That grid of numbers was the most intimidating part, but in my training session with Nelson he taught me how to look at it so it was slightly less intimidating. So, for example, for remembering names and faces, he said to take a name like Nelson and try to turn it into a picture by associating it with a famous person like Nelson Mandela (step one).
A prominent place (or peg or anchor) could be a piece of clothing, an eye, moustache, or whatever stands out to you on that person. In truth, the more exaggerated and absurd the better (I had to tap into my inner, secret, lurid side sometimes).
For remembering lots of digits and random cards, the same fundamental techniques (make abstract things more visual and anchor it somewhere) still apply, but stronger techniques and systems are also needed. The technique everyone used is the Dominic System, invented by memory champ Dominic O’Brien, which basically translates numbers to letters. But for the system to work, you have to make it personal, so for memorising the deck of cards, for each of the 52 cards I had to create a person with an action and object. It takes a heck of a time to set up and practice, but it also stretches your brain and when you practice putting the cards together, it really does make you think creatively (Kevin Spacey trimming hedges with Edward Scissorhands knife-hands and a hobbit ring?). Again, the more animation, exaggerations and senses you can put into your memory palace or journey, the better for your memorisation.
If you really want to train like a memory champ, try this great name remembering game, download Memoriad (Windows) competition training software (it’s pretty serious), and lurk in the Mnemotechnics forums. All of us want our washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances to last as long as possible, but how long they're made to last is another story. HBO is finally beginning to mobilise against Game Of Thrones pirates with thousands of copyright infringement warnings sent to people suspected of illegally downloading the show. Then for step two, find a prominent place on that person to anchor it, for example on his biggish nose — so imagine Nelson Mandela crawled up inside his nose.

In another photo there was a girl named Laurie, like the snotty-nosed one I knew in primary school, so I imagined a tissue box underneath her nose.
The next time you see that person, you’ll see that image in that feature and remember her name, instantly. We turn digits into two-letter initials for people and associated actions and objects, so we can better visualise them. We’ve noted how previous memory champions have built a memory palace to peg information in familiar places or loci. Imagine the person of the first card doing the action of the person on the second card with the object of the person on the third card. Start a journey beginning at a place you’re very familiar with, say, your home, starting with your doorstep. And the more you strengthen your memory and keep practicing to sharpen your brain, the better your chances of fighting off Alzheimer’s disease. In everyday life, pay more attention to how things look and sound and feel, which might improve your visualisation skills. Consumer Reports put together a list of average lifespans for common household appliances, and some are shorter than you might think.
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If you follow these six steps, however, you should be able to keep them looking fresh and beautiful for much longer. Now he has two national memory competition wins under his belt and the record for memorising 303 random numbers in five minutes (beating his record last year of 248 numbers). So, for example, the number zero, because it is round, is an O, and since it’s at the start gets the two-letter translation OO.

The King of Spades (KS) was Kevin Spacey as Kaiser Soze in The Usual Suspects (which I thought worked out well initials-wise), lighting a gold lighter and the object was a gold lighter. Flipping three cards up, I saw Audrey Hepburn (queen of diamonds) taking a bath (five of hearts) with a pirate sword (jack of spades) on my couch. So for a shopping list, the example goes, imagine a container of milk overflowing on your doorstep, and when you get inside, perhaps two giant steaks attacking you in your foyer.
Lucky for me, I learned a few tricks from the reigning champ for the second year in a row, Nelson Dellis.
Many people use Ozzy Osbourne as their person for that number zero, the action could be biting the head off a bat, and the object a bat.
In my memory palace, I walked through my house, starting at my front door, and placed these familiar people or numbers on my furniture. Scooby Doo (six of diamonds) playing the cello (six of spades) with a dumbbell (ace of spades) on my kitchen counter.
Here are the techniques Nelson taught me that you can start incorporating into your everyday life to make your memory stronger. It’s easier to remember Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat than a zero in a sea of numbers. And Nicholas Cage (nine of clubs) yodeling (three of diamonds) with Batman’s grapple gun (four of clubs) on my entertainment centre.

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