Kwik Brain 044
November 7, 2017     |   3293 VIEWS
How to Recall Passwords and Pin Numbers

Kwik Brain 044: How to Recall Passwords and Pin NumbersHow do you remember passwords? In this episode, I share 4 techniques you can use to stop constantly forgetting passcodes and pin numbers.

Show Notes

We have lots of passwords – for bank accounts, social media, emails, etc. So how do you remember them all?

I am a fan of password managers. But when we’re too reliant on digital devices, our brain doesn’t get the exercise it needs.

We shouldn’t memorize 400 phone numbers – but we’ve lost the ability to remember a single one.

Password managers are useful at managing our online identities.

Services you should look at include LastPass, DashLane, KeePass, and 1Password.

But even if you use a password manager, you’ll still need to memorize your master password.

4 Kwik Tips to Remember Your Passwords

  1. Use an acrostic.
    • An acrostic is a poem or sentence where the first letter of each word spells out a message for you.
    • If your password is TfhIeliw395SB.Trw#7pm, you could remember the sentences: The first house I ever lived in was 395 Smith Boulevard. The rent was $700 per month.
      • This is a 21-digit password you can remember with only 2 sentences.
    • If your password is Iod17cocbrwd, remember the sentence: I once drank 17 cups of coffee before realizing it was decaf.
  2. Use your imagination.
    • Einstein once said, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.”
    • Use strange or humorous visuals and relate them to your password.
      • This technique is especially useful for pin numbers.
    • If your pin number is 0468, imagine a 4-year-old driving a car with a terrified 68-year-old in the passenger seat.
  3. Use association.
    • Assign numbers to pictures and connect them together.
    • If your pin number is 2377, you might imagine Michael Jordan (whose jersey number was 23) wearing a pair of earrings shaped like the number 7.
    • The key is to make the pin number or password personally meaningful to you so you have more connections to it – since all learning is connecting something you want to know to something you already know.
  4. Use a story.
    • Before we had technology, people passed on knowledge by telling stories. Stories are one of the best ways to teach because they make things memorable.
    • Build a mental story to make your passwords memorable. The story can be realistic or strange since we pay attention to things that are different or novel.
    • Stories work because they give you a starting point with which to remember your password – so take the previous story you used to explain your password and connect it to where you need to use it (like your ATM machine).
    • The ultimate TIP is Turn Into Picture. If you tend to remember what you see, then see what you want to remember.
    • If your ATM pin number is 1712, imagine that the ATM is spitting out 17 Magazine‘s issue about eggs.

Just the act of focusing on your passwords and pin numbers will make you more likely to remember them.

These techniques are a means to an end. Once your true memory knows what your passcode is, the pictures will disappear.

Use these techniques to overcome the 6-second syndrome: when you learn something brand-new, you have 6 seconds to do something with that information before you lose it.

Your Homework Assignment

  • Use one of these techniques to create a new password or change an existing one into something more memorable.
  • Try one of the password massagers mentioned above.


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