Numbers prove to be very difficult for people to remember.
They are usually much more difficult than remembering words.
Try to remember this short phrase: “four score and seven years ago.”
It’s very simple, even if you aren’t familiar with US History.
Ten minutes from now you would likely to be able to remember the phrase if I were to ask you.
Now, what about “284 185943 392 38271 18 94059 32?”
No way could you remember that!
Why not? There are just as many numerical digits as there are letters.
It’s because as humans we naturally “chunk” letters into phrases and phrases into sentences.
When you think “four” you don’t think ‘f’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘r’, you consider it a single entity.
We don’t naturally do this with numbers, which is why they are so much more difficult to remember.
How the Major System Works
The Major System is a system based on phonetics.
Each number is associated to a letter (sound).
The letters are combined to form words.
The words are then turned into images like all of the previous systems.
Here is a list breaking down the numbers 0 – 9 and their corresponding letters.
|0||“z” or “s”||Zero starts with ‘z’ and is similar to ‘s’|
|1||“t” or “d”||‘T’ and ‘D’ have one vertical stroke. They are also formed on the same part of the mouth.|
|2||“n”||‘N’ has two vertical strokes.|
|3||“m”||‘M’ has three vertical strokes.|
|4||“r”||Four ends with ‘r’|
|5||“l”||“L” is the Roman numeral for 50.|
|6||“j”, “ch”, or “sh”||‘G’ looks like the number 6.|
|7||“k” or hard “g”||‘K’ looks like two 7’s combined together.|
|8||“f” or “v”||A cursive ‘f’ looks like a figure eight.|
|9||“p” or “b”||‘P’ and ‘b’ look like nines if rotated accordingly.|
Notice that the list contains no vowels, or the consonants w, h, or y.
These letters are fillers, inserted between the consonants to create words that can be turned into images.
And as you already know, we are great at memorizing images.
Each number is associated to a similar set of sounds where the tongue and mouth are in a similar position.
The letters themselves aren’t as important as the sounds they make in the words.
For instance, ‘g’ in ‘gasoline’ sounds similar to ‘k’ in ‘kilogram’ or the ‘c’ in ‘car’.
As you can see from our table, ‘g’ (as in gasoline) and ‘k’ are associated with the number 7.
However, the ‘g’ in ‘fragile’ sounds like the ‘j’ in ‘jam’ or the ‘ch’ in ‘chair’, which are associated with the number 6.
Double consonants don’t matter either, only their sounds.
So, the ‘ss’ in ‘missile’ represents a single ‘0’, not two zeros.
With these examples, you can see how important memorizing the sounds associated with each number.
Spend 5 minutes doing this now.
Use the explanations for each sound and number combination to help.
Once you have the list memorized, the system’s execution is simple.
Using the Major System to Chunk Numbers
Say you have a credit card number with a total of 16 digits that you want to memorize.
4841 2022 5317 9389
Break down your sequence of numbers into its phonetic equivalent.
4 = r, 8 = f, v, 4 = r, 1 = t, d
2 = n, 0 = s,z, 2 = n, 2 = n
5 = l, 3 = m, 1 = t, d, 7 = k, g
9 = p, b, 3 = m, 8 = f, v, 9 = p, b
If you add vowels it could spell out:
ROOF ROOT NOOSE NOON LIME TAKE BUM VAMP
What do we do with this seemingly useless combination of words?
We create a silly image like on a steep black ROOF the ROOT of a tree is growing out of the shingles.
A NOOSE hangs from the side of the house every day at NOON with a LIME in it.
Each day a BUM walks by and takes the lime and kicks it with his VAMP (vamp is the upper part of a shoe).
This system takes a bit of practice.
The more you practice, the faster you will be able to come up with words to represent the numbers.
Of course, you don’t have to come up with these images on your own.
The Major System has been around since the early 1500’s and improved upon over the past 500 years.
If you don’t want to spend the time constantly coming up with new words, just memorize the list below.
Then, you can then just think of the Major System as a ‘phonetic peg system.’
If you don’t like these images or you need more, check out the Major System Database.
You just finished Chapter 8. Congratulations! Now it’s time to take everything we have learned over the past 8 chapters and apply it to one last strategy, the PAO System. This system will set you apart from everyone else and you will see a drastic improvement in your memory retention.