This article has everything you need to know about how to build a memory palace.
Have you ever had the feeling that you forgot something? Maybe a word? Or the date you need to write down for your exam? Ever felt like a word was on your tongue but you could not locate it or find it?
Or maybe you want to know tons of things, you are just a person who likes to be prepared. Then you certainly need to build a mind palace!
Mind palaces, also known as memory palaces, memory theater, memory journeys or the locus method (loki being the Latin for place), are memory enhancement strategies.
With these strategies, or tricks if you prefer, you can really take your mind to another level.
Mind palaces are mnemonic devices that have been around for a long time. It was really adopted by the historical Greek and Roman systems.
It was used by some of the most prominent leaders of the era. Cicero for example, a Roman lawyer and politician, used this trick to memorize his very long speeches.
In modern times, this technique has also been used many times. Sherlock Holmes is among the people who make use of this technique.
He uses them to solve all of his complicated and confusing investigations, even if they’re represented on a really dramatic scale.
Also, Dominic O’Brien, who is an eight-time world memory champion did something with this method. He memorized fifty-four decks of cards (2,808 cards). He looked at each card just once. He did this using the mind palace method.
Another person who uses this method and produces incredible results is the character in Thomas Harris’ novel, Hannibal. Hannibal, a serial killer, keeps patient details in his head and uses these details to kill them.
Therefore, the mind palace is not a real physical palace. It’s a set of rooms that you build in your mind.
In Sherlock Holmes, this concept is heavily dramatized when you see Holmes enter his mind which is a room, or actual house to analyze all the details and eventually solve a case.
For most people, this isn’t how the mind palace works.
In order to build your memory palace and reach your full potential with it, the very first thing you must do is separate yourself from Sherlock Holmes or any other fictional character who uses this technique.
Remember that their minds were created and shaped by the creator for a more dramatic effect.
Yes, your mind is meant to store information and help you provide this information when needed. Think bigger scale. Think of all the potential you can achieve with a mind palace. Your memorization skills and sharp thinking will surprise you.
You can take advantage of your mind palace in many ways. It does not limit itself to studying for exams. You can use it when preparing for projects, learning skills, learning a new language, or even when memorizing speeches.
If this is something you are attempting to accomplish without success. Don’t worry. With some practice and planning, you really can make it work.
But first things first. You need to understand how to build a mind palace.
How to Build a Memory Palace
According to the myth spread by Cicero, the creator and first person to make use of the mind palace was Simonides of Ceos.
He should have used this when attending the banquet that resulted in tragedy. After his poetry was insulted by the host of the banquet, Simonides stepped out to meet two other youths who had called out to him.
Mysteriously enough, he did not see them and when he turned around to head back into the banquet hall, he realized that it had collapsed, with all the other banquet attendees inside.
These ones were badly destroyed and their remains are barely identifiable. The myth says that Simonides bale to name each of them after where they sat in the hall.
So the location of these people plays a big role in their identification. So, getting a location will be the first step used to effectively build a powerful and reliable memory palace.
1. Visualize a room or group of rooms.
The very first thing you must do is choose your location. We advise you to choose places that are familiar to you, places that you can walk around even with your eyes closed.
This is because, when we know a room, it is going to be easier for us to remember it. So you certainly need to know it in order to explore it with your mind’s eye.
Size does not matter here. You can decide to choose your travel path; the way from the bus stop to your house; a church; your bedroom even!
It’s your choice at the end of the day. Make sure you are very familiar with this place. And remember that, the extra space you have in your mind palace, the more room for more memories.
This brings us to the next step.
2. Walk through your chosen location.
Don’t just imagine a static location. It will confuse you. Get your mind used to the place you choose. Go through it a few times until your mind is entirely comfy with it.
Choose where you’ll start walking. You can start at the door, otherwise you can choose to start from a sofa, bed, or perhaps a bus stop. You can even start on your front porch and go from there.
It’s important to remember these routes in a certain order because changing or substituting them will only confuse you and mess up your entire memory palace.
