Mind Performance Hacks – Memory

I’m reading Mind Performance Hacks from the O’Reilly Hacks Series. I just finished the first part about Memory, there’s a number-shape system thing I find pretty interesting. Apparently there are a whole lot of ways to remember NUMBERS, and you can use those memory tricks to remember pretty much everything in your life.

I remember watching a TED talk by Daniel Tammot, who explained how he perceives numbers as different shapes and colors. He has a condition called synesthesia, it’s not something he learnt. People with synesthesia have their senses mixed up, so they could perceive number 5 as salty or an apple as loud for example. And of course Daniel Tammot broke the record of the compulsory test for memory experts – reciting pi (everybody’s favorite pi, I could remember… let me see… 8 digits!)

Unfortunately people like me don’t have synesthesia, but I just learnt a new hack to associate numbers with shapes, [hack #2] from the book. Basically it goes like this – for every digit (0-9), come up with a shape that resembles it, so you can use that shape to remember the number. There is a list given in the book, I came up with my own list (not very different) that’s easier for me to remember.

0 – hole

1 – sword

2 – swan

3 – heart

4 – flag

5 – hook

6 – little wormly guy

7 – axe

8 – woman’s hourglass figure

9 – tadpole

Now if you want to remember a list of things or points to speak in a meeting, imagine a scenario or story using the shapes associated with the numbers. So this is what I want to buy today at the supermart

1. Snacks
A sword slashing snacks raining from the sky (fruit ninja style)

2. Beer
A drunk swan swimming in a lake of beer

Pretty absurd, but according to the book the more absurd or surreal (even offensive) your story is the better you can remember it. “Strong emotional reactions help people remember things”.

There are many other ways the book mentions, like associating numbers with sounds, letters, places etc. But I find most of them are too difficult to remember (I might as well remember the numbers themselves).

Honestly I haven’t tried using this method to remember anything, I don’t know whether it works for me. It takes some practice to get used to it. But memory block is one of my main problems when it comes to exams, I really need to find a good memory hack. Yea, can’t escape from memorizing heaps of information and formulae for EVERY exam even in university. No matter how the professors swear that they are not testing you on memory, seriously, don’t believe them! They only say that because they can’t remember anything themselves. We are still not allowed to bring wikipedia or google to exam halls, aren’t we? So yes, we are still being tested on MEMORY and we better be good at it!