To memorise numbers is easy – if you happen to be a computer! Computers just love to deal with numbers (the clue’s in the name – they ‘compute’ … and actually that’s about all they do, but they do it really well). Computers eat up numbers with a spoon, because that’s what they’re designed to do. Unlike us, they deal with them in binary code, i.e. the system they work on is based on the number 2, and since that can easily be represented by an electric current being either on or off, computers are grinning all over the place when you give them numbers to deal with, they’re like pigs in … well, anyway, let’s just say they’re delighted.
Being human though, you probably find numbers rather vague and indistinct things to memorise. Numbers just don’t lend themselves to memorisation. But don’t let that put you off! Virtually all humans have trouble when they try to memorise numbers – their very nature makes them more suited to computers than carbon-based life forms. The thing is, the human brain is a wonderful thing, but unlike computers, brains did not develop primarily to deal with numbers.
Numbers are, after all, just representations of quantity, and unless you happen to be a very dedicated accountant there’s not much that’s memorable in that. In themselves they don’t really have an identity, or much of anything to hang a memory on (and we humans do like something to hang a memory onto). Your mission, therefore, should you choose to accept it, is to give those elusive numbers an identity, to make them a bit more ‘real’, and, in fact, to make them actually memorable. To humans, that is.
As I just noted, numbers in themselves aren’t very memorable (not to humans, anyway), and binary numbers even less so than decimal based numbers. I mean, how would you even start to memorise numbers that consists of nothing more than a long list of zeros and ones? And, maybe more to the point, why would you even want to?
Good question, I’m glad you asked! Sadly, there’s no good answer to that one – there really is no reason why you would want to memorise numbers that look like someone’s finger got jammed on the ‘0’ and the ‘1’. Numbers are bad enough, but binary numbers are an absolute nightmare.
However, there are systems that makes it possible to memorise numbers, even binary numbers, should you ever want to impress your friends and influence people (or, more likely, should you ever want to further hone your ever-sharpening memory skills, and bore people half to death!). Fortunately, you need worry no more about how to impress your friends – the details of how to memorise numbers are here, on this site (yes, even binary numbers! … eventually).
Okay, back to the real world! The numbers we probably use most often are phone numbers, and yet most of us can’t manage to remember half a dozen of them. Not a major problem nowadays of course, since phones virtually all have ‘memories’ for storing a whole batch of numbers. Saves us bothering to use our own memory … and encourages us to get increasingly lazy about using it.
Actually, if you were to use a decent system for memorising phone numbers, you’d be surprised how many of them you actually could remember, and without too much trouble. Once you get the hang of it and understand the principles involved, it makes a lot of sense. And it’s always nice to have memorised numbers and not to have to depend on finding them in your phone’s directory or that phone book you put down somewhere … now, where did you put that phone book … or the phone, for that matter??
Memorise numbers …
even credit card numbers
Credit card numbers are v-e-r-y l-o-n-g. Fortunately you don’t have to actually memorise numbers of this kind, at least not usually. If you do have to input your credit card details somewhere you can usually pull the card out of your wallet or purse and read the number off the front of it. That’s if you’ve got it with you, of course … And, if you need glasses to read the numbers, you obviously have to have them with you (or remember where you left them) …
As with so many things, it’s infinitely preferable to have your credit card numbers memorised and then you always have them with you. And think how good it will look next time you make a substantial purchase in a big, flashy department store and the assistant asks for your details and you nonchalantly reel off your credit card numbers like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. You probably won’t be able to suppress a grin! Oh my, we do love to impress, don’t we … but then that’s just part of being human.
Computers, on the other hand, deal with numbers much more efficiently, but they don’t care enough to be bothered to impress anyone, they just rattle off the answers and sit there looking very dull. They don’t even have the decency to look embarrassed when they freeze or crash, or start to work v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, thereby leaving you fuming and devoutly wishing you’d spent time improving your memory instead of depending on stupid computers!
If you want to memorise numbers on your credit cards, or, in fact, if you want to learn how to memorise long numbers in general, the methods are here.
Memorise numbers (even long ones!)
Memorise numbers, any numbers!
On a more basic level, you can learn to memorise any fairly short list just by learning a list of ten or twenty number replacements, whether they be shapes (1=pencil, 2=swan, etc.) or sounds (5=hive, 3=tree), or any other method that works for you. And you can mix’n’match, no-one’s checking! Whatever method you use to memorise numbers, you’ll find the tiny effort you put in will pay you back a thousand-fold. And once you’ve formed a mental substitute for the vague, nondescript thing that is a number, you can easily link it to anything you like (someone’s age, a product number, a price, or whatever).