Memory-Techniques-Breakthrough

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Table Of Contents

Introduction

In this guide I’m going to give you simple techniques to remember names, numbers, lists, speeches, business & foreign language vocabulary, facts, figures and more. These techniques work even if you think you have a ‘bad memory’. If you’re frustrated with memory lapses, you need you keep reading every word on this page.

Imagine remembering the names of all your clients as well as their personal information. Or having important sales scripts, foreign language vocabulary, and facts and figures on the tip of your tongue.

Do you think these abilities could help your career? Of course they could.

Yes, you can write things down and refer to notes, but there’s one problem with that: Memories can’t be used when they are on paper! You can’t combine them in real time, and it doesn’t look good reading a sales script or a speech from notes. Companies hire people with experience because they know information which they can use for real-time decisions. They don’t hire people who have to refer to textbooks to do their jobs.

Ultimately, memories determine the quality of our decisions, and therefore the quality of our lives.

I’m passionate about finding better ways to work as an entrepreneur and better ways to learn as a life-long student. Memory techniques are some of the most useful and exciting techniques I’ve ever used. So I wanted to create a short, practical guide for people who want to use them right away. I’ve already done the hard work to research and use this stuff in my own life, so now I want to share it with you so you can use what I’ve learned to start using these techniques as quickly as possible.

I first discovered the power of memory techniques from the book ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’ by the journalist Joshua Foer. He tells the story of the origin of memory techniques more than 2000 years ago, when there were no effective recording devices.

And he tells his story about being a person with an ‘ordinary’ memory who goes on to compete in the World Memory Championships by using these techniques (In the World Memory Championships, the challenges include a competition to remember the order of a complete deck of cards in only a few minutes).

I think it is incredible these techniques have been forgotten among most of the population, considering how powerful they can be. And I can’t believe they don’t teach them in school. It would’ve made my life in college a LOT easier.

It should be essential teaching for using your brain correctly!

I highly recommend ‘Moonwalking With Einstein’. It’s powerful storytelling. Problem is, it lacks practical methods to implement memory techniques in your life. So that’s where this guide comes in.

And if you think you have a ‘bad’ memory, not to worry.

As Jim Kwik says, “There is no such thing as a good or bad memory, just a trained or untrained memory.”

The truth is, as long as you’re a reasonably healthy person, the power of your brain to remember is staggering. Do you ever recall obscure information when something comes up in conversation with an old friend? Do childhood memories stick with you even though they’re decades old?

Good news! Your memory works. Now, what’s the difference between those old memories vs. the new cell phone number you can’t seem to remember?

The difference is in the way you originally encoded them into memory. If you don’t encode a memory the right way, you will have trouble remembering. If you encode a memory the right way, it will be almost impossible to forget.

And what about people who seem to have a ‘photographic’ memory? They are just naturally using memory techniques. They have the same hardware you do, they are just using it differently. And fortunately, memory techniques are 100% learnable.

I’ll explain how memory works and exactly what you can do to improve yours in the following pages. You’ll learn the stages of memory and the mechanism of recall. And I’m going to give you specific strategies to remember Names, Lists, Speeches and Scripts, Facts and Figures, Passwords, Appointments, Anniversaries & Birthdays, Telephone numbers, Long-Digit numbers, and Business and Foreign Language vocabulary. They each require slightly different approaches, and you’ll see why.

I’m not going to go deep into the theory of why memory works the way it does. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to the science of memory. I’m just aiming to give you what you need to know so you can start using these techniques right away to improve your business, academic and personal life.

How To Be Successful With This Guide

Before we start, there’s a few things you should know.

If you want to be successful with this guide, make sure you read all of it. Each section contains pieces of the puzzle and you won’t see the whole picture if you just read parts. This is a condensed guide, so it’s easy to miss something important.

Secondly: in this guide you’ll learn how to use memory techniques in a practical way for everyday life & business, but if you want to take memorizing further eg. to memorize entire books, really long numbers (1000+digits), or to go on Jeopardy, it will take extra effort. To do this, you’ll be using the same techniques I’m about to show you, but you’ll probably benefit from reading a more in-depth memory training guide that covers practice routines.

You might not think you’re capable of remembering 1000 digits of Pi right now, and that’s OK. However, I’m sure you’ll soon come to see that when it comes to memory, where there’s a will, there’s a way. People with once ‘normal’ or even ‘poor’ memories can build their skills to remember 1000+ digits of Pi or the order of 5 decks of cards.

Of course, you have to be interested in taking the time to do that. Personally, I’m not interested in that. I’m more interested in how memory techniques can help me in the real world.

If you feel the same way, then this guide is perfect for you.

Let’s get started!

Memory Myths: Why Most People Think They Have A ‘Bad Memory’

Have you ever been embarrassed because you forgot somebody’s name?

Have you ever forgotten important facts and figures that could have made your argument more persuasive?

Have you ever been sure you were going to ace an exam, but when the test started you drew a blank?

Well, you’re about to learn techniques that will make all that a thing of the past.

Let’s start by debunking common myths that cause people to think they have a ‘bad memory’.

Myth 1:

It starts with what the definition of memory is. In the digital age, a common comparison is made between the brain and a computer. In many ways they’re similar. But in many ways they’re drastically different. One of those ways they’re different is when it comes to memory.

First of all, you can’t point to a part of your brain that IS your memory. You are not a hard drive.

Memory is part of a dynamic process that connects things in your brain in order to form new concepts.

For example, let’s say last night you left some red shoes in your bedroom closet.

You would form a memory of that event.

Forming a memory about “leaving red shoes in the bedroom closet” requires connections to be made to all the aspects of the concept: “red” “shoes” “bedroom” “closet” “last night” and possibly dozens of categories more.

These concepts are stored in a network all over the brain. And each of those concepts also have their own “web” of connections. Eg. “shoe” is connected to “foot”, “clothing”, “laces” etc.

(By the way, in order to learn what a shoe is at all, we need to already have the definitions for “foot”, “clothing”, “laces” “tongue” “heel” etc…)

These webs form the definitions for what we perceive. Memory is not just a storage bank of data for us. It’s a process of connection, and it’s how we learn and develop and create new ideas.

Myth 2:

A person with a ‘photographic memory’ is not really remembering in photographs. The truth is, they’re most likely using a memory technique naturally.

The high-functioning savant Daniel Tammet, for example, sees numbers as emotional objects. He has synesthesia, which is a condition where all the senses are intermingled in a bizarre concert (this same condition is common in many savants, such as Kim Peek, the real-life Rain Man).

When a person with synesthesia hears the chime of a bell, they may ‘see’ the sound as a specific color, or a specific smell. Tammet claims that he has a specific reaction for all numbers up to 10,000. Each number has its own shape, texture, color and feel. He claims the the number 6 feels like an almost ‘sad, small nothingness’, while the number 9 is towering and intimidating.

Therefore, when he sees a long number, his brain automatically sees all these different images automatically. The number is encoded as a strong, complex emotional reaction and this allows him to remember it easily.

Due to the automatic connectivity in his brain, he can speak 10 languages, and he quickly computes numbers in his head.

This is a hint to the secret behind memory.

Remembering a new thing requires a link formed to objects and emotions already in our heads. Most people do this automatically for emotionally-charged important events.

But most people don’t place emotional importance on numbers, facts and foreign vocabulary.

Daniel Tammet does this automatically due to his synesthesia.

So the secret to memorizing facts and numbers is to place emotional importance on things we don’t naturally place importance on.

To do that, you can use Memory Techniques.

And they allow ‘ordinary’ people to achieve a level of memory similar to a savant – but with control over what they want to remember.

Tammet has an incredible memory, yet when he competed in the World Memory Championships against people with ‘ordinary’ memories, he didn’t win… He placed 12th in 1999 and 4th in 2000.

You see, the techniques he’s using automatically are the key to unlocking ANY human mind.

This raises another important point: you are not too young or too old to use these techniques. An elderly person using memory skills can remember better than a 20 year old who does not.

This will make more sense when I show you the mechanism of memory and how memory techniques work.

Myth 3:

Though there’s a lot of talk about ‘improving’ and ‘exercising’ your memory through memory games, memory is not like a muscle. It won’t improve the more you use it.

Your brain simply doesn’t grow like a muscle does. No matter how much you try to exercise it, it won’t actually become ‘stronger’.

When you play mind & memory games, you’re really practicing better awareness, and you’re also finding new techniques to remember things more efficiently on your own.

Memory games are good for you, but if your goal is to have a better memory, using memory games alone is a lot like trying to learn piano with no teacher, no books, and no sheet music. Eventually you’ll get somewhere just playing around, but you’ll never be a concert pianist if you don’t practice with correct, established technique.

The only way to improve your memory quickly is to practice memory techniques. The better you get at using them, the better your memory will get.

And if you have never used them before, you’ll be amazed at how effective they are on the first day you use them.

