Memory struggles are real. Some people are naturally able to recall every memory they want, but most people have a pretty weak memory. When it comes to remembering things, memory palace training can make a huge difference! Almost 90% of super memorizers or memory wizards use this technique.
They say, “we can’t know the importance of things until they are gone” and this holds true. We don’t take our memorizing abilities seriously until we lose them.
Memory weakness is harmful in the long term and can create havoc in personal, academic, and professional life.
Imagine not being able to remember the name of the person you met, despite them repeating it three times. How embarrassing!
Or imagine if your boss tells you something very important, and after you leave his office, you forget it quickly without even a hint of memory of what he said.
You cannot go inside because your boss is in a meeting. And you cannot even complete the important work, because you don’t remember it. You are in big trouble then.
These occurrences are pretty usual nowadays as we are bombarded with information more than ever. So for combating such issues, you need memory techniques. One such powerful memory technique is ‘Memory Palace’ or ‘Method of Loci’.
So let’s get started on how you can use a memory palace to remember things easily.
What is a Memory Palace?
Memory Palace, also known as Method of Loci, is a memorization tool where you connect things in physical places to remember things easily.
In memory palace technique, you choose the place you are most familiar with. Then you place the objects in a certain location in your memory palace. For example, suppose you want to remember the word ‘mobile’ and you choose your home as a memory palace. Then you can remember the mobile by associating it with a location in your palace.
For instance, as soon as you enter your house’s doorway, you hear the constant ringing of your phone. This will remind you of your mobile phone every time you go through the doorway of your palace.
History of Memory Palace or Method of Loci
According to a Greek legend, a Greek poet Simonides of Ceos was dining at the home of a wealthy nobleman. A few moments later, he got the message that two men were waiting outside for him. Simonides stepped outside and just a few moments later, the roof of the banquet hall collapsed, killing everyone inside.
Tragically, the event was so horrible that families could not identify the deceased guests. Simon came to rescue them. He mentally pictured the spatial layout of the hall and walked through it in his mind. He visualized which guest was sitting where and thus helped identify all the guests’ names and bodies.
From this experience, Simonides concluded that remembering information is easy when it is tied to the physical location.
Today, this memory technique is referred to as the “Method of Loci” or “Memory Palace”.
How Memory Palace Can Help You Improve Your Memory?
Brain scans of super memorizers showed that memory palace activated certain regions of the brain involved in spatial awareness.
These regions of the brain are responsible for encoding and decoding information, linking landmarks to specific memories, and navigation.
So, when we are learning something new, it requires minimal effort to remember if we connect it to some kind of physical place. This process in scientific terms is known as elaborative encoding.
The idea behind the memory palace is that we give memories something to hang onto. This is because human memories are bad, especially when they are floating freely in our minds. But, if we give our memories some kind of structure, we can recall them easily.
For example, let’s say you are pretty poor at remembering the names of people. So next time you want to remember the name of someone’s pet, connect it with other people with the same names.
Suppose the pet’s name is John. Connect it with someone whose name is John. Make a view picture in your mind. For example, Pet John sits like a human on the front porch of the owner.
The weirder the picture, the better you will remember it. Scientists say that humans can easily recall memorable memories.
How to create a Memory Palace?
Step 1: Choose a place you are familiar with. e.g. your home, office, college, etc.
Step 2: Visualize yourself walking through the chosen place. Explore in your mind. See where all the things are placed. For example, if you choose your home, visualize where you placed your shoe stand, refrigerator, sofa, television, photo frames, etc.
Step 3: After visualizing the chosen place for the first time, try to relax. Then create a route in your memory palace with a starting and ending point. Walk yourself on that path from starting point to ending point and visualize all the things you saw on your way.
Step 4: Now, take the list of things you want to memorize. For example, you want to memorize the grocery list which contains 20 items like carrots, beans, onions, etc.
Step 5: Now, choose the stops or loci where you will stop in your journey (starting point to ending point). Place the items in your list at each stop in your memory palace and create a picture in your mind for each stop and exaggerate the picture. For instance, you want to remember onions from your shopping list. Try placing the onion on your dining table in your memory palace where it is rotting, and a powerful odor is blasting your nose as you enter the house.
Time for exercise. Suppose you want to memorize the most famous 7 authors in order, they were published.
The list of authors is
- Geoffrey Chaucer
- William Shakespeare
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Pearl S. Buck
- Ernest Hemingway
- Arthur Miller
- Stephen King
Let’s get started.
First, create your palace. Suppose your home is your memory palace. Imagine entering your home, the entryway, the dining room, the bedroom, the living room, etc.
Now it’s time for the association. We will assign each author a place in our home.
Imagine Geoffrey Chaucer is on the steps of your home. He is sitting on the patio near the steps sipping tea in a saucer, and suddenly he throws the saucer at you because he is angry at you. But you miss it by a few inches and hurry towards your door.
Now, as soon as you unlock the door, on the entryway, Shakespeare is standing there with a spear, blocking your path.
Now, you somehow manage to squeeze into your home and go to the living room. There you see a big bush of Hawthorne blooming. Then you remember Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Next, you go to the dining room, where the author Pearl S. Buck is playing with Buck deer, adorning him with a lot of pearls from your grandmother’s rosary.
Next, you go to your office and see that the office is filled with a giant wheat miller making brutal noises that remind you of Arthur Miller.
Next is Stephen King. You go to your bedroom and find Stephen King on his throne, shooting daggers at you.
Now, you will be able to remember the list of authors in proper order after a few walks of your memory palace. The best thing is, you can use the same memory palace for memorizing several things.
How to remember numbers using Memory Palace?
A memory palace is a fun way to remember a variety of things, but it becomes tricky when it comes to numbers.
So how can memory wizards remember a long list of numbers? What tricks are they using?
Turns out there is a whole new memory palace created specifically for numbers.
The Technique: Person- Action-Object
In his book, Moon Walking with Einstein, Joshua Foer uncovered various advanced techniques supported by cultural stories and scientific research. Memory wizards use all these techniques to remember random lists of things in a single glance or memorize whole telephone number books.
One such technique mentioned in the book is the Person-Action-Object technique. Under this technique, numbers from 00 to 99 are converted to a single person doing actions on an object.
Let’s take an example. Suppose number 67 is Michael Jackson dancing on the stage. Number 89 is Cristiano Ronaldo kicking a football. Number 45 is Iron Man sitting on a park bench.
So if you want to remember a six-digit number like 67-89-45 in this case, you would connect the person from the first number, actions from the second number, and an object from the third number.
In this case, the imaginary scene associated with the number would be – Michael Jackson kicking a park bench.
Wasn’t that fun? Try it on other numbers you want to memorize.
- How do I train my memory palace?
Training your memory palace is easy. Just visualize the place you are most familiar with or just your favorite one. Try creating ridiculous images in your mind of the things you want to remember. For example, picture a giant carrot at your doorstep waiting for you.
- What is the memory palace technique?
The memory palace technique is the memorizing tool where objects are associated with a physical place to create a mental picture.
- Does the memory palace technique work?
Yes. The memory palace technique works. Most memory wizards use this technique to remember random things or memories.
- Can you have more than one memory palace?
Yes. You can have as many memory palaces as you like. You can also keep the same memory but with different doors.
Memory Palace Training can work with people of all ages. It is because it is effective but also fun as compared to other memory techniques.
Also, you can have as many memory palaces in your mind. They can be as simple as elaborating the palace. Learn anywhere, anytime, and remember everything.
Have you tried the memory palace training exercises above? What do you think of them? Let us know if they worked for you.
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