REMEMBER ANYTHING FAST – Memory Techniques You can do
This article is inspired by Mr. Nelson Dellis. Nelson is a four-time memory champion in the US.
Now, what does that mean? What is some memory champion exactly? He has won a championship where they test your memory, four times. One of the hardest things that you’ve had to do to test your memory. There’s a lot of people are thinking, I mean, how hard can memory testing be? Well, it can be pretty hard sometimes. It’s memorizing decks of cards for an hour, or so many digits as you can for an hour. Can you memorize in an hour about two thousand – two thousand individual numbers? I found Nelson through a documentary on Netflix. The documentary is called Memory Games. He’s featured in it and that’s kind of I found out about him. He also has a YouTube channel where he teaches a lot of really cool memory hacks and memory tricks to improve your memory.
We’re gonna write today about how to create a mind Palace. It sounds fictitious. You know what? It’d be like you know your friend’s house and be like “sorry, I gotta go to the mind Palace” and they’re just like it’s nothing weird like that, right? No, not at all. It’s a very pleasant experience so in a nutshell what the mind house, mind Palace, is basically a place that you know, you mentally map in your mind and you walk through it mentally placing mnemonics for the things you’d like to memorize, right?
Okay, and so by mnemonics, you mean like imagery. Imagery associations – something memorable to represent the thing you’re trying to remember, and you leave that in like different rooms and locations in that place. Now usually that place, like for me I chose my home which is the place that I know best, and I also have another mind house which is my office another place that I know really well.
How hard is it to create a mind house? Super easy! I mean, our brains are really good at remembering spatial information. So think of especially the places that you see all day long, where you live, your bedroom, your office, your way to work. Those are memory palaces right there waiting for you to just start using. Awesome! That’s something that you use in absolutely everything you do in terms of memory, right? Like, almost everything especially the things that have a sequence to it, like a list type thing or a deck of cards.
The order memory palace is amazing for keeping those orders preserved. You won’t look super crazy doing it. This isn’t a Benedict Cumberbatch! This isn’t him going through his head or like you know getting all crazy in the Sherlock Holmes series. This is literally a place you can just think about and get to which I thought was really cool. I always thought it was kind of fictitious when I first heard about it. So I’m really happy it was a real thing! Yeah, and I’m really happy that it was actually quite easy. Be sure to learn.
So we’re gonna teach you guys, not only how to create your own memory palace which is awesome, but also we’re gonna teach you how to create information that you can store in that memory palace. So you need the place and you need the things to put in the place and for that, we’re going to teach you a system called the major system.
The major system is basically a phonetic code to help you remember numbers. Let us all learn how to create a memory palace, so if you got a piece of paper and a pencil you want to take some notes, by all means, and after that, we are gonna teach you how to how to create imagery that you’re gonna place in your mind Palace.
Let’s talk about our first memory together. So what you guys have to do is to maybe take a piece of paper or just close your eyes and imagine you walking up to the front door of whichever place is comfortable for you. Now imagine opening doors, right? Scan the room in your imagination and what I want you to do is choose three kinds of locations around the room that you could place an item in your mind. All right?
Now, number them like 1, 2, and 3. Now I’m gonna place some images for you and once you’ve chosen those three locations I want you to try and place the things I’m about to explain on those locations. There’ll be a bit weird and that’s the whole point of this – the weirder, the better, the more memorable they will be.
So I want you to picture the first location, the famous magician Houdini. You’re standing there and you hear a sound, suppose it was “zoom”, a sound right by your ear. So “zoom” and it’s nearby you and it’s a car and inside this car is there is Houdini. So I want you to picture those that images. Those 3 main words need to be remembered, “zoom, near, and car” and just try to make it as weird as possible. For example, add Houdini to the mix; he’s in that car, he’s doing by you really close to you, maybe it’s part of his magic trick, death-defying stunt whatever.
Then the next location is going to be position number two in your memory palace. I want you to picture David Copperfield, the famous magician, I am sure, you all know him. He’s next and imagines he’s sobbing into a tissue alright just he’s so sad whatever may be one of his illusions went horribly wrong or maybe he actually saw someone in half, but he’s sobbing into tissue and maybe he puts a leash around himself and walks himself offstage. Totally bizarre! Those three keywords – there are “sob, tissue, and leash”.
Finally our last location, position number three. I want you to picture David Blaine. He’s your street card, magic guy. I want you to picture that suddenly he soars right up. He soars into the sky. He’s floating. He soars and then he soars even higher and then realizes that he’s playing a board game. He pulls a board game out of thin air and starts playing, you know, moving some pieces around on this game board, alright? So for those 3 main words to remember, it’s “soar, soar again, and game”.
So now you have these images placed. All you have to do is mentally go back to that same pathway through the locations that you chose and the images should be there. Usually, the images need to represent something of meaning. What I told you it might sound like they were pretty random. But actually, they do represent something useful and in this case, they are the birthdays of those three famous magicians.
