Note from Julie: The following is a guest post by Anthony Metivier an expert and extremely popular blogger on all things memory. His Magnetic Memory Method is followed by thousands of people to master their memories. Sounds good to me! If you are interested in learning more, sign up here for Anthony’s free Memory Improvement Master Plan. Enjoy.
It’s well-known that people who want to succeed in business need to read.
We read not just to keep updated on the latest marketing trends, but to keep our minds in the game. Reading keeps us in the right energy.
But how do we remember all the wonderful tips and ideas and inspiring quotes that we read? And not only remember the material, but process it in our minds? How do we translate our reading into new knowledge and infuse it into our lives so that it becomes the basis for guiding our activities?
Use a Memory Palace.
And that’s what I’m here to teach you.
You may have heard of Memory Palaces before. Joshua Foer has a TEDTalk about them. Oodles of websites have posts describing how to build them. Even Sherlock Holmes uses them.
And there are good reasons why.
Memory Palaces are one of the finest inventions humanity has created. Pyramids, postage stamps and pizzas pale in comparison.
Because Memory Palaces are imaginary constructs based on real locations. And not just real locations, but places with which you are familiar to the point of knowing them like the back of your hand.
Learn a few simple principles, and these mental models will allow you to memorize just about anything.
And that’s just the beginning. As in any game worth playing, there are even more amazing tools at your disposal awaiting you on the higher levels of play. True, there’s a bit of effort involved in using Memory Palaces, but the payoff is tremendous.
Just imagine what it would be like to…
- Never forget a name again.
- Memorize any quote or joke you desire.
- Study a language and finally have all that new vocabulary stick.
It’s more than possible.
Thousands of people around the world use Memory Palaces every day to perform memory miracles. And the best part is that none of them have anything more or less special about their minds than you and I.
The trick behind making this potent memory technique work is simple. Once you’ve learned the principles, start out by memorizing information that fascinates you. Something that will sit in your mind like money in the bank. You want your efforts to gain interest that you can spend at will without depleting the capital.
What are these principles?
I’m glad you asked. But instead of feeding these principles to you, let’s learn by doing.
Build Your Palace
Go ahead and get out a pen and paper. Draw a rough floor plan of your current home or office and when you’re done, I’ll teach the guidelines to you. They are what you might call the cardinal rules of Memory Palace Construction.
The first thing we have to do is create a journey throughout a building. The one you choose is up to you. It could be your home, your workplace, your school.
Along the way, we need to make various stops for laying out our information. Let’s call these stops “stations.”
Of these stations, there are two kinds:
1. Macro stations. These are entire rooms.
2. Micro stations. These are elements inside of rooms, such as beds,
tables, bookcases, etc.
In the beginning, I suggest that you begin with macro stations. This will give yourself room to create “associative imagery” inside of these rooms. These images will let you recall whatever it is you want to remember. The Memory Palace will enable you to find the images and the information they encode.
As you look at your floor plan, there are two more things to consider as you create your journey of stations:
1. Do not cross your own path.
2. Do not trap yourself.
You want to construct your journey by beginning in a strategic location, such as the back of the building. This lets you move towards an exit. And you want the journey to be linear. Make it free from path-crossing loops. This way you won’t spend a great deal of mental energy thinking about what comes next along the way when you use the Memory Palace.
As you examine your floor plan, number your stations and chart out a top down list somewhere on the list. This step gives your brain a visual, a numbered and a conceptual representation of the Memory Palace at the same time. This process is what makes your Memory Palace “solid” in your mind. Done well, this Memory Palace will serve you for life. The best part is, once you’ve completed the construction stage, you’ll never have to look at this floor plan again. (But for the purposes of nostalgia, you might want to sign your first Memory Palace and frame it.)
Believe it or not, this simple action you’ve just completed is going to change your life for the better forever more.
Try It Out
Next, you need only come up with something you want to memorize.
Inspiring quotes that you can draw upon at will during both the good times and the bad are a great place to start.
Here’s a simple example from “The Paradoxical Commandments” by Kent M. Keith:
“People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.”
For the purposes of this post, I’ve made the example intentionally easy, but also representative of the useful wisdom we often encounter and want to take with us.
So to get started, imagine that you want to remember the key words “illogical,” “unreasonable” and “self-centered.” The quote is otherwise simple, but you struggle with these.
You now have a Memory Palace with either a few or many “stations.” You’ll use two or three of them to memorize this quote.
Let’s say that your stations are in your living room. They are, in linear order, the couch, a chair and the coffee table. On the couch, you would create an image for the word “illogical.” Perhaps you’ll imagine Einstein getting ill. (Illness + a man famous for using logical formulas = illogical).
I’ll leave it up to you to come up with your own images for the rest, but the important thing is to see them in big, bright, exaggerated colors. And add zany action to make the image memorable. So it’s not just that Einstein is sick. He’s coughing and sneezing into a big handkerchief that says “logical” on it in bright letters. Perhaps the sound of the sneeze even sounds like the word “illogical.”
If you want to get advanced, you can think of a way to use Einstein for the next word as well. This means making Einstein a “bridging figure.” You can pick an actor, historical figure or anyone you know and have that person act in interesting ways as they move through your Memory Palace. This will help you recall anything.
There’s much more to learn about using Memory Palaces. But my hope is that you now have more than enough information to build an effective Memory Palace and a good idea of how to use it to memorize important ideas and quotes that you encounter in your important self-development reading.
When you’re ready for more more training, I invite you to explore the free memory resources available on my website, www.magneticmemorymethod.com. I’m also happy to receive your questions and give your memory improvement the personal attention it deserves.