In fact, on the first day I used them I memorized all 50 countries of Europe in alphabetical order. This took me just under an hour, and I can still recall all of them today.

Not bad for somebody who typically takes 2 months to remember a new cell number.

If I had to learn those 50 countries back in school without memory techniques, the same feat would have taken me weeks of repetition, and the memory would have faded quickly after the test.

Myth 4:

Most people think if you remember too much, you can clutter your mind or push things out of your mind.

But the truth is, it only depends on how organized the information is. Our minds can store a staggering amount of information. But if it’s not stored in a way that’s easy to recall, there’s no way to find it.

One way we organize information is by subject.

Think of learning on the subject of something you already know a lot about vs. something new. You have probably noticed more you know about something, the easier it is to learn more about it. When you learn about something new, it is always stored somewhere in memory. But if you don’t know any related information there’s no way to recall it, so it fades away soon enough.

Organizing memories is very important and I’ll show you techniques to organize almost anything – a 5000 word speech, or even 1000 digits of Pi.

Myth 5:

Another reason people think they have a bad memory is because of a misunderstanding of what causes forgetfulness.

The real reason for forgetfulness is in how we FORM the memories, not how we store them. After all, you can remember significant things that happened to you decades ago.

So your memory storage is probably in tip-top shape. It’s forming the memories properly that most people have trouble with.

Distraction, lack of attention & multitasking are the enemies of memory.

A study by The Trending Machine national poll found that millennials (aged 18 to 34) are more likely to forget the day of the week or where they left their phone than baby boomers.

Lack of attention is to blame. Lifestyle problems common with young people such as lack of sleep, stress, dependence on electronics, and a bad diet also cause lack of attention, and therefore poor memory. Normally, we form memories haphazardly. We don’t consciously choose what’s important to remember. We remember what is repeated, as well as emotionally significant things.

As I mentioned earlier, phone numbers and zip codes don’t seem emotionally significant to our brains, so they don’t stick in memory.

In summary, using memory techniques:

  1. Gives significance to things we want to remember, which tells the brain “Hey, remember this!”
  2. Encodes memories in a way that the brain naturally remembers
  3. Provides organization and cues to recall memories whenever we like

The Three Steps To Remember Anything

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin

So what exactly do you need to do to form memories better?

There are 3 steps to memorizing anything you want.

Step One

First is to learn the Stages of Memory, and the Mechanism of Recall.

The 3 Stages of Memory are:

  1. Sensory Memory
  2. Short Term Memory
  3. Long Term memory

Say you just founded a new software company. When you meet your first client for the first time and hear his name, you’ll store the sound of his name in Sensory Memory. It’s immediate working memory that stores information taken in from the senses temporarily.

When the client says he has a $100,000 budget to develop his new software and he’d potentially like you for the contract, you take notice, and his name moves from sensory to Short Term Memory. If he doesn’t choose you for the contract and that’s the end of your interaction, you might forget his name after a few weeks.

But if he awards you the big contract, you’ll definitely remember his name! The memory of the entire deal will become immediately important to you. His name as well as other small details of the meeting will go into your Long Term Memory, and you might remember it for the rest of your life.

Most things are not this emotionally significant, however. To form long-term memories for things that seem less important to the brain, there are 3 steps.

  1. Pay attention to what you want to remember
  2. Properly encode the information
  3. Practice recall

Sounds simple, yes?

Well, attention and recall are fairly easy. The problem is figuring out how encode the information that your brain doesn’t naturally store.

Though memory always works through the process of connecting new concepts to things already in your mind, different types of information need to be encoded in different ways.

For example, remembering numbers is much different than remember people’s names, which is different than remembering ordered lists. It’s like your memory speaks a different language.

When you try to feed it numbers and names, they usually don’t stick. That’s because they’re not encoded in a way that has strong emotional meaning to your memory.

Here’s a useful way to look at it:

Your memory is most fluent in the language of ’emotionally-charged spatial images’

Do you remember the layout of your childhood house? How about the house of a friend you’ve only toured once?

I bet you can remember an incredible amount of detail, even about spaces you’ve been to for only a short period of time.

One reason for this exceptional development of spatial memory might be that our ancestors needed to remember how to get back to the village, how to navigate terrain surrounding their homes, or how to get back to the field of berries they found the day before.

You can probably also remember a lot about specific objects you’ve seen, touched, and smelt. Maybe an old bag you used to own? Remember the texture, the scent of it, the dimensions and visual details of it?

Now, do you remember all your old zip codes or phone numbers? Probably not so well (unless they had special meaning to you).

Regardless of the reason we’re so good at remembering certain kinds of information, since the language of memory seems to be emotionally-charged spacial images, we are going to piggy-back on this ability to remember new numbers and facts that are hard to remember.

Here’s where the Memory Palace, or the Method of Loci, comes in. You might have heard of this before. The method is thousands of years old, but memory palaces have again been popularized in today’s culture by the show Sherlock and the book Moonwalking With Einstein.

Memory palaces are simply 3D locations in your mind, where you ‘place’ things you want to remember. A memory palace could be any place you know well. It could be your childhood home, or it could be a location, such as the streets of San Francisco, which you can view on Google Street Maps.

You take these places you know and then you place images in them that remind you of the things you want to remember. More about that soon.

Step Two

Second, learn ways to encode the information you want to remember so that it is clear in your mind, and organized.

Just to let you know, it takes some preparation to record certain types of information well. But after you learn the systems, you’ll know how to remember any type of information. In the next section you’ll learn the best methods to remember:

  • Names
  • Ordered Lists
  • Speeches & Scripts
  • Facts and Figures
  • Passwords
  • Appointments, Anniversaries + Birthdays
  • Short Numbers such as telephone numbers
  • Long Numbers
  • Foreign Language and Business Vocabulary

Step Three

Lastly, if you want to remember things over the long term, you’ll have to continuously use them. Many things, such as phone numbers and sales scripts, you’ll be using constantly, so you won’t have to worry about retention.

But for more obscure things that you’ll only use once in a while, you’ll have to review to remember.

I’ll show you a simple spaced repetition system that will keep everything fresh in your mind but waste the minimum amount of time in review.

The Memory Techniques

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”

– Alexander Graham Bell

In this section I’m first going to give you an overview of the most common and effective memory techniques.

Afterward you’ll learn how to eliminate forgetfulness, and how to encode, organize and remember the specific types of information I mentioned before.

We’ll start with the most essential memory skill: Visualization.

Alice In Wonderland Visualization

As I’ve already said, we learn new things by association to things we already know, and those connections give new things meaning.

A simple way to connect two items is with a verbal story.

“I left the apple on top of the coffee cup on my kitchen table.”

This is hard to remember with words alone, however. If you tell this to somebody who has never seen your kitchen before, she probably won’t remember.

Most people tend to remember images better than sentences. (If you know what your coffee cup and kitchen look like, I bet you turn the sentence into a visual image right away, don’t you? This helps you to remember.)

Visualization is so powerful because it allows us to create more ‘connections’ in the mind. It makes something easier to remember.

Picture this scene in your mind as vividly as possible… image all the bright colors, smells and senses as strongly as possible, at every step.

“You’re looking at a coffee cup on the table in front of you, and you’re sitting inside your kitchen. Picture the scene vividly. You look up and notice that a friend of yours is across the room, and he has an extremely unusual apple in his hand. It is massive and bright stop-sign red, almost glowing. It’s about a foot in diameter, with a long stem that reaches the floor. You can smell the apple and coffee strongly. Your friend throws the apple and it lands on top of your cup, balancing perfectly on the rim.”

Bizarre scene, right? There’s a reason it’s like this. I’ll explain soon.

You have many more images in your mind to link to this memory – your kitchen, bright red apple, unusually long stem, an apple sitting in the cup, the strong smell of apple and coffee, the friend throwing the apple onto your cup.

Now that you’ve created all these links, chances are next time you’re in your kitchen with a coffee cup in front of you, if you visualized it clearly enough, you’ll think of this apple and this bizarre story.

Unique, emotional images are an important tool for remembering. Making the images as strange and bright as possible lends to your ability to remember. The stronger the senses you imagine, the more “Hi-Fi” the image, the better.

Sexual imagery also works very well, because our minds regard it as something very ‘important’.

To make images stand out to your mind, make them unusually massive or tiny, use unusually bright colors, make them animated.

Think of the kind of weirdness that makes Alice in Wonderland so enchanting and memorable.

This also makes memory techniques a lot of fun, by the way.

 

The “Hi-Fi” Image Creation Checklist for Creating Vivid Imagery:

  • Include vivid visual images, strong smells & tastes, loud noises, & strange tactile feelings.
  • Strange imagery and sexual imagery are especially memorable. Use things that are not the correct size or color, but still recognizable.
  • The image must directly remind you of what you want to remember, without any other information. Does the image you create logically lead to the thing you want to remember?

