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Jim Karol, author of “Ultimate Memory Magic,” has developed the ultimate tool to help you remember huge lists and other large numbers of items. It’s called the mental matrix, and it just might blow your mind. In the final episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast series with Jim, he describes what the mental matrix is, and how you can use his (or your own!) to turn your brain into a well-oiled memory machine.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We are still here with our friend Jim Karol talking about memory magic and we're having so much fun. You just told a story and I actually can still remember the words because of the outrageous story you told us. That's great. That was a great tip for listeners. If you have to remember a list of words, come up with an outrageous story and it will really help you to remember them. I love that tip, so thanks Jim for that. Welcome back. So, we're talking about memory magic.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well and you have something called the mental matrix. Can you talk to our viewers and listeners about that?
Jim Karol: Okay, now that's going back to the first podcast, where, when I was riding that bike and I had all these cards memorized in my head and I wanted to memorize more information, so I had to come up with what I call an anchor system.
Now, at the time there was someone out there, I forget who it was, I noticed there was an anchor system called the sun system. Like the words would rhyme with the numbers, like one is a sun, two is a shoe, three is a tree, four is a door, five as a hat, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And then what you do is that you have those words memorized and somebody names a word like "cue stick". I'm sitting in my basement, there's a cue stick over there. I would say ... like, I would put that in ... say you want to put it in a number one. Well, one is the sun.
So I visualize pointing the cue stick at the sun and the sun's a giant pool ball or something like that. Two is the shoe. And this is the system that was available. And I thought, "Well, that's cool, but I have to memorize 52 cards and I want to put this to a better system so I need more words."
So I developed this thing with these celebrities where I memorized the top 100 celebrities at that time in People magazine, and I put them in a numerical order from one to a hundred. Like, just for example, we'll use one as George Washington. I put him at one because Washington was the first president. Therefore, it was easy to remember. Washington would be at number one.
Brad Pitt I would put at two, "B" for Brad, second letter of the alphabet. Brad Pitt, two syllables, two "T's" in Pitt. Hey, Brad Pitt, perfect fit for number two.
Number three would be Tom Cruise. I would [inaudible 00:03:06] Tom Cruise number three because there's three letters in Tom, T-O-M, three letters, and then Cruise begins with a "C" the third letter. So therefore, Tom Cruise was number three, and George Foreman, Foreman, was number four. We'll just use that for now, just to show you.
So, I would continue obviously up to a hundred, but just for the sake of time. So, Denzel Washington was number one, Brad Pitt number two, Tom Cruise number three, George Foreman number four. Now you'd remember that. You could easily attach information to it. Like, say you wanted to memorize the first four states of the union. Well, the first state of the union is Delaware. Therefore, if you know Denzel Washington is number one, just visualize Washington crossing the Delaware, but not George Washington, we're going to make it funny again. There's Denzel Washington with the George Washington hat, crossing the Delaware and Denzel Washington was the first president, right?
Brad Pitt is number two. Guess what the second state of the union is. Pennsylvania. Therefore, if you remember Brad Pitt, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you'd remember two is Pennsylvania.
Three, Tom Cruise. While I live in the Northeast, you guys are West coasters. In the Northeast, our big vacation resort, is New Jersey shore when I was growing up. So I visualized Tom Cruise cruising the shoreline, Atlantic City, down to Wildwood, down to Cape May, so therefore, every time you think of Tom Cruise, you remember cruising the Jersey shore, therefore Jersey is three.
And then the fourth state of the union, believe it or not, is Georgia. So, if you remember George Foreman, you would remember George, Georgia. So now watch. Now, if you remember the second state of the union is Brad Pitt, I mean us, the second celebrity is Brad Pitt, what's the state, Tana?
Dr Daniel Amen: Pennsylvania.
Tana Amen: Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.
Jim Karol: Yeah. The first one, what's Denzel Washington ... what river, what's the state here?
Tana Amen: Delaware.
Jim Karol: Now, Tom Cruise cruising where?
Tana Amen: The Atlantic. So, that's New Jersey.
