Monthly Archives: October 2011

Brain Games: How a surprisingly simple trick has drastically improved my memory

Every time I hear about memory tricks, it disappoints me because it just doesn’t help me much. Until now.

I saw Brain Games on NatGeo and Ron White mentioned a trick he uses to remember stuff.

With my head in code half the time and age advancing daily, my memory has been taking a big hit.

So being a community organizer, I invited Ron to speak at our meetup. Turns out he’s way too expensive to book, which is not surprising. I’m sure he gives a great talk, and for his opening act, in a room of 200 people, he asks all of them to say their name, and he repeats it back to them. Impressive.

The trick he uses is to connect something about their face and their name to a visual image, and imagines them laying on furniture all over his house. He has some pre-made associations for certain names which helps him.

I’m not sure if this is quite how he does it, but I figured out how to apply this to things I want to remember. For example:

I can never remember what street a particular Starbucks is on, since I don’t visit it often enough. Turns out it’s on 5th street. Five. So I start rhyming in my head. Fivey. Ivy. Then I imagine the Starbucks covered in Ivy. That image is unmistakable and I will never again forget where that Starbucks is.

From now on, anytime there’s a 5 somewhere that I need to remember, it will feature that object draped in Ivy. Ivy. Fivey.

So I’m actively working on other associations. Here’s one from today. Periodically I need to take exit 24A on the freeway. But I always confuse it with 23 or 25. Well Kiefer Sutherland is on 24. And Fonzie always says Aaaaaaaa. So I imagine Kiefer on the left shaking hands with Fonzie. 24Aaaaaaa.

666 is the sign of the devil. If I need to remember the number 6, I imagine 1/3 of a devil. The left third. 66 would’ve been the devil cut in 2/3rds, but I’m Canadian so I just imagine Mario Lemieux.

This has been a great relief to me. If you try this method out, let me know how it goes.