Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Playing with Numbers

I am reading a fascinating book called "Moonwalking with Einstein" by Josh Foer about memory. I have a great memory for things I want to remember and not so good with things that might be helpful but what I always felt would take up too much space and therefore not important enough to keep. I could write it down, look it up, who cares, I want to recall things that matter to me, perhaps learning all these other things like passport number or credit card number would just clog up the pipes.
According to Josh, I am totally wrong. Brain is like muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. That sounded good to me, unfortunately I have never been very good remembering numbers or for that matter letters. They all seem to jumble up and eventually the brick wall comes up and that is the end of that.
Then I read about the memory palace. A place in your memory, a real place that you know very well. Everyone has some of those, his suggestion was your first house, the one you grew up in. So I gave it a go with objects, I am good with objects, real things that become 3D in my mind. So I selected my palace and began placing items along that path I was taking around my house.
I remembered all of them without much effort. I still remember them, that was days ago and I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday.
Then I thought all well and good, remember what you need at the store, got that down, it is stuff, put it in a palace go to the store all is well. But I wanted to remember numbers, the bane of my existence.
This is what I did since I am an artist and that is the way I think...
I created characters for all the numbers, there are only 10. You have to make your own, I am not going to give you mine.
Then draw them next to the number. It doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to be the shape but it does have to be something you associate with the number.
Next give yourself the test.
Write down some numbers and see if you can match the numbers with your images.
If you can you are well on the way to memorizing numbers.
Get a number you want to remember like your passport number always a pain to remember when filling out a form on the plane.
Choose a memory palace.
Take a walk around your palace placing your items in various places along the way.
They don't have to look exactly like the picture you drew, they can be funny or in a situation as long as you can plainly see them in your mind as you walk by the spot in the room or where ever you are.
Now give it a go, see if you can write the number down as you stroll through your memory palace.
It really works. Give it a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment