This post is going to cover how to use the major system to memorize any number you want. So, if you do not know how to use the major system, go check out my post on it here.
Okay, so let’s assume you want to know a fairly long number. Let’s say 20 digits, perhaps you want to know the first twenty digits of pi. Or maybe you want to know your ID number. Or, you could even want to know the square root of 2. All of these are good candidates for memorization using this system I am about to teach you.
First, let’s do a quick review of the major system. In the major system, you use words to store numbers. This is so effective because images are significantly easier to memorize than numbers. For practice try converting these words to numbers using the major system:
If you are unable to do this, then I recommend that you practice the major system some more before trying to learn this.
How This Works
All right, so now we are going to use the major system in conjunction with the memory palace system in order to store numbers. Basically, when you want to store a number somewhere, you are going to place an image there to represent that number. For example, if you wanted to store the number 72, you could place the image “cane” in your memory palace. If you wanted to store the number 18, you could place the image “taffy” in your palace.
But let’s say you wanted to memorize a longer number. How about 93426? Well, you could use “boomerang.” But that would be hard to convert to a number in your head. And not every long number is going to have an easy word equivalent. Especially as the numbers get really long. Do you think you could find a word for 4389579863? I certainly would not want to try.
Instead of finding really long and obscure words, we can simply break the number down. Instead of finding a word for 4389579863, we could find words for 43, 89, 57, 98, and 63. Now, you could break this number down into threes, but I would recommend for beginners to start by breaking numbers down into twos. So, what could we represent 4389579863 with?
- 43 could be room
- 89 can be fib
- 57 can be lock
- 98 could be buff
Now, you would store each of these images all along a journey in a memory palace. You don’t even have assign permanent words to numbers. All you need to do is know how to convert words on the fly.
When memorizing numbers, you are not always going to want to just know a string of numbers. Sometimes you may want to memorize a decimal in a number. For example, you may want to memorize 34901290.824739. Or maybe you want to memorize a ton of zeros after a number. For example, you may want to know 6140000000000000000. No doubt, all of those zeros would get really confusing! Or maybe you even want to memorize exponents such as 69323. I’ll break down how I memorize each of these special cases for you.
For decimals, I choose a golf ball to represent the decimal point. This image works well because the number that a golf ball represents is 65895 which is a longer number. This means that I won’t get it confused for a number I am actually storing because at max, I would store numbers in threes. For example, if I wanted to memorize 65.78 I would remember a goal, then a golf ball, and then finally a coffee.
Now let’s say we want to memorize a exponent. For an exponent, I like to imagine Chuck Norris to denote that an exponent is coming next. The image for the numbers in the exponent will be in his hands. For example, to memorize 3492, I would imagine my friend Emory, then Chuck Norris holding bane from Batman.
How, about multiplication? Well for multiplication, we need to choose another image that is distinct. We could choose a snowman if we wanted to. So, 62 times 8 could be: gun, snowman, fee.
Now, say we want to memorize a lot of zeros. For example, we could want to memorize 68900000000000. Now, let’s break it down into scientific notation. So instead of memorizing 68900000000000 by itself, we would memorize 6.89*1013. Using everything we have learned so far this would be: shoe, golf ball, fib, snowman, and then Chuck Norris holding a team. This would encode the number well!
If you have any other special cases you need to memorize, I am sure you will be able to come up with ideas based on what I have shown you so far.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, just comment below!