Basically, you have a memory of a place like a house or a school or somewhere you’ve, been lots of times that you know quite well and in your mind, you visually imagine walking through this location, a room, for example, or an entire house, and you attach a vivid image of the things you want to remember to different places in that location, so an example would be, say if your memory palace is your house.
Let’s say that your memory palace is your house, which it is for most of us. You would attach the first item in the list to the first place in the house like, for example, the gateway leading to your front door, as you walk into your house.
Then you would attach the second item to the next notable item. Perhaps it is your front door or maybe you have your trash cans neatly lined up or a series of shrubs leading up the pathway.
You need to plan out a route through the house or location and make sure it’s the same route. Every time you want to make sure you walk around in the same order, you don’t want to just randomly imagine going from room to room.
I have drawn a plan of my house, starting with my front yard, leading to the front door then entering the hallway, doing a circuit of the kitchen, moving into the dining room, then into the lounge. I then ascend the stairs and enter each upstairs room in turn before going out into the back yard.
In each location I draw each notable item and put a number on it – starting with number 1 at the front gate and including as many memorable items as I can find.
I have a bin for recycling, a bin for composting and a bin for general trash. I have a tree in the left corner, a shrub next to it, a clear area to the left, a clear area to the right, the pathway itself, the two kitchen windows and then the front door itself.
Even before I open the front door, I have 12 specific locations in which I can locate a fact that I want to remember.
In the hallway, attached to the wall, is a coat rack with five hooks, each of which can store a fact. There is a doormat, two walk-in cupboards, each with two shelves and the floor and each of them has a door. That’s 14 more specific locations.
The kitchen is filled with cupboards – high, some low, each of which has a door (some have drawers) and each has at least two shelves). The hob has four burners. there is a large dishwaser and washing machine.
Every place where I could store or attach an object, I can store a fact. All I have to do is to draw a plan and put a number on every location to which I can attach a fact.
You want to go in a circuit around your house and yards, so you know exactly which way you’re, going at any one time, and that’s, how you create the memory palace route.
If you make a plan of each room or part of the house or yard, you don’t need to learn all the places but, after some practice, you will and you won’t need those notes any more.
The next task is to put some facts onto the locations along your route.
If this is new to you, collect, say, ten random objects and line them up in the order in which you want to locate them. attach the first object to (in my case) the front gate. Really exagerate the size and color of the object. If you can make it lewd or sexy then do that, because it will help you to remember it more easily (trust me – this works). Apply each object to the numbered items in your list in sequence.
Start by recalling the objects in the order of the sequence and you will be amazed at just how easy it is to recall them.
You are, in fact, adding an intermediate step and this seems a bit counter-intuitive at first but, in fact, it is the intermediate step that triggers recall.
Once you can recall the items in sequence (this will only take a few minutes) try to pick items out in a random order. Providing you can associate the Memory Palace item with the random number you will instantly recall what was attached to that object.
Remember to make everything lound, colorful and lewd!
To prove the theory before you even build your Memory Palace, let’s give you a simple Memory Palace to enable you to remember 10 facts. The Palace objects are as follows:
- Hive (Beehive)
- Vine (with bunches of grapes)
A nice, easy list. Each Palace location rhymes with the number of its location.
Now think of each object. Make it big, make it colorful, make it sexy or just plain rude!
Now I’m going to give you ten objects to attach to your simple mind palace in order:
- Diamond Ring
Now, attach each of the ten objects to the mind Palace items in order. Make them big, bold, colorful and sexy. Allow yourself around ten seconds per item.
Next, work through your 10-item Mind Palace and recall each item in turn and see how many you get right. If you get all ten then that’s great. If you get fewer than ten, don’t worry, just focus on the items you missed and repeat the exercise until you get all ten – it won’t take long.
The 10-item Mind Palace is a neat party trick but, if you can do 10 items then you can do as many as you want.
If your home is your Mind Palace (as outlined above) then try something more difficult.
For example, place a US state in each location along with the state capital. You may wish to start with the States in alphabetical order, learn them first and then go back and add the State Capitals. Whatever works for you.
Once you’ve built that particular Palace and can recall everything in it, refresh your memory, say, three times each day for a week, then every day for a month, every couple of days for a month, every Sunday and Wednesday for a month then once a month for a year.
Repetition is the mother of skill.
Whilst you are doing that with the States, at some point, create a new Palace of all the US Presidents including the year they went into office. If you do them in order then you don’t need to remember the year they left office because you know when the next President took office.
Work your way through all of the Kings and Queens of England (or anywhere else that has a really long history).
Have a go at the Periodic Table of Elements – not just the elements but the chemical sysmbol, the atomic number and anything else of interest.
Try every country and its capital on a continent then add each continent (Antartica is fairly easy!).
There is an infinite number of lists that you can create.
Why bother? Well, if you want to be a better runner you train as a runner. If you want to lift bigger weights then you train with weights. If you want to be the greatest boxer then you train until you become the greatest boxer.
The same applies to your brain. It is a muscle and if you want it to work better for you then you need to take it to the Mind Palace Gym and train it.
In time you will find that you retain vast volumes of information. Not only that, but also, you will recall that information in the twinkling of an eye.
There is also a kind of “hidden” benefit in that, as you get older, your active brain is far more likely to remain active and your mind will be as sharp as a tack.