Two Truly Evil Spells People Cast Against Memorizing Vocabulary With A Memory Palace

Have you ever wondered why on earth anyone would focus on memorizing individual words?

A lot of people not only wonder about this, but some are utterly convinced that focusing on vocabulary instead of complete phrases is …


The Worst Thing You Can Do


The problem is …

It’s simply not true. And …

Frankly, it’s time to settle this argument once and for all.

The verdict:

If you want to learn a language you do need to memorize BOTH words AND phrases.

But here’s the problem, one that this commenter on the Magnetic Memory Method YouTube channel makes oh so obvious to point out:


Do you see what’s happening here? Can you guess why I might have hesitated to approve the ironic snark lurking in this comment?

The problem is this:

Macovei assumes that … because he learns a particular way … everyone else should learn that way too.

That’s poor logic.

Worse, Macovei seems to think that …


Because He Hasn’t Found A Faster Way …


A faster way …

… couldn’t possibly exist.

Here’s the ugly truth:

These two logical errors amount to crimes against humanity.

And thanks to the Primacy Effect and Recency Effect, people get pushed into limiting corners of negative belief thanks to logically fallacious comments like these.

Sadly, there are enormous mountains of them floating around.

Like evil … hypnotic spells.

Don’t let them catch you!

Evil Spell #1:
The Lie That Sentences Shouldn’t Be
Broken Down Into Pieces


A lot of critics say that you should just go ahead and learn entire phrases.

Yeah, go on. Spend a couple hundred hours stuffing your spaced-repetition software with long strings of words …

BEFORE you’ve developed the ability to use memory techniques to remember even one single word.

Sorry, Macovei, but there really is an alternative.

One that teaches you how to memorize individual words. One that appeals to enough learners that it’s worth all that I do just to help them.

The skill is easy, fast, elegant and fun.

The best part:

It’s a skill you can extend to entire phrases very soon. But you’re much more likely to get there faster if you start with memorizing one word at a time first.


The Memory Palace Alternative


For example, imagine you get really good at learning how to use a Memory Palace. (Hint: It takes only about 2-5 hours. After that, you stand a chance at becoming a memory champion if you wish).

Make a Memory Palace.

Don’t worry if you’re skeptical. Making and using Memory Palaces is 100% scientific. Here’s the proof.

In it, memorize ten words.

Sorry to Interrupt, but ...

  • Strongly agreeAgreeNeutralDisagreeDidn't know it exists

Yes, just ten.

Make them cornerstone words. Really know them inside and out.

And then (and only then), go back to the first word. Add a phrase to it.

Then add a phrase to the second word.

The third.

And so on.



By starting with individual words, you really can scale much more quickly.

What makes the difference is the NATURE, QUALITY and UTILITY of the words you choose.

And let’s be frank:


How To Make The Right Choices Isn’t Always Easy!


But on this Live Call, the Magnetic Memory Method Global Family and I buckled down to the truth:



To sum up that Magnetic Memory Method YouTube Live for you, here’s what we concluded:

You find the right vocabulary and phrases along the way by …

Cultivating curiosity …

Mental independence …

And generating your own curriculum as a language learner.


How To Deal With Conflicting Language Learning Advice


You’ll come across a lot of different opinions.

Ignore the bulk of it. Especially when the come from the kind of self-proclaimed language learning gurus like I take to task in this video:


A lot of people give in to negative self-hypnosis and pass it on to others in an attempt to hold the rest of the world down. They don’t want to be lonely down in the bottom of the crab bucket, after all.



Their attempt to hold you down isn’t necessarily evil or even malicious.

But it is infectious. Negative messages draw the attention of the eye and take hold in the brain.

The good news?

Simply by knowing this fact about them, you can weaken their power.

You can also release yourself from their hold by learning memory techniques and buckling down to the truth that you need both skills:

Vocabulary memorization AND phrase memorization. Unlike those crabs pulling each down into the bucket, when it comes to memorizing vocab and phrases …


One Helps The Other!


But here’s the problem:

Many (but not all) human brains get overwhelmed by entire phrases. That’s why I free them to the power and glory of finally making some headway into learning a language. One word at a time.

Just as I did when I used the Magnetic Memory Method for German (full story with tips). Richard Gilzean did much the same, but with his own Magnetic twist.

Not to mention what Amanda Shaw accomplished when using the Magnetic Memory Method to help her learn Arrernte.