The next technique is Elaboration.

Elaboration (Give Meaning To Meaningless Things)

Elaboration gives extra meaning to something above and beyond what it already means to us. This is a lot like what Daniel Tammet does naturally.

To do this, create a meaningful relationship between something you want to remember and something you already know.

For example, take a lottery ticket number 12058025.

To remember this number, you split the number up, and give meaning to each part. Maybe 12/05/80 is your birthday and 25 was your locker number in high school.

I’m sure you can imagine this number will be easy to remember for a long time if you just remember that it’s made up your birthday and locker number.

Of course, you can split the number up in many different ways, and give it many different meanings. It all depends on what has significance to you.

Organize Your Brain

Now that you know the basics about how to create vivid memories, organization is up next. When it comes to remembering, organization is just as important as creating vivid memories. After all, you have to be able to retrieve memories when you want to use them.

There are many ways to organize your memories.

Normally, our memories are organized by ‘cues’ that are naturally attached to a memory. For example, when you hear a song that you used to hear as a teenager, it might bring up feelings and situations from that time in your life.

We use organizational systems to create artificial cues that allow us to control when we remember something.

It’s a lot like a file folder with alphabetical dividers so that you know where to look when you want to find files on ‘Taxes’.

Now, for a regular file folder, organization might not be necessary. You might be able to dig for a while and find what you were looking for. But in this case, organization IS necessary because your brain contains millions, if not billions, of other files.

To do this, it just takes a bit of preparation. It’s like putting dividers in a file folder.

In this section I’m going to give you an overview of how to use these organizational systems:

  • Acrostics
  • Acronyms
  • Stories
  • Method of Loci / Memory Palaces
  • The Number Rhyme System
  • The Number Shape System

Acronyms

I’m sure you’re already familiar with acronyms. They’re useful tools for remembering short lists, quickly. The benefit of using them is that you don’t have to invest much time in them.

They’re simply a word formed from a list of items that can be pronounced. The word can be real or fake.

The order the great Greek philosophers lived:

SPA – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.

Names of the provinces of Canada that border the United States:

BASMOQ (pronounced Baz-Mok) – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

Felony Murder qualifiers in New York:

BRAKES – Burglary, Robbery, Arson, Kidnapping, Escape, Sex Crimes

You can also use the first few letters of a word to remember something:

Countries that border Belgium:

FraGerLuxNe – France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands.

This way, you can create an invented word that rolls off the tongue and is fairly easy to remember.

Ordered lists are one of the hardest things to remember. By using a simple acronym, you’re encoding the list into an easily remembered word.

Acrostics

An acrostic is a sentence or block of text where the first letters of the words are used to spell a message.

Acrostics are a bit like acronyms, but they use a sentence to encode information.

For example:

Remembering Guitar Strings:

Every Beautiful Guitar Deserves Amps Everyday or

Every Boy Gets Dinner At Eight – EADGBE

Lovely Cadbury Dairy Milk – Major Roman Numerals L, C, D, M for 50, 100, 500, 1000.

Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor? – First 8 US Presidents: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren

Stories / Journeys

When the list of information is a bit longer, you might want to create a story around it.

When you create a story properly, one thing vividly links to the next, and it becomes easier to remember. Stories are best for medium sized lists, and they take little or no preparation to create.

The key is in how well you create the story. The more vivid & unusual the imagery, the more memorable.

Once you start using this technique more often, you’ll get better at knowing if the image you created will remind you of the thing you want to remember.

Try this short story.

Imagine this story as vividly as possible. For each sentence, try to feel all the feelings associated with all the imagery, smell all the smells, give the imagery spacial sense (create a ‘place’ in your mind, try to imagine distances between objects) and see everything in vivid color. Make it as real as possible, using all your senses.

“Imagine a cruise ship full of people. Suddenly, a pirate appears on the upper deck and shouts out “ARR!” and he throws a BOWL onto the deck below. The bowl lands on a pile of BRAs in the middle of the ship. Then the floor beneath the bras breaks, and reveals that the lower deck of the ship is completely covered in CHILE. Standing waist-deep in chile, is a young deckhand on a telephone trying to CALL HOME, presumably because he doesn’t want to clean up the mess and wants to quit his job. You can hear his voice ECHO against a DOOR which is built into the side of the ship. At that moment, the door snaps off the ship and hits the water below. It floats to a small ISLAND where it washes up on shore, and there’s a band playing FOLK music. The music abruptly ends when a man wearing a hat made of FRENCH fries walks over to the band and breaks one of the guitars over his knee. He then runs into the forest, and find a tour GUIDE who happens to be actress ANNA Faris. She guides him out to the other side of the island where you can see a happy PARAsailing man. He detaches from his boat, and lands in a gigantic coffee PERcolator. The coffee percolator is on the top of a boat captained by GEORGE Clooney, and he’s sailing SOUTH, about to land on an ISLAND completely covered in SANDWICHES. Sticking out of the sandwiches in the middle of the island is an envelope that is address to you – it says Mr/Mrs (YOUR LAST NAME). Suddenly, an army of URUK HAI (from the Lord of the Rings) run by and pick up the envelope. Then they all jump into a giant swimming pool that is in the shape of a giant VENN DIAGRAM.”

Even stranger than the last one, wasn’t it? So now you’re wondering, is Richard some kind of nut? What was the point of all that?

Well, encoded in the information you just learned, was all 15 countries of South America in alphabetical order:

Countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Bolivia
  3. Brazil
  4. Chile
  5. Colombia
  6. Ecuador
  7. Falkland Islands
  8. French Guiana
  9. Guyana
  10. Paraguay
  11. Peru
  12. South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  13. Suriname
  14. Uruguay
  15. Venezuela

Corresponding images to remind you of the countries:

  1. Arrr! (Pirate)
  2. BOWL
  3. BRAS
  4. CHILE
  5. CALL Home
  6. ECHO DOOR
  7. FOLK Music on an ISLAND.
  8. French Fries on a guy’s head.
  9. A GUIDE named ANA.
  10. PARAsailing Happy Man (Gay man)
  11. PERcolating coffee
  12. George Clooney sailing south toward an island covered in sandwiches
  13. An envelope addressed to Mr/Mrs (Your Last Name)
  14. Uruk Hai (from Lord of the Rings)
  15. Venn Diagram

The great thing about memory techniques is that the more ridiculous, the better, so you don’t have to take time to edit your thoughts.

If you’re not familiar with some of the items on the list (maybe you don’t know George Clooney or maybe you don’t know what an Uruk Hai looks like), you have to replace them with things that you do know.

The images just need to remind you of the info you want to remember.

If you visualized the story vividly enough, all you have to do to remember the countries of South America is walk through the story again.

The problem with stories is that they take a long time to develop. You have to imagine all the space in vivid detail and give every aspect of the story spacial dimensions.

You may need to go over the story a few times before it becomes concrete in your mind. Until you’re really good at creating imagery quickly, it’s hard to know whether or not you’ve linked things together so that you’ll be able to remember.

And if you forget one section of the story, it might be hard to remember the rest of the list.

Though it’s important to know how stories function, I usually only use them in conjunction with the next method – the Memory Palace, or the Method Of Loci, which is much more effective.

Keys to creating stories:

  • Vivid imagery that reminds you of the item you’re trying to remember
  • Link everything together through actions, and relate everything together through space. What direction does one object move to interact with the next object, and how far away is it? Create a complete world in your mind.

The Method of Loci / Memory Palaces

Using memory palaces is much more reliable than using stories.

The first time I used a memory palace, I was amazed at how well it worked. And I was amazed that I had never learned it before.

So here’s how it works.

You take a place that you know. A house with many rooms works well.

Imagine one in your mind right now.

Imagine it in relation to where you are now. Is it north, south, east, west? How far? How would you get there?

Next, establish a route inside the house that you’ll use every time you go through it in your mind.

I usually go clockwise through a house. Try it for yourself. Go in the front door, turn into the first room on the left hand side. Look at each of the walls in a clockwise order – left wall, wall straight ahead, and wall on the right. Then proceed to the next room, and do the same for each wall there.

Establish a route through the whole house.

Next, go back outside the house. We’re going to use this house to remember this 10-item grocery list.

  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Coffee
  • Bread
  • Chicken
  • Beans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Tomatoes

We’re keeping it simple to start with. Later, you’ll see how to use this to remember speeches, scripts, and very long lists.

First, place the celery outside the front door. Imagine it in strange, vivid detail in front of the door. Maybe the celery is as tall as the door? Maybe it is dancing like a person? Maybe it’s doing the waltz with another giant celery stalk? OK, excellent. Now, imagine the strong taste and smell of the celery.

Entertain yourself. These images can be anything you want. You can create the world in your mind however you want. Remember the movie ‘Inception’? You get the idea.

