The Memory Palace go-to Memory System

Don’t forget to pick up some Eggs.

While at work, have you ever received a phone call from home asking you to pick up a few groceries from the store, or been told not to forget to book your dental or doctors appointment as you leave the house? How about trying to remember to write down this to-do list as soon as you sit down in your office, only to forget everything as soon as you’ve poured yourself a coffee?

I recently shared a go to memory system that I have used countless times throughout my life for recalling ‘on the go’ items, things that are thrown at us unexpectedly. It is a centuries old system sometimes called the Journey method, the Roman Room method, more recently called the Memory Palace, essentially it is an ancient Greek method known as the Loci System. (It is also invaluable for recalling presentations without the aid of notes).

Let’s say we need to be able to recall 10 items at any given time. So we first need 10 items or places (Loci), which we are already familiar with. (All memory is based on linking or joining what we wish to remember, to something we already know). The easiest 10 items we ‘already know’ would be furniture or appliances in our home.

This is how it works. Imagine walking through the front door of your home; visualize placing your left or right hand on the wall. Now move your hand along that wall until you hit the first room. This room will contain your first five items ‘you already know’. Write down the first piece of furniture, in my house it would be the living room and a piano. Now continue to mentally walk around the room, what is the next piece or item? In my house it would be a big bay window. Continue until you have written down five. My next three would be sofa, table and picture. Now continuing with your hand on the wall, mentally go to the next logical room and do the same, write down another 5, mine would be the kitchen where I use Coffee Pot, Oven, Ceramic Jars, Sink and Toaster. So we have 10 ‘go to’ items. Now whenever someone calls, or asks us to remember something, we simply mentally attach those items, in a crazy way, to the items in our home.

So you receive a call from home asking you to bring home Bread, Milk and Eggs. We simply link Bread Milk and Eggs to (in my case) the Piano, Bay Window and Sofa. I would visualize a huge loaf of Bread playing my Piano, then a huge carton of Milk being thrown at the Bay Window and my Sofa made out of Eggs, or Eggs being cracked over my Sofa. You need to remember to call the dentist, see a huge dentist drill drilling hundreds of holes into your lovely dining room table. Need to remember to book a tennis court, see your self smashing the picture on your living room wall with a huge tennis racquet. Now we are into the kitchen for another five things if we need it.

I have a 15 item check list I mentally go over before I leave for the road for my speaking engagements. I have used the same 15 items in two rooms where the furniture has since changed, there is no longer a sofa where it used to be and the coffee pot is no longer in that spot in the kitchen, but it doesn’t matter, my check list is permanently attached to those original 15 loci, which is a good thing, because I’d hate to forget to take my Tutu to a presentation, yes, if you haven’t seen my keynote, I do wear a Tutu….which is memorable!

Funny, unique and interactive in his entertaining conference keynotes and workshops, Bob 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.  Watch Bob in action.

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