Want results like that?

Don’t take my word for it. Just follow the evidence. Repeat the experiments. Enjoy the results.

If it’s not for you … well, like Wittgenstein once said:

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.

(Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.)

Evil Spell #2:

The Memory Palace Is Hard, Slow and Boring


Check out this interesting exchange from last week’s The Only 4 Memory Improvement Systems You Need:



What’s going on here?

A person who provides evidence of having memorized one word is using the Magnetic Memory Method discussion area to call Memory Palace use for language learning slow.

As far as I can tell, this person hasn’t even tried the technique.

And if that’s the case …


How On Earth Can You Cast Judgment On
Something You Haven’t Tried?


I’m not a psychologist, but when I read flat out dismissals like these, I see, hear and feel … pain.



At some level, I think these people are like muscleheads at the gym who are afraid to be seen lifting smaller weights …

… Even though the body has many muscles you can develop if you’re willing to put your ego aside and master a few simple moves with lighter weights first.

That’s how I’ve developed a lot of muscle at the gym and it’s how I’ve won the war against overwhelm in language learning on a daily basis.

The Big Five of Language Learning helps too.



And you can just go ahead and wind up the clock and time yourself if you don’t believe how fast it can go.

Just like Noel van Vliet did in his Judgment Day report on the Magnetic Memory Method.

I could be wrong about all this …

But what else other than ego-based fear could be driving the certainty behind such convictions and hypnotic spell casting?

Truly? What else?

And in case you’re thinking …


Hold On There, Magnetic Cowboy!


What’s driving YOUR certainty, Dr. Metivier? Could it also be some kind of fear and pain?

Nice. Try.

But I have no certainty. None.

And that’s the point. This is the art and science of memory. There’s nothing to fear so long as you’re true to the craft and the evidence.

And like most of the best in the memory training game, as both a lifelong student of memory techniques and teacher, I too started as a skeptic.

The reality is that skepticism is a power – but only if you’re testing it.

And you need to begin with the only skepticism you can test – YOUR skepticism.

My suggestion:

In the time it takes to graffiti the Internet with yet another argument against something you haven’t even tried …

You could have memorized BOTH a new word AND a new phrase.

And anyone who has spent any time learning a new language knows that you have to do both.


You Should EMBRACE Both


And you should understand that memory techniques for language learning lovingly encourages both.

That’s true for other realms of vocabulary memorization too, such as anatomy.

But my core message that all your struggles end when you put your ego at the door and learn to develop your memory … one word at a time …

That message shall remain.


Because it works for those who struggle to find any other way.

And it works for the mega-polyglots too, even if they save the Memory Palace just for the Stubborn Quintile or other words worth remembering, like the ones covered in my How to Improve Vocabulary With Mnemonic Examples Playlist:

You don’t have to make the Memory Palace the cornerstone of your practice, after all.

But since the technique is useful for so many other things in life you might want to commit to memory …

Assuming you’re making your Memory Palaces properly Magnetic …

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

In sum:


Be Wary Of All Spell Casters Who Speak
Without Experience


Ignore the fearful critics who speak without experience. Follow your interest and bliss instead.

But please, spare the world your time and energy whenever you feel the need to wax messianic about why things you’ve never tried can’t and won’t work.

We’re busy freeing people from The Matrix of lies and illusions here, not holding them in prison with you.

Free your mind.


8 Responses to " Two Truly Evil Spells People Cast Against Memorizing Vocabulary With A Memory Palace "

  1. Pelle Chamliden says:

    Good point and good episode !

    I believe in the rule of se
    rendipity :
    Lady luck awards those who makes an effort in trying.

    I also believe in an ever evolving workflow.

    Thanks for your pep talk!

    Pelle Cjamliden

    • Thanks for your thoughts on this, Pelle!

      Serendipity is an interesting point to consider here and workflow is a huge part of making it happen. There’s also the practice of practicing memory techniques for language learning, which in many ways is exactly what language learning simply is, regardless of the use of memory techniques.

      Thanks again and look forward to your next contribution to the discussion! 🙂

  2. Alex says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Shakespeare has so many wonderful idioms for unfortunates who churlishly deny phenomena beyond their ken.
    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,’ is the one immediately that springs to mind.

    Who cares if someone learns words or phrases first? How about the alphabet or the phonemes? It’s inappropriate – appalling actually – to crticize or judge others’ methods. Make useful suggestions for sure; but don’t cut someone down just because you haven’t found the Philosopher’s stone.

