with tie or dye – an airplane dying.
The 4th item was earring, so associate earring with the peg word you are using. Ra having an earring to “control them all” (LOTR fans will know what I’m talking about).
The 8th item is salami, a salami distributing wifi…
The second item was tree, Noah sailing on a tree.
The 5th item was bucket, a bucket breaking the law…
The 7th item was basketball, a cow playing basketball…
The 9th item was star, a bee collecting nectar on a star…
The third item was envelope, your mum falling in an envelope…
The 6th item was sing, a shoe singing…
The 10th item was nose, your nose touching your toes…
If you learned the peg words appropriately, and by heart, then you will have no problem in recalling the word basketball, if the number 7 is mentioned → because you were thinking about a cow playing basketball!
Now what if there is a list with 11 items? Simple, you create a peg word like teeth, and you go on, 12 dan (karate), or tin; 13 might be team, tame, etc. and you go on. You could create peg words up to 100 or even more, depending on how much you need; and depending how much you practice the mentioned techniques you will see progress in yourself.
To train your newly acquired skill you can simply make lists with list generators, like this one: https://www.randomlists.com/random-words
and then apply your mnemonics technique.
To conclude the series, I will present you what you have learned so far. You learned actually only three basic systems of memory: the Link system, the Substitute Word system, and the Peg system. Sometimes you will need to manipulate with them… do that! Because the basic, and most important principle is to use which mental pictures function for you.
With the memory tricks you’ve learned so far you can impress yourself, and impress others; if you’re a student you will be able to increase your grades for more than 50% (I say this with full confidence); if you’re a salesman you will improve your customer service; if you’re in the military, and you are required to know a coordinate (so secretly as not to write it down, like in SF operations), or a list of items you surveyed in enemy territory (be it real or in training) this system will help you do that; there is no limit to any profession or occasion.
Because of the structure of these memory systems you could apply the “loci” in your mind picture, creating a place which has all the information gathered through your day and then try and recall everything you stored in it.
I hope these articles helped you, and you can tell us how you found them in the comments and ask any question if something was unclear we would be happy to help.
“The seaman bucket had a car accident yesterday”
1 0 3 2 9 7 1 1 7 4 7 0 1 2 1 0 1 4 1
In the previous article we left you with a phonetic alphabet, consisting of 10 sounds
Techniques of Mnemonics #3
In this article we are going to expand through this alphabet a new skill, a skill which will enable you to remember numbers; be it phone numbers, social security numbers, IP addresses, coordinates, statistics and much more.
But first, in order to understand what we are talking about you should read the first article
Techniques of Mnemonics #1 – explaining the basic concepts of mnemonics,
and the second article
Techniques of Mnemonics #2 – which enhances your acquired skill from the first part.
Remembering numbers is quite difficult, as numbers are not tangible and thus we have to create a way to make them tangible…
In order to do this, I explained in the previous part that we will use a phonetic system, consisting of 10 basic consonant sounds.
1 → will be represented with the sound “t” or with the sound “d” (because your tongue is in the same position, the “d” sound is a bit softer that’s all). To link the sound with the number, remember that “t” has 1 (one) down stroke. We will also use the sound “th” for number 1 (one).
2 → will be represented with the sound “n”. To link the sound with the number, remember that “n” has 2 (two) down strokes.
3 → will be represented with the sound “m”. To link the sound with the number, remember that “m” has 3 (three) down strokes.
4 → will be represented with the sound “r”. To link the sound with the number, remember that “r” is the ending sound of number 4 (four).
5 → will be represented with the sound “L”. In order to better remember, stretch your fist out; stretch your fingers, and thumbs up – you can now see an L form in your hand.
6 → will be represented with the sound “j”, and the sounds “sh”, “ch”, “g”. For better memory, the number 6 is almost a mirror image of “J”.
7 → will be represented with the sound “k” or hard “g” (like in glide). To create a link consider that two 7-s can create a capital K – K.
8 → will be represented with the sound “f”, or “v” (as it is the same sound only pronounced softer). To better memorize it think of a handwritten “f” it has the same loops as the number 8 (eight).
9 → will be represented by the sound “p” or “b” (again only variants of each other). Capital letter “P” and number 9 are almost mirror images.
0 → will be represented with the sound “z”, or “s” and soft “c” (like in century). The first sound in number 0 is “z”.
So, if you have practiced with the link system enough I think you have memorized the phonetic alphabet with the first shot. Otherwise go back and learn the alphabet, you should know it by heart.
