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:

  1. Search for information
  2. Memorize the information
  3. 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.

The link

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!