Once you have your list, commit it to memory. When some people hear this they ask, “Why go through all this work when you want to memorize numbers?” The answer is, it’s easier to remember images than numbers.
Practice the list, counting from 0–100. Break it into groups of ten. You’ll have it committed to memory before you know it.
In Dominic’s system, we also add an action to each person. This lets you encode longer numbers into one image.
For instance, my image for 11 is Admiral Ackbar. He is yelling, “It’s a trap!” at a Star Destroyer.
38, for me, is Chris Hemsworth. He plays Thor, his action is hammering something.
So, if I am trying to remember a sequence of numbers that include 1138, I will picture those four numbers as Admiral Ackbar hammering.
For your first venture into Dominic, you can start with just finding a person for each number. Learn about Person-Action, or better yet, Person-Action-Object for a more efficient approach.
Here are some examples of people/characters, using this system.
56 — Edward Scissorhands
57 — Eva Green
58 — Evander Hollifield
59 — Eric Northman
If we added an action to each of these Evander Hollifield, for instance, could be boxing.
Having a Person and Action for each number allows us to do something called memory chunking. It also makes for more vivid images, which in turn makes them easier to remember.
If you were to try to memorize a string of numbers such as 235897751639 you’d have to remember twelve different numbers. By using the names you’re coming up with, you could do it with just six people, or six images. By adding an action, you bring that down to only three visualizations.
How? Like this.
Let’s look at the number again. 235897751639. Or rather, 23–58–97–75–16–39
My Dominic person-action images for these are:
23 — Michael Jordan dribbling a basketball.
58 — Evander Hollifield boxing
97 — Neil Gaiman typing.
75 — Gloria Estefan singing, “Turn the Beat Around.”
16 — Arnold Schwarzenegger bench pressing.
39 — Chuck Norris doing a roundhouse kick.
To memorize this list, I’d imagine Michael Jordan (23) boxing (58), Neil Gaiman (97) singing (75), followed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (15) doing a roundhouse kick (39).
With three images, I’ve just memorized 12 numbers.
Need another example? How about 72876950?
Here are some more possible images.
72 = GB = Garth Brooks strumming a guitar
87 = HG = Hermionie Granger casting a wand spell.
69 = SN = Seven of Nine singing.
50 = Shaquille O’Neal slam dunking.
So when we get that sequence, using Person-Action, we could memorize it by imagining Garth Brooks performing a spell, followed by Seven of Nine slam dunking on a basketball court.
As a reminder, here are those sounds:
1 = A
2 = B
3 = C
4 = D
5 = E
6 = S
7 = G,J
8 = H
9 = N
0 = O
Want to learn to memorize numbers?
- Learn the sounds.
- Make your list.
- Learn your list.
Rote memorization is one of the worst ways to remember something long-term. But by going over them several times, and visualizing your images, you’ll place these into medium-term-memory. And with practice, that translates into long-term.
Is there more to this? Of course. To remember truly large numbers, you’ll need a way to keep the sequence of your images in place. Most people, including myself, use a Memory Palace to do this.
You can start learning vast memory skills either by starting here with the Dominic System or by learning to build a Memory Palace. That, incidentally, will be my next Memory article.