So now that you have your mind Palace ready, mapped out I would love to say., I’m gonna show how those birth dates that I mentioned actually translate into those words and that the translation process is what’s called the major system. It’s a way to turn these complicated things to memorize, like numbers into things that are easy to memorize, like words – simple words, right? As we set up, “zoom, near, soar, game” – these main words.
Here’s what the list looks like basically for each of the ten digits. Zero through nine represent a consonant sound. So what you can do with these words? Whenever you listen to a consonant in a word, you already know how to translate that back, back to a digit actually. Now every time you look at a digit or a pair of digits or triplets you can then create these words and the way the words are created is you can fill in with any vowel(s) anywhere you please in that word, just as long as it has the consonants to represent the actual digits, it will be okay to translate back.
Let’s take a look at each of the numbers and the consonants that they represent. So zero is going to represent the Z or zuh/suh/chuh sound. Again it’s important to note that it’s the sound, not quite always the letter. So this is a zoo/shoo/choo sound which could be a Z/S/C. The way you can remember that is zero starts with a Z, that’s sound, right?
They’re all very similar now. One is a T or D sound – duh/tuh. The way you can remember that is when you write a one you down stroke once and when you write a T or a D you also start with it one downstroke.
Two is the letter N. 2 is the consonant N, so the enn sound. You can remember that because it has two down strokes when you write it.
3 is an M. It has three downstrokes or if you rotate the three on its side it looks like an M.
Four is the consonant sound R. So the err sound, right? Because four ends with err sound.
5 is the letter L. I like to remember that by holding up my left hand and making an L here and I see my five fingers there.
6 is the J/Sh sound. They’re all very similar as well. It can be any of those and I like to remember that by thinking a six kind of looks like a J, kind of flipped upside down. It has that hook, right? So that helps me remember that just sound.
Then seven is a K or a hard G. You can also use a Q if you’re gonna make it sound like a cuh. All those sounds are wrapped in that seven and to remember that I like to think of a capital K and you flip it on its side, it looks like two sevens back to back, right? To help you remember it’s a seven.
Eight is the sound fuh or vah and you can remember that because a cursive F looks kind of like an eight.
Then finally the last one is nine that’s a P or a B and puh or buh sound. You know if you flip a nine around upside down, flip it around, it looks like P or B.
Now we can look for what the words I made you memorize correspond to in terms of digits. Let’s think back to our mind Palace. The first location we had Houdini, right? What were those three keywords? If you remember we had pictures like “zoom, near, and car”. So “zoom”, remember we’re searching for consonant sounds so the Z is for zero. The M is a three. So we have zero three.
Then we had “near” which was an enn and an R consonant, that’s two and a four. Then finally we had the last word which was “car” which was a cuh and an err sound which is a 7 and a 4. So we have 03-24-74 which is March 24th, 1874 for Houdini’s birthday!
For our second location, we had Copperfield, right? Remember, he was sobbing into a tissue and then he put a leash around himself and walked him offstage! So the main 3 words to remember were “sob, tissue, and leash”. Let’s translate it: sob, the suh sound when it was zero, B was a nine, so that’s September – zero nine. Then we had a tissue. Now, tissue is spelled with two S, of course, I don’t have to tell you that. But I’m going for sounds, consonant sounds. All I hear is a tuh and a Sh sound, right? So those two consonants translate to a 1 and a 6. We have, therefore, September 16.
Finally, the year is gonna be the last one which was a leash. L is a five and then the Sh sound again is a 6, so we have 1956.
The last one is David Blaine. We imagined him on our last location in our mind Palace and he was soaring, soaring, and then playing a game. So let’s translate those words soar is Sh and an err, so that’s 0 and 4. We had another soar, so that’s 0 and 4 again. That’s April 4th.
Finally we had the year which was game. So hard G is 7 and then M was the 3, so 1973. That’s it, all right?
Typically a memory palace should be longer than three locations and that’s the beauty of mind palaces is you can make them as long as you want depending on what you want to store.
What I would recommend is maybe continue going through your house and go through all of the rooms and in each room, maybe choose five spots around that room. So you can imagine by the end of you going through your whole house you’re gonna have a lot of locations where you can store a bunch of facts.
Remember, each time you populate your mind Palace with images, the next time you use it, you may have conflicting images. This comes in handy to come up with separate mind palaces that you can cycle through and you can have them on the ready for whatever you need to memorize. For Nelson, for example, he has actually hundreds of memory palaces that he cycles through to memorize numbers, cards words – all these things.
You don’t need to do that if you are not someone like Nelson but it’s nice to have a few on hand. So one last challenge before I go why don’t you try to memorize this birthday and then in the comments leave what crazy image you came up with within your mind palace, alright? Here are the digits it’s 03- 22-84, so March 22nd, 1984.
Leave your crazy description in the comments below. Come back from your Mind Palace to the real world, it’s time.