I forgot where I parked my car.

Ok, be honest, have you ever exited a shopping a mall turned to the person you’re with and said “I forgot where I parked my car.”  So you spend the next 10 minutes or so walking around hitting your key fob hoping your car will signal you?


It’s a common memory problem I hear about all the time, and it’s not difficult to overcome.

Let’s take a large car park with 5 areas whose locations are denoted alpha numerically.  A to E, and each location has a sub area 1-5, so we have 25 possible locations where you could park, A1-A5 thru E1-E5.

Let’s say you are parked in area E4.  The first thing we must do, as with any memory trace we wish to form, is to turn what we wish to remember into an image, and of course this holds true with letters and numbers too.

Here’s what I use for the letters:

A = Ape, B = Bee, C = Sea, D = Deer, E= Eel

And for the numbers I assign them a rhyming partner:

1 = Bun, 2 = Shoe, 3 = Tree, 4 = Door, 5 = Hive

So you are parked in spot E4, the image for the letter E is an Eel.  The image for number 4 is a Door.  Now be as creative as you can to visualize a ridiculous image combining the Eel, the Door and your car.

I would immediately visualize a huge door tied vertically to the roof of my car, and wrapped around the handle and working its way through the keyhole, is a gigantic slippery Eel.

That quick 10-second visual is all you need.  Later when you exit the mall, you visualize your car and immediately conjure up the image of the Door (4) with the slippery Eel (E). You are parked in area E4.

B2, a large Bee sitting on the roof of you car slipping on a huge pair of shoes.

A5, a gigantic hairy Ape with wings flying around a large Bee Hive.  Remember, the more ridiculous the image, the quicker the recall.

For larger numbers, there is a system called the Phonetic Index, (chapter 4 of my book) it is an ingenious system that allows you to turn any 2, 3 or longer digit numbers into an image.

Here’s a quick alternative.  Before you enter, (in this case, the mall), draw an imaginary line from the entrance of the mall, to your car. Then continue this line off into the distance, and see what it hits.  Maybe it’s an apartment building, a house or a tree.  When you exit the mall, you will have no problem remembering the distant object, then simply walk towards it.  This will at least put you in the right direction…….then you can start hitting the key fob.

Funny, unique and interactive in his entertaining conference keynotes and workshopsBob Gray reveals the untapped potential in each of us. His empowering systems and their many applications in the business world give participants immediate ‘walk away’ value. Book Bob Gray today as your next conference keynote speaker.

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