You don’t have to tell anybody what you’re imagining. Have a good time with it. It makes it a lot easier to create images, and also to remember them.

Now, go through the house in the order you established, placing all of the images like this. The route you established through the house provides the organizational structure so that you can remember any list in order.

I’ll wait while you place the rest of the items.

Go ahead.

Now that you’re done, try to go back through the route you established. Do you remember everything you placed?

Chances are, you remember most of the items. But maybe a few things are unclear. It’s OK. You’re new to this, after all. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on fast.

Ask yourself: What’s the difference between the items I remember easily and the ones I have trouble remembering?

Chances are the problem is either:

  1. You didn’t imagine the image vividly enough, or in a memorable way.
  2. The image you imagined doesn’t remind you of the item in the list well enough.

After doing this 2 or 3 times, you’ll start to get the hang of it. You’ll know when an image isn’t clear enough to remember.

Great thing about this, is that it’s very flexible. When you go back through your Memory Palace and you can’t remember something, all you have to do is change the image or change the structure of your memory palace.

Next, you can experiment with different organizational structures. You can try to place 2 items on each wall to store more information. Or maybe you can go to all 3 walls in a room, then also go to the ceiling and then to the floor.

You just need to establish the rules for how you’ll travel through the house in advance, and that’s how the information will be organized.

For every set of information, you’ll need a new memory palace. These are real places in your mind, and two sets of images cannot exist on top of one another.

To get more palaces, you can take the time to create a new ‘virtual’ space just by imagining it, or you can go to Google Maps and use street view to walk through a real location and take note of landmarks (Eg. You can use a park near your house and use the swingsets, ponds etc as landmarks).

Keys to creating & using a memory palace:

  • Make sure you know the place well. If you don’t know it well enough, walk through it in your mind and make it seem more real before using it as a memory palace. You can also create an imaginary place from scratch, but it takes a little longer and you might run into problems if you’re new to this.
  • Place it in the real world somewhere. Even if it’s a fake place. Imagine it’s location in the real world. Put it behind a door you’ve seen, or maybe place it in a secret door underneath a landmark you know of. (Eg in a secret door that opens up underneath the Eiffel Tower)
  • Establish a specific route you’ll take through the memory palace
  • Place items you’d like to remember throughout the palace. Make them vivid and outlandish. Give them life and movement.
  • Walk through the palace and make sure you can see all of the items you placed. If you can’t remember them, change the way you’ve visualized them.

Now, you might be thinking: well, it’s easy to visualize food in my memory palace, but how do I use this to remember numbers, names and speeches that don’t have smells and textures?

Well, it’s nice to see that you’re eager to learn and all, but don’t worry! I’ll reveal all of that as you keep reading.

‘Peg’ System Organization: The Number Rhyme System and the Number Shape System

There are simpler systems that can be used to organize and remember short lists and speeches on the fly without setting up a palace for every list you want to remember.

Here are two useful ones:

The Number Rhyme System

The number rhyme system is a type of ‘peg’ system.

A peg system is a technique for remembering ordered lists that works by pre-memorizing a list of images (‘pegs’) related to the list numbers.

In the number rhyme system, you convert numbers into a set list of words that rhyme with the name of the number.

Here’s a list of common rhyme images you can use:

To use this system, first prepare the associations. Practice visualizing each item of the list in detail.

Go through the numbers 1-10, and imagine each image as it corresponds to the numbers.

0 – imagine Spiderman leaping from building to building in your neighborhood. Can you imagine craning your neck to see him leaping from rooftop to rooftop?

1 – imagine a cowboy firing a gun in a shooting gallery. Can you smell the gunpowder?

Continue this for numbers 2-10.

Now, go through the list from 1 to 10 and make sure you know all the images.

Once you know your images, you can start to use the system to remember shopping lists, to-dos, and even the bullet points of short speeches in order.

Here’s how:

Take your list of items. Let’s use a new shopping list.

  1. Car
  2. Lego set
  3. Coffee Cup
  4. Picture frame
  5. Laptop
  6. Chair
  7. Football
  8. Mattress
  9. Bookcase
  10. Winter Jacket

Wow, looks like it’s going to be a long day at the mall.

To remember this list quickly, start with associating the first item on the list with the first item in your peg system.

We’ll start with 0 and go to 9 for this list.

0 Zero/Hero – Imagine Spiderman throwing a car from the rooftops in your neighborhood.

1 One/Gun – A cowboy in a shootout with a gun make of lego.

2 Two/Shoe – Everybody on the street walking around with coffee cups as shoes

3 Three/Tree – A tree in the middle of an empty field that has hundreds of picture frames hanging off its branches

Etc.

Remember to visualize each of these things in vivid detail.

Now go back through the list from numbers 1 to 10 in order to remember the shopping list.

You can also extend the list by finding rhymes for numbers 11-20 or even 11-30.

The Number Shape System

The Number Shape System is another ‘peg’ system where numbers are assigned images.

But this time, they’re assigned images based on the shape of the number on paper.

The number 4, for example, looks like a little flag or sailboat. So that’s a good image it can be assigned.

Come up with your own images, if you like.

The most effective memory triggers are the ones that are most familiar to YOU, after all.

What does 0 remind you of? Maybe a ball, or an egg. What does it smell like? What color is it? What’s it’s texture?

Here’s a commonly used list for the numbers 1 to 9.

After assigning all the numbers images, you can use the Number Shape System in the same way you used the Number Rhyme System.

Test them both out, and see which works best for you.

How to Remember Numbers

To remember short numbers quickly and easily, there are a bunch of techniques you can use. Since numbers don’t have much emotional significance to us, we must encode them into images.

To do that, there are ready-made systems you can use. The simplest system to use is the Number Rhyme System or the Number Shape System.

You take the number you want to remember, say it’s 2938, and you use all the images you already know from one of the systems.

Let’s use the Rhyme System for now.

2 – shoe

9 – wine

3 – tree

8 – bait

Then link all these images together into one image using a logical order such as left to right or top to bottom.

So you could have an image where a shoe is upside down, and a bottle of wine is defying gravity pouring up into the shoe, the bottle is perched precariously on top of a tree, and the tree’s roots are made out of fishing hooks and bait.

Then you would place this image in the physical space where you want to remember it. If 2938 is your gym locker code, you can place it outside your gym, towering over the building.

Then whenever you want to recall the combination, all you have to do is remember your gym, and see the image in your mind. Since the rule you set from the beginning is top to bottom, or left to right, and each image rhymes with it’s corresponding number, you’ll be able to decode the image quickly and easily.

If it’s a longer number, you can use a memory palace to store it. Store one image at each point in the memory palace, and walk through for the order of the numbers.

Of course, using this technique, you can store only 4 numbers at each point in the palace.

That brings us to the next chapter.

Advanced Techniques To Remember Numbers

If you’re trying to remember a really long number, or the order of a deck of cards, there are other techniques that store more information at each point.

But they take a bit more preparation and practice.

Depending on your goals with these memory techniques, the technique I just explained using the Number Rhyming System might be enough to remember all the numbers you need.

But if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious today, I’m going to explain other memory systems used to remember up to 9 numbers at each point.

These are the same systems that memory experts use to remember 1000’s of digits of Pi. They are also used to memorize the order of a deck of cards in just minutes.

Here is a list of popular systems that have been developed:

  • Phonetic Number Systems – turns numbers into consonant sounds, which can then be used to form words. The Major System is a commonly used Phonetic Number System I’ll show you.
  • Person-Action-Object (PAO) Systems – turns numbers into a visualization of a person performing an action onto an object. These objects are then inserted into a story or into a Memory Palace. The Dominic system (developed by Dominic O’Brien) is a variation on PAO systems that doesn’t use objects.
  • The Ben System (developed by Ben Pridmore) – numbers are turned into consonant-vowel-consonant ‘words’ (sOg, lEs etc) and then those words are turned into images. (sOg=soggy bread, lEs=Les Paul)
  • The Mnemonic Association System for Numbers – create imagery for numbers based on what they remind you of. For example, the number 9 might be a Tic Tac Toe Grid, and the number 4 might be a car, which has 4 wheels. Two examples of this type of system you’ve already learned – the Number Shape System and the Number Rhyme System.

For every one of these, you’ll have to take a few evenings to memorize the system. But once you know a system, you’ll know it, and you can use it over and over to remember any numbers you like.

And you can use them in conjunction with Memory Palaces in order to remember numbers that are literally thousands of digits long.

Of course, something like that might not be useful to you in business, but that’s how much power these techniques have in the hands of any ‘normal’ person with a healthy mind and a bit of ambition.

I’ll go through each of these systems briefly. You don’t have to learn all of them – instead, choose one that seems easiest and most useful to you, and stick with it. They are all effective.

The Major System

The Major System was first laid out by the French scholar Aimé Paris in 1825, and it was built on other systems that are possibly thousands of years old.

