In this article I’m going to give you some hacks that will show you how to memorize anything that you want.
But before we get started in this article, I’m going to show you why you’re not remembering, why your forgetting by using a powerful analogy of a simple file cabinet
Here is the idea, your mind works like a set of files in a cabinet. Imagine you have all these files in a cabinet inside your office and every time you get a piece of information that you want to retrieve later, you open the cabinet drawer and you put it in there.
Makes sense, right?
But what if you didn’t do it that way.
What if every time you didn’t put it into the file folder inside the cabinet and you just put it on the floor?
Then you get the next one and you put it on the floor and the next and the next and every time you get a new piece of data instead of filing it in the cabinet you are putting it on the floor.
Then in two or three years you walk back in here to your office and somebody says I need the Jackson file or I need the Jefferson file.
Normally you just go in there and open it up and find it easily, right? But what if you were throwing the files on the floor? What if you didn’t store them properly and decided not to file them?
What would happen is you would walk into the office and the files will be up to your waist and you would have to get to you hands and knees and sort through all of that information. Two hours later if you’re lucky you would find what you’re looking for.
This is exactly why your brain has troubles remembering.
You get a new piece of information, it goes into your ear and falls to the floor of your memory, you get a new password for your email. It goes in your ear then onto the floor of your memory.
So, let’s say your learning something new, instead of putting it in a filing cabinet of your brain, like you would in your office. But you put it on the floor of your memory
This is what your brain looks like:
That is why you can’t remember.
Three weeks later you’re gonna be at the shops or at the footy and you see that person you met but you can’t remember their name. Why can’t you remember their name?
The above picture is the reason why!
The data is on the floor of your memory.
And if that name was in a file cabinet you can retrieve it!
The hack is that you need to unclutter your brain, what you need to do is build mental file of cabinets in your brain.
You would never clutter the desktop of your computer… right?
You would never clutter the floor of your office with paper, you would always use some sort of filing system.
What is a file in a brain?
A file is a place in a room which you have numbered, it’s called the mind palace
So, what is a Mind Palace?
Firstly, it not just a work of fiction if you are an avid reader of the Sherlock Holmes series and it is an actual thing. It actually dates back to 2500 years ago to 477 BC. It was invented by a man named Simonides in Greece.
A mind palace is essentially a room or a building that you have memorized and you use the locations to store data.
For example, when you go to your friends place and you take off you jacket when you walk in and you set you jacket on a chair. You go throughout the house and spend time with friends and in three or four hours when its time to leave.
You know exactly that you need to go to that chair to get your jacket.
Because the chair held that coat in your brain, that is exactly what a mind palace is.
If your friend had several pieces of furniture. One you could put a hat on, one for your keys. You could in theory go back to each location and pick up the items that you left behind.
The mind palace works in the same way. You memorize the locations in a room and you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.
How to create a Mind Palace
The easiest way to build you very own mind palace is to stand in the doorway of every room of your house. Start from the left and go around your room clockwise and pick 5 pieces of furniture. And number them
Then go to the next room and label them from six to ten, then the next room eleven to fifteen.
In every room in your house choose 5 pieces of furniture going clockwise.
There are a couple of rules to follow while doing this
- Choose big items like furniture. Don’t pick small items
- Make sure they are spread across the room
Good items are:
Choose lots of different items, if you use a chair in one room don’t use a chair in the next.
These locations are going to be places where you’re going to mentally store data in your mind palace.
Once you have these locations in your room numbered.
I want you to say all your files from 1 to 20 or 30. What ever many you have. And then do the same backwards.
You need to do this several times until you know them cold or until you can get somebody to say: “What was number ten?” and you can say it was a computer
A common objection to using this memory method is that people will be overwhelmed with the amount of work this will take.
Do I really need to memorize all these pieces of furniture in my house just to memorize a list of words or something else?
That’s not really true. You already have these locations memorized. I’m not asking you to memorize your house as you already have it memorized, I’m just asking you to number them.
Once you have it numbered its going to be a crazy new skill that you’re going to be able to use for anything that you want.
Now you might be thinking ok that’s all well and good but how am I going to use this to memorize something?
How can I use it?
Lets say someone has given you a list of words to remember and on that list number 8 was a dog.
You already have determined what you 8th file is and maybe that is your computer. If someone tells you to memorize the word dog you would imagine a dog sitting on your computer, the dog is barking at your computer, the dog is destroying your computer.
The more action and emotion you see the better.
Then lets say number 9’s word is water and for you that’s a chair. Visualize the chair in your brain and imagine water soaking the chair.
When you are looking to recollect the data you go back around to your Mind Palace. You get to number eight and you see the computer and the dog is sitting on it and you will know the word is dog.
On the ninth one you see a chair and see a chair with water so you know its water
You always use every file in chronological order and what is mean by this is, if I say number eight is a dog and you think “oh well my number 13 is the mat where my dog sleeps so I’m going to imagine my dog there on number 13.
DO NOT DO THIS
You need to put the dog in the Mind Palace in the order that it falls. If it’s the first word you need to put it in the first piece of furniture. If it’s the third you put it on the third piece. Etc etc
You put it in the order that it falls, not where it makes sense in your house, this is the most important tip for the mind palace
I have used this for all kinds of things:
- Decks of cards
What’s your experience in memorizing things? Have you tried this technique before? Leave a comment below