If you're like me, you probably are really bad at remembering names, numbers and lists. This has always been something I've struggled with, until I learned that this is a skill you can acquire.
I went on a six month journey of learning and practicing the strategies and tactics the world memory champions use to develop super-human memory.
Let me tell you... it works!
In today's bite-sized bit, I'm sharing three methods you can start practicing to develop your own super-human memory for names, lists and numbers.
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Additional Memory Resources:
- [book] - "Quantum Memory Power" by Dominic O'Brien
- [Podcast] - Ed Cooke (memory coach) + Tim Ferriss on Memory
- [book] - "Moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer
- [book] - "The Memory Book" by Henry Lorayan and Jerry Lucas
- [Nova documentary] - Memory Hacks
- [short documentary] - World Memory Championships
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Kon'nichiwa from keyy.io bite sized bits where we are giving bite sized ideas to help inspire and unlock your true potential and I start off the show like that and today for those of you are watching on YouTube you can see these beautiful Japanese garden behind me there is a Koipant in front of me. I am in Mege shrine temple in Tokyo Japan, and I have been inspired to do few of these for you today.
So today we are talking about how to improve your memory if you are, if you are listening like me you may be absolute horrible at remembering numbers, at remembering names and at remembering things of all different sorts and today I am going to give you some tactics and something's that you can practice in order to improve your ability to remember those things. One of my year goals last year in 2015 was to get better at these things so I went on first few months just this reign on witch hunt of learning all the different tactics and habits of things that I can implement to help with memory and put some of those things in place and I could tell you a year later I am still practicing them but they have been greatly beneficial in remembering these things.
We are going to for three different things, the first is how to remember numbers, the second so like strings of digits like phone numbers, addresses those things, lockers, parking spaces whatever that is, names how to remember good tactic for remembering names and lastly ordering of items or lists of items.
The first thing we talked about is numbers so one of the common all these tactics, all these things, all these methods are used I kind of talked about World's some of the best memory champs and the memory champs are the Olympic form memory, where they have to look through a deck of 52 cards and memorize the deck in under 60 seconds and give you back the exact order and all of those types of things, it's where they memorize 1000 digits, thousands and thousands of digits, 3000 digits randomized numbers and they will give you back the exact numbers and all these incredible memory feats you can actually learn pretty quickly and get really good at that's what lot of this come in and if you look into your notes I will give you some of the books that I read written by some of these memory champs and memory coaches that outline is in greater detail.
The first thing I was talking about is numbers and numbers can be tricky but with some practice can be very easy for you to learn. So the trick with number is you basically go from 0 to 100 and so you take a piece of paper and you would write down, it's all about you it might work better and write down 0 to 100 and for each one of the numbers you would associate that number with a in either a letter or a individual so of the letter you can kind of associate to an individual I will explain that just a minute. For instance if you want to the number 1 you could associate with an I you have one down stroke of one, you have downstroke of an I. The number 3 you could associate with an M, M is you know like a sidewise 3 and so you can go through each one of these letters and associate each specific letter to those numbers, you can also do with people so for instance what you want to do is without blinking if someone said tell me someone who reminds you of the number 23 your first got reaction the thing which comes to you without thinking should be X,Y and Z and if you have someone that you can off the cough just respond you really quickly as an individual that reminds you of that number you should write that down.
For instance number 4 for me would be Brett Favre big packers fan, 12 would be Aaron Rodgers, 23 Michael Jordan so on and so forth. So from this you have all these different letters or individuals and we are going to use those letters of individuals to help us with our memorization. So from there you can start combining I like to start in the sets of two, combining in sets of two either the individuals or the numbers themselves. So for instance if you have a number that is 13 and you want to remember 13, we said 1 was I and 3 was an M so IM then I would think of I am like I am pointing to myself, you could also take I and M and associate that with an individual so when you look at 13 the number that we wrote that you may also have an individual at 13 that may be there is some sports player or may be when you were 13 years old you went to the circus and saw a clown whatever that is I don't know that is for you this is all for you, you at then use that clown or that circus whatever that was for there.