In it, consonant sounds are assigned to numbers 0-9, according to an easy to remember mnemonic.

This is the most common form of the Major System in use today:

Notice: Every number maps to a set of sounds in the same family. s, x, and z all sounds alike, and t & d sound alike when pronounced.

And the vowel sounds as well as the letters w, h and y are ignored. They are used as filler to form words more easily.

Here’s how it works:

Say you’re trying to memorize the number 105. You’d turn 1, 0, 5 to corresponding consonants:

t, s, l.

Then you’d simply create a word with those sounds. What does t-s-l sound like to you?

Tesla?

Tassle? (double letters count as 1 letter)

You use the vowels as well as the sounds w, h, y to fill in the word and create an image.

Then you have your image to insert into an organization system, which stores the number.

The Number Rhyming System, or the Number Shape System, are great for this.

Take the Rhyming System, for example – you’d take ‘Tassle’ and insert it into the first image on the list – Hero. You’d imagine Spiderman swinging from a giant tassle.

That could form the first 3 digits in a phone number. 105. Then you could take the next 4 digits, say 5163. Letters: l, t, d, m

That could translate to the images:

lat (muscle)

dam

You’d store those at the next 2 pegs in the rhyming system.

2 – Imagine a man pulling down on a lat machine in a gym, and the bar is a gun.

3 – Imagine a shoe plugging a hole in a dam.

To remember the phone number (105-5163), remember items 0-2 on your Rhyming System list, and translate them using the Major system!

Yes, this takes a bit of time to prepare, but the strength lies in the fact that if you do it right, it’s almost impossible to forget the number. You won’t be confused or worried that a number in your memory might be wrong.

It’s nearly bulletproof when done right!

Of course, the most effective storage technique for longer numbers is the Memory Palace.

Creating these words on the fly is possible, but it’s much faster to create a list of set images you can use for numbers 0-9 and 10-99.

Then whenever you see a familiar number, you already know the image you use for it, and you can simply insert it into an organizational system.

Once you know these images, by the way, you can use this system for organization, the same way you’d use the Number Rhyming System or the Number Shape System.

You’d couple images in your grocery list with items on the list, to remember them in order.

Next up is the Person-Action-Object System.

The Person-Action-Object (PAO) System

As you might guess from the name, this system turns numbers into images featuring a person performing some action on an object.

The images can be anything. Some people assign objects that are completely unrelated to the numbers. It doesn’t really matter if the objects are related to the numbers or not, it just matters that you remember the association.

Here’s an example of how it’s used:

Say you have a long credit card number to remember.

351162536211

First, you’d break it up into pieces. Split it up into 6s, then split it into groups of 2:

35-11-62

53-62-11

For the first group of 6: 35-11-62.

35 is the first number, 11 is the second, and 62 is the third.

Always take the Person of the first number:

35 = Wayne Gretzky

Take the Action of the second number:

11 = Singing

And take the Object of the third number

62 = Race Car

Combine them together to form an image…

Wayne Gretzky, singing in a race car.

When you want to decode the number, you know that the person is the first number, the action is the second and the object is the third.

This image can then be inserted into a memory palace or a peg system for quick recall. Each image stores 6 digits, so once it’s prepared, I’m sure you can see how powerful it can be.

It’s best to create your own images, with your own personal preferences, for this system.

Then you just have to remember the associations. I suggest you try to memorize 10-20 images each day, and in a few weeks you’ll have a powerful system for remembering any numbers.

Next up is the Dominic system (developed by Dominic O’Brien). It is related to PAO systems, but does not use an object.

The Dominic System

Dominic O’Brien invented his number recording system to compete in the World Memory Championships. It helped him to win a record eight times, so you can be sure it’s effective.

It relies on visualizing celebrities and actions instead of objects, and O’Brien found that it worked better for him when he tried to remember numbers quickly.

The catch is that it takes a bit more preparation, because you have to link people and actions to numbers beforehand.

For example, the number 32 might be the actress Cate Blanchett tossing an Oscar trophy in the air. There’s no direct link to the number, so you have to take the time to memorize the link beforehand.

But with a bit of research and patience, you’ll end up with a very powerful system to remember any number you like, on the fly.

Here’s how it works:

Start by converting the numbers 0-9 into letters.

Then, you form letter pairs for numbers 00-99.

These will form the initials for famous people!

I encourage you to make the table out yourself in full to get familiar with the letter-to-number associations.

You don’t have to use the initials of a person if you don’t want to. The point is simply that the letters or numbers need to remind you of a person. A number could directly remind you of a person. A jersey number, for example.

For the initials CA, I could use the current Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, or Bob and Doug McKenzie. Use whatever you like, as long as the association is solid in your mind.

After you have the people, create an action for each person.

Each person should have a unique action that reminds you of them, and you should only have one ‘type’ of that person.

Cate Blanchett has the Oscar, so I can’t use Meryl Streep. If I already have Kobe Bryant in the list, I can’t use another basketball player.

Here’s an example of a table I created for myself:

This is just an example of what you can create. The associations need to be clear in YOUR mind, so it’s always better to create your own system, rather than take a system from somebody else.

An excellent website to find famous people by initials: http://peoplebyinitials.com

You can also search Google for “list of celebrities by initial” to create your own list.

Once you have your list memorized, you’re ready to use the system. To use it to remember numbers, you split long numbers up into 4 digits chunks.

0412950309

Splits up to

0412-0309

Then convert each number to it’s corresponding letter:

ODAB-OCON

The rule is that the first two digits of each 4-digit chunk represent a person, and the second two digits represent an action.

So in this case you have:

OD – Rosie O’Donnell

AB – Singing Opera

and the second pair could be

OC – Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin

ON – Sitting on the couch watching TV

Got it?

Next, create a scene from these four images.

Rosie O’Donnell Singing Opera on TV and the Penguin sitting on the couch and watching.

You can store that at one location in a memory palace. It represents 8 numbers, sof you have a memory palace with only 10 locations, you can store up to 80 numbers with this system easily.

Your only limit is your ability to come up with images quickly and to place them in your memory palace vividly.

The challenge is:

1. Instantly knowing the associations between number pairs and people/actions

2. Creating imagery vividly & quickly

But once you know your associations and you become good at forming vivid imagery, it’s easy to remember any really long number or any other information you can label with numbers.

If you want to count cards at a casino, for example (though I do not specifically recommend it), the number 25 can be related to the 10 of diamonds. Then it can be placed into a memory palace to remember that it’s been played.

The Ben System

In the Ben System, which was developed by the memory champion Ben Pridmore, numbers are turned into consonant-vowel-consonant ‘words’ to form images.

It’s very similar to the other systems, so most of the same rules apply, but it uses a different technique to come up with words.

He uses a table to convert the numbers to letters.

Using this table, the number:

046520

Would first be split into 2 sets to 3:

046-520

Then it would be turned into 2 ‘words’:

046 = sog

520 = les

Which can then become images:

sog = soggy bread

les = Les Paul

These are combined into one image in a logical order:

A loaf of soggy bread on top of Les Paul’s head while he plays guitar.

Three images are usually combined at one time and placed into a memory palace, so 9 images are located at each point on the journey.

The Mnemonic Association System for Numbers

This system functions the same way as the previous systems, but instead of assigning based on the text or based on initials, you simply assign images based on what numbers remind you of.

Then, you reinforce the association by reviewing the images and numbers until they are concrete in your head.

I’m sure you’re getting the idea of
how these systems work by now.

So, which system do you choose?

If you’re not going to be trying to remember long numbers or the order of a deck of cards, the Number Rhyming System or the Number Shape System may be enough for you.

If you need to remember more numbers such as dates, product specifications, and codes, it might be worth it to prepare your own Phonetic Number System or Dominic System.

The idea here is that you can try all the of the systems, and see which comes most easily to you.

Now you have all the tools you’ll need to remember ANY type of information.

Which leads us to the next section, where I’ll show you the best way to use these tools to remember specific types of information.

 

How To Remember Anything You Want

In this section, I’m going to reveal the best ways to use the techniques you’ve just learned to remember specific types of information, such as speeches, names & lists.

That way, that you can use the techniques quickly and easily in every day life to make a difference in your career or in your studies!

Let’s start with a very common problem: remembering names!

How to Remember The Name Of Everyone You Meet

Faces are easy to remember, but names can be a problem. I’m sure you’ve said to yourself: “I know that guy from somewhere”… but you can’t remember from where, or what his name is.

Because we seem to be ‘wired’ to remember faces easily, the best method to remember names is to attach names to the face. The face can remind you of the name.

The first step is to create an image that reminds you of the name.

Some names are easy. Like Mason, Woods, Ford, Pierce, Knight.

These names immediately lend themselves to a great image.

Others don’t really sound like anything.

For these, you have to use a substitute word for the name. Using a sound-alike image works best in most cases.

