The Power Of The Mind Palace: How To Memorise Anything You Want In Minutes
Day 10/365: This is so weird but works so perfectly, it’s just odd!
How much time do you need to memorise a groceries list? You don’t, do you? You just use a pen and paper, or your smartphone, to write the items down. How about your credit card number? How about a deck of playing cards? Did you know that most people (that includes you) with a little practice are able to memorise the whole deck, that’s 52 cards, in just under two minutes? Some people only need 22 seconds!
No, this guy is not a genius. He’s not a savant, a freak of nature, he has no better memory than you or your dad. Or your grandpa, to be honest. He uses an ancient memorisation technique called The Mind Palace. Cool name, I know. This technique is easy to learn and was used by the great thinkers and orators of the ancient times. Figures like Plato, Cicero, Archimedes and others used it to memorise huge amounts of texts, which they could just bring up in an instant when needed, just by closing their eyes.
Creating The Mind Palace
The Mind Palace or Memory Palace is a simple concept. In order to memorise anything, be it words, numbers, even names, texts and so on, you need to find a familiar place, like your house, or your workplace or any place that you know very well and can navigate quickly in your mind.
Moving on, you need to establish a circuit throughout your Mind Palace. If you go clockwise through it, you will always need to go clockwise, not the other way around. Once you’ve established that, you need to make a list of the things that you need to memorise.
As soon as you have the list, you can start memorising the items using the Mind Palace and your imagination. This technique works when you associate the item you need to memorise to a place in the Mind Palace and to a vivid, weird, stupid, really out of the ordinary situation between the two.
Example: Groceries list
This will work better if I just give you an example, so let’s say that you need to do the groceries later. I actually need to do that somehow today, although it’s really late. I need to buy eggs, broccoli, water, two steaks and butter. I will use my house as my Mind Palace, which I know in bright details and can describe and go through in an instance.
The first thing I do is I visualize myself outside my front door, but instead of the normal white door, I now see a lot of broken eggs just laying around and coming down my beautiful, shiny white door. I go inside my hallway, but right in the middle of it, there’s a huge broccoli, with eyes and a huge karate bandana on its head ready to fight me.
I go into the living room, but the place is filled with water! There’s water everywhere, the couch is soaking wet and I can feel that the water reaching my knees! On I go into the kitchen, where Britney Spears is cooking not one, but two delicious, juicy steaks which are sizzling away in a thick butter gravy.
It really does work, even if you suck at memorising stuff
I know it sounds ridiculous, but the more ridiculous it sounds, the better and easier you will be able to remember all of the items on your list. This is how the guy in the video memorised the whole deck of cards in just 22 seconds, and this is how all the memory masters do it. There’s no secret magic trick, no illusions, there’s just practice and practice.
In fact here’s a fellow Medium writer, Max Deutsch, who actually memorised a whole deck of shuffled playing cards in under two minutes after training with The Mind Palace for a month. Yes, he has some experience with card memorisation, but he never trained for years after learning it in the first place.
I tried the technique myself not only for groceries but also to memorise 10 playing cards in a specific order. After a few tries, as I got better at telling the vivid, ridiculous story and actually visualising the whole Palace and the cards throughout my house, I was able to memorise the 10 cards in just under a minute and replay the cards in the same order over and over again, for as long as I wanted.
Not only that, but I was then able to go out, feed and walk my dog, and when I came back, I was able to recall the whole thing again and again without any difficulties.
Yet I can’t remember what I had for dinner the other night!
With practice, I think I can do the whole deck of cards in 30 minutes in a few weeks. I’m not going to do that, but it is possible to memorise anything, no matter how big or small the information might be. The Mind Palace works every single time, regardless of how good or bad your memory is.
If you like good TV, I highly recommend BBC’s “Sherlock” series, which really brought the Mind Palace technique out to the public.
Thank you for your time!
My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, full-time freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 44 claps!
I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!