I receive a lot of questions about the Magnetic Memory system and how to use it effectively. Unfortunately, a lot of people are trying to take shortcuts.
I admire that.
The Magnetic Memory system is all about shortcuts.
But sometimes there are no shortcuts to the shortcut.
That’s why building your own Magnetic Memory system for language learning or terminology sometimes feels like a huge step back (actually, it’s only a tiny one if you use the Magnetic Memory worksheets).
But once you’ve set yourself up, you’ve essentially got a memorizing jetpack strapped to your brain with its GPS set to Fluency.
Instead of providing shortcuts to the short cut, however, here are some “tricks” that will help make sure you’re working in the most Magnetic manner possible.
1. Know Your Memory Palaces
It takes only a moment to walk through them. While you’re in there, use your imagination to amplify everything. The more bright and vivid your Memory Palaces are, the more magnetic they will be.
2. Know Your Objective
If you say to yourself that you’re going to memorize some words today, you’re not going to be nearly as effective as if you said “I’m going to memorize 10 words today.” That’s a concrete number, something the mind can wrap its cells around.
Better yet, you can say something like, “I’m going to memorize 10 words every day in July” (which is right around the corner).
If you make this your objective, then you will be able to do it. But if you have no objective, no plan that you’ve clearly defined, then surely the results will fail to follow.
Success sticks magnetically to goals, so be sure to make some and make them concrete.
3. Choose Your Words in Advance
Pick a range of words that you’re going to work on in advance. Will they be words that start with “ac” or “de” or “zu”?
If you don’t want to practice the Magnetic Memory principle of alphabetization and word division, then at least spend some time thinking about the kinds of words you could gather together to advance your fluency.
If you don’t know what those words might be, record yourself talking. Meet with a friend and explain that you want to track the kinds of words you use during the day for your language learning project and then listen to yourself later. Every word that you spoke in your mother tongue but don’t know in your target language can become the basis for the next list of words you will Magnetically store in your Memory Palaces.
4. Memorize Recklessly, But with Relaxation
What I mean here is that you should work fast – and the faster and faster the more practiced you are with using associative imagery. Don’t fear making mistakes or having to struggle to reconstruct the words you’ve learned. You generally won’t have to.
The reason to work speedily is because speed attracts memorization. If you sit with a dictionary and hum and haw over the associations you’re going to create, you lose traction and interest. The mind likes to work fast during processes of discovery and will come to your aid with much greater strength than you can imagine until you’ve given memorizing as fast as possible a try. Just make sure that you are always creating large, bright, vivid and truly zany images in your mind and obeying the other principles of the Magnetic Memory system (not trapping yourself in your Palaces or crossing your own path, for example).
Most of important of all, work fast, but not in a frenzy. Be relaxed. Do the breathing and muscle exercises discussed in the book before you get started so that you are calm and receptive to the amazing images your mind wants to bring to you.
5. Test Intelligently and Ruthlessly
Far too many people I talk to don’t test their memory work. They wait until a situation arises when they’ll need the words they learn and then struggle to find them.
The first reason people can’t find them has to do with points 1-4 above, particularly the point about relaxation. We relax while memorizing in order to condition ourselves to be relaxed during recall.
But without testing the associations you’ve placed into your Memory Palaces before using them in a real conversation, how do you know how well they’ve stuck?
The answer is:
There are two ways of testing: in your mind and on paper.
Actually, there are three, but I’m going to talk about the third tomorrow.
To test in your mind, you simply walk through your Memory Palace and decode the words you created associations for. If you do this with a list of words in front of you, you risk falling back on rote learning because you are essentially looking at your Excel file far too often, so I don’t really recommend this method. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the video I made for you regarding the Excel file method of storage:
Far better is to walk through your mind and decode each word you’ve memorized and then write it down with a pencil or pen on paper. Write down all the words you’ve recently memorized but haven’t put through a testing cycle yet, and then an hour later or so, open up your Excel file and compare the efforts you produced purely out of your mind with your written record.
You’ll be amazed by how well you do, but if there are little issues, you’re going to be in a very good position to correct them by going into your Memory Palaces and amplifying/altering the images that aren’t doing their job for you.
I hope these points help those of you who are struggling. If you have any further questions, rest assured that I am Magnetized to my inbox and will get back to you as soon as I can.
Until next time, pop open that Excel file and tell someone what you’ve learned about memorization. Teaching a skill is one of the best ways to learn it and helping people improve their memory is one of the best ways we can make the world a better place. The more we remember, the more we can remember. And the more we learn, the more we can learn.