If you are familiar with Arabic or Hebrew or any other semitic language you will have it easier, as their writing systems work with consonants, like our phonetic alphabet. Vowels have no value, so are “h”, “y” and “w”.
If this fact made you curious of that system you can look it up -> Wiki: Semitic Root
Now, we won’t regard the letters, only the sounds, as I mentioned above. This means that the word “pattern” will be – pattern – 9 1 4 2 and not 9 1 1 4 2.
“Accident” – accident – 7 0 1 2 1
You should start exercising from words to numbers, and from numbers to words or phrases.
Try to remember the number:
“2 4 9 5 2 5 2 1 1 2 1 1 4 8 3 2 9 4”
This is what I did:
n, r,p,l,n, l,n,d,d, n, th, t,r, f, m, n,b,r.
an, airplane, landed, on, the, tree, of, my neighbor
While reading the numbers with your mouth, you read the phonetic alphabet with your mind. After you create the second word, you start link them.
Another example: 1 3 8 7 4 7 9 3 2 7 5 8 3 1 4 3 2
t, m, f, k, r, k, p, m, n, k, l, f, m, t, r, m, n
TM (technical machine – those who played Pokemon will know 😉 ), FC (football club), Recce (military term for reconnaissance), Pommern (is german: the “r” is not pronounced), cliff, meter, man. So, these are the words we have to link → The technical machine was given to a football club which learned the Recce skill, which went to a secret mission in Pommern, where they fell from a cliff, many meter down and they couldn’t fly because they were human.
Sounds complicated! Well, it is not as easy as the other mnemonics techniques! But with enough practice you will learn to create combinations on your own – for example if you see the number 13, you will automatically think on a TM.
If you have to remember a telephone number, usually we write those in groups, like:
044-656-477 → this will make our job easier:
srr j l j rkk
sir ra (“ra” the Egyptian Sun God), jellyish (made up word for jellyfish-like), rococo (a French artistic movement of the late baroque era). Ra becoming jellyish and falling over a rococo style palace.
If you want to try some more:
4 3 1 3 5 7 8 5 3 2 1 3 5 6 7 4 0 5 3 1 6 8 9 6 5 3 4
r m – room… or r m t – roommate… → a very important thing to better memorize is imagination and creativity, so let your creativity loose.
And, if you read carefully all the text from the beginning, you will be able to remember the number which came right after the title. No? Here you have the phrase:
“The seaman bucket had a car accident yesterday”
You could try some other numbers and share them with us in the comments:
3 4 5 8 7 2 3 4 6 5 8 7 3 4 2 6 0 5 4 7 3
7 3 1 4 3 4 8 0 6 5 0 1 3 4 8 7 5 6 0 1 3 4 8 7
1 4 9 3 6 5 0 8 3 4 7 5 6 8 1 3 4 7 0 6 5 0 8 7 3 1 4 6 5
In order to practice your newly learned skill you can practice everywhere. If you see a billboard with a motto in it, convert the sentence into numbers, or if you see long-digit numbers convert them to sounds. Even while watching TV you can start transposing from words to numbers, and vice versa, until you can read numbers in words…
In order to understand this article better you should read the first part which is about the basic concepts of memory-systems:
Techniques of Mnemonics #1
In the second part we learned how to remember things better which are intangible through the substitute word system, and link them (with the concept of the first article).
Techniques of Mnemonics #2
In part three we will show how to get better memory in regards to faces and their names, some tips to fix absent-mindedness and an introduction to memorizing long-digit numbers better.
Names and Faces
As you might guess, the average person usually doesn’t forget the face they encounter, most frequently they forgets the name. We also should know by now that the primary reason we can’t remember things, is because we didn’t record and encode them correctly in the first place; as for names, many times, we even don’t hear them at all. All we hear is a mumble, and we are often too embarrassed to ask the person to repeat their name.
From the above paragraph we see that only asking the person to repeat his name may cause us to memorize his face and name, but if we want a true mnemonic method to remember them, then we have to combine the methods learned from article one and two.
The first thing to do is to remember the name, which we can accomplish through using the substitute word system. This system will force us to do two things: first to listen to the person saying his name, and second it will force our brains to memorize the name.
The second step would be to remember the face we encountered. To do this, we seek the most significant feature the face has (in our eyes). This mental action will ensure that we pay careful attention to their face; solely this and the first step would usually be enough to memorize a person for a long time.
Everyone chooses something different, I might regard his/her eyes as outstanding, but you (reader) would maybe regard his/her forehead, or eyebrows as a significant feature.
Then comes the third phase: You link his/her name to his/her face, as you guess in a ridiculous way.
