My favorite memory system

One of the best memory systems I’ve encountered in a long time can be outlined in the book, “Mind Performance Hacks”, written by Ron Hale Evans and published by O’Reilly Press.  The system is called the Dominic System and was invented by Dominic O’Brien, eight time World Memory Champion.  (How exactly do you get that title anyway?)

Okay think of an animal, think of a car, and think of a fruit.  Got them?  No matter what car, what animal, or which fruit you set your mind on, there is one thing they all have in common.  You saw all of them inside of your head.  Twenty different people can think of twenty different animals, but the one common thread remains, when we think, we don’t think in abstract algebraic equations and concepts, we see solid, tangible figures and items.  If I were to say, “Think of a number between one and ten, you would find some way to make that number a visual reality to you, whether it was represented by a playing card, candles on a cake, whatever…  The key here is we are almost all visually representative creatures when it comes to the world of memory.

So, how does this work?  Some groundwork must be laid, and homework must be performed.  The good news?  It’s a game.  You take your own time and break it down into ten numbers at a time and in two or three days you’re ready to play.

The game starts like this, each digit, one through zero is represented by a single letter.  Those letters are then organized into pairs, represented by a celebrity or cartoon character, someone visual.  The more outrageous, the easier to remember. 

The basic digits,

The digit “0” is the letter “O”

“1” = A, “2” = B, “3” = C, “4” = D, “5” = E, “6” = S, “7” =G, “8” = H,

“9” = N.

Okay, don’t get intimidated, this has nothing to do with math…

When these numbers are paired, they become the initials of a famous celebrity or cartoon character.  Here are ten examples I’ve come up with:  10 – Annie Oakley shooting a rifle, 11 – Ansel Adams taking a picture, 12 – Anne Boleyn using her decapitated head as a football, basketball, etc., 13 – Alice Cooper, performing up on stage, 14 – Angie Dickinson pulling out a snub-nosed thirty eight (remember the TV show Cagney and Lacey?), 15 – Albert Einstein trying haplessly to explain particle physics, 16 – Arnold Swarzennegger asking for another handout to solve California’s monumental debt problems,  17 – Andi Garcia, desperately attempting to redefine his character as not just another eighties icon, but a timeless and talented actor, 18 – mystery writer/producer Alfred Hitchcock trying to solve yet another mystery, 19 – Afred E. Neuman of Mad magazine, big ears red hair and all, in a laughing fit bordering on an asthma attack.  Okay, so those are my ten.

Now let’s take the ten-digit number “1417131512” and commit it to memory shall we?

14 – Angie Dickinson pulls out her snub-nosed thirty eight revolver and tells Andy Garcia he’s under arrest for poor character development and overacting.  17 -Andy Garcia makes a run for it and runs smack into Alice Cooper (13) the rock star stealing his microphone, making one last plea for public support for his acting abilities.  Alice Cooper picks up his electric guitar and starts a metal duet with Albert Einstein (15) on the properties of quantum particles.  Albert sees a head thrown up on stage and and kicks it back out in the audience returning it to Anne Boleyn(12).  How easy was that?

Using this system, I was able to memorize a 64 digit number, my four credit card accounts at the time, in a period of thirty minutes, without error.  I had never been able to remember a 64 digit anything prior to learning this system.  But I did notice, the more people I taught the system to, the more charges I was getting on my credit cards.  Take it from me, use someone else’s  credit card numbers if you’re going to show off the system…

Take the system, learn it, make it your own, teach it to others, you’ll be amazed at the results when you pair it with other memory systems.  The practical applications and successes are limited only by your own imagination…

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