In this episode, we talk about improving your memorization skills by using spatial awareness.
All right. Did you know that we already possess superhuman abilities to memorize things? And I say superhuman because obviously if we're just human then it's not superhuman, but it seems superhuman because it's something that I think a lot of us fail to recognize and this is one of our memory abilities that has to do with spatial awareness. And today we are going to talk about how to improve our memorization skills by using spatial awareness.
So what I'm talking about is a technique called the memory palace or it's also called the method of low key and the way that it works is as humans, we already have this awesome ability to memorize our spatial surroundings. If you think about your childhood home, for example, I'm pretty sure you can remember where the kitchen is, where the living room is and how to get around and maybe things that are sitting on the counter and this is imprinted into your mind. Same thing with going from maybe work to school. If you walk to school then you might notice some areas on the way to school. So the playground, this funny-looking mailbox that's sitting here, this trampoline that people have in their backyard.
You have all these little discrete locations that are already imprinted into your mind and you already have this memorized and you have it memorized in a way that where you kind of did it effortlessly right? You didn't really have to be like okay I have to walk past this mailbox every single day for the entire time that you were going to school you kind of just figured it out and you imprinted it into your mind.
So the memory palace technique uses this ability that we already have and what you do is you start assigning other qualities to these discrete locations. To remember those qualities. So for example let's say that we wanted to remember a string of numbers or a formula. Let's say let's just make it easy. Let's say that we want to remember the chemical compound for water, H2O, and if we're thinking about H2O, then we can think about our neighborhood. Think about a stop sign that's in your neighborhood. And instead of the word stop, it just has the letter H. So now you have this imprinted in your mind. This is a stop sign that you can see has the letter H. You know exactly where it is. And then you walk over to the next discrete location. So this is obviously gonna be different for all of us. But let's just say it's a mailbox just to make it easy because most people have mailboxes and stop signs in the neighborhood.
So let's say it's a mailbox and you come across this mailbox and you want to remember 2, so make this mailbox as unique as possible. Maybe you shape it into the number two. Maybe it has a purple 2 written at the bottom. You want to have something that you're attaching to remember this with something that's vivid and adds a lot of colors. So not just color in the sense of purple, but color in the sense of letting your imagination fly. So maybe two also remind you of the word tooth. So this mailbox is shaped like a tooth and then it has the purple two at the bottom and you're just adding all these different elements that will help you remember that 2.
So now you're walking from the mailbox which is the H, I mean I'm sorry you're walking from the stop sign which is the H. Then you walk over to the mailbox and there's two of them. And remember to and then after you leave the mailbox maybe you're going over to the corner store and the corner store. It's a brand new corner store. Not right it's not exactly how you remember you remember the location but all this corner store does is they just sell O's. That's all they do. They sell anything that starts with the oh it's like the O Store. So they sell oxygen. They sell ounces. They sell um just anything that starts with the O. So that will help you remember H2O.
And now if you're thinking about this like you probably have a lot of locations memorized that are way beyond just three distinct landmarks. Right? So if you think about all those different things and it could be simple it could be a big map going from your house to your school or it could be something just in your room. If you think about where the mirror is, where the bed is, where your dresser is, where do you keep your shoes? And you start assigning different values that are very vivid and they're interacting with each other. Right?
So going back to the mailbox example where we turn it into a tooth, maybe there's like a dentist standing there, there are two dentists and their twins. And you start building the story up in your head and you start filling it up with more elements that will help you remember this. So the way this technique was actually developed was in the ancient roman greek times and there was this poet, his name is Simonides. I'm definitely sure I'm butchering that name up. Um, I haven't heard it actually out loud. This is just something that I've read.
So one of these and what happened is after he was reciting this poem, the place, the venue where he was at collapsed and it killed every single person inside and the damage was so bad that the people were unrecognizable. But Simonides was able to remember who is who, based on where each person was sitting, and based on this memory feat, people have used this technique to remember their speeches, sequences, list, etcetera. And now, you know the technique as well. This is Robin Copernicus. Boom. Bam, I'm out.
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