The next set of number let's say is 12 and for me on the number 12 is Aaron Rodgers so now for me, we had 1 and 3 which is IM so that's I am and then Aaron Rodgers so I could what I could do is we are visual creatures and you will notice that all of these methods take these analytical number type things and turn them into visuals in our brain because that's what will really allow us to remember things because we are visual creatures it's humans. So now if it's 13 and if it's 12 I am saying I am, Aaron Rodgers and I could visualize myself wearing his jersey doing the disco and double check thing, passing the football, winning the game whatever that is and that will help in grain that four digits in my brain then I could go to the next set of digits and I would string that together. So you could kind of keep going and keep going have all these individuals and you can kind of have these people interacting with each other.
Now this kind of coincides we are going to talk about the journey methods and the journey method is the ability to remember the order of things I will jump back to numbers in just a bit when we talk about how to help remember the order let's move on to the journey method. Now the journey method could be something that you use for remembering a list of groceries, it could be for remembering you know for the ten biggest ocean or bodies of water in the world whatever lists or like sequential thing that you want it to put together.
What you do as you think of a place that is so common to you, you know like the back of your hands so this could be your childhood home, this could be your workplace if you have been working somewhere for long period of time, this could be a local you know restaurant or high school something that like you have a photographic remembrance of that place, could also be a route so may be like you typically walk to from your house to the local diner and it was a 1 mile walk and you pass all of these along the way, you could think of all those things.
What you are going to do is in the journey method you put yourself in the kind of a beginning point of where ever you first remember when you are at that visual moment and that's kind of like step one, you start to build routes of all the different things you see along the way well from my house one of the first thing I probably remember waking up in the morning so I will be in my bed that's kind of like place number one, then I go into place number two and place number two right out of my bed I always went to the bathroom, how to go to the bathroom so I went to the bathroom from the bathroom you know wash my hands, then I brush my teeth that's kind of like point three. So what you need to do is first figure out where are those places and two write down the step by step pieces that you go through in that routine whether it's walking somewhere, whether it's waking up in the morning whatever it is and write down all those different things. Now once you have that list of kind of steps in that code on journey now you can start signing that things that you need to remember.
Now for instance if we want to remember back to the example where I was 13,12 which was 13 is IM and 12 is Aaron Rodgers I am Aaron Rodgers we want to remember ok what's the next thing we could place myself in my bed and I wake up in the morning that's kind of step one and I could pull the bedsits open and look down holy cow I am wearing an Eden Rodgers jersey and I am wearing a football helmet and what the heck is going on and that will trigger that ok that's I am Aaron Rodgers the 13,12 that's the first set of numbers then I get out of bed wearing Eden Rodgers jersey all that stuff I walk into the bathroom, I go in the bathroom as I am going to the bathroom I look at the window and what do I see, I see Michael Jordan slam dunking everyone is screaming and cheering like man Michael Jordan what is he doing, so that would be the next set of number 23 since that's the person I associate with number 23.
Now we got 13, 12, 23 and then you go to the next step and you are brushing your teeth, you look in the mirror and behind you in the mirror is so and so or may be let's say some other I don't know whatever it is so you keep going through this method you have all these steps and very quickly it's very easy for you to remember those different individuals in order and the next thing you know you this all things. It sounds like a lot of work it's when you first start that's why you need to train it and after a few months it's going to start clicking and you will be able to do this and these are the people that can go through a full deck of cards in one minute and remember the face and the number and everything in order and do it in one minute because they just have trained this over and over again it's not necessarily that they have this huge special gift it's a lot of training and practice.
