Might as Well Have it All

I've been working with more and more people individually on using our memory storage systems to learn the material on our language maps. It's a very rewarding experience. The maps are large, dense, and often appear complex. For the neophyte or casual learner, they are daunting. Even for the seasoned language learner, they still present a huge amount of content to learn and internalize; that is, until approaching them with the arsenal of the memory systems.

Many times in the last several weeks, I have sat down with an individual who is very much daunted and afraid of learning a language. Within an hour of tackling a section of a language map through our memory systems, several of these individuals have not only lost their fear of learning that one language, but have also started exploring the idea of learning more languages: "Maybe after I finish Spanish, I could learn German, too." Some also start thinking immediately about how they could apply the memory storage systems to other areas of interest, perhaps music or their professional work. It's a rewarding transformation to watch.

Seeing such complete changes in attitude to the language-learning process in such a short amount of time has driven home to the importance of our memory storage systems for helping people understand the value of the materials we produce and why we present things in the ways we do. The memory techniques work best when all material to be learned is already assembled and organized in front of you — hence, our maps. The efficacy of the memory systems also combat one of the most frequent forms of criticism we receive from people looking at our maps and programs for the first time: "they're too much and present too much information all at once." First of all, we didn't make the languages, we just map them out and if you want to complain about the amount to learn, take it up with the language itself! Second, and more importantly, when you see what's possible with a well-formulated memory storage system, you'll probably adopt the stance: if I can learn so much so quickly, I might as well spend the time to get ALL the details.

Over the last couple of months, I have been working on developing a new and extensive stand-alone course on memory for language learning. It will cover everything from the basics of what a mnemonic is, to how to construct 3D mental storage systems capable of holding 10,000+ pieces of information in numerical order. The course is fully planned out, and I'm working on creating the actual lessons now so that we can put it online in the next few weeks. The course will cover the theory of memory systems, how to use 2D and 3D space, and how to create memory palaces and structures to store the complex, multi-variable information of a language. We'll have exercises so you can build up your abilities in these systems gradually, and we'll have a how-to section that will cover how to memorize anything from a list of noun exceptions, to an entire verbal system, to an entire text book by chapter and section, to your own mental dictionary.

Needless to say, I'm extremely excited about this course on memory. While it is focused on language-learning, the techniques and principles are applicable to any form of learning. A small amount of steady practice yields large results. For me, what I love to see is the transformation of people who are initially looking to cut corners and reduce the amount of material to learn (which is impossible, because the language is the language). When people see what their minds are already capable of, they go from cutting corners on the content to contemplating how much more they could learn. They quickly see, you might as well have it all.

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