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Developing a perfect memory: How to remember anything quickly and easily        

Improving your memory with the Link Method

The link method is the crux of Creative Memory. It is both profound and extremely simple.

First, spend a few minutes (five at the most) remembering the following ten items of a shopping list. Remember then in order.

  1. book
  2. margarine
  3. potatoes
  4. clock
  5. door mat
  6. chess set
  7. milk
  8. sheet
  9. paper tissues
  10. washing-up liquid

You might check yourself by writing them down (without looking at the list!) to see if you have remembered them.

Now try to remember them as follows: Visualise the links - see them in your mind's eye. Use your own associations, not necessarily my examples. Choose whatever comes to mind first, if possible.

margarine Imagine openning a book and margarine seeps out. All over your clothes!
potatoes The margarine sprouts potato plants that grow incredibly fast and very big.
clock When you check the potatoes, they are all clocks. Ticking loud and noisily. How can this be?
door mat A clock becomes a flat doormat. The clock has a face like a human. It doesn't like being walked on.
chess set The door mat has chess set on it. It has squares and the large chess pieces are like people
milk The chess pieces become bottles of milk. Will you use the knight or the queen to pour your milk?
sheet The milkman comes and gives you your milk in bed sheets. He ran out of bottles!
paper tissues Your bed has paper tissues instead of sheets.
washing-up liquid You open the box of tissues and it contains a lot of miniture washing-up liquid bottles. What will they think of next?

There are two difficulties that might occur with the list. First remembering the first item. And remembering when you have got to the end.

Another issue is that the words in the example above are readily visualised. In other lists, the words are not easily visualised. Here we need to substitute an object or objects that represent the word.

If the image is clear and powerful, you can remember items in just one go. However, on other occasions you might have to repeat the visualisation several times.

Memory substitution method - how to make things easy to remember

And harder to forget!

The substitution method is one of the keys to memory improvement.It is learning how to substitute a hard-to-remember thing for something that reminds you of it and can be visualised.

When a word does not represent something that can be visualised, then we have to substitute something for the word. Something that will remind us of the word.

You may need to use a word that is similar but not the same as the parts of the word you are trying to make memorable (visalisable). Your true memory links the new syllable to the old one. When you do this, try to keep the consonants the same and vary the vowels, because more information about the word is carried by the consonants than by the vowels.

For example, we can imagine a submarine to represent substitution. The submarine reminds us of substitution. Of course, you would use your own word for this. For instance, you might use "sob" for "sub". Or even "soup", even though it has a "p" instead of a "b". Again, you could use "soap".

If we had to remember words like substitution, substantial, subliminal, etc, then we couldn't use the submarine ( a sub) for them all! We might do the following, if we wanted to be precise (our true memory works to make us precise usually, but here we might want to 'spell out' the whole word in visual code, as best we can).

substitution Imagine a submarine sitting (stit - sit) you down (u) and to watch a huge train shunting (tion) a little carriage.
substantial Imagine a sub' that looks like an old lady standing up and putting on a shawl.
subliminal Imagine a sub waving its arms (limbs) before a group of other subs, and saying 'There is a sub in all of us.'

It is often unnecessary to use a symbol to give more than the essential clue to the word you are looking for, but using Creative Memory, you can be very detailed.

The following words are more difficult to remember than a list of objects, because they are more general or abstract. Try to remember them. :

  1. excellent
  2. interesting
  3. economics
  4. pointless
  5. erratic
  6. circumstantial
  7. epitomy
  8. biology
  9. premier
  10. doting

Test how well you did. Then read the following and try again. Remember to use your own images rather than mine, if they seem more natural.

  Short Detailed
excellent The key image is a big tick - excellent! The big tick grows some enormouse eyes (interesting). Imagine eggs selling a giant ant. A policeman arrives and the ant screams, 'You int arresting me are you?'
interesting The eyes are looking at a pile of money (economics). The sound echoes so loudly, a pile of comics fall down onto the floor going everywhere.
economics The money is looking miserable because it isn't square notes, but round coins. It is pointless. An old man with a stick pokes at the comics, but they aren't pierced because the stick does not have a point. He jabs and jabs to no avail. It is pointless!
pointless The money rolls after a rat that ticks (a rat tic) as it runs. As he pokes one comic a rat pots up angrily and starts to tick (or tic him off) (a rat tick).
erratic The rat that ticks puts on a suit of armour because it is being chased. It has a huge cucumber. (Sir Cucumber). It turned into a knight (Sir) and is armed with a cucumber (Sir Cucumber). It stands up and is wearing a shawl (Sir Cucumber Stand Shawl).
circumstantial The Knight steps back and falls in a hole. I am in the hole and I compain bitterly that he has landed in 'a pit of me'. The Cucumber steps back and falls in a hole. I am in the hole and I compain bitterly that he has landed in 'a pit of me'.
epitomy I look out of the pit and notice someone disecting a frog. I look out and notice someone dissecting a frog. An old man is selling logs. He says, 'Buy a loggy' and the dissector buys a log
biology The person dissecting the frog looks around and sees the prime minister (the premier). When the old man has gone, the dissector notices a 'pram with a big ear (pram-ear). 'What is it listening for', the dissector thinks. And why is the prime minister (premier) in the 'pram?
premier The prime minister kneels down before a young lady and looks at her dotingly The prime minister in the 'pram has a drawing book and he is putting enormous dots on it.

Note that the descriptions are a short description of the image involved. You can add details, as you like to make the story. The first column uses symbols, such as a tick for excellent which are good enough for me to remember the words. The second column actually puts almost everything into the story, so there is fewer demands on the 'true memory' to remember whether the word is, for example, 'premier' or 'prime minister'. The true memory usually makes the right distinction, however.

While you can quickly scan a mental image, it takes a lot of words to describe that image (or movie). When written down the method appears to be extremely complex when it is really very simple and fast.

If you hesitate as you try to recall the next part of the story, then strengthen your association. Make an image bigger or smaller, or give it more action