For example:

Herrera – ‘hair’ ‘air’ – image of hair blowing in front of a floor fan.

Lawrence – ‘law’ ‘rinse’ – image of the scales of Law being rinsed in a sink.

Remember – no matter how complicated that name, there’s always a way to create an image from it.

Arzamatsev (Russian) – ‘Arr’ ‘Z’ ‘Mat’ ‘Sieve’ – image is a pirate yelling Arr!, holding a Z-shaped mat in a large sieve.

Benyamina (Arabic) – ‘Ben Affleck’ ‘a Female yam potato’ – image is Ben Affleck with his arm around 6-foot tall yam dressed in a too-too.

Autenberg (German) – ‘Autumn berg’ – image of an iceberg covered in dead leaves + maybe pumpkins.

Remember, these images don’t have to make sense. They only have to work when you need them.

After a while, you’ll start to have standard images you use for certain sounds. The ‘Arr!’ pirate is useful to put an image to ‘arr’ sounds.

You’ll also have standard images you can use for common names. It’s okay to use the same image for more than one person.

You can also use an image that personally reminds you of something else, but this depends on you.

Here are a few examples that I would personally use:

Jarvis – image of a friend of mine I know very well, also with the name Jarvis

Rawlings – image of a baseball glove make by the Rawlings company

Cummins – image of a Diesel engine

Remember to use the image creation checklist (found here) to create all your images.

Here’s pre-made list of images I’ve made to remember some of the world’s most common last names:

Of course, these are images that work for me. Many of them might not remind you of the surname right away. You can either get to know the images in this table, or better yet, you could create your own images for each name you encounter.

Anyway, let’s say you have an image created using the name of a person you just met. Great!

Next step is to link it to their face.

Select one feature of that person’s face that stands out to you. Could be the eyebrows, the lips, the hairline, the ears. Whatever strikes you as most unique to that person.

Once you have that feature, simply create an interaction between that feature and the image for their name.

For example:

Mr. Benyamina has a massive Chin – place a tiny Ben Affleck and his female yam (‘yamina’) on the chin, and exaggerate the chin as if it were a huge dance floor for them.

Mrs. Autenberg has black, distinct eyebrows – place an iceberg covered in autumn leaves on each of her brows, as if the eyebrows were the water line.

etc.

The next time you meet these people, chances are the thing that stands out about their faces will pop out at you again… and it will TELL you what their name is!

Of course, the same system works for first names as well. To remember first names at the same time as last names, create a separate image for the first name and insert it into the same facial feature at the same time you insert the last name.

Aamir Benyamina – Ben Affleck and the Yam are dancing in front of a mirror.

Dora Autenberg – Dora the Explorer (cartoon character) is running on the icebergs in Mrs. Autenberg’s eyebrows.

You can do the same thing to remember titles. For Dr, place a stethoscope into the image. For Mrs, place a wedding band, for Ms., place no wedding band. For a Colonel, place a popcorn kernel.

All it takes is 5 seconds of imagination, and you won’t forget a name ever again. And after a while, you’ll have a wealth of standards to draw from so you don’t have to invent images on the fly.

By the way, half the battle of remembering names is won by just TRYING to use this system, because it forces you to be more aware of that person. You’re forced to create a special picture for their name, and you’re forced to observe their face closely. You’re forced to USE the information right away, which makes it easier to retain.

Even if you get distracted the first few times you try to use this, you’re bound to remember a lot more about that first meeting.

Keys to remembering names:

  • Pay attention to the person’s name.
  • Create an easy to remember image from the name you want to remember. If the name does not already have an easy to remember image (eg. Arlington or Abdullah vs. Woods, Ford or Carpenter), split the name into syllables and create an image that reminds you of the sounds.
  • Choose an outstanding facial feature of the person whose name you want to remember.
  • Imagine this facial feature interacting with the image you created for the name. The next time you see the person, this facial feature will tell you the person’s name.
  • For first names or titles, add extra images to the scene you create eg. Add a stethoscope for a Dr., and add another image that encodes the person’s first name either above or to the left of the image of the last name (so that you know it comes first)

How to Remember Short Lists

The best method to remember short lists such as shopping lists, to-do lists, fact lists (eg. the countries bordering France), checklists (eg. The steps to creating a memory palace) is to use an  AcronymAcrostic, or Peg System.

If you can create an Acronym or Acrostic that’s easy to remember from the set of data, that’s probably the easiest way to do it.

An acronym to remember all of the Great Lakes:

HOMES – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.

An acrostic to remember the planets of the solar system in order:

Men Very Easily Make a Jug Serve Useful Needs – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

If the list is too long or you can’t create an easy to remember acronym or acrostic, you can use your peg system to commit your list to memory.

I’ve already explained how to do that with the  Number Rhyme System and the Number Shape System, so please refer back to those sections for details.

Remember Short Numbers Quickly

How useful would it be to remember every specification about the product you’re selling, or to never worry about forgetting a PIN, or to be able to memorize telephone numbers without having to take out your phone or a piece of paper?

I bet it could save you a lot of time, and could be very useful for talking to prospects and clients.

If you want to remember telephone numbers, PIN codes, product prices, product identification codes or specifications, and any other short numbers quickly and easily, you can use any of the techniques discussed in the  Remembering Numbers section.

The  Number Rhyming System and the Number Shape System are simplest for short numbers.

Remember Long Numbers

To remember longer numbers, any of the  Major System, the Dominic SystemPAO SystemsMnemonic Association or the Ben System could be used.

They all work on the same principle of turning numbers into images that can be combined.

If you choose to use them, they are the fastest way to remember long numbers on the fly.

You just have to choose one that feels best to you, create your own associations, and take a few days to commit them to memory.

How Create and Remember Strong Passwords For Your Email, Facebook, Paypal and Online Bank Accounts

These days, computers are powerful enough to be able to guess weak passwords by simply trying out thousands of word combinations (this is called a brute-force attack).

Using a single word that can be found in the dictionary just doesn’t cut it any more. On the Internet, weak passwords are hacked regularly, and they are the source of most website vulnerabilities.

According to PasswordStrengthCalculator.com, a normal PC can guess a 6-character password that uses only lower case letters and numbers in 0.000435 seconds.

The key to a strong password is to use a long series of letters, numbers and characters that have too many possible combinations to be guessed by modern computers, even if they’re given millions of guesses.

Very strong passwords have:

  • at least 10 characters
  • numbers
  • upper case letters
  • lower case letters
  • symbols (eg. #, $, !, *)

A sample strong password:

sfaEH@*25fagae!v

According to the password strength calculator, this password would take a normal PC 235,650,869,377 years to calculate!

Even a supercomputer would take 11,782,543 years to crack it.

Incredible difference for only a few more characters, huh?

Problem is, this type of password is really hard to remember.

So what can you do?

The easiest way to create a really strong password is by using  Acrostics, plus your own password rules.

Sentences or song lyrics are much easier to remember than a mix of meaningless characters, after all.

So make up your own poem, or flip through a book to find an easy to use acrostic. Maybe something in this book, or on Wikipedia. Alternatively, use a sentence you already know, like a song lyric.

But find a sentence more than 10 words long that also has numbers and capital letters.

If you create your own sentence, also include the the name of the website or email account the password belongs to, so that the account is linked to the password in your mind.

You can start the sentence with the name of the website or email account, and it won’t reduce the strength of the password.

Here’s an example that I found on Wikipedia:

“Gmail was invitation only in 2004 and was available to the general public in 2007”

Then, using rules for Acrostics, create a password using the first character in each word and number:

Gwioi2awattgpi2

Strong-looking! Well, it’s getting there…

Now we have to add symbols. To do this, simply create a rule you can use for all of your passwords. The rule could be that you’ll add a symbol at the end, or that you’ll add one after each number.

So you could use one of these rules for ‘Gwioi2awattgpi2’:

“I’ll add an exclamation mark after all of my passwords”

Gwioi2awattgpi2!

Alternatively: “I’ll add an asterisk after each number in my passwords”

Gwioi2*awattgpi2*

Now that’s looking bulletproof!

As long as at least 1 special character is there, it will make it MUCH harder for a brute force attack to guess your password.

The next step is simply to memorize the sentence. It shouldn’t be hard to remember after reviewing it over a few days.

You can also write it down somewhere because even if somebody finds it, they still won’t know what it means or how to use it. Only you do!

Keys to creating strong passwords:

  • Find or create a memorable sentence or poem that has numbers and capital letters in it. It should be 10-15 words long.
  • Use or set your own rules for Acrostics to turn the sentence into a strong password
  • Create a rule that allows you to insert special symbols into the password
  • Write down your sentence until you can remember it easily.

Remember Foreign Language and Business Vocabulary

New vocabulary is hard to learn because it’s completely meaningless to you at first.

