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Memorize 20 Objects out of Order in Minutes

Memory is not something entirely inherent. In the digital age we memorize anything using devices outside ourselves all the time. I mean come on, how many phone numbers do you know from the top of your head? You probably prefer using your phone's phonebook. Before the age of recording things externally, the memory was a thing to be trained and cultivated.

Time to Learn: In Order - 5 Minutes / Out of Order - 2 Days

Why Learn?

  • Simple things: remembering a grocery list? No problem. You don;t need to write down a list of 20 things, you can just memorize it effortlessly.
  • Ideas: during the day I often have ideas for projects. The problem is that they come to me when I'm not ready for them. When I'm lying on the beach, almost falling asleep or singing in the shower. Using these techniques I just memorize them and write them down at the end of the day.
  • To-Do's: similar to the one above, little things to do pop up all the time. Not keeping track of then results in an uneasy feeling of "I'm sure I forgot something". Mentally recording these to-do's is like emptying your mind's temporary memory.
  • Studying: this one is obvious. Remembering random things is hard for some people, so these techniques are a godsend. If you are interested in study techniques, subscribe at the bottom of the post to receive the learning eBook by Scott Young for free.

What you Need

  • A couple of lists with random objects
  • A little (really little) patience

Phase 1 - Memorizing things in Order

Take a look at this list:

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  • TV
  • Coffee
  • Computer Mouse
  • Chair
  • Wine
  • Tree
  • Light bulb
  • Dog
  • Fire
  • Water

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In a couple short minutes you will learn to memorize it, or memorize anything, no matter how bad your memory is. Sound crazy? Well, it took me 5 minutes to learn...

The Brain likes Crazy

The human mind filters out "normal" things quite easily. A list like the one above is just not interesting enough to allow it in your memory. Your task is to make it interesting.

It sounds weird, but it's really quite easy. The following technique is referred to as "the Linking Method". It is based on linking ridiculous images together. The techniques can be broken down in steps.

The Linking Method

1. Make your objects rediculous

The brain likes crazy remember? So to remember TV, you might imagine a giant TV screen, the size of a mountain. There is no way that is a usual occurrence, so it will stick around. There are a number of techniques to make stuff rediculous:

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Size - make the object very big or small (big works better) Context - to remember beer, you could imagine a bath tub filled with it Amount - trying to remember to buy milk? Imagine having 50 liters of it dumped on your head Anything awkward - naked people for example stick around

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Note: make everything as vivid as possible! See the colors in the images, feel their texture and smell them!

2. Link the objects

To remember your list each object has to be linked to the one before it. Let's take the first two objects on the list: TV and coffee. Here are some links:

TV - Imagine a TV as big as a mountain. See the sunset behind it and feel the warm air.

Coffee - Imagine coffee pouring out of the screen like a big wave. It is to how you can feel it. It smells like fresh ground dark coffee.

I can assure you that the scene described above will stick around...

3. Keep on linking

Let me run through the list with the associations I would use. For now you try and use the same ones, use your own later on. Read this carefully and use your imagination!

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TV - Imagine a TV as big as a mountain. See the sunset behind it and feel the warm air.

Coffee - Imagine coffee pouring out of the screen like a big wave. It is to how you can feel it. It smells like fresh ground dark coffee.

Computer Mouse - Imagine thousands of computer mountains swarming towards the coffee and starting to drink it. Imagine how smooth they are, with cables dragging behind them. They might have different colors though most will be shades of grey with black and white.

Chair - once all the coffee is gone, imagine the computer mouses coming together to form a huge chair. See in your mind how they form the chair, and how odd the chair looks with all the wires and buttons.

Wine - now a big giant walks up to the chair. He is holding a big wine barrel. While walking to the chair he crushes some trees below his feet. He sits down, opens the barrel and pours the wine into his mouth, and laughs out loud in a deep voice.

Tree - imagine plants starting to grow and engulf the giant. In no time the plants have covered him and grow together to become a very big and beautiful tree. See how vibrantly green the leaves are, and how it sways in the wind.

Light bulb - see the tree starting to grow fruits. But the fruits are in fact light bulbs. They start out very small and grow to the size of big apples. They shine so bright that the tree becomes a big ball of light, almost looking like a lightbulb itself.

Dog - now imagine a dog coming up besides the tree. It is about the same size. It lifts a leg and pees all over the tree. The light bulbs break down and the dog is electrocuted by the tree. Imagine the big spark, and how the dog is knocked out with a yelp (remember we are making memorable images, don't feel sad for the dog, or do if it helps you imagine the scene).

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