How to Memorize Anything
Become a memory master without even leaving your home..
The mind palace technique or “the method of loci” (with the latin word loci meaning locations/places), is a method which 90% of “super memorizers” use in order to save mass amounts of information within their minds. The craziest thing about the mind palace technique is that anyone can pick it up, within an hour or less!
How to Follow the Mind Palace Technique
The mind palace technique essentially utilizes your spatial memory as a way of memorizing ordered information. A very common starting ground is:
- Imagine all the rooms within your home.
- Within each room, identify at least 5 locations or objects. For example, in your living room, you can choose your TV, backyard window, coffee table, rug, a painting, etc.
- Next, order the rooms in a list - as if you were giving someone a tour of the home - starting with the room that is closest to you, when you first enter your home.
- Mentally place the items which you are trying to remember throughout each room in your home. You can also use similar sounding words that represent the item.
- Once all items are placed within locations in your home, you can close your eyes and walk though each room, acknowledging them.
This is the barebones method of the mind palace technique. If you are having a hard time memorizing the items in order, you can try creating a story. A lot of users of this method will make up a story that will stick in their head, to aid with the ordered memorizing. The reason this helps is because the story you make up will have a general sequence- this’ll aid in knowing the order of each item. A key of advice here is to make the story as ridiculous as possible- this way each part of the story will be remarkable and easy to remember.
A Thorough Example of the Mind Palace Technique
Suppose you were picking up the game of poker and were having a hard time memorizing the hand rankings. You could use the Mind Palase technique to aid you in the memorization of the rankings. Take the living room aforementioned as “room 1” and we can make “room 2” the kitchen. Room 2 will consist of the fridge, cupboards, toaster, microwave, and sink. For example:
- The bottom rank in poker is referred to as “High Hand.” The first item in “room 1” is the TV, so we will start the story with- you being on your living room couch, watching TV. The show you’re watching shows people climbing a very high building. Since you’re scared of heights, you decide to turn the show off and go look out your backyard window.
- The second rank in poker is “One Pair.” When you look through the backyard window you see a very happy couple/pair which makes you upset about your recent breakup so you step away from the window, turning towards your coffee table.
- The third rank in poker is “Two Pair.” When you step away from the window, you look on the coffee table and notice a newspaper which shows two couples or “pairs” on a double date of a new restaurant that just opened. You rip it up because it frustrates you and throw it on your rug.
- The next rank of poker is “Three of a Kind.” When you look down at the shreds on the rug, you notice that they formed 3 ordered piles. You’re upset of how weird the last few minutes have been and decide to look at your favourite painting.
- The next rank of poker is “Straight.” Upon looking at the painting for serenity, you get even more ticked off because the painting isn’t straight, it’s slanted. The living room seems to be torturing you so you decide to change things up and go to the kitchen.
- The next rank in poker is “Flush.” When you go to the kitchen, you decide to grab a drink from the fridge, but for some reason there’s no longer a fridge there… there’s now a toilet for some reason. You flush the toilet and it works perfectly.
So on and so forth until all the ranks of poker are memorized. Although the story in this case was overkill, it can drastically help with memorization. If you want to make it easier, you can instead try to remember just the items in the 10 locations, with no context. Usually, a story can help.
Using the Mind Palace Technique for Numbers
I remember one school night where I didn’t have much to do. I had roughly an hour until it was time to sleep, so I decided to learn the first 100 digits of pi. Within 45 minutes, I was able to have the first 100 digits all in my head. Some may see this as more difficult- due to the fact that words stick in their head much better than numbers do. For those people, I ask you not to worry. There are ways around memorizing just numbers… You may either make the numbers into items which resemble the shape of the number. Or, you can associate each number to a letter, then make groups of numbers into words. There are many ways to implement the Mind Palace Technique.
Modifications to the Mind Palace Technique
Just as with any technique, there are a lot of things you can do to personalize and optimize this technique for yourself. With memorizing hundreds of digits for instance, it can help to put many items within one location of a room. Another modification is that you can use a street that you are very familiar with and put items on store signs or on land marks. Things start to get interesting when you start combining locations. You can do your house, then the street from your house to your friend’s house, then your friend’s entire house! If you pair this with putting multiple items in one location, you can easily memorize 200+ things in order!
Anecdotal Advice about the Mind Palace Technique and Closing Notes
Personally, I used this method to get me through memorizing heavy course-work in high school. I remember going into tests with entire units memorized within my head. The way I would do things is by placing anywhere from 20-100 items across each room (depending on how much I needed to memorize) and then going over the list a few times before I went to bed. When I woke up, I could recite the entire list, with perfect accuracy.
I believe this worked well for me due to sleep. When memorizing anything, studies show that sleep significantly helps consolidate information. Find a list online of things to remember, associate each item to parts of a story, get some rest, and you're on your way to incredible memory. This is the list I first began with - give it a shot!
If you enjoyed this Mod, you might also enjoy learning about this tip for learning more about the world. Please share this Mod using the social media icons below. Any comments or questions? Let us know on Twitter!