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How to MEMORIZE ANY LIST!

Updated on July 27, 2012


Hey guys! If any of you have read my bio (which I’m sure you have because I am like totally well known right…kidding), you would have read that one day I would like to compete in the United States Memory Championship. This is a competition testing an individual’s ability to memorize vast amounts of information in an extremely short amount of time. Now you may be saying to yourself, “well count me out, I have the worst memory in the world. I can’t even remember where I left my damn car keys!” Here is the great news though; nearly every competitor in the memory championship has a remarkably average memory. How can this be you ask?!?! Well I’ll tell you why. There are countless different memory techniques that can be implemented to memorize all sorts of information ranging from lists, to phone numbers, to people’s names. Today I am going to give you a simple memory trick that will allow you to memorize any type and any length list you want, and in perfect order too. I will publish the remainder of every single memory technique known to man in subsequent articles. Pretty soon, you will be the envy of all your friends as they wonder how you remember everything you encounter with remarkable ease.

MEMORIZING A LIST

- Dog. Spoon. Obama. Moon. iPhone. Pizza. Fountain. Butter. Pencil. Batman. Golf. Monkey. Iceberg. Pirate. Fleece. Tile. Lamp.

- Now go ahead and give yourself 30 seconds to memorize the list in that exact order. NO CHEATING!!!

- Can you remember the exact order…probably not

- What most people do is go through the list as many times as they can in the allotted time attempting to commit it to rote memory. If you did, it’s okay, but I am letting you know now that that way is about as efficient as trying to push a shopping cart up a flight of stairs with bricks tied to your shoes while a woodpecker drills into your forehead.

- Do you want to know the technique now? (Of course you do, this is just dramatic effect)

- What I am about to teach you is called the “Link System”. It is a technique that does what the name implies. Through it, you are able to link items together and recall them with ease.

- Follow closely as I take you through this technique in the next passage

- 1. Okay first off, picture in your mind, the meanest, biggest, scariest, bulldog you have ever laid eyes on. (The first link, DOG)

- 2. Next picture this ferocious dog licking with his drooling tongue the largest, shiniest, silver spoon ever known to man. (2nd Link, Spoon)

- 3. Next imagine this shiny spoon being wielded in President Obama’s right hand as he gives a fiery speech about cereal distribution. (Obama)

- 4. Now create an image of your head of Obama now hopping on this large, silvery spoon and flying it as a rocket ship right onto our great large moon that shines brightly in the sky. (Moon)

- 5. Picture in your mind that every large crater on the moon is actually filled filled with trillions and trillions of 3 foot large iPhones!! (iPhone)

- 6. As you look closer at these magnificent iPhones you begin to smell a nice aroma coming out of the phone…it smells like pepperoni pizza. And low and behold, out pops a ten foot pepperoni pizza straight from the iPhone!! (Pizza)

- 7. As you take a slice of a 3 foot piece of pizza, you savor the first bite. But to your dismay, as you bite into the warm cheese the pizza evaporates and the most magnificent fountain you have ever laid eyes on materializes out of thin air! (Fountain)

- 8. This fountain does not spurt water though, out flows the slipperiest butter you have ever felt. It smells oh so buttery as well. (Butter)

- 9. You reach inside you pocket for a super luxurious yellow Ticonderoga #2 Pencil to make a not of this remarkable fountain. But alas, instead of lead in your pencil, butter flows from it as well! (Pencil)

- 10. Next picture this Ticonderoga pencil but imagine it as if it were 6 feet long with a razor sharp tip. Batman himself uses it as a weapon! See yourself watching batman stab the joker through the heart with this gigantic pencil. (Batman)

- 11. Having just defeated the joker, batman now decides to take a break from crime fighting. Imagine him traveling down to Florida and picture him in his batman suit playing golf for days on end. Really picture him swinging the club while onlookers gawk at his outfit. (Golf)

- 12. While he is playing golf though, on one of the holes, picture in your mind millions of monkeys with long brown hairy and sharp bloody fangs descend down from the palm trees and onto the golf course. They overrun the golf course and claim it as their territory. (Monkey)

- 13. The monkeys decide to harvest the land to make a profit. With the fertile grass the ravenous monkeys plant billions of square miles of iceberg lettuce. Really see in your mind how the monkeys devour this iceberg lettuce. They love salads by the way. (Iceberg)

- 14. Remember that this is Florida though and tons of pirates lurk the beaches and seas. The pirates attack and destroy every last crop of iceberg lettuce. Really see them slashing away on their peg legs while they gulp down rum. (Pirate)

- 15. Picture this group of pirates now as actually being part time Abercrombie models. After their slashing of the lettuce, they go back to their more peaceful occupation, modeling bright pink fleeces in Canada. Notice all of the different textures of the fleeces the pirates wear. (Fleece)

- 16. Next, picture yourself ordering these all of these bright pink fleeces to renovate the tiles in your kitchen. Picture yourself installing all of these soft fleeces with their magnificent hue of pink into the floor as your new tiles. (Tile)

- 17. Finally, you get so fed up from this tile business that you pick up a piece of real tile and bash the daylights out of the nearest lamp you can find. The lamp breaks into a million pieces and you feel much better.

- NOW GO BACK THROUGH THE LIST I GUARANTEE YOU THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER THE ENTIRE LIST IN PERFECT ORDER.

- Do you see the technique now? They key is imagination. Your brain remembers flamboyant, flashy, creative images, not the mundane of everyday life. You basically can create stories in your mind using powerful imagery to memorize countless things. Then when you think of an image, your mind will trigger and remind you of the next image. (Dog to spoon for example)

- Try it yourself now. Create a list of 20 random items and give yourself 30s-1min to memorize it. If you use the technique success is practically certain. Below are several tips in helping with your link system.

- Tip 1: Try to combine all of the senses in your imagination. Touch, taste, smell, feel, and hear. The more elements you combine the stronger the picture will be in your head.

-Tip 2: Add humor. Create funny images in your brain. This is perhaps the most important tip I can offer. Make it obscene, hilarious, even downright dirty.

Tip 3: Over emphasize. Notice throughout my example i constantly used words like "gigantic", "millions", "trillions", etc.

Tip 4: Add movement to the pictures. Your mind will remember an image better if it is moving around (i.e. Obama flying a spoon to the moon)

Tip 5: Make the images flow. Notice how my transition from pirate to fleece wasn't very good (I mean come on, ABERCROMBIE MODELING PIRATES?!?!?) If the images flow better, your mind will memorize it better.


Finally, try out this technique in every day situations, like the grocery store. The more practice you have the easier it will become. In the next article I will explain more memory techniques, such as the Number-Shape technique, Alphabet technique, and Number-Rhyme technique. These techniques will further help you with lists, but they go a step further. For example, they teach you how to recall the 7th item of a list out of 10 items without having to go through the entire list or counting on your fingers. Please email me at sawyersshaw@yahoo.com if you have any questions or critiques. Thanks!!!

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    • sawyershaw profile image
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      sawyershaw 5 years ago from West Palm Beach

      This technique is the most basic. It is limiting in some ways though. In subsequent articles I will elaborate on more comprehensive and powerful mnemonics.

    • wyomom123 profile image

      Allison Felton 5 years ago

      Wow, this technique really works, thanks for the tip.