The magic of memorizing: Chain-link method

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Today’s post will be a bit different. I will share a recent experience with Jim Kwik‘s Superbrain course at Mindvalley. It is about memorizing using the chain-link method.

Why I am sharing this? Because I found it cool! It is very easy to learn, it really works, and maybe could be useful in the future, who knows.

Also it is said that when you share it, when you tech it, you learn it twice.

Let’s start first with a little challenge…

Try to learn those words. Only memorizing, not writing. In order.

  1. Fire hydrant
  2. Ballon
  3. Batteries
  4. Barrel
  5. Board
  6. Diamond
  7. Sir Lancelot
  8. Mask
  9. Toothpaste
  10. Sign

Now, without any trick, try to remember them in order. Write them, compare, and count the result. How it was? Easy? Difficult? How many words did you remember? In order?

Second step, the story begins…

Now, let’s do the following: follow the story, visualize it, use your imagination.

  • Let’s imagine that you walk by the street and you see a fire hydrant. Visualize it. How is the fire hydrant? A big red one.
  • And linked to the fire hydrant there are balloons, lots. See the color, which color are they?
  • Then the balloons rise up and take the fire hydrant with them, it is flying! A red fire hydrant flying with balloons! Imagine!
  • But then suddenly, balloons start exploding. Why? Batteries flying and crashing with the balloons, they are being launched fiercely enough to make them explode. Bang! Imagine batteries the type you prefer: AA, AAA, rechargeable, and see the brand, maybe a known brand, with a rabbit?
  • The batteries are being thrown from a barrel, a big old wooden barrel, which is full of batteries on it. You see that near the barrel there is a surfboard, visualize it, it is very cool!
  • And when you see it, you realize that there’s a diamond over the board. It is a 64-carat shining diamond. And while you are looking at it, it falls off the edge hitting a knight’s head, a knight with a shining and smoky armor, it is Sir Lancelot’s head, and the diamond knockout him. He falls!
  • There is an oxygen mask, so you run to help him, but you see that it is quite dirty and the only thing you have to clean it is toothpaste. It is your usual toothpaste, the brand you usually use.
  • You clean the mask with the toothpaste and give it to Sir Lancelot while you put the toothpaste over a sign, a big and colorful neon sign with the words “The End”.

Now that you have the story in your mind, try to repeat the same ten words.

How it was? Better than the previous one? Did you see any improvement? Could you do it backward?

Now the challenge, memorize the periodic table!

You read correctly, let’s step over a bigger challenge. Let’s memorize the first ten elements of the periodic table. Something that you probably don’t want to memorize :)

  1. Hydrogen
  2. Helium
  3. Lithium
  4. Beryllium
  5. Boron
  6. Carbon
  7. Nitrogen
  8. Oxygen
  9. Fluorine
  10. Neon

As you may have realized, the ten-word challenge was prepared for this. But the idea is the same. Let’s analyze the words:

  1. Hydrogen: Sounds like a hydrant, isn’t it?
  2. Helium: When you think of Helium, you think on balloons filled with helium.
  3. Lithium: What are the batteries made of? Yes. lithium.
  4. Beryllium: It sounds like Barrel.
  5. Boron: It sounds like Board.
  6. Carbon: Did you know that diamonds are made of Carbon?
  7. Nitrogen: Let’s imagine liquid nitrogen, cold, shining, smoky, like our knight’s armor, like Sir Lancelot’s.
  8. Oxygen: We use a mask of oxygen, easy?
  9. Fluorine: The toothpaste has fluoride.
  10. Neon: A sign, a big neon sign.

Now that we have connected our periodic table elements with the words of the story, let’s try to remember the 10 periodic table elements.

As we did before, just remember the story and name them all in order, but now name the elements instead of the original words.

What happened? Could you do it backward?

The chain-link method

This is the chain-link method. You have a link in the chain (hydrant) and a second one (balloon) and then you tie them together using an action, the most exaggerated, unique, funny, emotional, possible.

It doesn’t have to be exact. The picture you build only has to bring you yo the right information.

Is that easy! I tested with myself, and kids, and it really worked. Ok, only ten words, but enough to play with my kids.

I also generated ten random words using a random generator website, and tested the method again building the most original story with them. And you know what, it worked. I could say the 10 of them in order and backward. I even remember the story when two days passed since I did it.

It is not magic, it is our brain that needs some practice. Give it a try and share your experience here! If you liked, I’ll be sharing more techniques from the course.

I hope you had fun!


Also published on Medium.

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