Do not worry, I’m not going to start off by telling you that I learned some kind of crazy memory trick that now drastically improved my brain power and turned me into some type of memory wizard or anything, but I am going to tell you about a really cool memory trick called ‘The Memory Palace‘ that I learned awhile back. In a matter of just a few days, I was able to memorize more than the first 100 numerical values of Pi. Now, I know that some people have done WAY better than that, but for me, this was not only a cool accomplishment, but a bit of an inside as to how powerful the brain can be. That’s more than one-hundred random numbers, and somehow I was able to memorize them very easily. Not only that, but I was able to accurately recite the number in less than one minute.
How Did I Memorize so Much so Quickly?
It’s called ‘The Memory Palace,’ and it goes a little something like this:
You have to learn how to get a bit creative with your mental story telling, and you have to be able to really visualize tangible objects. Basically, it’s a great time to let your imagination go a bit crazy and use it to memorize numbers, as well as other things. However, I’m just going to stick to numbers for now to ensure that this kind of makes sense. Okay, there are some really great ways to learn this, but here’s the basics, and here’s how I did it.
The first step is to put yourself in a place that’s very familiar to you. I chose my apartment. The next step is to really visualize the place that you chose (your Memory Palace). Now what you’re going to do is mentally walk around your place. I visualized myself entering my kitchen from the backdoor, walking straight ahead to my fridge, and then making my way around my apartment. Now what you have to do is start associating items with numbers. The mind has a great way of associating different things to form one memory. So, for example here’s what I did:
it was easy for me to start visualizing sports players just “hanging out” in my apartment.
I knew that the first three numbers of Pi were 3.14, but that’s all I knew. I knew that I first needed to memorize the first 4 numbers which are 1592 (I chose to memorize multiple digits such as pairs, triples, or four numbers). I pictured myself entering through my kitchen door and in my mind I visualized Christopher Columbus holding a $100 bill at my front door. I associated Columbus with the number 1492 but knew that the $100 bill meant I had to add 100 to give me 1592. I probably made this a bit more difficult than it had to be. The next numbers I had to memorize were:
Here’s How I memorized Them
After I moved into my kitchen past Christopher Columbus, I immediately heard the song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones playing. I know this song was recorded in 1965 (so I used the number 65) and I noticed big Frank Thomas from the Chicago Whitesox standing at my fridge, wearing the number 35. Then, visually I turned to the right and pictured The Rolling Stones again on their Steel Wheel tour in ’89. As I made a right into my living room, I automatically remembered to subtract 10 to give me 79 (again, I could have visualized something that reminded me of 7, 9, or just 79). Then, as I approached my couch, I imagined Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson sitting on my couch. He wore jersey number 32. This got me to the first 16 numbers in a matter of minutes.
Just a few minutes earlier if someone had said, “I’ll give you $100 to memorize 16 random numbers in just a couple of minutes,” I never could have done it. However, by associating a place that I could easily imagine, and putting numbers to objects, I was easily able to accomplish this. In fact, spending just about 30 minutes per night for three nights, I continued my visual journey around my apartment visualizing all kinds of ridiculous things like Paul McCartney singing when I’m 64, people like Scottie Pippen (33), Kurt Cobain (died at 27), Joe Montana (16), and other ways that made it easy to associate objects with numbers. I really liked sports growing up, and still know a lot of my favorite players’ numbers so it was easy for me to start visualizing sports players just “hanging out” in my apartment. After just a little bit of time repeatedly “walking” around my apartment, I was able to connect different areas of my room and apartment to a number that I had to memorize. Quite quickly, I was able to get to about 110. (Now, the recording above is me, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say that I wasn’t reading off of anything).
Learn How to Memorize Faces, Numbers, Sequences, Etc.
What you will find is that just about anyone can use this technique to memorize all kinds of stuff. Learn how to memorize a grocery list, things you have to do during the day without constantly relying on your cell phone or technology to think for you. Learn to use the Memory Palace. Seriously, the brain is absolutely nuts and can help us reach potentials we thought were impossible. Some really wild stuff. Even after I got to 110 I began researching more about this technique and learned that people such as the Ancient Greeks and Romans used this back thousands of years ago. After more research, I began to discover ‘random Joe’s’ on YouTube and other people that have memorized hundreds and thousands of the numbers of Pi. The thing is, they’re just regular folks…not some type of super geniuses. It just goes to show you what a powerful tool we have sitting up in our heads. I think if I would have kept it up, I could have easily reached 200 within another few days, and maybe after a month I could have reached 500 (maybe), or possibly even more.
So, how far into PI can you get? Leave your replies below!