The Dominic System: How You Can Use Creative Memory to Read Numbers Faster

During lockdown, I watched a documentary called Brain Games. It was about memory athletes all around the world. You may be thinking, “WTF is a memory athlete?” It’s someone who competes to prove they can memorize anything from a deck of cards, hundreds of binary digits, images, random names, and the list goes on.

One year after watching that documentary, I became a ranked memory athlete, and I want to share a technique that I learned through my training.

In memory training we use something called a PAO system, in the case of numbers you assign a person action and object to every number.

How do you assign the person? Well, you use something called a Dominic System. In it’s simplest terms, the Dominic System assigns a letter to every digit 0-9.

  • 0 = O
  • 1 = A
  • 2 = B
  • 3 = C
  • 4 = D
  • 5 = E
  • 6 = S
  • 7 = G
  • 8 = H
  • 9 = N

Why do certain digits equal certain letter? No freaking clue. But those are the rules of the memory games and I just follow them. (There’s something else called the Major System, but we can cover that another time.)

It’s up to the memory athlete to create a person for every digit set, for me two-digit sets are the easiest, and then your action and object. 31 in my PAO system is Charlie’s Angels doing their iconic pose holding blow dryers. Another, 24, Kobe Bryant in a fast breakaway with a black mamba wrapped around his ankle. 17, Ariana Grande, doing the splits with a giant ponytail.

In a 6 digit number the first set equals the person, the second set the action, and the last set the object.

How do we link it all together 241731, Kobe Bryant doing the splits holding a hair dryer.

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