Learn this Memory Trick & Never Forget a Password Ever Again (Ever)
Yes, you can live in Downton Abbey if it will help you remember your password – well, if you make it your memory palace, that is.
Let’s preface this incredibly useful memory technique with this: If you’re having trouble remembering all of your passwords, the easiest way to simplify things is to only have to remember one password. How do you do that? With a password manager, of course!
So, let’s say you’re having trouble remembering that one Master Password. It is a strong, unique password after all – so it’s long and complicated and hard to recall. Yes, unfortunately for your brain, that is the sign of a good password.
We turned to some of the world’s best memory experts to see how they remember intricate details, and came out with a fun and easy way for you to never (ever) forget your password again…
Build a memory palace in 5,4,3,2…
This memory technique was used by the ancient Romans, and is amazingly effective – just ask eight-time world memory champion Dominic O’Brien who used it to memorize 54 decks of cards in sequence! The idea is that we are all good at remembering places we know, like our house or our car or the walk we take our dogs on in the morning. That familiar place will guide you to recall information you put there.
Let’s say you choose your house as your memory palace. Here’s how the technique works:
5. Pick your palace: It has to be a place you are intimately familiar with. You need to be able to close your eyes and see every detail of what is normally there. Visualize a path that you normally walk within it – say, from your bedroom to your kitchen – and visualize what you would see on that walk.
4. Single out distinctive features: Pay attention to things that stand out to you. It might be your granite counter tops, the house keys you always leave on a side table, the lamp you turn on when you get out of bed.
3. Put these things in their place: For the technique to work, you need to select these things and have them 100% imprinted on your mind. You can visualize them carefully, write them down on a piece of paper and/or repeat them out loud as you see them in your path. Once you are confident that they are set in your mind – you’re ready to remember new details!
2. Connect your password to your palace: As we’ve talked about before, a good password is strong and unique. Rather than select an entirely random combination of letters, numbers and symbols – you can use a passphrase to help with memorability while still staying secure.
The trick is to associate your passphrase with your memory palace in ways so absurdly memorable that you’ll never forget them again. Let’s say that you often walk from the bedroom to the kitchen to get a midnight snack. Your favorite midnight snack is leftover pie, usually made with whatever berries are in season:
- Here’s the phrase: When I Can’t Sleep At 12 AM, I Eat Berry Pie Then Go To Bed!
- Here’s your passphrase: WICS@12AM,IEBPTG2B!
- Here’s how it looks in your memory palace:
The first feature you see is your alarm clock blinking 12 AM in the dark. Visualize this with emphasis – maybe the letters are bigger and brighter than normal, lit up in your favorite color. You get out of bed, turn on the lamp you have set up as part of your memory palace, and head into the kitchen. Why are you in the kitchen? To eat, of course! Here, you can visualize something really extraordinary, like berries spilling out of the fridge or a gigantic hot pie sitting on your granite counter top. Enjoy eating that delicious pie! Then think about the feeling of being tired late at night when you are full from eating, and associate that with returning to bed (and shutting off that lamp once again). The exclamation mark can be the feeling of falling back into bed and finally feeling like you’re ready to sleep!
1. Visit your memory palace: Every time you are struggling to remember your password, take yourself to your memory palace and do the tour. Always start from point A (this being your bed), and think about getting to point B (the kitchen). Because you can use your memory palace for all kinds of things, use the cue of “turning on the light” for remembering your password in particular. When you start from the same point and go along the same path, the things you’ve added to your memory bank will instantly appear in your mind. It’s a literal light bulb moment that means you’ll never forget your password again!
Tips from the pros:
- The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to remember.
- Visualization is a learned skill. Spend time practicing with visual meditation guides or just laying back with your eyes closed, and allowing your mind’s eye to recall visual details of things you know.
- Associating things you need to remember with places you know intimately well is one of the best memory techniques in the world!
Tell us: Have you tried this technique? How has it worked for you?
September 3, 2015 / By: Leah