So, to put them in a certain order in your mind, you can walk through them physically and mentally at the same time, ensuring to note where each object is placed.
Your journey through your location should be coherent, as this will help to memorize the info easily later on.
3. Mark each different place.
This step is as important as any other. Make sure you remember every object or place that will enter your mental palace. What you are attempting to memorize does not really matter at this step. This could be an exam date for a test or a speech.
Just note that any information you must save must correspond to a selected place in the location or route you have mapped out. So the more information you need to remember, the more places you must add to your mental palace.
This is why you need to be very familiar with your location so that you do not confuse one object or place for one more.
To list features or places, we suggest you do this. Begin your mental journey with the hallmarks of your location. If you choose your bedroom, then you’ll likely start walking by your bedroom door.
Analyze the room. What features stood out the most when you got them? It could be a bed located in the middle of the room. Or maybe a full-length mirror covered in fur.
Be sure to tick off each of these features and map out how you’ll move from one feature to another. You can number them if you want.
Or you can write it down on a piece of paper so you do not forget. But remember that every of them is important. This is because they will serve as markers of the information you want to remember.
4. Train your mind palace.
You aren’t perfect. So your memory palace does not must be perfect on the first try. Revise as much as possible and stop when you’re comfy with it.
What you can do is draw your mind palace and the location you choose for it. It does not must be perfect. Make sure it is coherent enough for you to follow along.
Draw a few times to get the hang of it. And ensure each location you plan to use is placed in the correct order so you do not confuse yourself later.
You can even ask friends for help. Speak the map you drew orally. And let them tell you if your location is accurate.
That is it! You have built your memory palace. Make sure to get used to it as much as you can, so that using it comes naturally to you. This brings us to our next topic: how to use your mind palace.
How to Use Memory Palace
Okay you have built your mind palace. You have set up your place, mapped your location and marked the distinctive features that will help you later.
What is next? How do you really use this palace? Let’s undergo the steps.
What you are doing here is usually association! That’s the main word. You associate everything in your mind palace with the real things you want to remember.
5. Associate the places in your memory palace with what you need to remember.
The very first thing you must do is build what you want to remember. You can make a list. Did you write the exam? English exam for example?
You can write down the name of the character you want to remember, the main theme of the book you’ll write.
Make sure you do not put quite a lot of information in one place otherwise you might end up confusing yourself.
For example, if your memory place is your bedroom, then when memorizing a speech, the first five sentences could be on your doorstep, the next five on your doorknob, and so on.
Gathering lots of ideas is one place is not the answer as it will only help confuse you. Also, one thing you can do is place the information on your route the way you want it to be remembered. In what way, would it be easier to maintain.
If two ideas must be separated from one another, then put them on opposite ends. For example, you can put one theory in the doorknob, then put another theory in the trash.
That way, you will never place them next to one another. And you certainly will not get confused yourself.
6. Associate a symbolic image with an idea.
The next thing you must do is hang around. What do we mean by associates you ask? First of all, see what you must memorize. Write down the ideas (and the dots you connect with them), then use a visible representation of every idea.
Simply put, associate each idea you need to memorize with the matching picture (1). This trick is known as the memory peg. And it is one hundred percent effective because we tend to remember more things when we see them.
So let’s say, you have a chemistry test. You want to remember the first twenty elements of the periodic table.
Then, your doorknob is Helium because it’s the second element in the periodic table. Therefore, you can associate that element with a balloon, because guess what was used to pump air into it? Helium.
It is proven that associating the ideas we have with a symbol, particularly if it’s a visible symbol makes it much easier for us. So make sure to try this.
Add a whimsical image to the original symbolic image The next steps may be strange and disturbing. But trust us. Succeed! You own your location. You have an idea that you want to memorize. You have your symbolic image.
What you must do now is make the image as disturbing and peculiar as possible.
So your first stop is the door. You want to remember that helium is the first element of the periodic table. And the symbol you associate with this element is the balloon.
Imagine yourself in a big balloon, coming to your bedroom door.
You can make the balloons really incredible, maybe even unicorn wings. In this way, you’ll have the ability to train your memory faster.
