You might think, "Are you crazy?, I can't even remember my 4 digit PIN code!".
Often, when you're not motivated enough to develop your mental skills, it's more about distrust, lack of confidence and the ability to prioritize the necessary time and just do it.
The brain is an expert in avoiding congestion and finding an excuse for not immersing itself.
But it's true, a "normal" brain is able to learn more than you can imagine. It may be that you're not the fastest thinker in the world, but everyone can learn it.
You might think, "Why would I want to spend my precious time on trying to memorize a random deck of playing cards, chronologically?"
Because memorizing playing cards,
- is the best memory exercise ever.
- will improve your overall memory functions.
- makes you good at memorizing long lists, via memory palaces.
- develops killer abilities with memorizing and managing abstractions.
- improves your imagination.
- makes you more mentally agile.
- helps with language learning.
- improves your critical thinking.
- is a cool party stunt and a legitimate sport.
- is a transferable skill.
- will give you untold waves of accomplishment and self-esteem.
- makes you excel at card games like bridge, poker and blackjack.
But most importantly, mastering this memory skill, makes you the champion of your own mind, because you managed to force your brain to learn something new and complex, which will benefit you in the future.
I would guess that you can master this technique, in about a week, if you put some effort into it. Trust me, you can do it and you'll get a major kick and self-esteem out of it.
MEMORIZING THE CARDS
You need a technique to create a mental map of all the 52 cards. Lets call it the Person-Action-Object, or PAO Matrix.
THE PAO MATRIX
The PAO matrix helps as a visual reference, when mentally navigating the cards in your mind.
You can create your own matrix, based on something you're good at memorizing, like Pokémons and all their skills and properties. But creating your own matrix, from scratch, takes time and energy.
So I've created a simple interactive PAO Matrix tool in a Google Sheet, which can be download here.
GROUPING AND CATEGORIZING MENTAL SHORTCUTS
By grouping and categorizing the cards, we can create mental shortcuts in our mind map, such as who form couples together (male /female) and other valuable combinations.
- Persons are matched together in male and female pairs (columns), within a common domain or public discipline, such as sport athletes, movie stars, controversials,... powerful personalities and top celebrities etc.
- Each card has 3 properties, a person, an action and an object, which together forms a well-known, coherent and memorable sentence about this specific person represented on the card, which can be used to remember the card.
In the table below, each row represents a couple (male and female), in a shared occupational, public or social domain, except for:
- The middle row, with card 7 and 8, which holds a male scientist with a beautiful female.
- The second row (from the top), which only holds a religious male figure, with no female partner.
|MALE||FEMALE||DOMAIN / TYPE|
|7||8||Scientist / Beautiful|
RELATING A PERSONALITY TO EACH SUITE
HEART = LOVABLE, GREAT, GOOD
People close to your heart.
DIAMOND = RICH, STYLISH, BLING
People who loves diamonds and bling.
SPADE = HUMOUROUS, ABSURD
People that make you laugh or wrinkle your nose.
CLUB = COOL, SERIOUS, CRAZY, BAD
People with an itch in the body or brain.
RELATING 3 PROPERTIES TO EACH CARD
We need to relate 3 properties to each of the 52 playing cards in the deck.
Here is an example, of defining 3 properties, for 3 random cards:
Each card has 3 properties, a person, an action and an object, which together forms a well-known, coherent and memorable sentence about this specific person represented by the card, which can be used to remember the card.
3 OF SPADES
|Ben Stiller||polygraphed by||Robert De Niro|
5 OF HEARTS
|Julian Assange||vanish into||puff of smoke|
KING OF DIAMONDS
|Prince William*||save people from||sea|
- Prince William was a lifeguard on a rescue helicopter.
Now we have defined 3 cards, with 3 different properties associated with, one person, one action and one object.
CREATING A MEMORY PALACE
Now lets dive into the ancient memory technique called Memory Palace or Loci.
You remember things by placing recognizable mnemonics, images or funny sentences on a known chronological route, through a mental palace of your own choice. It can be your childhood home or a route you follow to work.
You need 17 locations holding 3 cards each, to represent the first 51 cards (leaving the last card, which we'll ignore for now).
At each of the 17 locations, the 3 cards are used to define a funny or crazy phrase, by combining the person name from the 1st card, the action from the 2nd card and the object from the 3rd card, as shown below.
EXAMPLE LOCI, WITH 3 CARDS
|Ben Stiller||vanish into||sea|
EXPLODING THE LOCI SENTENCE BACK INTO IT'S THREE CARDS
Ben Stiller, vanish into, sea.
Now, with this single sentence, let us try to recall the three original cards, by going through our mental PAO mind map.
First card (the person): Ben Stiller
- A movie star personality column pair (3, 4), and male (odd column number).
- Humourous or absurd personalities, belonging to the card suit of Spades.
- So this card must be 3 of Spades.
Second card (the action): vanish into
- Julian Assange is the one who vanish into a puff of smoke.
- A controversial personality column pair (5, 6), and a male (odd column number).
- Admired for his courage, belonging to the card suit of Hearts.
- So this card must be 5 of Hearts.
Third card (the object): sea
- Prins William is the one who saves people from the sea.
- A royal personality column pair (12, 13), and a male (odd column number).
- Lives a bling and royal life, belonging to the card suit of Diamonds.
- So this card must be King of Diamonds.
Here is a memory palace, with the 17 locations, each with its own 3 cards forming a sentence, which is composed of a different property from each of the 3 cards.
Note that there is an 18th loci, which contains the last card in the deck. You really don't need to remember it, but you can use it as a cool trick.
Click the image below to view it in full-size.
Note (regarding the picture above)
- Loci 6 (patio), has a wrong 1st (person name) property. Instead of the person name (Galileo), it should have been (Thomas Edison).
- Loci 7 (garden) has a wrong 3rd (object) property. Instead of the person name (Lady Gaga), it should have been the object part (Paparazzi).
To do the work, you need 2 decks of playing cards
- One deck of cards to go through one by one and remember the order.
- And another deck of cards to recreate what you have remembered.
You might want to use a randomizing Deck of Cards app, from AppStore or GooglePlay, which you can use to go through a random deck of cards. So now you only need one standard deck of playing cards, to recreate the memorized deck of cards.