Remembering Things With The Route Method
Thinking in pictures makes life easier for you
Today I would like to introduce to you an ancient, straightforward, yet highly effective memory technique. The mother of all memory techniques, so to speak.
There are hardly any upper limits - assuming regular training.
This technique is best used when you want to remember objects. Another method is responsible for numbers, which I will undoubtedly report on here. Let's get down to business. Welcome to the world of...
We already know the so-called route method (also known as "loci method" - loci - Latin = places) from the ancient Romans.
This is all about how it works and how to use it.
The principle of the route method is that of the pictorial linking of information.
Pictorial because it is much easier for our brain to remember images than general information such as language, numbers, or symbols. Therefore we remember images that are linked to each other much more quickly than words that are related to numbers, or vice versa.
But what is it with the routes?
It wouldn't do us much good to merely visualize all the objects and turn the individual images in our heads into a collage. Firstly, we would have no guarantee that we would not forget one or two things from our list and secondly, we would not offer the brain any points of contact for the information to be remembered.
The route method solves both problems exquisitely. A route is nothing more than a fixed reference system into which we can effortlessly insert new information again and again.
Concretely: To create your own route, imagine your own apartment. You define a starting point from which you can walk in your mind through all rooms one after the other. Did you do it? Then make a note of this starting point. As of today, every time you use the route method, you will start from this point in your apartment.
Look around you. What distinctive points are there in the room you are in? A sofa, a TV, a shelf? I'm sure you'll find many unique places.
The important thing is that these are places that do not change all the time. Taking a chair as a route point that stands here and there doesn't make any sense. Even the cigarette packet on the table is not suitable. The route points must be at one location in the long term.
Now you walk the room in which you are, either clockwise or counterclockwise in your mind and select your route points.
Write them down. More importantly, close your eyes and imagine each route point as clearly as you can in front of your mind's eye.
So now you're walking through every room in your apartment. You will cross every room just like the first one. If you have decided to do a clockwise tour, then do it this way in all the places. The same applies vice versa: If you've gone counterclockwise in the first room, you'll do the same in all other rooms.
At some point, you will be through all the rooms and have written a list of the route points you have chosen. Now number the route points.
Once you have done this, you will see how many things you will be able to remember in the future with this list. In my case, it happens to be 45. Of course, you can also choose a shorter or longer route. The main thing is that you know the way of your route very well.
Instead of going through your apartment, you can take another apartment that you know, a walk through your neighborhood, or something else. The principle is always the same.
So, what are we supposed to do with this list now, you ask? OK, here comes the explanation:
You'll learn this list by heart. This one time, you still have to learn traditionally, but afterward, you have a tool at hand that will make learning much easier for you in the future.
The point is to solve the two problems mentioned above: Firstly, you have a fixed, sequential frame of reference for storing your information, and secondly, you have the certainty that you cannot forget or skip any item to remember as you walk the route in spirit point by point.
The trick to remember a shopping list by route, for example, is as follows
Let's say you want to go to the supermarket tomorrow and buy the following: Eggs, cola, toilet paper, pipe cleaner, smarties, bread, a hammer, garbage bag, a lighter, deodorant, a bouquet of flowers and batteries.
Let's also say the first twelve route points of your own route look like this:
2. living room table
3. hanging lamp over the table
4. floor lamp next to the couch
5. television set
6. wing chair
7. showcase cabinet
9. dining table
10. painting on the wall
11. waste bin in the kitchen
12. coffee machine
What do we do with it? Right, we're working with visual connections now. To do this, we place the first item on our shopping list at the first route point.
Before we get started: The more bizarre and strange a picture is, the more our brain will remember it. It's easier to remember unusual things.
Here we go:
We're looking at the sofa. What a mess! Some scatterbrain has thrown raw eggs at our seat, and now the whole couch is dripping with egg yolks and protein, which is absorbed into the cushions and spills onto the floor.
As our shocking gaze turns away from the sofa, we see with horror that the same scatterbrain has knocked over a large bottle of Coke on the living room table. The whole table is full of cola, and of course at least half of it has already gone to the floor, where it mixes with the egg paste.
Long strips of toilet paper hang down from the hanging lamp above the living room table. Like crazy garlands, they dangle there, and of course, their ends hang into the cola puddle on the table. There must have been a wild party when we weren't home.
We turn away disgusted. We look anxiously at the beautiful floor lamp. What's that? It seems completely battered. The shade has holes, and the lamp base looks like it has been pickled off. No wonder! At the bottom of the lamp there is an open bottle of pipe cleaner from which poisonous vapors rise. Somebody took the wrong thing to clean the lamp.
As if to mockery, the television starts and a cheerful commercial mocks us: "Many, many colorful Smarties" sings a children's choir and enjoys life. We don't feel like laughing at all.
But we're not the only ones saddened. A depressed bread sits in the armchair and looks at us sadly. Then it suddenly gets angry, tears a hammer up and throws it into our beautiful display cabinet, whose windows shatter into a thousand pieces. It can hardly get any worse now.
But then we see that there is a hole in our aquarium. The water has almost entirely run off. In a panic we grab a garbage bag to catch some water. That's where we put our poor fish. At least that went well.
At the same moment, we hear a disturbing crackling from the dining table. We look and discover an oversized lighter that begins to develop a life of its own.
Suddenly a flame shoots out of the lighter and sets the beautiful painting on the wall on fire. Of course, we want to extinguish it and grab the deodorant spray. Bad idea! By spraying it into the flames, the light really burns up. A small pile of ashes is all that remains.
Resigned, we sweep the ashes together and throw them into the trash can in the kitchen. The bouquet of flowers that our beloved threw at our feet yesterday was stuffed right in. No, things are really not going well at the moment.
Coffee now! But that won't work either, because our coffee machine stupidly runs on batteries, and they seem to be empty. The empty cells, which we removed yesterday, are neatly lined up in front of the machine. I wish we hadn't forgotten them!
If you have nicely imagined this story, it shouldn't be a problem for you now to reproduce all twelve points of the shopping list from your head.
Try it now. You'll be amazed at yourself.
Of course, it will be a lot easier if it is your route and your history. As an example, this should work like this.
I hope that I was able to whet your appetite for the route method. Maybe in the future, you will be as enthusiastic about memory techniques as I am.