Memorizing birthdays is really easy if you know this one simple trick.
Before we delve into exactly how to do it, I’ll tell you why this works. The way remember most things is through either repetition or association. Repetition would be saying a person’s phone number over and over again until it becomes set in your mind. The second way is through association with things that we already know. For example… you might remember someone’s birthday because you know that its a day after your birthday.
Think about this… if there were two people one person with a random birthday, and another person with a birthday the day after yours… how many times would each person have to tell you their birthday before you remembered it? How much effort would it take to remember each person’s birthday?
For most people the answer is that the person who’s birthday is the day after yours they would tell you once, and with minimal effort you would remember that their birthday was the day after yours, and not forget it for as long as you know that person. You may not even try to remember that its the day after yours and remember it anyway just because it seems so out of the ordinary. The reason why is because you have formed a link to that person, their birthday, and something that you already know (your birthday), thus it would stick in your memory.
For the person who’s birthday is on a random date… you most likely will forget it within minutes, if not seconds, of the person saying it. Without repetition, or a way to associate the date with something else, you will most likely forget the date. You will not be able to remember this date if without previously intending on trying to remember it if you cannot link it to something else that you already know.
If you think about the first method in comparison second, it is actually really amazing. All you had to do was hear this person’s birthday 1 time and it was permanently implanted in your memory.
What if you could make everything that easy to remember? What if every date reminded you of something as significant as your birthday? Think of the possibilities! If that were the case you would be able to remember anyone’s birthday.
Well… you can do just that with a mnemonic system called a peg system.
A peg system is a list of words that you have made for numbers. Some people have peg lists of from numbers 1 to 10 others have word lists from 00 to 1,000.
The way that it works is that instead of remembering numbers, which dates are numbers, you are remembering these words in the form of a story or mental movie.
For example… lets say the random date you were trying to remember was January 10th, or 1/10.
You could use the following peg list made up of words the rhyme with the number.
So instead of remembering 1/10 you would create a story using your peg words and integrate that person into it. So… you could think of
That person eating a hamburger bun(1) when all of a sudden a hen(10) comes up and grabs it out of their mouth!
The more vivid and strange you make this mental movie, the less likely you will ever forget it.
This rhyming is a good beginners mnemonic, but if you want to make pegs for numbers greater than 10 you should use something called the major system. which is described in this tutorial here: Major System Tutorial