Jim Karol: The New Jersey shore line. Jersey. And the fourth state, George Foreman, Georgia. And, I would continue all the way to a hundred. And then it wouldn't only be this information, it would be massive amounts of information. Countries, capitals. I mean, so much information I would put these to.
I did a show for a bunch of cardiac surgeons and I had them memorize their names and their birth dates, because I wanted to walk up to the people and ... So, like the one guy, Dr. Schwartz, I put him at number 17 on my list because my celebrity is Arnold Schwarzenegger, so therefore Dr. Schwartz was 17 on a list and I remember his birth ... And this is what I do. I call it the mental matrix and mental matrix today, it used to be one to a hundred, now it's one to 10,000 [inaudible 00:06:02] and the information going out this way is 272 things or more for each one of those numbers. That's why I call it the mental matrix.
Tana Amen: Yeah, so it's like tree branches.
Jim Karol: [crosstalk 00:06:15].
Dr Daniel Amen: In the few minutes we have left, talk to us about some other things people will learn in ultimate memory magic.
Jim Karol: I call the ultimate memory magic, but the book is ... memory is just the heart of the book. The book should be, is really about ultimate brain health. It's about a healthy brain, developing a healthy mind, not giving up. It dabbles into cogmental intelligence, the word I brought up before, where we didn't even touch on that, the ability to read people. How important is that for somebody? And no matter what you do for a living, whether you're a ... especially a policeman or a doctor, to be able to read that person.
Like think about it, Daniel. If somebody walks in your office with it, isn't it important to be able to read that person when they come in? And I'm sure you do it very well and that's what the book's about. It's not just about memory, it's about the whole scope of mental health, brain health from the eyes of a guy that worked in a steel mill, not from the eyes of a guy that is well trained and PhDs.
I mean, and that's what's really cool about this. It's what do I see? You know, what did I stumble upon here? You know, and it's starting to grow bigger and bigger and bigger and this book can help other people see this. In other words, you don't have to be an educated person to look at this book and get something out of it. I mean, I try to keep it down. You know what I mean by that Daniel? It's like really powerful. It's just powerful.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, that's why I love the book so much, because you make it super easy to understand. Where a lot of doctors right above people's level, and people just get confused so they don't do anything. Your book is very practical, actionable, as is our course, which I'm pretty excited about.
Tana Amen: I can see where this would be really helpful to students. This would have been really helpful to me in nursing school. Probably helpful to you.
Jim Karol: Oh no question. I mean, why do we torture children-
Tana Amen: Right, it's just crazy. We could help them.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... where we don't teach them how to learn-
Tana Amen: And how to have fun.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and how to have fun with it. It should be required for anyone who has to learn anything.
Jim Karol: That's the key to learning is that you have to have fun. You have to be inspired. You have to want to do it. Like, I have my grandkids, I have four grandkids. I have been competing against, they're nine, eight, seven, and three and they compete with each other in Name That Tune. Like, "Hey, whoever names the tune first gets a dollar for the dollar store later." And I play these things. I play these songs, not knowing my three year old grandson was listening and he joined the game.
Like, you hear this? What's that thing with A Hard Day's Night, that riff they play? All of a sudden I hear "Hard Day's Night. The Beatles." Like, what? [crosstalk 00:09:14].
Tana Amen: That is so cute.
Jim Karol: It's amazing. And it don't matter if you three or 93, you can learn and you can improve your brain.
Tana Amen: That's so great.
Jim Karol: That's what I want to do. I can touch one person every day. Hey, I did my job. That's wonderful.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, we're rooting for your success and the new book is called Ultimate Memory Magic. Our course is Jim Karol's Memory Master Course. There's so much you can do to improve your brain and your mind and we're so grateful to see you again. We look forward to whenever you come in.
Jim Karol: Well, it was a pleasure seeing both of you. Thank you for having me. I mean, you guys, I missed you so much I can't wait to see you guys again soon.
Tana Amen: Thanks, Jim. It was really great. Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: All right, my friend. Take care.
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