Creating the Bases of a Perfect Memory

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What would you say if I told you that you can memorise as much as 2000 japanese characters in 3 months? Or what about remembering 10000 Pi numbers? And if I told you that you can remember 20 numbers that you have seen just for 1 second?

Joshua Foer demonstrated on the story described on his book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything that any body can perform incredible feats with his memory.

What all those feats have in common is not a super human behind. It is a method. A technique. There is a technique that allows anybody to perform those feats without having to be a genius of the memory. And then practice.

If you learn the method and perform the training you too can do all those feats. Results are 100% guaranteed.

In this post, first I am going to show you the technique that allows anybody memorise anything. Then I will describe you the workout you need to do in order to learn the technique and have it ready for when you need it.

Disclaimer: only reading this post will not make you memorise like a machine. Just reading this will make you understand how it works. But only practice will allow you to remember more, and of course, beat cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s (that’s what we are talking about here!).

The technique

The basic technique consists of making visualisations in your mind that are strange enough to be memorable for your brain.

Imagine for example that you have to memorise the following list of three items:

pencil

car

clouds

The trick to learn that list is to make an image of the first object that you want to remember, and then see the object in an strange image together with the next object of the list. For instance, in order to learn pencil, and remember that after it it goes car, I would imagine the following:

A big large pencil walking along the street very happy. Then a car suddenly appears and crashes against the pencil, breaking it by half. The pencil is very angry and shouts to the car driver

Next I would follow creating an image of the car with the clouds:

There is a car that is running very very very fast, and at some point in time, it activates the back breaks and the car starts spinning so fast that moves up, up, and up until it reaches the clouds. Then the clouds play with the car pushing it from one to another

And so on. If the list contained 10 items, you would precede the same way until you create one image for each item.

This method has two things to take into account:

  1. Strange images stick into the brain. The brain feels curios about such strange images and then remembers them.
  2. By linking two items in the image, you can know for sure the order of the items in the list.

 

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Extending the technique for numbers

You can apply the same visualization technique to learn any sequence of numbers. The problem is that you cannott visualize numbers per se because they are very abstract and do not stick in your memory. The trick is then, to convert any number to an image. Then when you have to visualize you visualize the corresponding image instead of the number. To remember you only have to do the opposite process.

How does this technique work?

  1. First, you must associate an image to any number from 00 to 99. For example, the number 00 will be a sow, the number 01 will be a hat, the number 02 will be a hen, and so on.
  2. You must be able to visualise all those 100 images in your mind. This means that the equivalent word for your number must have a clear image in your mind. Images like despair or hope are bad choices because they are difficult to imagine.
  3. Every time you have to memorise a number, you transform each two cyphers of the number into a corresponding image. For example, if you want to memorize the number 0102, you will transform it into memorizing the sequence sow-hen (because 01 corresponds to sow and 02 corresponds to hen).
  4. Then you visualise the image and link it with the next one (in the same way as we did with the list above). In the previous example you would visualize a very big sow that runs over the field and a very small hen on top of it riding and directing the sow.

The Table

In order to help you I provide you with the table that defines some interesting correspondences between numbers and images. The following table contains the correspondences from 00 to 99.

Before you can memorise like a beast, you must start by learning that table that converts two digit numbers to images. You can download the table here. Print it and learn it by heart. Until you do not know the table, you should not continue with the rest of the training.

Once you know the table by heart, you can move to the workout that will make you memorise anything fast.

The Workouts

Preparation: for the training you will use a freely available program that is used for the International Speed Memory Championship. This program has been developed by Jose M. Bea and is the official program for the championship. It works on Windows and you can download for free from here. Hence, download and install the program before continuing.

Next, subscribe to the Insanity Mind list and obtain the free Workout Book. It is not mandatory for your training but it will help you improve by keeping a record of your progress. And it is completely free.

For this stage of your training, you are going to do four different workouts. Do the Workout 1,2 and 3 along a week each one (from Monday to Saturday). Then do the Workout 4 until you achieve to do it in 50 seconds.

speedmemory

Workout 1

  1. Open the Speed Memory program and select the option Training. Then press OK.
  2. On the screen that will appear, select 6 digits and 50 of seconds.
  3. Activate the Fast Mode option (to maximize your training time).
  4. When you are ready, press the Start button. There will appear 6 numbers on the screen in groups of 2 digits. Your work consists of trying to recognize the words associated to each of the 2 digits (as defined in the table), in the 50 seconds.
  5. If 50 seconds is not enough time for you, increase it. If it is too much decrease it.
  6. Repeat this process eight times and draw a mark for each trial in the workbook.
  7. On each trial, try to reduce the time it requires you remember the associated word. At your eighth trial, write down on the workbook your minimum time achieved. Try to beat your best number the next day.

Workout 2

  1. Open the Speed Memory program and select the option Training. Then press OK.
  2. On the screen that will appear, select 6 digits and 50 of seconds.
  3. Activate the Fast Mode option (to maximize your training time).
  4. When you are ready, press the Start button. There will appear 6 numbers on the screen in groups of 2 digits. Your work consists of trying to visualize the words associated to each of the 2 digits (as defined in the table), in the 50 seconds.
  5. If 50 seconds is not enough time for you, increase it. If it is too much decrease it.
  6. Repeat this process eight times and draw a mark for each trial in the workbook.
  7. On each trial, try to reduce the time it requires you remember the associated word. At your eighth trial, write down on the workbook your minimum time achieved. Try to beat your best number the next day.

Workout 3

  1. Open the Speed Memory program and select the option Training. Then press OK.
  2. On the screen that will appear, select 6 digits and 50 of seconds.
  3. Activate the Fast Mode option (to maximize your training time).
  4. When you are ready, press the Start button. There will appear 6 numbers on the screen in groups of 2 digits. Your work consists of trying to create a link with the three words associated to each of the 2 digits (as defined in the table), in the 50 seconds.
  5. If 50 seconds is not enough time for you, increase it. If it is too much decrease it.
  6. Repeat this process eight times and draw a mark for each trial in the workbook.
  7. On each trial, try to reduce the time it requires you remember the associated word. At your eighth trial, write down on the workbook your minimum time achieved. Try to beat your best number the next day.

Workout 4

  1. Open the Speed Memory program and select the option Training. Then press OK.
  2. On the screen that will appear, select 180 digits and 50 of seconds.
  3. Activate the Fast Mode option (to maximize your training time).
  4. When you are ready, press the Start button. There will appear 180 numbers on the screen in groups of 2 digits. Your training consists of trying to recognize the words associated to each of the 2 digits (as defined in the table), in the 50 seconds.
  5. It is very likely you won’t be able to recognise the words for the 180 numbers in the allocated time. Take note of the maximum number of digits recognised.
  6. Repeat the exercise for 8 times.
  7. Write down on the workbook your maximum number of digits achieved.
  8. Repeat this exercise until you are able to recognise all of them in 50 seconds. Try to beat your best number the next day.

From now on, you should practise those techniques in your life. Use the table to memorise anything in your life related to numbers (credit cards, telephone numbers, car plates…). And if something is not a number, use the list method visualising the item straight.

Train and apply!

photo credit: andrea joseph’s illustrations via photopin cc

photo credit: James Cridland via photopin cc

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