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Elvis Ate My Password
How To Remember Passwords By Chris Lyons


Few things in life are certain.

Except of course for death, taxes and forgetting passwords.

It's just the way it is.

Dogs bite postmen. People forget passwords.

No doubt at some point in your life you've stared blankly at a computer screen, trying in vain to recall your password.

Your password which at the time you created it seemed so logical, so personal, so memorable...only shortly after to become sooooo forgettable.

And in an online world where we're increasingly required to 'create an account' and 'log in' to get things done, forgetting passwords is mildly annoying and wastes your valuable time.

So what's the solution?

Well the good news is that there is a simple memory technique you can use to create - and remember - not just one but multiple passwords. All you need is a little imagination.

Here's how...

Step 1, warm-up.

Simply read through the following list of 10 objects. As you do, picture each item clearly in your mind's eye.

1 Gun
2 Shoe
3 Tree
4 Door
5 Beehive
6 Sticks
7 Heaven
8 Gate
9 Wine
10 Hen

Good. Now repeat the exercise, but this time picture each object... then say the number next to it, out loud.

I'll wait while you do it...

Done? Good.

Spot a pattern?

Yep, that's right - they rhyme.

One is gun, two is shoe, three is tree, four is door, five is hive, six is sticks, seven is heaven, eight is gate, nine is wine, ten is hen.

They rhyme.

What you've just done is created a mental image for each of the numbers from 1 to 10. You'll soon see how useful this is when it comes to remembering passwords.

Step 2.

We need a celebrity...someone famous, someone you can picture clearly in your mind. For the purpose of this article let's choose Elvis (the famous singer, not your neighbour's overweight Chihuahua).

Take a moment now and picture Elvis as clearly and as vividly as you can. What's he wearing? A white suit perhaps. What's he carrying? Maybe an acoustic guitar.

Step 3.

Let's say you want to create a new password for your online bank account, one which will be easy to remember. You simply use the following syntax or formula -

CELEBRITY + A NUMBER FROM 1-10

So as an example, for your CELEBRITY let's use Elvis and for your NUMBER let's choose 8, so -

Your Password = Elvis8

You now turn this into a memorable image and connect it in some way to your bank.

How? Well number 8 rhymes with...yes that's right, GATE (remember earlier).

So picture Elvis sitting on a gate, playing the guitar and singing. And as this is the password for your online banking, imagine that this is taking place outside your local bank and there's a big crowd gathered to listen to The King croon.

You've just used a little imagination to link together 3 pieces of information (Bank - Elvis - Gate) into one easy to remember image.

Let's try another.

Perhaps you're feeling lucky and you want to do some online footy tipping. You set up an account and need a password.

Using the same formula as above you may decide on -

Elvis10

(Note: to make it easy to remember multiple passwords you always use the same celebrity, just adding a different number to make each password distinct).

10 =?

That's right HEN.

So again we have 3 pieces of information to remember -

Footy - Elvis - Hen

So you think of something that reminds you of footy - the MCG perhaps.

You might imagine Elvis dressed in his white suit chasing a hen around the MCG to the roars of the crowd, as the chuck ducks and dives to avoid the corpulent crooner.

Or you might imagine something completely different.

It doesn't really matter what YOU come up with or how YOU connect the information together. The key is to use YOUR imagination and YOUR associations as these will be especially strong and memorable for you.

So the secret formula again...

CELEBRITY + A NUMBER FROM 1-10

That's the easy way to concoct memorable passwords.

2 final points...

1) Stronger Passwords

If you follow the above formula your passwords will be reasonably short yet still contain a mixture of letters, numbers and upper case characters.

You may want to make your passwords even stronger by adding punctuation. A memorable way to do this is to add punctuation at the start and the end i.e.

PUNCTUATION + CELEBRITY + NUMBER + PUNCTUATION

For example, Elvis10 may become

*Elvis10!

And so you don't have to remember lots of different punctuation you may decide to always use the same punctuation marks at the start and at the end.

For example -

* + CELEBRITY + NUMBER + !

2) More Than 10 Passwords?

Not a problem. Just add some colour -

* + CELEBRITY + NUMBER + COLOUR + !

For example, *Elvis10! might become

*Elvis10Red!

And that hen that Elvis was chasing around the MCG? Its feathers are bright RED (yes it's a red rooster).

Better watch out that Elvis doesn't eat your password.

The Final Word: Don't make a meal of passwords. Apply the formula, add a dash of imagination and you'll never forget a password again.

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