Memorizing numbers can be a bit of a challenge. This method transforms numbers into vivid, concrete images. And as you should know by now, concrete images are far easier to memorize than abstract symbols. This method serves the same purpose for memorizing ordered sets of information. But instead of the alphabet, you use numbers that are translated via their rhyming counterparts. For example, 1 = bun, 2 = shoe, 3 = sea, and so on. This method works the same as the alphabet peg. As you’ll soon find out this system is limited by the amount of numbers that rhyme with objects. Yet, it is a great method to memorize bits of information.
The number shape can be applicable to higher numbers that we couldn’t reach using the number rhyme method. This method is easy to remember because you can physically picture each number looking like its paired object. Here, numbers are translated based on their appearance or shape. A tall, straight pencil represents 1, the curved neck of a Swan represents 2, the triple prongs of a pitchfork represent 3, and so on.
Now, that we know that numbers can be converted into images, the same can be done for mathematical symbols. This method is similar to the ‘number-shape’ method. A nurse with a red cross on her hat represents the plus symbol. A sleek submarine represents the subtraction symbol. A pocket-watch represents the multiplication or ‘times’ symbol. And, the object being sliced in half represents the fraction or division symbol. Again, you can look up images to other symbols, or make up your own. You are the inventor. Create a story that combine both symbols and numbers together in order to memorize math formulas.
*** You’ve seen that there are a few techniques to memorize numbers. Yet, the phonetic number system is by far the most effective for memorizing huge amounts of information. Instead translating numbers using rhyme or shape, this method transforms numbers based on sound. You can even go to say this is like learning another way to read and write. In this case, numbers are written as consonants while you insert your own vowels. For example, “Tie” or “Doe” represents 1; “TiN” or “DeN” represents 12; “TooNaMi” or “DyNaMo” represents 123. There are many possibilities. Initially, the system may appear difficult to use, but in the long run it is highly effective and there are no limitations to the length of numbers. It is this system that can literally allow you to effortlessly memorize 100 digits of pi almost overnight.
This technique allows even the average Joe to remember the names of over 50 people after just meeting them once. In most cases, we remember someone’s face, but have trouble recalling the name that goes with it. To fix this problem, an association must be made for each name. For example, Karen can be represented by a bright orange “carrot.” The next step is to find a distinctive feature on the person; make sure it’s noticeable. It could be large eyebrows, long ears, or big lips, and link the association to the body part. That’s all there is to it! The next time you run into that person you’ll naturally focus on their facial feature, imagine the object that you linked, and almost magically, remember the name! The trick to this method, like any peg system, is preparing beforehand your own list of name associations. For those exotic and goofy names, you’ll have to make up an association on the spot. Go ahead and try it in the example above.
This system was invented by memory master, Dominic O’Brien, and it calls on our natural ability to remember famous people. Similar to the major system, each number represents a letter: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, 5=E, 6=S, 7=G, 8=H, 9=N, 0=S. But instead, or forming words, each letter stands for the initials of a famous person. So, the number 15 would equal A.E. or “Albert Einstein.” You can take it a step further and give your Person an Action and Object (aka the P-A-O method). With diligent practice, the PAO method can provide vivid images for even 3 digit numbers. And again, the applications to memorizing numbers are endless!
Contrary to how most people study, developing a memory does not have to be a slow practice. In order to use our memory to maximum capacity, we need to be conscious of every bit of information necessary. Have you ever forgotten a stranger’s name right after you shook his or her hand? Have you ever forgotten someone’s directions right when they finished telling you? Have you ever forgotten that one fundamental tip that your professor just went over in lecture? These are common instances of a lack of paying attention. Remember, something cannot be committed to memory if you don’t know what it is to begin with. Pay attention when someone tells you to memorize a phone number, quickly convert the numbers into images, review it a few times in your head, and your done! An awareness of your surrounding will allow you to easily convert ideas into memory.
This method goes by many names, but it has managed to turn the ordinary memory of ordinary people into extraordinary memory machines. It takes advantage of an ability we’ve utilized even since we were toddlers- our special orientation and natural intuition to memorize location. Take your home for example. I’m sure you can recall every single room without even getting up and walking around. Well, not only can you recall the rooms, you can remember the colors of the furniture, the presence or absence of windows, and even the location of closets. If you have a list of things to remember, just attach those images to areas within your home, and presto! It’s now lodged into your memory for quite sometime. Now, when you recall those items, imagine that you are walking around your home visualizing what’s in each room. Don’t keep yourself limited either; you can use your office at work, your local gym, or even a nearby supermarket. And I cannot stress enough: keep the visuals wacky, so that you don’t forget them!
Who says that you can only use the Roman Room method in buildings? The entire world is your playground! The method of loci simply acts as a mental journey that utilizes entire neighborhoods, suburbs, cities, metropolises, you name it! This time, you not only attach information to rooms, but also to landmarks along your journey. This concept can even be extended to absolutely any system of location, from full scale countries to even areas of your own body. And yes, you can even make up your own landscapes. If you’ve ever questioned how people can recall thousands of digits or 15 decks of playing cards all in order, then wonder no more. Those feats are possible using the method of loci.
Practice is by far the most important rule of memory enhancement. You may learn a few methods over night, but if they are not practiced they will easily be lost. Imagine learning these techniques in kindergarten, and gradually perfecting them even throughout college. In ancient Greece, it was common for people to have extraordinary memories, and that’s because they had both the time and lack of technology to distract them every waking moment of their lives. So, take a few minutes of your day to turn off your electronic devices. Make the effort to memorize something out of the blue, whether it be a poem, a string of numbers, or a science article. You’ll find yourself reaching a new level of retention and speed to the point where you are creating even your own personalized systems! And, you can start by remembering this: Great memories are not born, they are learned.