That's the number we went over the numbers, we went over the journey methods that's for order and of course that's over lapse with numbers. Now the last thing may be I will mention on the journey method before I forget is that you want to have multiple journey's so you can't have just then, you don't want to have the same place, you may want multiple one's and you can also kind of coincide the journey that you are using for particular thing. So for instances anything that is groceries or whatever I will use one journey, anything that is numbers I will use a different journey and you can kind of use what route it is kind of help you trigger some of those ideas remembering those ideas as well.
So last thing now is names which is kind of where I originally got into this, I was horrible at names, I would shake hands, I merely forget and so I have been diligently practicing still not good , still a student of this to practicing away but here is the method with names.
We are going to go through names and then I am going to give you one overall pro-tip on, no matter which method you use, how to make sure that you will ingrained the case better than I am going to give you a activity, a homework assignment that helps to teach you how to remember in this case names. So for names what you want to do is, there is two things we have to remember about names. We have to remember who the person is and two what do they do or what's the context that I made them in and those are going to be the two things that will help us remember their particular aims.
The next thing with names that we there is two ways to do it when someone tells you there name you want to associate it immediately with someone who is, someone who you have mate in the past that without blinking you remember who this person is. So this could be childhood best friend, this could a teacher, this could a coach, this could be a girlfriend whatever that is someone who when you say Jessica immediately who is the first person you think of name Jessica that's outside of there without blinking and that's going to be kind of your anchor, to anchor that person's name with this other individual and then you put them in the context of how you mate, so there is two ways to do if you want to remember the last name, you can break down the last name and use that as the kind of the context to set this person in or if you want to remember the context of who the real life person is that you are meeting and what they do you can put them in that context.
I will give you example that's kind of confusing but let me give you example so if I remember Jessica and I am meeting Jessica and I am trying to remember her name and her name is Jessica Farmington ok so Jessica Farmington and immediately Jessica I remember ok I went to school with Jessica, had a crush on her totally remember her that's the first person I think of the top of my head.
I remember I think of that Jessica that comes top of my mind in my memory. Now I think of the last name which is Farmington and the first thing that comes to my mind in Farmington I think that someone on farm plowing and I think of the tin man right because tin, ton, Farming tin, tin man.
I think of now the tin man on a farm plowing the soil and so I associate those things together now I think of the Jessica that I went to school with that I had a crush on next to the tin man both them plowing in the field and I just visualize that in my brain again taking these things like words that are analytical and turning them into visualization that we are going to remember so I think of Jessica from school that I had crush on plowing in a field with a tin man so now I got Jessica Farmington and that's going to be something that's going to allow me to really concretely remember that person.
If you don't have someone that you went to school with or if you don't have someone that immediately comes to mind for that name another thing you can do is who do you think they look like may be their names don't match but they look very similar. So for instance I just met a guy traveling here in Tokyo, he was staying at my hostel name Will he looked exactly like my friend Joe who does just MMA with me and so I just imagined this guy Will and Joe fighting MMA and battling together and that was a and then I had another friend named Will who also does MMA and he was kind of coaching them along so that kind of association of all that look alike plus the names kind of helps me with that as well that's a another way that you can kind of do it.
Now if you want to remember the context of who this person is? How you remembered it, maybe you just know their first name, you really just want to remember their first name you can use the context to place them in the scene. So for instance if I mate Jessica Farmington and she was a VP of sales in marketing and she wanted to grow her revenue what I could do is, I wanted to remember Jessica so I could flash forward or rewind back to Jessica that went to school with, that I had crush in and think of what is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of VP of sales and marketing who wants to make increase the revenue well I picture this Jessica who I went to school with behind the desk with her feet upon the chair smoking a cigar, flipping money using a 100$ bill to light the cigar and you put together this it is a really elaborate scene and I will talk about this in a minute and so now that helps your brain trigger the context on who that person is and it will remind me later down the road that's the of VP sales and marketing who wants to increase the revenue by 200% may be she has got a big 200 dollar bill 2, 100 dollar bill she is lighting the cigar with two 100 dollar bills significe that 200% that she wants to increase the revenue.