The words look like a jumble, and you have nothing to associate them with. So it’s hard to make them stick. Relying on rote memorization (repetition), can take a long time for most people and is not guaranteed to work.

For words that are hard to remember, there’s a better way: Treat new words just like numbers, and associate them to an image.

Then, create a cue for the word by placing the image in a city where the language is spoken.

Say that I have a hard time remembering the Spanish word for ‘tower’:

‘Torre’

To make sure I remember it next time I need it, I simply create an image out of it.

‘Torre’ is pronounced “Tor-re”

It reminds me of ‘tore’ and ‘ray’, so I create the image of a ray gun being torn in half.

Then I place this image on top of a tower I’ve seen in Madrid. If you’ve never been to a place where they speak the language, you can simply look it up in Google Maps.

The key is to place it somewhere in ‘context’. It works well to use a city where they speak the language you’re trying to learn to store all the words in that language. So when you’re trying to remember Spanish words, all you have to do is travel to Madrid in your mind, and look around.

To find the word for tower in Spanish, I just have to imagine the location and the image of the tower I know in Madrid. The image I placed on it will tell me the word.

Of course, the same thing applies for new business vocabulary that’s hard to process.

Just create an image that reminds you of the word, then place the image somewhere in context, somewhere you’ll remember to look for it when you need it.

Maybe at a certain office building or even on a certain person.

Keep in mind that after a while, words take on their own meaning, and you won’t need these associations anymore. The association is replaced with a more direct memorization. Like the way you know your native tongue.

But this ‘false’ association is useful because it allows you to start speaking and understanding the new language without getting stuck.

For now, it’s a crutch you can use until the direct association sets in.

Here are more essential techniques used by Polyglots to learn languages faster (a polyglot is somebody who is fluent in multiple languages):

  • Learn pronunciation in the target language first, so that you don’t develop bad pronunciation habits when you learn vocabulary. This will allow you to start speaking with native speakers faster.
  • Next, learn base vocabulary (find a list of the ~500 words that are used most often in the target language and learn them), so you have the basic building blocks of sentences and so that you can start to understand basic books. You can insert these into flashcard programs such as Anki and use spaced repetition {covered in section X}. Language expert Gabriel Wyner recommends that you cut your native language out as quickly as possible by using pictures as clues for the words instead of translations, when possible. This allows you to form direct associations to the words more quickly.
  • Next, learn the grammar structure in the target language. You can also Anki to test yourself for good grammar.
  • When learning, translate from your language into the foreign language, instead of the opposite. Research shows that trying to translate from a foreign language into your native language does not improve your ability to speak the language, while translating from your native language into the foreign language improves your ability to both speak and to understand the foreign language.
  • Read along with a foreign language on audiotape. Play an audiotape and speak along with it simultaneously, even if you don’t understand it. Repeat a section until you can say it perfectly.
  • Avoid learning groups of new words that are related in meaning. This is a common problem with language textbooks. Learning the Spanish words cuchara (spoon), cucillo (knife), and tenedor (fork) at the same time might cause you to confuse them later on. It’s better to learn groups of unrelated vocabulary at any given time, though it can’t be avoided sometimes.

Keys to remembering new vocabulary:

  • For foreign language words or new business jargon that is hard to remember, break down the new word into syllables and create an image that sounds like the word.
  • Associate the image to what it means eg. Create an interaction between the image and the object it represents
  • Place the image in context, in a place where you’ll look when you want to remember the word. Eg. In a city where they speak the target language, or in the office environment where you first heard the word.
  • Study and use the common polyglot techniques if you’re trying to learn a foreign language.

Remember Speeches & Scripts

It’s risky using rote memorization alone when you’re trying to remember a script. It’s hard to tell whether you’re going to forget something once you get in front of people.

You can use the systems you’ve learned in this guide to remember the main points of speeches and scripts reliably. First of all, don’t try to memorize a speech word for word. It almost always makes it sound robotic and stale.

A speech is a sequence of important points, not just a sequence of words… You can exchange words for different ones, and you’ll still be able to make your point.

You might even come up with better ways to make a point while you’re making your speech. If you need to give a speech more than once, your speech could actually improve if you allow some flexibility.

The important thing is that you get all the points you want to make into your speech, in the right order. Otherwise, it won’t make sense.

The first thing you need to do is to break your script down into chunks.

So write out your speech first, and then divide it into the important points you want to get across. Then select a keyword from each point. What’s the most important word or phrase from the point you’re making?

Take each keyword or phrase, and use a substitute image for each.

Next, link all the images together in order.

You can use the  Story/Journey Method or you can use the Memory Palace technique.

The memory palace is the easiest to use because you don’t have to think of relationships between each image.

Their relationship is automatically defined in space by the shape of the palace and the rules you use to travel through the palace.

The  Number Rhyming and Number Shape peg systems can be used to organize scripts that are shorter.

Simply link the images you create for your speech to the images in the systems, and you’ll be able to remember the order of the points easily.

Keys to remembering scripts and speeches:

  • Split your script into separate points
  • Choose a keyword for each point + create an image that will remind you of each keyword
  • Place the keyword image into a memory palace or another peg system

Remember Facts and Figures & Long Lists

The best way to remember facts and figures is by using the  Memory Palace technique along with techniques to encode numbers and words.

Each palace can have a certain theme.

For example, the main points from an American History textbook can be stored in a memory palace, ordered by date.

Keys to remembering facts and figures with memory palaces:

  • Prepare a large memory palace with hundreds of points as outlined in the chapter on Memory Palaces, and devote the palace to a certain subject.
  • Either gather point-form material all at once to put in the palace, or continually add to the palace as you learn more material on the subject.
  • Choose a keyword or number that will remind you of each point form note.
  • Create well-defined images for each keyword or number using techniques defined in the Remember Speeches and Scripts section and the Remember Numbers section.
  • Place images in the palace.
  • Review your journey through the palace and make sure all the images are clear.

You now have a concrete memory of the subject you can refer to at any time!

Remember Weekly Appointments, Birthdays & Dates

The ability to remember important dates and appointments is obviously useful in business and social life.

Yet it can be a challenge, especially on busy days when we’ve got a lot to think about.

So how do you make sure that you remember important appointments and dates?

You create a cue to bring a memory up at the right time, and you link it to a vivid image of what the memory is.

It’s a lot like using the Number Rhyme peg system, but with dates and times!

If you want a calendar in your head, it’s possible, but it does take a bit of preparation.

For each day of the week and time, simply create an image that forms a peg.

First, turn the days of the weeks into numbers:

Then, each time of the day represents a number.

You can use a 12-hour clock or a 24 hour clock. For now, let’s go with the 24 hour clock.

Start with the number of the hour. Then, combine the numbers from the day of the week with the the hour number.

Monday at 2:00 becomes ’12’

Tuesday at 18:00 becomes ‘118’

Then take these numbers and form a unique image for them by using the  Major System.

Monday at 2:00, ’12’, could be ‘ton’,

Tuesday at 18:00, 118, becomes ‘two dove’

Each day of the week and hour now has corresponding images.

For hourly intervals of 15, 30, and 45 minutes, memory expert Jerry Lucas recommends using standard images. He uses a ‘quarter’ for a quarter past the hour, half a grapefruit for 30 minutes past, and a pie with one large slice gone (3/4 of a pie) for 45 minutes past the hour.

You simply combine these standard images with the first images.

For Monday at 2:15, for example, you’d have a picture of a ton of quarters.

To remember what you need to do everyday, create an image associating the appointment to the peg for the day and time.

If you need to go to the dentist Monday at 2:15, create an association between a ‘ton of quarters’ and a dentist’s drill. Maybe picture a one-ton truck that is in the shape of a dentist drill with wheels and a bucket full of quarters.

To recall what you need to do for the day, just review the list of pegs in the morning.

You only need to give it a try to see that

you’ll be able to remember all of the

images and appointments for the day!

After a while, you’ll come to know all of your pegs for the day, and you won’t need to use your list at all.

You can also use a 12 hour clock, and use a rule for distinguishing between AM and PM. Say, all the images for AM are white, or in sunlight, while all the images for PM are black, or in shadow.

Using a 12 hour clock comes with the added benefit that you only need to use half as many pegs.

To remember birthdays and important dates during the year, you can use the exact same peg system technique…

Except you use dates instead of days + times.

So for any date of the year, you can establish an image to represent it, based on the date.

September 10 can be turned into the number:

910

December 20 can be turned into the number:

1220

January 15 can be turned into:

115.

Then you simply use the Major System {Chapter X} to turn the numbers into an image.

910 = pads

1220 = ton nose

115 = tutor

(Of course, you can use any image->number system you like. And as I said, the best solution would be to memorize a list of pre-made images so that you don’t have to take the time to make a new image every time. After a while using one system, you’ll get to know certain numbers can be turned into certain images eg. 20 can always be represented by a nose, 12 can always be represented by a ‘ton’)

As you might have noticed, the number 115 can represent January 15th (1/15) or November 5th (11/5) unless we establish a rule for single digit dates.

