Can a normal person with a good memory and a liking for numbers be taught to become a mental calculating wizard? Yes, in fact, in a month or two of consistent training, a person could appear to be a calculating prodigy. As with most things, practice is extremely important. Most lightning calculators "play" with numbers day and night, and they delight in finding new ways that certain numbers relate to each other. Numbers are their language, and they create harmonies with them in their minds.

For centuries there have been exceptional examples of human calculators. Studies of lightning mental calculators have revealed that they primarily are either visualizers or auditory-rhythmic types (kinesthetic types have not yet been recognized). Long tables of squares, cubes, logarithms and countless other numerical facts are stored in the subconscious memories of human calculators along with hundreds of shortcut procedures in calculation. Some seem to develop their skill at an early age and have a natural flair for calculating. For instance, at the age of 3, Carl Friedrich Gauss looked at his father's weekly payroll for his laborers and said "Father, the reckoning is wrong ... " The child's solution turned out to be right and yet no one had taught him arithmetic!

Practicing preliminary basics acquaints the mind to the shortcut techniques that eventually become automatic when the right brain takes over. It's like passing a critical threshold and suddenly a shift takes place. The calculating process is so fast that it becomes hard for the conscious mind to explain the process to a listener.

To add columns of figures more rapidly, start pairing your numbers so that you think of 2 digits as one.

Practice pairing until it becomes automatic. Now design single columns of numbers and as fast as you can, add them up running your finger down the columns.

Doing the following problem with the old-fashioned method, from right to left, you find that the 9 and 1 add to 10, leaving you with 1 to carry. If you go from left to right by pairing, you get a 7 and a 10. When the sum of a column of figures has more than one digit, simply add the 10's digit to the preceding column. In our example, since 9 + 1 is 10, you simply add the 10's digit to 5 + 2 to make 8; thus 80 is the answer. 59 + 21

The simplicity of this left to right process will reveal itself with practice. Now pair the following:

49 73 62 84 28 57 84 15 61 43 25 + 23 + 19 + 29 + 18 + 49 + 43 + 17 + 89 + 39 + 29 + 47

Now do some other examples in your mind and see how much easier it feels.

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