February 28, 2014
Interview with the 2013 Canadian Memory Champion Peter Dornan
– How did you learn about the Canadian Memory Championships?
I read the book ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’, by Joshua Foer, and that got me interested in memory. I did some researching online and that’s how I found out about the Canadian Memory Championships.
– Did you prepare or train in preparation for this memory competition? How so?
I prepared for the competition by learning some strategies for speed cards and random words, and just trying to improve my results. I also attended regular meetings of Memorize Toronto, which helped me to learn new techniques and stay motivated.
– How long have you been practicing memory techniques?
I started learning these techniques in January 2013
-What techniques did you use in memorizing Random Words and Speed Cards at the CMC?
For random words I used a memory palace in order to use visual imagery to remember the words and their order.
For speed cards I used the PAO system. Basically, I just assigned a person, action and object to each of the 52 cards in a deck, and used these to create visual images that I could place in a memory palace. Once I became familiar with my 52 associations, I got much faster at remembering cards.
– How does it feel to receive recognition as the Canadian with the best memory in 2013?
I feel honoured to receive this recognition (even though I still regularly forget things in my daily life – I certainly don’t have the best natural memory). At the same time, I feel as if these techniques can be learned by anyone in a short time, and I hope more people get interested in it.
January 4, 2014
bread, eggs, apple juice, steaks, bagels, lettuce, ham, peanut butter, red wine
How many items from the above grocery list can you remember? How many did you remember? Got a headache? Did you get 9/9?
Here’s a trick to help you:
One of the best ways to memorize is by visual association, human are particularly skilled at this. A Memory Palace is simply a room, or a place that you know well enough that you can build associations to the things or places within the room. Your living room can become a Memory Palace. Imagine yourself walking through your living room in a clockwise direction stopping at various places. Let’s imagine you will see the following things: the tv set, the couch, the coffee table, the easy chair, the china cabinet, the window, the lamp, the stereo, the piano and the door. We are now going to link the items on the grocery list to the 9 items in your living room. But how will I remember them all? Very simple. All you need is to remember the items in the living room (look again if you need to) and we are going to associate them right now. Ready? Below is a drawing of my living room. Great. I’m going to tell you a true story and please follow along.
Imagine you come home from work to find you’ve been broken into! There is a big loaf of white bread sitting on your television set, you walk to the couch to find someone has pelted it with eggs! On your coffee table someone has spilled apple juice. You find your next door neighbour in your easy chair eating a steak, your china cabinet is filled with big soggy bagels, the lamp has wilted all the lettuce in your house. You stop to look outside the window to see a giant pig banging at the glass, your stereo is covered with peanut butter and your piano has a huge bottle of red wine, I mean huge…..a 10 gallon bottle waiting for a romantic interlude (with the pig!).
So what have I done. We’ve associated strange or bizarre images with key places in your home. In order to recall the grocery list, all you have to do is imagine yourself walking through your living room, and stopping before each place, and remembering what you saw. Couch covered with eggs- eggs. For example, a pig at the window- ham. And so on.
So how does this help me? This technique is excellent for anyone who must remember things, which is all of us— legal professionals, business execs, giving a speech or a PowerPoint presentations with minimum reliance on notes, students, and even servers who must know the menu items as well as wines and beverages.
If nothing else, memorization is an excellent way to keep your mind and memory sharp. Studies have shown that increased brain usage in the areas of memory, problem solving and critical thinking does help to preserve these functions as we grow older.
Now how many items from the grocery list can you recall? Simply retrace your steps through your Memory Palace and you’ll find recollection much easier and more precise. I bet you remember 9 out of 9, and notice how easy it was.
Trick #1 Imagine and recall the image….do not memorize.
Trick #2 Know your memory palace well.
Trick #3 Construct odd stuff: sexual, provocative or humorous images work best.
Trick #4 Start with small things like grocery lists, move to longer lists, then more complex lists.
Trick #5 Practise every day, even for a few minutes. The more you practise is the better you will become.
This afternoon it took me about 30 minutes to memorize all the Oscar winners for 2013, approximately 24 categories and 54 associated bits of information. You know, I still can’t believe Tarantino won Best Screenplay.
Bio: Kevin has had the honour and privilege of coaching hundreds of men and women over the last five years, from athletes to business executives. My role is to support, guide, and motivate in a safe, non-judgmental environment. I specialize in accelerated coaching techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behaviour therapy and Skills Set training. But most of all… I listen.
May 13, 2013
How I Stopped Worrying and Improved My Golf Game
Do you want to improve your memory? Imagine you are a professional golfer teeing off. You look at the ball and where you want it to go. You wind up, and swing hitting the ball with all your might while using a…putter? You find where the ball has landed and again you wind up and hit the ball as hard as you can, again using only a putter? What logic would suggest you use a putter exclusively for all your golf shots? The same is true of the way in which we have traditionally been taught to memorize. What logic would suggest that you use rote exclusively when memorizing? The truth is “a putter is no more the only club for golf, than memorizing by rote is the only technique for memorization.”
What other methods are there? Usually mnemonics come to mind. For example a common mnemonic to remember the lines for notes in music is “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” .
As you explore the art of memory you will “discover” memory techniques for remembering: faces and names, telephone numbers, speeches, foreign languages, shopping lists, and much more. Some of the more unusual challenges include binary digits, the dictionary and the digits of pi (if you really like memorizing numbers).
I use a variety of memory techniques which enable me to perform extremely well on tests, as well as the ability to remember the material over an extended period of time. I recently completed an organic chemistry course where my final mark was an A+. Prior to my memory work, the thought of chemistry induced nightmares.
Unfortunately back in high school and most of my academic career, I used a putter for all my “memory shots”. Was I successful back then? Not really. If I had known about the potential of memory techniques, I certainly would have enjoyed the learning experience far more than I did.
So what’s the take away here? Don’t just use a putter. Try using different clubs as together they form a powerful arsenal to easy learning.
Would you like to find out more about memory work? Watch the videos below and have fun!
Dominic O’Brien, 8 time World Memory Champion teaches you how to remember.
Joshua Foer explains how our memories work and the importance of memory.
The quickest way learn memory techniques is to join a memory sports club. No one will get injured and the only downside is that it can be addictive, but in a really fun way!
Submitted by Y. Tjew