Make your memory list work for you!
Once you’ve constructed your memory list of 100 characters, you’ll have made a major step forward towards real memory improvement. Instead of being locked into using vague, faceless numbers, you will be able to ‘see’ each and every one, in as much detail as you care to give it. What’s more, you’ll be able to link them together in such a way that they actually become difficult to forget!
You’re going to see how easy it is to link numbers, via their characters’ actions, and apply those clearly visualised numbers to any purpose you have in mind.
You’ll be able to use the memory list to memorise credit card numbers, if you need to, or bank account numbers. You’ll find it a lot easier to memorise phone numbers, memorising passwords will come within your reach (and if your passwords are already easy enough to memorise, without a good memory system, they’re probably way too weak).
Linking numbers in your memory list
Using your new memory list, you’ll be able to give each number an individual ‘character’. These memory characters will be of your own choosing, since your 100 List will be unique to you.
And each memory character will have his or her own unique action. By linking those characters, you will be linking numbers, but in a way that your brain finds easy to understand and accept – in images, not words.
- Take the first two digits of any number and represent them by the character you’ve assigned to that combination of digits
- Now take the next two digits, but this time you take the action of the memory character you’ve assigned to that combination
- Combine the two. In other words, give the first two-digit character the second two-digit character’s action.
So, let’s say the first two digits are represented by Henry VIII, and the second two are represented by George Formby, then you’d make a mental image of Henry VIII cleaning windows (George Formby’s action, as in the song, “When I’m Cleaning Windows”).
Note two important things here: that image you’ve just created (like most you’ll create with this system) is unusual and a bit daft, which is actually really helpful, since your brain just loves unusual things (specially unusual images!), and you created only one image (or scene), and yet you’ve memorised a 4-digit number.
To move on to memorise long numbers, all you have to do is keep adding characters and actions, and thereby linking numbers. You’ll soon become adept at linking things in such a way as to make interesting little mental ‘videos’.
For example, to carry on with the number we were just looking at, let’s say the next two memory characters were Fletcher and Jerry Springer. Then you might imagine that Henry VIII is cleaning windows at the prison where Fletcher is being held, and he sees him springing around his cell on a pogo stick.
Confused? Don’t worry, all will become clear as you learn more about my personal 100 List.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Fletcher was a character in a TV sitcom about a couple of prisoners (one of them, Fletcher, was an old lag who spent most of his time keeping an eye out for the other one, the ‘new boy’, Godber), and Jerry Springer’s action is bouncing around on a pogo stick (naturally – he’s a springer!).
Do you see how powerful this system is? Assuming you were familiar with Fletcher, and that you’d taken the time to memorise your memory list, it’d be simple to ‘see’ this all happening in your mind. And the little ‘video’ that almost spontaneously comes to mind can be created in just a few seconds. And this tiny bit of action covers eight digits (represented by just two characters and two actions)!
Do you see now the potential of this system? Eight digits, translated in a few seconds into just a moment’s action ‘on screen’ … imagine how easily a long number could result in a little bit of action that you’d have trouble forgetting. And it could be ridiculous, or scary, or dramatic … or any combination of these, or any other things your imagination could come up with.
This is the heart of the 100 List, combining characters with each other’s actions. It provides endless variation, since there are 100 characters and 100 unique actions, and they can be combined in any number of ways. And because both the characters and the actions are ‘colourful’, the resulting combinations can be funny, entertaining, weird, sexy, violent, scary, or whatever you choose. But always … memorable!
Memorise long numbers using your memory list
It’s easy to memorise long numbers using this system. All you have to do is follow the procedure just outlined, and link the ‘video’ to the thing you’re committing to memory. If it’s your bank details, visualise the scene taking place outside your bank – or inside, at the teller’s window. If the number is your uncle’s phone number, then visualise him making a phone call and simultaneously watching the action, or link him in some other way that makes sense to you.
Is it a password for a computer program? Then find a way to visually link your little mental video to that particular program.
Be inventive! Remember, all memory is by way of association, so come up with some imaginative associations. And the more imaginative, the more likely the result will be to stick firmly in your memory. Using this system, and your new memory list, you’ll find it’s really not that difficult to memorise long numbers.
Review, review, review …
If you set your mind on memorising a list of phone numbers and bank account details, don’t just sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Make a point of reviewing your work every few days for a week or two to more firmly set the memories in place. No matter what system you use, or how good your memory list is, you will need to follow up your memory work with review and revision.
If you take the time to do that (probably no more than a minute or so), the memories will move from temporary storage to more long-term memory and become a fixed part of your mental landscape.
Spaced revision makes your memory list really valuable
At this stage, you can be pretty confident it’s not going to fade any time soon. Even so, specially if it’s something important, it’s worth spending a few minutes (or maybe just a few moments) every once in a while reviewing your work; that way you’ll be really cementing those memories in place!
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