Note that you can even use negative images as this works great. Just be sure that they’ve a clear correlation with what you want to remember.
7. Associate another mnemonic device to your image.
OK, you have an idea. You know which places you’ll associate with each idea. You know what picture you are going to use to jog your memory, and you’ve got connected a symbol that’s just as strange as it’s.
Now the next step.
This one is not really necessary but we found that it helps, particularly if you are the type of person who needs more motivation to remember things. Or if the information you are trying to remember is longer than average.
8. Associate another mnemonic device to your symbolic image.
A mnemonic tool is just another name for a memory tool. This one helps you store things in your brain effectively. And when you do this, they help you remember this stuff when you need them. An example of a mnemonic tool is an abbreviation. Make abbreviations of anything you need to remember by helping you.
Let’s take the periodic table again as an example. You can use popular rhymes for the first twenty elements.
Hey – Hydrogen
He – Helium
Like – Lithium
Beating – Beryllium
Son – Boron
Coming – Carbon
Near – Nitrogen
We – Oxygen
Field – Fluorine
New – Neon
Nation – Sodium
Manufacturing – All Magnesium – Aluminum
Silicone – Silicone
Product – Phosphorus Susan – Sulfur
Cleaning – Chlorine
Around – Argon
King – Potassium
Cameron – Calcium
Reading this and memorizing it will help you.
How to Train Your Memory Palace
Now you are done building your castle. You’ve gathered all the things you need to efficiently memorize the speech you need to give or pass the exam you are about to write. But what’s next?
This technique is new to you. So the smartest thing you can do is memorize it. Every day, you can spend at least fifteen minutes going through your memory palace.
This is to make yourself more and more familiar with your memory palace. Instead of just going about your day normally, look at the objects in your everyday life and associate them with the items in your memory palace.
Walk through your memory palace every day, both physically and mentally. The more you walk past them, the more familiar you become with them.
And the better you’ll have the ability to remember your ideas.
When you are done using the information you have stored in your memory palace, make sure to clear it! Of course you can have different memory palaces, with different ideas stacked inside.
But you can even clear out a memory palace and incorporate new ideas. Use the same method we mentioned above and effectively store new information in your memory palace!
Be sure to clear out your memory palace if you find it too big and too confusing. Just delete the info you do not need from it.
Be sure to build new castles for numerous topics. If you want to add new topics to your brain but do not want to erase old information, the safest way to do this is to build new memory palaces.
Make sure to choose a different place for your new memory palace so you do not confuse yourself.
There is no limit to the number of memory palaces you can build. Make sure you are careful with the information you store in this palace.
Because if they’re too similar, in the end, you might confuse yourself and blend up your information.
Building a memorial palace is an excellent thing to do. It’s fun, educational and simulates your brain. This method is also very good at helping you store information in your brain. We certainly recommend you give it a try.
Make sure you practice practice and practice. Walking through your brain palace, and familiarizing yourself with it, you can retain information within it for long periods of time, only triggering your mind when you need to use it.
You have the right to create as many memory palaces as you want. You can make it as easy or as complex as you want.
You can even empty it, because it’s waiting for ideas that you’re going to save there. You can think of it as a bank, just waiting for you to fill it with knowledge.
Make sure when you memorize, do not try to keep everything in your brain. Take the key points and place them in your memory palace.
Or you can make a summary and then put it in your bank. Keep reminding yourself of small details when you want to remember the idea in question, that way, you’ll trigger your memory (2).
You should know that you can use your mind palace for anything. Learning a new language, memorizing new recipes, writing exams or exams, memorizing speeches. Just create a blank “canvas” and add your ideas as you see fit.
Obviously there are other methods of storing data and recalling it when needed. But so far, for us, mind palace is the best.
They combine knowledge, fun and activity. It’s also not at all difficult to learn.
Mind palaces, in my opinion, are the best way to learn a skill, a language, memorize your speech or notes. They are effective and the good thing is, you can have many palaces of thoughts on different topics.
If you have not tried it, you should certainly do it.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to make a memory palace. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.