I went through that pretty quickly we went through three methods they are in a twint so you could also use the journey method to remember sequences of name if you have bunch of people at a party, at a table and you are trying to remember their names in order of the table or where they are sitting you could do with the name exercise we just talked about and visualize ok if I am in my bed just waking up, I wake out of bed pull the covers over there is Jessica from the school and I was like oh we had a crazy party last night and so that's the first person who is may be at the table there, then I go to the bathroom and I look at the window and I see whoever is the next person is so you can kind of combined those two.
We went over numbers, we went over journey method and we went over the names hopefully we went through this really quickly I am going add some books to the show notes if you want to learn more and the last thing that I want to mention is for any of these methods the best thing you can do is exaggeration and including all your senses we again are visual kind of experiential creatures and the more we can incorporate the extreme, the big, the elaborate that's how we remember few things in your life that you remember the most probably these crazy big events whether good, whether bad, whether whatever that are kind of like imprinted in your memory and we want to do the same thing when we are remembering it.
For instance in the example may be I am Aaron Rodgers so it's 13, 12 that was the number I am trying to remember may be it's like I see Aaron Rodgers on the streets and I run up to him and give him a big hug and all of a sudden next thing I know we are grappling on the ground and I have beaten him up, I steal his jersey and put it on and I am conquered you Aaron Rodgers, I am the new Aaron Rodgers like there is big elaborate scene, thousands of people cheering like it's loud all of those things the more elaborate, the more crazy that's why a lot of times I don't tell people how I remember their names or how I remember those things because in my head there is crazy story that I made up and you know you would be embarrassed to tell people because it's just so weird and crazy, the weirder the crazier the more whatever the better.
That's kind of number one to make it extreme, second thing is involve all your senses. So what you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you taste, what do you feel think about all of those things at each one of the memorise. So for instance may be when we were thinking about Jessica Farmington and I am thinking of Jessica from school and tin man farming and plowing may be I am thinking I am looking down I am plowing with them and I am covered with dirt, it feel all wet because it's raining and it smells like cow minor and I just keep hearing the tin man's clink of his like the all of those things that starts putting more and more anchors into that particular memory which will than help you remember at longer term that's kind of like my second part of senses.
So to wrap this up we are kind of long time here, to wrap this up I am going to give you a homework assignment in this case how to remember names this is a great drill for you to practice.
Get a magazine, rent a magazine just get it from you know new stand whatever, I deal try and get a magazine in an industry or something you are completely not familiar with you know or even in another language if you are traveling try and get it in another language and so what to do is you go through the magazine and it will have people's pictures and under it will have their faces whether it's the editors of the magazine, if it's like a celebrity, if it's like you know random person in that industry just their faces and their names.
Go through this exercise that we talked about and you can not only try and remember that individual person's name but you can also remember that the order they are in so before you even turn the page you should know who the person is and go through the magazine once or twice and go through the exercise that we talked about and then take posted notes and take sticky notes and cover up their names.
Wait a few minutes… and the next time you go through the magazine you have to really go through this kind of like flashcards, you really go through each step and you see their face and you have to try and remember that visualization of what we said to trigger whatever anchor you build to trigger the name that you tried to remember may be in the context that they are in if you read some of the article and try put them in context of who they are.
That's a really good game once a week get a new magazine and go through that with the magazine just once a week, 10 minutes a day even and before you know it in a month or two you will just be killing on names and be doing really well again I am still a student on this, I am still learning so everyday still trying to get better.
Anyone who is struggling with memory, if you have any idea, tips whatever make sure go and put it in the comments if you enjoyed this if you know other people who are struggling with names or numbers or letter down the road someone tells you hey I am trying to get better at names, I am horrible at names feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues and make sure you subscribe either to the podcast we have on itunes or to the YouTube channel for more bite sized bits, more goodness that I can bring you to help unlock your true potential.
My name is Luke Summerfield and I am going to shut up now and go reflect do some journaling in this absolutely beautiful garden and I will talk to you later.