Memorize the US States alphabetically

All memory is based on association, or at least all memory systems are. Memory systems are based on linking or chaining information you wish to remember, to information or images you already know. You probably have a hard time recalling the shape of Papua New Guinea or Sri Lanka, right? How about the shape of Italy, no problem, because you’ve associated it to something you already know…..a Glove…..or was it a Scarf?

This is actually the foundation on which every Guinness Memory record is achieved.

The second key is to form what you wish to remember into an image, something which stimulates the right side of our brain, the creative side. The third key is to then associate or link these two images together; the image of what you wish to remember, to the thing you already know, and here’s the key, the link must be as silly, as crazy and ridiculous as possible. This is critical, the crazier the image, the better the recall.

Just to show you how this works, let’s take five random things to remember:

Photo Album, Sarah Palin, a Cactus, Noah’s Ark and Gold Bars.

Now we will link them together in a crazy ridiculous scenario. Imagine:

Looking through an old photograph album, as you turn the page, Sarah Palin suddenly jumps out from the album, see her in as much detail as you can, perhaps her hair tied up, her rimless glasses, nice smile. She has her arms outstretched above her head and she is holding a huge cactus, as if she is pumping iron, only instead of holding weights above her head, she is holding a huge cactus. Perhaps the needles are pricking her hands. She can’t hold it any longer, it’s too painful, so she hurls it through the air and it lands on top of Noah’s Ark, try to hear the smashing and splintering sound of the wood as it crashes on top of the Ark. As the Ark cracks open see hundreds of shiny Gold Bars flying out from its hold.

Now go back to the image you had of the photograph album, close your eyes and recall the remaining four items.

Easy right? See how each linked item jumps out from your memory. I know it’s only five items but as you will learn in later posts it could just as easily be ten or twenty….as long as the associations linking the images are crazy ridiculous and nonsensical.

Oh, and by the way, you just memorized the first five US states alphabetically.

Album = Alabama
Sarah Palin = Alaska
Cactus = Arizona
Noah’s Ark = Arkansas
Gold Bars = California (Gold Rush)

On a more practical note the Chain or Link method can be used to recall speeches and presentations, to-do lists and shopping lists, and in conjunction with another memory system, even equations and formulas, in fact anything which needs to be recalled in a specific sequence. I will tackle these in later posts.

Maybe next time I will show you how to remember their capital cities. I just had a thought, perhaps to get you used to visualizing ridiculous images; we can memorize all 50 state capitals, that’s sure to win you a drink in a bar!

By the way, Papua looks like a camel, with a little imagination, and Sri Lanka looks like a tear drop.

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