How to Memorize Fast and Easily

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Do you wanna ace that test? Wanna learn a new language? Or perhaps you’re just tired of forgetting names and faces. Hey brainwashed friends, I’m Aaron Tupaz of Positively Brainwashed and I’ve been obsessed with memory techniques for over a decade, and today I’m excited to teach, you how to memorize anything quickly.

I will cover the 3 Principles to remembering, Chunking, then how to memorizing anything related to numbers, vocabularies, names and faces, directions, speeches, a deck of cards, and how to never forget where you parked your car or where or left your wallet

First, we’ll cover Eight Time world memory champion Dominic O’Brien’s 3 Principles to memorizing

A is for association. We tend to naturally link things together, kind of like a mind map. Now some say, we never actually completely forget a memory, we simply just lose the path to access it. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon, we know the answer is somewhere in our brain, but we just can’t access it. Think of accessing memories like dominos. Naturally the path to access memory breaks down over time if you don’t review. So I’m here to teach you, how to create multiple links, and strong associations that are durable, so this way, even if one path or two breaks, you’ll still be able to access the memory.

L is for Location. Our spatial memories are naturally incredible. Think of all the rooms and places you’ve visited in your life and how much you can remember about them. Because one of the greatest secrets to memory is to organize and store things we want to remember, in familiar places. You can even store things in videos games or places you made up. This is called, the method of loci or memory palace.

I recommend you create at least 3 locations for short term storage. These are places you will reuse and cycle through numerous times to store things you don’t need to remember long term, like a quick shopping list, or perhaps you got a girl’s number at a bar and your phone happens to be dead. So for example, you can use your home. First divide your home into at least 10 rooms or sections, and number them from 1-10, in a way that you could logically visit in order in real life or if you were superman and could fly.

Lastly, I is for imagination. People tend to remember funny, weird, violent and sexual things. For me personally, I see a lot of naked people and R rated stuff in my head all the time. But be creative and experiment to find out what works for you. Also get as much of your 5 senses involved to create strong associations and to create various links

And an easy way to remember the 3 Principles is by thinking of Boxing Legend Muhammod Ali

Next what if I asked you to memorize these letters FBICBSIBMIRS Well it would be much easier if you split them into FBI CBS IBM IRS . This is called Chunking. Instead of trying to recall 12 elements, you now have reduced it to 4.

Now using the concept of chunking, we’re going to learn the peg system. For every single digit from 0-9 and double digits from 00-99, we’re going associate with a noun. Now from experience I suggest you use some living character or creature rather than an object. Then on top of that give each noun a unique action or verb. For example, Santa Clause can be your number 25 because Christmas is on the 25th, and his action could be giving a gift. James bond can be 07 cuz he’s 007, and his action is holding a gun, 14 can be cupid because valentines day is on the 14th and his action could be shooting an arrow. Now if you wanted to remember this number (072507142507), you could split them up into chunks of 4 and use a Noun Verb, Noun Verb pattern. So you would see James Bond giving a gift, to his twin whose aiming an arrow, at Santa Clause who stole his gun. Then you would store this story in the first room of 10 that we created earlier. And if there were more numbers to memorize you could store the next 12 in the second room and so on. This technique is what allowed me to memorize the first 3000 digits of Pi, forwards and backwards, once upon a time.

You can use this to memorize anything from credit cards to the periodic table. And if you want to memorize hundreds of birthdays like me, you could create 12 rooms, one for each month. So if you wanted to remember that Donald Trump’s birthday is June 14th, you would picture him in your 6th room somewhere, holding cupid’s arrow.

Now it might take several days or more to complete your peg list and memorize it, but think of it as a one time investment. And if you’re a huge nerd like me, you can even complete the list for all triple digits to 999. You can even categorize them to make your life easier, like all of my characters from 532-600 are from League of legends

Next you can use the method of loci for learning languages. For example, I stored many of my vocabularies for Spanish in my high school. All the feminine words I stored inside, and all the masculine words I stored outside. For example, the spanish word for meat is carne, which happens to be feminine. So I pictured a car with a bird nest on the front hood, in the cafeteria of my high school, with the wheels made of meat. Now for my other languages, I simply use different locations.

Next is how to remember names and faces. For names, the easiest way is to associate that person with someone you already know with the same name. Picture that other person you already know interacting with the new person you just met, and store it in the very location you met them. But as always, make it creative, Like perhaps they’re flying or kissing or whatever. Now if the person’s name is unique, then you’ll have to be creative like when learning vocabularies for languages. As for remembering faces, you need to look at their features, and then exaggerate them and then associate that person with some one else you know with similar features. For example, I once met someone who had pointy ears named Mario. So I pictured him with Spock doing the Vulcan salute to Mario from Nintendo.

And remember, if you meet too many people in the same location and it’s getting crowded, or if there’s something you stored in your short term palaces you want to keep, you can always copy and paste the pictures to a different location.

Now to remember directions, simply use 2 images like a Rabbit representing right, and a Lion representing Left. So if you had to remember the directions, “Turn right at the gas station, left at the stop sign and then another left at Queen’s street,” You can  picture in your first room, a rabbit hopping around a small gas pump station, then a lion jumping over a stop sign at your second, and then a lion about to attack a queen.

These images can also be used as crumb trails or markers, like when you’re exploring a new place and want to make sure you can find your way back.

Now they say public speaking is the number one fear. Well fear no more. The method loci can be used to easily remind you what to say next, almost like cue cards. Like before, simply pick a location you’re familiar with, like a park you’ve walked through many times, and then place as many pictures as necessary, along the way to remind you what to say next.

Now to remember a deck of 52 cards, it’s pretty simple once you’ve completed your 00-99 list. You can simply use your first 40 numbers, with every 10 representing a different suit. Then you just need to associate a character for the remaining 12 face cards. Perhaps your 4 best guy friends as the kings, 4 women who you think are hot as the queens, and 4 guys you hate as the jacks. So if you want to memorize a 52 deck of cards, you simply need 26 rooms, where you place a noun and a verb in each room, or just 13 rooms if you want to place 4 cards in one room

Now when I first started it would take me 8 minutes to remember a deck, but with enough practice I once got it to under 40 seconds.
Also, as a bonus, try reciting it backwards by simply reversing the story. From my experience, this tends to really freak people out.
Last is how to simply remember where you parked and how to never forget where you left your wallet. For parking, simply imagine crashing your car somewhere near you right after you just parked. Take a second to visualize all the details like the glass shattering, and any damage to the environment around you. As for your wallet, treat it like it’s some sort of dangerous weapon like a grenade. So like your car, try imagining your wallet exploding every time you place it somewhere. And you can use this technique for your keys, phones and whatever it is that we sometimes misplace, perhaps pretend each item is a different weapon.
Now as word of precaution. If you don’t review what you stored, it can possibly disappear within a few days to a week. But if you review a memory a few times in a month, you may remember it for several months. And after that, if you review the same memory every few months, that memory may last for years.
And remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can use these techniques to remember poker hands of your opponents, memorize advanced equations, remember dates of historical events, or simply impress your date by remembering everything she tells you. So think outside the box, and tell me in the comments below, how would you use these memory techniques?
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