Toreador asks: Ok Terry, what is the secret for memorizing stuff? Is it something like mega memory that Kevin Trudeau was speeling some time ago? Spill it so the rest of us can be smart too.
It isn't something that would fit on a fortune cookie, that's for sure. It is a series of mnemonic shortcuts, cues and mental "hooks" which, when used in combination, make memorization of almost anything much much easier.
The idea is to have a mental toolkit you can reach into in an instant to do the job necessary. It isn't always the same approach each time.
I can convert numbers, for example, into words using a simple system. To memorize a telephone number I convert it into a nonsense phrase. Nonsense is always easier to remember. My mother-in-law's phone number is Peanut Pet Chef. I imagine my mother-in-law (who has a french poodle as a pet) with a peanut in a poodle cut and rhinestone collar jumping around in her kitchen as she cooks dinner with a Chef's hat on. Hence: peanut pet chef.
When was the Titanic sunk? The key phrase is TOP DOWN (1912) with me visualising the top of the ship upside down like the Poseidon Adventure.
If you have enough of these tricks and are accustomed to working with them you can form associations that stick quickly.
For those who might wonder; the digits from 1 to 9 are all you need to form key "hook" words.
1= Tea (as in a cup of tea)
2=Noah (as in Noah on his Ark)
4=Ray (as in a ray of light from a flashlight)
5=Law (I visualise a policeman blowing a whistle holding up his hand to stop traffic; five fingers outstretched in a white glove)
8=Fee (as in money)
9=Pea (as in Blackeyed pea)
As you go higher; you make new words out of the combinations. 22 would be NN and you make the word NUN for example. You remember your Nun by associating her doing something bizarre and linking her to other things.
I can also multiply two three digit numbers together in my head and get the answer without writing any of it down. This comes in very very handy. It is a simple procedure that involves this:
I X XIX XX I none of which will mean anything to you right now and I don't have the patience to go into it. Trust me, it works like dynamite.