Yes, but I just read these techniques and adapted them”.
“And I don’t feel different. I mean, I’m the same.”
“Really? But what do you do at the World Memory Championships?”
“Well, we compete in memory.”
Well, every competition is 10 disciplines. It can be numbers. It can be binary digits, one zero, one one, zero zero, one one. Very funny. It can be — can also be words. It can be names and faces, people’s names. It can be historic dates. Do you know that the world record for memorizing historic dates is about the same — is more even than all the days you learned throughout school system, including high school? And this guy does it in five minutes. Imagine that, 12 years compressed to five minutes.
So OK but I think it’s easy if I show you. So they would take a pack of cards, shuffle it. Not the ones that we had before it shuffled. So they give it to me and then while we’re chit chatting, I would start and then after a while the rest may address, when are you going to start? Well actually I’m already done. What do you mean? Take the card the pack, split it anyway you want.
OK, so this is Diamonds of 9. So what comes after Diamonds of 9? What do you mean? What is the card that comes after Diamonds of 9? Clubs of 2, right? And what comes after Clubs of 2? Hearts of 10. And what comes after Hearts of 10? A Two Fives. That’s good. It’s, one is Diamond and one is Hearts. I would say that one’s heart.
So OK. So how do you do this? Well it’s just about adapting techniques and actually I think it’s easy if I show you with an exercise. OK. Look at these two images. Do you see a connection between them? I give you a hint. There is no connection. It’s just two randomly picked pictures. But here’s what I want you to do. I want you to make a fun, vivid, animated story, use all your senses. See how it looks like, feels like, to connect these two images together. And do it in 3D, even though you don’t have the 3D goggles. Your brain is amazing, it can do it anyway. It’s projected in 3D. I give you a few seconds to do this.
Here’s how I would see it. Let’s see at the audience where you’re sitting. You see a big signal. You look next to you, you see a big signal. It has a door on it, you open the door because it says welcome, so you open the door and you’ve never been inside a [snap cell]. You go in and oh it’s like I’m in here, why they do that? Look at these two images. OK, give you the same, make a story.
Let’s take the stairs where I came up. And you see a flamingo building a big brick wall. So we have to climb over it. It’s no point but at least three, what do you think? We all know white elephant and you can see a big elephant, you all know why they are strong, why they carry a lot of weight. So — and you see a big giraffe up to the screen and a skier like I’m going to go skiing down the draft neck. Look up on the roof. This is — the last one is a little bit obvious, right, because you see a reptile, they like to be in the sun. It’s quite common, so you might think this is an obvious one. This one I will remember. And that’s a dangerous thing. Because obvious things we tend to forget. I bet I could find people in this room that don’t remember what they had for breakfast. Maybe today was different because you were going to TED, so you had breakfast later or whatever. But it’s a common thing you do, so it’s easy to forget, not registered.
So see the snake with big glasses, a nice drink and enjoying the sun on the roof. And the drink is not spilling. So what did we just do? Well we let our brain have fun and when we did that we focused on the task. And when we focus on the task we let our brains – we tell our brain this is important, remember this.
So first we use – we enforce the power of remembering. And what is the brain? The brain is a biological lump of neurons. It contains about 3% of our body weight but consumes 20% of our energy intake every day. And it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in the audience, standing here talking. What are you doing, it’s about the same level of energy consumption all the time. So it has a lot of neurons. And they like to connect to each other and they can make tens of thousands of connections. This is also why we are all unique. I mean it’s impossible to copy to make two identical brains. So we are all unique and the stronger we make the connections the longer we will remember the information.
So we can make weak connections and we forget them because that’s a natural thing. The brain selects, we always forget. That’s a natural thing because the brain – if you have a normal functioning brain it sorts out information that is not important. But you can tell it what is important and what is not. And the stronger the connections you make the longer you will remember it.