For example Mr. Smolenski; immediately (substitute word) Small-lens, and you can imagine his face looking through a small lens.
This skill would be particularly useful if you are working in a job in which you meet a lot of people, and there is a chance they will come back. If you have a store or an office it would undoubtedly be of advantage if you call people who come for the second time by their name!
Prepare a notebook or something alike, and write the names of the people who visit your store/office. At the end of the day, go through the list and recall their faces, if you did the link appropriately you won’t miss one. Recall the names every three days, and then after a week, set them aside.
The process of writing the name enforces the name and the face in your head; going through them in the end of the day does it a second time; after three days you eventually can filter somebody who slipped away; and after a week you will precisely know whom you will remember if they come a second time (if they haven’t until now).
If you are interested more in the method mentioned above you can look it up at:
Sometimes a person might not have any outstanding feature on his face (at least not one which will be outstanding for you), and in those cases you can decide to use only one part of his face each time you encounter such a person; for instance his nose, or eyes… But even when this happens the second phase is accomplished because you looked at his/her face attentively and saw he/she had no distinctive feature (in your eyes).
By trying to use the technique you’ve just learned you will give newly met people your undivided attention, and they will appreciate it! But by scanning them all through you also may freak them out, so let us know in the comments whether you achieved that mission… 🙂
To really understand this topic deeply you might want to read up on Wikipedia: wiki: Absent-mindedness
Here we will give you an overall picture of this phenomena. What it is, how it happens, and what you can do to address the issue. Absent-mindedness is when you aren’t attentive of your surroundings, and you do things without consciously registering them. You’re on autopilot. this leads to forgetfulness, because you haven’t mentally recorded them properly in the first place.
Absent-mindedness isn’t curable medicinally, only through psychological therapy, and this method is something like it. The most important thing to get rid of your forgetfulness is to think the moment you do the action of for example letting your glasses on your table. You have to snap out of your autopilot!This is easier said than done though (that’s why you have to practice a lot).
The moment you leave your glasses on the living-room table you have to associate it with the table, so that when you search your glasses the table comes to mind and you know where the glasses are. Or if you left them on a book in your library, imagine the book eating your glasses (like the monster book in Harry Potter), and you will remember that they were eaten by the monster book.
Then if you want to be sure that you won’t leave your oven on, associate the last thing you see before going out, the door for example or your footwear, with the oven and you will go check it; same thing goes if you go somewhere and you want to take a notebook with you or a book, you simply mentally associate it with the last thing you see before going outside.
For instance if you want to remember a task you have to do downtown, and you know that before it you will open your wallet and take some coins out, you could take a banknote and crumple it, putting it to your coins. This you will associate then with your task, which otherwise you might have forgotten.
The same principle is useful when somebody says to save your thought for a bit later; or when you go sometimes to a room to take something, but you forget what you wanted – if you had made an association right at the time you thought of doing the action, you would have a much easier time remembering.
First it will be difficult to use the system every time, but you have to enforce it at the beginning so you make it into a habit. This will then make sure you habitualize to observe things, pay more attention to them, and therefore don’t forget them.
Let us know in the comments if any of these techniques have worked for you, or if you try them out! If you need additional guidance we’d be happy to help you further!
As mentioned above, this is only a short introduction to this topic, and the next article will explain in depth how to remember long-digit numbers (as it may be the hardest mnemonic technique to learn).
For this we have to learn a phonetic alphabet which is shown below:
1 = t -> on down stroke
2 = n -> two down strokes
3 = m -> three down strokes
4 = r -> ending sound r
5 = l -> your hand thumbed out forms an L
6 = j, sh, ch. 6 and J -> almost mirror images
7 = k -> with two sevens you can make a capital K
8 = f, v, ph -> handwritten f has same loops as a 8
9 = p or b -> 9 and P mirror images
0 = z, s -> the first sound in the word zero is z
You don’t have to remember the form of the letters, only remember the sound the letters represents. The associations in the right (why 1 is t, or 2 is n) was made to remember easier which number goes with which letter. In the next piece we will expand on this topic…
It is advisable that you read the first part, in order to learn the basic concepts of memory-systems, and then proceed to the second part.
Techniques of Mnemonics #1
As mentioned in part #1 we will start learning how to picture abstractions in our head. Using the “Substitute Word Concept” we will try to learn all US states in alphabetical order. This is because when you hear something intangible, you substitute that word with some other tangible word you remember, or the to be memorized word reminds you of. For example every time I hear the word “wise”, it reminds me of my grandfather, so I associate it with him…
Substituting the words with similarly sounding tangible words could be,
Minnesota – mini soda
Mississippi – Mrs. sip
Maryland – Mary landing
Massachusetts – Mass of people who chew and sit
As you improve your imagination you will improve your capacity to memorize, and as you improve your memory you will improve your imagination.
