The Dominic System For Memorizing Large Numbers
Dominic says when I began memorizing much larger numbers for competitions I realized that I needed a method that would allow me to recognize numbers instantly as pictures, to the point where I could read through and make sense of a sequence of 100 digits, say, in much the same way as I am able to read through and understand a sentence composed of 100 letters grouped into words.
Thus the Dominic System was born. Dominic stands for: Decipherment Of Mnemonically Interpreted Numbers Into Characters. This system is more complex than Number Shapes or Number Rhymes. However, if you invest a little time in learning it, you will find it a much more efficient method of converting numbers into symbolic images.
With the Dominic System any two-digit number (and of course, there are 100 of them from 00 to 99) can be translated into a person. Why turn numbers into people? For the simple reason that people, especially ones who are familiar to me and vivid in character, are so much easier to remember than numbers. Why not choose objects instead of people? Because I find people are more flexible than objects. They can be imagined in almost any situation and they react in countless ways to different environments. Throw a custard pie at a chair and not much happens, but throw one at a person and you are bound to get a response.
How Does It Work?
To start with, in your notebook, write the 100 numbers from 00 to 99 in a column. You will need three more columns: Letters/Person/Action and Prop. You will see why in a moment. Then take a look at any of these numbers that may have significance for you. For example, 10 instantly makes me think of a British Prime Minister because that’s where he or she lives, at 10 Downing Street. Perhaps 49 triggers a player from the “49ers” American Superbowl team.
When I see 57 I automatically think of my Godfather because I was born in 1957. It doesn’t matter how you get there as long as the number always leads you to that particular person.
Once you have exhausted this line of investigation, then the next step is to assign letters to the remaining two-digit numbers (the ones which you can’t immediately convert into people). To do this you will need to assign all the digits to letters of the alphabet, following a standard set of conversions. Here is the set I use:
1=A 2=B 3=C 4=D 5=E 6=S 7=G 8=H 9=N 0=O
Numbers 1 to 5 and 7 and 8 are paired with the letters that match their positions in the alphabet. O represents zero because they look the same. S is paired with six because six has a strong “S” sound. N represents 9 because the word nine contains two “N”s.
Once you have learnt this simple sequence, numbers can be paired together to form the initials of various people. These might include friends, relatives, politicians, comedians, actors, sportsmen and women, even infamous villains.
Let’s see how this might work. Take any two-digit combination, such as 72. By translating this number into its equivalent letters from the Dominic Alphabet you get GB (7=G, 2=B). Who can you think of that has the initials GB? George Bush perhaps? George Bush now becomes your key image, or rather, key person, for the number 72. The number 40 translates into DO (4=D, 0=O), which just happens to be my own initials.
It is not necessary for you to conjure up a perfect photographic image of these people, you just need to recognize them for what they represent. The best way to do this is to assign an action and prop to each person. George Bush’s action and prop combination is waving the American flag. Dominic O’Brien’s action and prop combination is dealing out playing cards. Now all of a sudden numbers become meaningful. We have breathed life into them and they begin to take on a personality of their own.
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