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The Power of Memory Palace: How a Superb Memory Is Built

The Power of Memory Palace: How a Superb Memory Is Built
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Since we are going to discuss a completely crazy technique, let’s first get our brain in the right frame of mind. What would you say if I posed the following question: Whenever Pavlov rang a bell, did he have an urge to feed a dog?

Now remain in this state of mind as we learn a crazy and amazing technique that works immediately.

Memory Palace — The Power of Remembering Without Memorizing

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    So, what is this crazy thing called Method of Loci, otherwise known as a Memory Palace? It is a method of memory enhancement using visualization and spatial memory. It anchors familiar information so you can quickly recall data. It is credited to the ancient people of Rome and Greece and is used by memory champions across the world.

    This is a technique that should be taught in schools across the globe. The key here is to forget about trying to force facts and information into your head through repetition. Instead, try to link the ideas in interesting ways that allow you to easily recall the data. Essentially, this is a journey through your mind.

    Creating a Memory Palace

    Let’s see how this technique works.

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    • Step 1: Choose a location you are familiar with (i.e. your current home).
    • Step 2: Rehearse this journey in your mind several times. Try to think of your emotion in each room.
    • Step 3: Place a piece of information in each room and anchor it in a corner or on a physical object like a bed.
    • Step 4: Draw your Memory Palace.
    • Step 5: Begin your journey and make things interesting so they pop in your mind (i.e. nude images in weird locations!). The key is for the information to stick. Essentially, go wild and crazy with this technique… you don’t have to tell anyone.

    Method of Loci for Geometry

    Let’s demonstrate how this can work with math. If you are learning Geometry, which is difficult enough as it is, let’s see how this can be done using a Memory Palace in combination with a mnemonic device (First Letter Mnemonic).

      How to Remember the Value of Pi

      The number Pi is a mathematical constant. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Typically, people will approximate it to 3.14 or 3.14159. Yet, Pi has been calculated to the quadrillionth digit… that is 2,000,000,000,000,000! I don’t expect anyone to calculate this, but let’s look at an easy way to remember Pi up to 10 decimal places.

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      To do this we simply count the number of letters in each word. Pi to 10 decimal places (word lengths are digits):

      • May I have a large container of coffee ready for today?
      • May (3) I (1) have (4) a (1) large (5) container (9) of (2) coffee (6) ready (5) for (3) today (5)

      So, we find Pi to 10 decimal places = 3.1415926535

      Mnemonic Device + Method of Loci = Superb Memory

      If you are looking for a superior memory, try combining a mnemonic device with the Method of Loci. Let’s look at a few examples of this.

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      Remember the Days in a Month

        Remember the World Geography

        Look at the first letter of each country and makes up an easy-to-remember sentence with each word’s first letter share the same letter as the county names’.

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          Stop Memorizing, Start Having Fun

          You will be amazed how powerful these techniques are once you start practicing them. They are fun, easy to learn, easy to use, and they work immediately. It is hard to believe how powerful some of these crazy techniques are. So, get weird, have fun, and develop a superb memory!

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          Dr. Jamie Schwandt

          Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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          Last Updated on July 21, 2021

          The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

          The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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          No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

          Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

          Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

          A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

          Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

          In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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          From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

          A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

          For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

          This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

          The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

          That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

          Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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          The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

          Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

          But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

          The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

          The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

          A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

          For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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          But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

          If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

          For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

          These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

          For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

          How to Make a Reminder Works for You

          Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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          Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

          Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

          My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

          Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

          I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

          More on Building Habits

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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          Reference

          [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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