According to Aristotle, humans can only think because they are able to construct images in their mind (inner eye), and this (image construction) is what is taught by those who invent memory systems.
But nonetheless, only trying to find a substitute word stimulates your memory a great deal, because you are actively thinking about it – this forces you to concentrate and to remember better. With the concept gained above we will now try and remember all 50 states of the USA in alphabetical order.
Always remember that your link should be original, otherwise you won’t be able to memorize the list:
These are the 50 states of the USA; I will start with the first ten:
Alabama like in Albania (I come originally from here, so I will remember it pretty well). In Albania there still is nothing (“hala ska” – is Albanian and means there still isn’t, and it sounds almost as Alaska), but I still go to the Ari zone (which means Bear zone in Albanian), to play with my Arkani (dog pokemon), and after that I ride on a horse (“kali” is horse in Albanian), to attend the Color festival, which will connect or cut the relation with Greg Delawie (the US ambassador to Kosovo), but I will give him a Flower (the word Florida means flower) and invite him to join me on a trip to Georgia (in the caucasian mountains).
I did the links while I was writing the article, because always remember, the first substitute word which comes in your mind will be the best! So, as mentioned, try to create your own links and learn the first 10; go them through your head, once or twice, and start with remembering the other 10, until you reach the end.
What did you come up with? Share it in the comments. Having trouble? Ask us for help!
Complicated words, appointments etc.
After you’ve learned and practiced the link system and the substitute word concept, you may start and try to remember, for example, a list with complicated words…
Chess player Harry Pillsbury was able to memorize 30 words, or phrases, list after having it read to him only once. Here is one of the lists, and It would be a good practice to memorize them for you:
Antiphlogistine, periosteum, takadiastase, plasmon, threlkeld, streptococcus, staphylococcus, micrococcus, plasmodium, Mississippi, freiheit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, athletics, no war, Etchenberg, American, Russian, philosophy, Piet Potgeleter’s Rost, salmagundi, oomisillecootsi, Schlecter’s Neck, Manyinzama, theosophy, catechism, Madjescomalops.
For the word antiphlogistine you might use the substitute word system (I have no idea what it means, so…), like for example, anti-palestine; for words like athletic, freiheit (german for freedom) you can easily use the link system without substituting words.
As for appointments, you may link the event, or the one with whom you have the appointment with a certain item, or hour, or action. You want to go to a friend to play football (soccer), after that you have to go buy some bread, start the link and see yourself kicking bread instead of a ball, and so on. Go through this list before you go, the way to your friend and then finally after you played your game…
The same principle can be applied to a shopping list.
We’ve mentioned speeches and how the old orators held them in the previous part. Now we will examine how that all really worked, and how we can apply it.
Imagine you have a speech and you are preparing it. Remember, a speech is best learned thought for thought and not word for word. First a word for word speech sounds memorized, as if the words you say are not yours. Consisting from a sequence of thoughts, now we will show you how you remember this sequence best.
First you should write down your speech, its ideas, and what you want to talk about in each particular idea. You read it through once, and then choose for each specific thought a key word which represents it best. You take each Key Word and create a link with the other Key Words, deriving from e sequence of thought a sequence of words, only that each word will remind you of each thought. If you have to speak something about Huitzilíhuitl (an Aztec emperor the name means Hummingbird Feather) then you definitively have to use the Substitute Word Concept first; Huitzilihuitl (I used “hujts ili hujt” – hu(j) is a stick in my native language, ili is Slavic for “or”, hujts is like a plural and anglicization of the word, whereas hujt is the plural of hu(j) – “sticks or sticks”), he established the Tlatocan (Plato can – just make P – T when you speak), during his reign he industrialized cotton production (imagine Plato weaving cotton clothes), he waged war on Texcoco (Texas in a Coconut – plato selling his clothes in Texas) and died.
In the next part we will discuss on how to apply our technique on foreign or domestic vocabulary, and how to remember names.
The art of memory dates back to antiquity. In those times speakers, bards and poets used memory systems to avoid forgetting their text. Simonides (500 B.C.) is known as the father of the art of trained memory, although memory techniques can be identified from parchments thousands of years earlier.