The best way to deal with this is to put a zero in front of single digit days. So November 5th becomes:

11/05 = 1105 = tot sole

After you have the image for the date you want to remember, simply put the person you want to associate with the date into the image.

If your friend’s birthday is on September 10, imagine her doing gymnastics on top of a stack of gym pads. Put a birthday cake into the image, bouncing up and down on the pads, in order to remember that it’s a birthday.

If the date is an anniversary or some other significant date, put something else into the picture that will remind you what it is.

In order to remember somebody’s birthday, all you’ll have to do is think of the person, and you’ll be reminded of the image. And after you know the image, you can decode the image to remember the date!

Keys to remembering appointments and dates:

  • To remember weekly appointments, use a number->image system to create numbered ‘pegs’ for days of the week + hours. Combine these with images related to your appointments to associate a day and time with an appointment. To remember your appointments, simply review a list of your peg items for the day every morning.
  • To remember birthdays and anniversaries, create a peg image for each month + day of the year that you want to remember. Associate that image with the person you want to remember on that day. When you see that person, it will trigger the memory of the image encoding the person’s birthday.

3 Strategies To Eliminate Forgetfulness & Absentmindedness

Forgetfulness can be a big problem in business and personal life. It can be time-sucking and frustrating when you forget your keys, leave your phone in the coffee shop, or leave the garage door open… But it can also cause you to lose clients or hurt your reputation as a professional.

It might make you look stupid, but it actually has nothing to do with intelligence. Absent-minded people are often very intelligent.

The problem is that we usually go through life without taking notice of what we’re doing, moment-to-moment. Many things we do during the day are simple enough, and we’ve done them enough times to do them on autopilot. We can think about other things while we do them.

This causes us to stop being aware of things we do, which leads to forgetfulness.

Say you have your keys in your hand and you’re about to leave your friend’s house. Then he asks you for help lifting and moving his fridge before you leave. So you put your keys down on the table, and help him with the fridge. After moving the fridge, you leave the house without your keys.

Has something like this ever happened to you before?

You were distracted and you weren’t aware when you put your keys down. It’s just something you did automatically so that you could free your hands up.

You might not even remember where you put them unless you retrace your steps.

Memory professionals Henry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas call this a lack of ‘Original Awareness’. Original Awareness is being aware and understanding exactly what is happening in the present moment.

You see, the mind categorizes similar tasks as being exactly the same, when they’re actually not. And when you categorize tasks this way, the brain is flagging them as ‘not important’, which makes you forget them.

When you put your keys down to help with the fridge, your brain forgets the ‘unimportant’ task of putting your keys down in favor of devoting attention to moving the fridge.

So what’s the solution for forgetfulness?

Well, there are three strategies to eliminate it.

Number One

The first one is to systemize the things you often forget.

Attach the things you forget, to things you always remember.

For example, when you get in the door, always leave the keys & wallet on the table at the exit of your house. You always remember to look at the table before leaving the house, so you’ll always remember your wallet and keys.

If you tend to forget where you place your hat, always put it inside your jacket pocket when you take your jacket off. Since you always remember to put on your jacket before you leave the house, you’ll always remember your hat.

Number Two

The second strategy is to use what I call ‘anchor cues’, or ‘implementation intentions’. These turn things you always do into cues to remember certain things.

When you leave through the front door of your house, you can create a cue in your mind to remember to check your pocket for your keys and wallet.

To create the cue, all you do is vividly imagine yourself leaving through your front door. What do you see and feel every time you leave your house through the front door? Make it real in your mind. Now imagine yourself checking your pockets for your keys and wallet.

Just like visualization of images can be used to attach two imaginary things together, you can also attach an action to something that happens in real life.

You can imagine it like this:

When I see, feel and do X, I will do Y.

It just has to be vivid enough to cue your mind when you’re in the situation. It might not stick the first few times you do it, but try it a few times and soon enough it will become second nature.

Number Three

The third strategy is to force your mind to be Originally Aware every time you do something you might forget.

The best way to do this is to turn the situation into something completely ridiculous in your mind. When you place the keys down on the table, for example, imagine the keys so heavy that they break through the table and also break through the floor.

This will ensure that you remember where your keys are. The reason this works is mostly because you took the time to be aware of what you did.

At first, the hardest part is remembering to do it. So to start out, just try it a few times every day. Maybe make a note to ‘Be Originally Aware Today’, on your fridge or somewhere you’ll see it every morning.

All you have to do is try it.

When you start doing it all the time, by the way, it also gets to be a lot of fun. It’s not a pain to use these techniques, or a drain on productivity. It becomes automatic, and your mind turns into a weird world where something exciting is always going on. It can certainly help to cut through the boredom of everyday life.

Keys to eliminating forgetfulness:

  • Systemize the things you normally forget. Attach them to things that you will always remember.
  • Create ‘anchor cues’ for things you normally forget by vividly visualizing the situation in which you want to remember it, and see yourself performing the action you want to take in context on the situation. Eg. Visualize yourself checking that the oven is off when you walk out the front door of your house.
  • Force yourself to be Originally Aware of things you normally forget by picturing a ridiculous situation related to whatever you’re doing. If you have to put your phone down in your bedroom, imagine your phone as human-sized under the covers and getting ready for bed. When you think of your phone, it will be easy to remember it in this context, and you’ll know where it is.

Spaced Review & Continuous Use

These memory techniques can allow you to remember astonishing amounts of information at a time.

And you’ll find that memories formed using these techniques will still stick around for a LONG time. You won’t forget some objects in your memory palaces in your lifetime, in fact.

But many will fade if you don’t use and review them. You don’t use it, you lose it. That’s just the way the brain works.

I find that after about 3 months, if I haven’t thought about a certain memory palace at all, I won’t be able to remember everything in it. Many of the objects will disappear.

But if I take a quick walk through it 1 or 2 times in those 3 months, I’ll retain it very vividly.

So you’ve taken the time to remember a lot of information using these techniques – how much review do you need to do to make sure that you retain the information?

And what’s the least amount of review you’ll need?

Well, since some things are more easily forgotten than others, the time between review is dependent on how well you remember it. The more you remember, the less review you’ll need.

To do this, you can use a system of spaced review.

This is most useful when learning a lot of new information at once, like a new language.

It allows you to save time by NOT reviewing the things you remember easily, so you can spend more time on things that are harder to remember.

I’ll explain a form of the Leitner box system that you can use, as an example. It works like this:

Say you’re trying to learn foreign language vocabulary. You can use a set of boxes full of index cards that each have a foreign word written on them, with the answer on the opposite side (You can also use software instead of physical boxes – I’ll show you my favorite software in a moment).

There is a box for each day of the week.

For every item you review, you grade yourself on a scale for how well you remember it.

Depending on how well you remember it, you put it into a box that you’ll review in the future.

  1. Easy (add 5 days)
  2. OK (add 3 days)
  3. Hard (add 1 day)
  4. Didn’t know the answer at all (back into today’s box)

If you were studying on Monday, for example, and you found a card that you remembered easily, you’d put it into the box 5 days in the future (Saturday). If you thought it was Hard, you’d put it into tomorrow’s box, and if you didn’t recognize the answer at all, you’d put it back into today’s box.

You can finish up for today when all the cards in today’s box have moved into other boxes.

A form of this system can be used for anything you want to remember. You can also use a calendar and simply schedule when you want to review on a certain date.

You can use this for reviewing your memory palaces if you need to remember them for a test, for example.

Instead of physical boxes, you can use flashcard software with spaced repetition built-in.

Stick the information you want to remember into these programs, and they automatically schedule the optimal amount of repetition you’ll need.

I recommend Anki for spaced repetition. It’s free, and you can download it on desktop or mobile. Using your Anki account, you can also sync in between all your devices.

Go to http://ankiweb.net to try it out for yourself.

Put This Guide To Use Today

Remember, this guide is meant for immediate implementation in your life.

Try to think of a few lists/scripts/numbers that would be really helpful to commit to memory.

Maybe your credit card? 

Maybe a sales script progression? 

Maybe a list of passwords?

Use the techniques you just learned to commit these things to memory today. You’ll retain them for a long time, even if you don’t use them right away.

Knowing this stuff by heart could save you a lot of time, it could impress clients, and it could even make you money (if you remember the right stuff).

Also, try to use the techniques to remember names and eliminate forgetfulness. Ask yourself:

Whose name do I keep forgetting? 

Do I constantly forget my phone or keys or other belongings?

I’ve organized the sections so that it’s simple to reference when you need to remember something in particular. If the memory technique slips your mind, simply reference the table of contents to find everything you need.

That’s it for now. Remember, start using these techniques today!

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If you want a more in-depth guide, I highly suggest you download The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne (aff link).

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