6 The Number Shape System

In chapter 5 you learned the right-brained Link System, in which you applied all the Basic Memory Principles with the exception of number and order. We now move on to the first of the Peg Memory Systems. A Peg Memory System differs from the Link System in that it uses a special list of Key Memory Images that never change and to which everything that you wish to remember can be linked and associated. A Peg System can be thought of much like a wardrobe containing a certain definite number of hangers on which you hang your clothes. The hangers themselves never change, but the clothes that are hung on them vary infinitely. In the Number-Shape System, which is the first of the Peg Systems covered, the number and shape represent the hangers, and the things you wish to remember with the system represent the clothes to be hung on the hangers. The system is an easy one and uses only the numbers from 1 to 10.

The best system is one you will create yourself- rather than one supplied for you. This is because minds are infinitely varied, and the associations, links and images that you may have will generally be different from mine and everyone else's. The associations and images you generate from your own creative imagination will last far longer and be much more effective than any that could be 'implanted'. I shall therefore explain exactly how you can construct a system and shall then give examples of its practical use.

In the Number-Shape System, all you have to do is think of images for each of the numbers from 1 to 10, each image reminding you of the number because both the image and the number have the same shape. For example, and to make your task a little easier, the Key Number-Shape Memory Word that most people use for the number 2 is swan because the number 2 is shaped like a swan, and similarly because a swan looks like a living, elegant version of the number 2.

hangers, orhooks, on which to linkitemsyou wish to remember. Forexample, a common Key Imagefor the number 2 is a swan.

Listed below are the numbers from 1 to 10, with a blank beside each number for you to pencil in the various words that you think best image the shape of the numbers. As you select the words, try to make sure that they are exceptionally good visual images, with lots of good colour and basic imagination-potential within them. They should be images to which you will be able to link the things you wish to remember with ease and enjoyment.

Here are several examples:

1 Pole, pencil, pen, penis, straw, candle

2 Swan, duck, goose

3 Breasts, double chin, behind, molehills

4 Yacht, table, chair

5 Cymbal and drum, hook, pregnant woman

6 Elephant's trunk, golf club, cherry, pipe

7 Cliff, fishing line, boomerang

8 Bun, snowman, hourglass, shapely woman

9 Tennis racquet, sperm, tadpole, flag, lorgnette 10 Bat and ball, Laurel and Hardy

Give yourself not more than ten minutes to complete the list from 1 to 10, and even ifyou find some numbers difficult, don't worry; just read on.

Number Number-Shape Memory Words 1______

Now that you have generated several of your own number-images and have seen other suggestions, you should select the Number-Shape Key Memory Image for each number that is the best one for you.

When you have done this, draw in below and overleaf your appropriate image for each number. (Don't feel inhibited if you consider yourself not good at art; your right brain needs the practice.) The more colours you can use in your images, the better.

At the end of this paragraph you should close your eyes and test yourselfby mentally running through the numbers from 1 to 10 in order. As you come to each number, mentally link it with the Number-Shape Key Memory Image you have selected and drawn, using the Basic Memory Principles throughout, especially exaggeration, colour and movement. Make sure you actually see the images on the videoscreen of your closed eyelids. When you have done this exercise once, run through the numbers in reverse order, again linking them with your chosen word and again applying the Basic Memory Principles. Next, pick out numbers randomly and as quickly as you can, making a game to see how quickly the image comes to mind. And finally reverse the whole process by flashing the images on your internal videoscreen, seeing how quickly you can connect the basic numbers to your images. Do this exercise now.

Number Number-Shape Key Image

If you managed to do this successfully, you have already accomplished a memory feat that most people would find difficult if not impossible. You have now forged into your memory and creative imagination a system that you will be able to use throughout your life and that combines the qualities of both the left and the right hemispheres of your brain.

The use of the system is simple and enjoyable and involves the other major memory device: linking/association. For example, if you have a list often items that you wish to remember not simply by linking, as in the previous chapter, but in numerical order, reverse numerical order and random numerical order, the Number-Shape System makes the whole process easy. Let us put it to the test:

Assume you wish to remember the following list of items:

1 Symphony

2 Prayer

3 Watermelon

4 Volcano

5 Motorcycle

6 Sunshine

7 Apple pie

8 Blossoms

9 Spaceship

10 Field of wheat

To remember these items in any order, all that you have to do is to link them with the appropriate Number-Shape Key Memory Image. As with the Link System, and all memory systems, the Basic Memory Principles should be applied throughout; the more imaginative you can be, the better. Give yourself not more than three minutes to complete your memorisation of these ten items, using the Number-Shape System, and then fill in the answers on page 51. If you feel confident, start this exercise now; if not, you may find it helpful to read again the examples given on page 48 before testing yourself.

Fill in both your Number-Shape Image Words and the items you were asked to remember with each number.

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