New Member : Alexandre G-LeBlanc, Canada

A little about myself :
I am a mechanical engineer and my first language is french. I am very curious and I love to : learn new things daily, understand the underlying principles of everything and improve what is around me.

I used to think I had a bad memory because when I was a little boy, I couldn’t remember what I did during the day when my parents asked me about it during supper. I didn’t know my geography, neither history and I was very bad at general knowledge board games. It got to the point I did even bother to try to learn it.

This made me very good at taking notes and making summaries, but I realized recently that in real life dicussions, you don’t have them nearby, or you don’t find the one your looking for when you need it. It also force you to relearn things if you didn’t look at it for a while.

How I found about memory techniques :
7 years ago, when I finished school, since I like to learn new things, I decided to try to learn a third language (spanish). I tried many different websites, some worked bether than others, but after 5 years, I knew words, but could’nt make much sentences and listening to TV shows was still a blur.

About 2 years ago, I took a new year resolution to do something about my “bad memory”. So I looked into what champion of memory do to remember decks of cards, etc,. What I liked about them was the principle that there is no “bad memory” there is only “untrainned” memory. So I decided to get into it and to learn the Major System and the 00-99 “Numzi” peg words. I used Anki for repetition.

I also started to learn all the countries of the world, along with their capitals and flags using also Anki. I wanted to learn them because otherwise, you don’t have anywhere to stick information about your friend vacation trip, or historical events (countries tend to fight with countries near them).

When I commuted in my car for work, I listened to history books from various point of view (economics, language, religions, etc). This helped me because I am a good with logic, so going deep from a point of view was much easier for me to learn because there was something to “understand” instead of just plain dates.

My current best memory feat :
Fast foward 2 years, I now know :

  • about 90% of all countries with their capital and flag
  • can listen to Spanish (my third language) music and TV without subtitles
  • have a general timeline of history in my head, can guess in wich century something happened (still need improvement for this)
  • learned about 1700 words of a fourth language (Italian) along with being able to make sentences in about 6 months with an average of 30 min per day

My current biggest challenge about memory (what I currently focus on).
What have you tried so far? What worked, what didn’t?:

I have two main focus right know.

  1. I want to be able to remember nice moments of my life without needing to take a picture of it. (So basicly dates + information and being able to recall them)
  2. I want to be faster when I play cards games with my friends (I am slow because I need the recheck my cards in my hand every times for the posibilities). So I want to remember the cards in my hand (usually up to 13) and the cards that were discarded (usually 2 decks of cards) to know if I still can get the card I want or not.

For dates :

  • I am currently learning The Shaper System, since the Major system don’t work well for me. My general problem is that my brain never “picture” anything by itself (although it is improving since I started to learn Italian from picture without translations). So relying on sound (words) to make images force me to rely on my weakness which makes it very slow to recall the numbers or the image from number because my brain never skip the sound step
  • I plane to use AO for years, 12 new images for months, the plain objects for days (without the action) and 7 new images for the day of the week
  • I still don’t know how to stick the information to the date or where to put it (probably in a memory palace that I need to create)

For discarded cards :

  • I planed to use images from the Shaper system, but I need to find a way to place them somewhere to have one general picture of what is left on the table. I want to have attention left to be able to have a conversion while I hold that information.
  • Being able to know what the player before and after me discarded could be an extra bonus but not my primary goal.

What’s the big goal you want to achieve?
I am basicly mostly interested in long term memory (aside from remembering discarded cards) and I don’t plan to compete in memory league. I am here for the long run general knowledge. Here is things I’d like to eventually be able to memorize :

Short term memory

  • Cards in my hand + discarded cards of 2 two deck of cards to know my odds of getting the card I want
  • 3x2 digit numbers to remember results in my calculations (exemple : 132.24x10^(-6)

Long term memory

  • Specific dates (for history events and as a journaling tool to remember nice moments of my life, or even about 10 highlights of every day of my life if it’s possible)
  • Information about my friends and new people I meet (names, birthday, their hobbies, family members, etc…)
  • Have a feeling of very big (ex : 12x10^15), very small numbers (ex : 3.45x10^-9) and duration (decade, generation, centuries, …)
  • Expand my vocabulary of colors to about 100
  • Understand politic, remember the presidents, …
  • Remeber grape variety taste and their localisation in the world in order to guess the taste of a bottle of wine when I look at them
  • Remember plants information to be able to care of my vegetable garden without always checking on internet what I shoud do for xyz plant
  • Recognize usefull plants in the wilderness (edible, medicinal, construction wood, mushrooms, bushes, trees, …)
  • Increase my reading speed and retention (by visualizing words)
  • Remember mathematical formulas along with the assumptions needed to use them and from where they come from
  • Learn the periodic table to help me remember chemistry

And probably other things I didn’t think about right now.

Why I decided to join Art of Memory :
I decide to join it because I arrived on this website several times in the past 2 years while searching for ideas and I wanted help to make my memory palaces (the app).

Any tips or help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Very cool, it’s amazing how we can go from having a “bad” memory, to performing these incredible feats. Happy learning!

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