    This is the kind of attitude that destroys ideas – “The Earth must be flat because that’s how it looks to me.” At worst it’s the kind of thinking that causes prophets like Bruno to be immolated.

    Some people dispute the use of memory palaces, or journeys, or lukasas; they tend to be the same people who have never tried or who are not open to contemplate new ways.

    Is it evil? Maybe. Is it arrogant? Assuredly.

    I speak French fluently. I think I started with phrases. Maybe it was words. It doesn’t matter. I even had a so-called teacher who told me I’d never learn to speak it. Thankfully I had encouragement from others and my own courage to continue.

    Thankfully too I have discovered location-based and other mnemonic methods to learn what I want powerfully and well – words, phrases, speeches, concepts. I learn by doing. I learn at my pace. I take responsibility for my successes and for my failures,

    Well Anthony thanks for letting me vent. 🙂 Please keep up the splendid work. Thanks for challenging odious fallacies and sharing your experiences and those of others

    • Ah, a wonderful Shakespeare phrase to keep in memory. More salient than the Wittgenstein, I must admit.

      Good point too about all the other itty bits that one needs to wrangle when it comes to language learning. I like the Philosopher’s Stone too, because isn’t Merlin … particularly the slightly bumbling versions … the ultimate metaphor of fluency/mastery?

      I think it’s interesting too that one ultimately doesn’t remember how they learned something. Sam Harris talks eloquently about this in Waking Up, which is a fantastic book that is more about memory than I had remembered it, not that it is on my July 2017 rereading strategy program.

      Have you ever read it? Highly recommended, and Harris is of course a great venter himself, and almost always refreshingly so.

      Thanks as ever for your contributions to the growing discussion and look forward to the next! 🙂

      • Alex says:

        Thank you Anthony for your response and for giving MMM aficionadas and aficionados alike more grist for the memory mill. Ideas and memory (philosophy) are ageless, mere man is not. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading Sam Harris; however, I will have to add him to my mental bucket list.

        Of all your many topics this one has really galvanized me, and I want to thank for that. The dialogue challenged me. So I made a quick 10 station mind palace according to my grid system (method from Memory cube: systematized by and for me.)

        Five vocab words and five greetings and voila, quick and painless. I didn’t stress and I didn’t chew my fingers off! 😉

        It’s not difficult at all: it’s cheaper than bogus memory scams and ripoffs; and far less damaging to the precious mind and soul.

        As far as pain goes though it really must be painful to live in the allegorical cave defying and denying Ideas. Concepts, Knowledge, Wisdom and all of the other wonderful fruits of our too brief existence.

        My motto is “If Alicia.can do it so can Alex!” ). These are the people who inspire; thanks for introducing me to them.

        Warm regards to you in chilly Oz (hmmm you just might be the new Wizard of Oz!) ;-

        • The Wizard of Oz, indeed … or at least the Wizard of Odd. 😉

          In many ways, this topic is the most important topic in the world due to the Primacy Effect and Recency Effect. There’s likely no way of policing it except through our constant vigilance, but the endless barbs of ignorant commentary have their effect. It’s a strange and interesting problem, one that is all the more on my mind because I’m currently reading John Sutherland’s Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction. We are all so swayed so quickly in ways that call us to seek the truth, even when and where it might be painful (such as when I had a mind blip recently on a YouTube Live around finding the truth …)

          But by facing the truth about what’s really going on between ourselves and those messaging the status quo we mindlessly accept is the escape from the pain packed into the Cave. Part of the problem of helping people escape the Cave is that it’s so quiet out here, aware of the drama without being wrapped up in it. Making it useful instead of being used by it.

          Alas, it is true. If a ten year-old can do it, why can’t anyone else? Only their own choice, it would seem … but that’s where Sam Harris may interest you. Because the question has to be asked … is it choice? Because really, who would choose ignorance of the sun? The Allegory of the Cave itself speaks to the role of chance in the discovery of the Good, so if nothing else, read Harris’ Free Will or watch one of his YouTube discussions of it. A checkmate argument, if ever there was one.

          In the meantime, compassion to all who seem to choose inadequacy instead of the ease and grace of learning at higher levels. 🙂

  3. Jacinta says:

    What was the name of that service for talking to language teachers over skype? italki?

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