In those times, the orators used a technique which might be called “loci” (to remember it easier link it to the word location – this is what it means). How this worked is, every thought of their speech they linked to a place in their house. The introduction was linked with the front door, after that the speaker opened his door, and entered the foyer, and so he was able to remember every part of his speech with astonishing accuracy.
There are three basic learning skills:
- Search for information
- Memorize the information
- Apply the information
We will take care of the second step. Also, we might have noticed that memory is based on associations. For example people are less likely to remember the shape of Russia, or the Netherlands than the shape of Italy (which most people remember due to its similar shoe shape). Mount Fujiyama’s height of 12,365 feet is memorized by people because they associate it with the months and days in a year (a year has 12 months and 365 days). The five great lakes are memorized by the acronym homes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
So, the general rule is that In order to remember any new piece of information it must be associated to something you already know or remember. First, we will concentrate on learning tangible items, and we will also add a four word phrase to our remember rule. The phrase we will add is – In order to remember any new piece of information it must be associated to something you already know or remember In Some Ridiculous Way. Normally we associate subconsciously, and so we even don’t realize that step, but with this way we will train our mind to picture thoughts and concepts into our head, and by that start associating consciously.
Now we will learn to remember the first word list (not a long one, 10 words only):
Picture in your mind an airplane (the first word is the most difficult to remember), there is still no chance to use our method.
But now remember the word tree after airplane. Here you can make your first ridiculous association. You could imagine a tree flying, or as I did, the airplane parked at the top of the tree. And consider always, you have to picture in your mind that damn airplane parked on the tree, otherwise it doesn’t function. If it sounds difficult, remember that you have seen pictures all your life. Try not to think of an elephant; don’t picture that elephant in your mind! What happened? It became impossible not to see an elephant.
Your next word is envelope, you might imagine the tree swimming on the envelope, or you are trying to seal a tree into an envelope. You could take our suggestions to remember this word list, but by taking our version of imagination you will lose some of your Original Awareness.
So, the next word is earring. For example the swimming tree’s envelope(boat) is docked on the port through an earring on its sides.
The next word is bucket, I imagined a bucket holding the rope which held the earring to the port.
The next word is sing, imagine the bucket starting singing a seaman’s song, simultaneously pulling the envelope to the port.
The next word is basketball, imagine the bucket singing and thousands of tiny basketballs coming through his mouth, jumping all over the place.
The next word is salami, imagine the bucket dribbling with salamis.
The next word is star, imagine the bucket throwing the salamis to score 3 points, but the salamis bouncing towards the sky and shining like stars.
The next word is nose, imagine the stars not being celestial bodies but shining noses of some people you may know (or the nose of the bucket).
Now let’s try and remember the list together, as always the first word is the hardest because you didn’t associate it with anything, to remind you it was airplane… what did the airplane do? It landed on a giant tree… which was swimming on an envelope… which was docked through an earring to the port… the rope was held by a sailor bucket… which was singing a seaman’s song… while singing basketballs came out of the buckets mouth… which converted to salamis and the bucket dribbled with them… when he threw for the three points the salami bounced off to the sky shining like a star… but the star was actually the shining nose of the bucket.
Try this also backwards thinking of nose… and continuing.
To train this skill you might come up with your own words, or with help of some online sites like:
You could play with a friend, but make sure he/she writes down (whether on his/her phone or on a paper) the words he/she says to you, because he/she won’t remember them as you will.
What you’ve learned so far is only a tiny part of the link system of memory. If you associate properly one item will lead you to the next, and naturally the memorizing becomes even more effective if you have to use that certain word list, or sequence. A speech is a sequence of thoughts, a formula a sequence of components, any number with more than two digits is a sequence (we still haven’t learned to see numbers, but later on you will learn how to use the link to long-digit numbers).
If you had problems making your pictures ridiculous here are some general tips on how to do that:
- Substitution like for example seeing a flying tree rather than an airplane.
- Out of proportion like for example a gigantic tree, or even a tiny airplane.
- Exaggeration like in thousands or millions of an item, like the basketballs.
- Action try to get things in your mind to do something like the bucket sang and dribbled.
Children have no great problems in creating ridiculous pictures in their minds, but as time passes as adults they have more difficulty in doing this. According to a research done by the department of basic and visual science at the Southern California College of Optometry, when you actually see something an electrical pulse reaches your brain. Also they discovered that there is not much physiological difference between the electrical signals that are activated by the mind’s eye and the ones that are activated by the eye itself (after all seeing is done through your brain, the eye is only the instrument to send the impulse).
I suggest that you make word lists and show off for yourself, and for your friends, the point of this is that you will gain confidence and you will see that the system works!