Have you ever wanted to memorize all those long numbers that you deal with on a regular basis, such as your credit-card, bank-account or social-security numbers, so that you wouldn’t have to constantly go digging for them? Or easily remember a large list of items that you wanted to go shopping for, without having to write it down? How about going to a party and having the ability to remember every single person’s name, with only meeting them once?
All these things are possible if you know how your mind remembers, and the techniques to activate those memories.
In this series, I will share with you four easy-to-learn memory techniques that will simplify and enhance your life. They are:
- Memory Skill #1: How to Remember Long Numbers
- Memory Skill #2: How to Remember the Names of Everyone You Meet
- Memory Skill #3: Remembering a List of 100 Items through Journeying
- Memory Skill #4: Beyond 100 – How to Remember up to 10,000 Items of Information
Memory Skill #1: How to Remember Long Numbers
The problem with a long series of numbers is that fact that they’re abstract. And our minds have a difficult time of remembering a large set of abstract ideas or items. As I referred to in my article about How to Detect Lies, George Miller, author of “The Magical Number Seven”, wrote about our inabilities to process (in this case, remember) more than 7 bits of information at one time. That’s why phone numbers are 7 digits.
The way then, to remember more than 7 digits, is to make these abstract numbers become concrete ‘pictures’ in your mind. Here is a simple technique that will convert any string of numbers into an easily remembered picture or story:
Step 1: Convert Numbers to Sound Bundles
The first step involves associating the ten base integers (0-9) with ten fundamental consonant sounds that we have in the English language. The numbers and their corresponding sound bundles are as follows:
Kevin Trudeau, in his book Mega Memory, came up with an ingenious way of memorizing these associations.
He used the human body, and the progression from the feet all the way up the body past the head, to help you do this. (some I’ve changed personally to help me better remember)
- Starting at the feet we have the first consonant ‘ta or da’ which is represented by toe.
- Moving up we come to our knee, representing the sound ‘na’.
- Next, we come to the thigh, one of the biggest muscles in our body sounding out the consonant ‘ma’.
- The butt or rear is next representing the ‘ra’ consonant.
- Our fifth consonant, ‘la’ is easy to remember when we think of love handles.
- The ‘sha,cha’ sound relates to our shoulders.
- I like to think of a shirt’s collar for the ‘ka,ga’ bundle.
- Heading up to the face, we find the source for the ‘fa,va’ bundle.
- For the ninth memory help, we get to the top of a man’s bald head representing the ‘pa,ba’ consonants.
- Moving up past the head we hit the ceiling relating to the ‘sa,za’ bundle.
So, how can this help us? What if your checking account number was 121173830119, how would this work? Convert it to the sound bundles of the body part that it represents:
toe, knee, toe, toe, collar, muscle, face, muscle, ceiling, toe, toe, bald-head becomes: ta/da, na, ta/da, ta/da, ka/ga, ma, fa/va, ma, sa/za, ta/da, ta/da, ba/pa.
Step 2: Convert the Sound Bundles to Words
In the second step, we take those sounds and convert them to words of a phrase or story. The more ridiculous the better.
Continuing with the account number example, we take the set of consonants that relate to each number…
d n t t k m f m s d d p
1 2 1 1 7 3 8 3 0 1 1 9
…and convert them into some ridiculous, easy-to-remember phrase such as, “Don’t take my famous dead pie!!”
Another option is to convert the numbers to nouns and put them together into a ridiculous story. The words we could extract from that number are: Donut(121), Tie(1), Gum(73), Foam(83), Soda(01), Toupee(19).
Now that we have the numbers broken up into individual nouns, we can begin to put them together into a ridiculous story. Something like this: “I remember eating a Donut when my tie that I was wearing started eating it too! It took the whole donut from my hand and started chewing on it like bubble-gum, blowing bubbles that were filled with foam. I thought that possibly I could sell the foam as the latest soda pop, but instead decided to wear it as a toupee.
Step 3: Peg the Story or Phrase to what the Numbers Represent
Having created the phrase or the story is only half the process. It will be easily forgotten if you don’t “peg” it to the object that the numbers relate to. In this case, our bank-account number is related to…you guessed it, our bank.
So every time I think of my bank, I picture yelling at the teller lady, “Don’t take my famous dead pie!!”. Or I imagine walking into the bank, donut in hand, acting out the above story.
By pegging the story or phrase with the object that it’s related to, you will always remember it. At this point, from seeing the number, coming up with a story, and pegging it, I can do this in under a minute. With practice, perhaps you will do better.
In the next post, I’ll share with you Memory Skill #2: How to Remember the Names of Everyone You Meet.