Creating and Remembering Pin Codes and Passwords

For most of us creating and remembering pin codes and passwords is an onerous task. They are required for personal finance, personal activities, as well as on our jobs. Moreover, often there is a requirement to change them periodically. Normally it is not appropriate to write them down, so we need to commit them to memory. Most of use have personal tricks we use. When they do work, stick with them. But often the requirements are so demanding that our personal tricks run out.

So you might need a system for both creating and remembering pin codes and passwords. The creation part is key. Having a good system for generating pin codes and passwords is essential to remembering them. This post will show how you can use the techniques provided in other postings of this blog to create pin codes and passwords so that they can be remembered.

Let’s consider numbers first. They can be a requirement for pin codes and can also be a requirement for passwords. The following postings provide techniques for remembering numbers: “Remembering Numbers” , “More on Remembering Numbers” , “Three Digit Numbers”, and “Remembering Even Larger Numbers.” These techniques convert numbers into meaningful words that can be formed into images and easily recalled. You link this converted word to an image of the organization to which it is needed (an image of the Bank of America, for example). [The blog post “How to Remember Abstract Information” can be helpful when the item that needs to be associated is abstract].

You can also use this as a system for changing passwords, by simply changing the numerical value you give for the new password. Numbers alone can be added to the password. Sometimes they are a requirement. It is helpful to add them systematically to the beginning or ending of the password. Sometimes simply changing the number can satisfy the requirement for changing the password.

The blog post “Remembering the Letters of the Alphabet” provides a system for making isolated letters into words and hence both more meaningful and easier to image. This can be added to your bag of tricks. You could use them in a system to alphabetize the passwords you use on different computers and different websites.

As for special characters such as *#$, etc, it is good to place them at the beginning or end of the password, to do it consistently, and to rely upon the same special characters all the time.

One of the best techniques for creating strong (hard to be broken) passwords is to use foreign words. The blog post “More on Recoding: Learning Foreign and Strange Vocabulary Words” should be helpful here.

Although if is usually not accepted to write them down, it is a good idea to use what this blog terms “transactive memory.” They do need to be kept secure, however. So recording them in an encrypted file is a good idea as a backup system.

[These postings can all be found under the category, “Mnemonic Techniques, “ or by entering the title of the post into the search block. If these items are not visible on your right hand border, enter into the URL box.]

© Douglas Griffith and, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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