New patient: "Doctor, I don't know what to do. You've got to help me; I just can't remember a thing. I've no memory at all. I hear something one minute, and the next minute, I forget it! Tell me, what should I do?" Doctor: "Pay in advance!"

I can't blame the doctor for wanting his fee in advance in the above anecdote; but I guess that most of us who forget to pay bills, do so because we don't want to remember them. According to Austin O'Malley, "A habit of debt is very injurious to the memory." Unfortunately, we are usually soon reminded of debts.

If you've grasped the idea behind the Link and the Peg systems of memory, you have learned two of the three things that your trained memory will be based upon. The third is the system of substitute words or substitute thoughts, which I will discuss in later chapters.

You can start applying what you've learned immediately, if you want to. Not particularly for remembering debts, which I'm sure you'd rather forget, but perhaps for memorizing the errands that you have to do for each day. If you usually write out your shopping list, why not try to memorize it with the help of the Link system. Simply link the first item to the second item, the second to the third, and so on, down the list. You can memorize an entirely different list the next time you go shopping without fear of confusion. The beautiful thing about the Link method is that you can forget a list whenever you wish. Actually, when you memorize the second shopping list, the first one fades away. You can, of course, retain as many lists or links as you desire.

The mind is a most fantastic machine; it can be compared to a filing cabinet. If you have memorized a list of items with the Link system, which you want to retain—you can. If you want to forget the list—you can. It is merely a question of desire. The list that you want to remember is one which you probably intend to use, or you would have no reason to retain it. The use of the list itself will tend to etch it into your memory. If it happens to be a list that you do not intend to utilize right away, but which you feel you want to retain for future use—you can do that, too. You would have to go over the list in your mind the day after you memorized it. Then go over it again a few days later. After doing this a few times, you have filed the list away, and it will be ready when you need it.

We all realize, of course, that it is sometimes necessary to forget! Benjamin Disraeli, when asked about the favor shown him by royalty, said, "—I observe a simple rule of conduct; I never deny; I never contradict; I sometimes forget." This, however, is a question of diplomacy, not memory; and I know that you're reading this book not to be taught how to forget, but how to remember. I will show you soon, how to use the Link system to remember speeches, articles, anecdotes, etc.

The main difference between the Link and the Peg methods is that the Link is used to remember anything in sequence, while the Peg is for memorizing things in and out of order. You may feel that you have no need for the Peg system since you don't have to remember anything out of order. Believe me when I tell you that you definitely should learn the Peg system thoroughly. It will be extremely useful for remembering telephone numbers, style numbers, long digit numbers, addresses—as a matter of fact, the Peg system will aid you in remembering anything that has to do with numbers in any way. Besides, it will enable you to do some fantastic memory stunts for your friends. Although I intend to go deeper into memorizing schedules or appointments for the week, day or month, in later chapters—I can show you how to apply what you have already learned to this problem, right now. You can use either the Peg or Link methods, or one, in conjunction with the other. Let's assume that you have the following errands to do on one particular day: You have to have your car washed (now we know that it must rain today); make a deposit at the bank; mail a letter; see your dentist; pick up the umbrella that you forgot at a friend's house (you hadn't read the chapter on absent-mindedness, as yet); buy some perfume for your wife;, call or see the television repairman; stop at the hardware store for bulbs, a hammer, a picture frame, an extension cord and an ironing board cover; go to the bookstore to buy a copy of this book for a forgetful friend; have your watch repaired; and finally, bring home one dozen eggs. (My, but you've got a busy day!) Now, as I've said, you can use the Link or Peg systems to enable you to remember to do each of the above errands. Using the Link method: Simply make a ridiculous picture between car and bank—you might see yourself driving into the bank in your recently washed car; you're depositing letters instead of money; now picture your dentist pulling letters out of your mouth instead of teeth—or, he's using a letter instead of a drill. To remember the errand concerning the umbrella—picture your dentist working over you while he's holding an umbrella over his head; make a ridiculous picture between umbrella and perfume, now, perfume to television; television to hardware; hardware to book; book to watch; and finally, watch to eggs. I've given you examples with the first few errands only, because I want you to use your own imagination for forming ridiculous mental links. You simply do the same as if you were linking a list of objects. Actually it is the same thing—when you come to the watch repairing and the purchase of the dozen eggs, it isn't necessary to get the repairing or amount of eggs into the picture. Just use watch and egg for your ridiculous picture: i.e. You're breaking an egg, and a wrist watch falls out; or, you're wearing an egg instead of a wrist watch. The one item will bring the entire errand to mind, of course. These are just memory aids or reminders; you already have remembered that you must repair the watch or that it is a dozen eggs that you need. Thinking of, or being reminded of watch and egg is all that is necessary to start you off on your errand. When you get to the hardware store, you have to buy five items. Make a separate link of these five:—you can start by "seeing" a large bulb as the proprietor of the store; you break him with a hammer; you frame a hammer and hang it on your wall, and so on, to ironing board cover. After you have linked all your errands for the day, all you have to do, is complete one, and that will remind you of the next, and so on. However, you needn't do all these errands in sequence just because you used the Link method to remember them. That might make it a little inconvenient, unless you've arranged your errands accordingly. No, you can do them in any order you like. Each time you complete an errand, go over the link in your mind, in order to remind yourself if there is one that is convenient to take care of at that moment, considering the time and place. When you think you have attended to all your duties for the day, go over the Link, and if there is one you've missed, you'll know it immediately.

You can utilize the Peg system, of course, for the same thing. Just associate washing the car with your peg word for #1 (tie). You might picture yourself wearing a car instead of a tie. Now, associate

bank to Noah (#2)
letter to ma (#3)
dentist to rye (#4)
umbrella to law (#5)
perfume to shoe (#6)
television to cow (#7)
hardware to ivy (#8)
book to bee (#9)
watch to toes (#10)
eggs to tot (#11)

Use the link to remember the different items you want at the hardware store. You could even use the Peg for this by making another set of associations. i.e. bulb to tie; hammer to Noah, etc. They wouldn't conflict at all, but it is easier to use the Link.

Now, again, when you're ready to start the day, think of your peg for #1 (tie). This will remind you that you have to get the car washed. When that's done, think of your peg for #2 (Noah) and that will remind you to go to the bank, etc. You don't have to do these in order, either; simply keep going over the pegs, and if you've forgotten something, it'll stand out like an eagle in a canary cage.

There you have it! No more excuses to the wife that you forgot to wash the car, or that you forgot to buy the eggs. As I mentioned before, we'll go further into methods for remembering schedules and appointments in another chapter; wherein you will learn to remember appointments for definite times and days. For the time being what you've learned in this chapter will suffice for simple errands. Before going to bed each night, list your errands and appointments for the following day. Memorize them as explained, then go over them in the morning just to make sure. That's all there is to it.

Before completing this chapter, please learn the pegs for #26 through to #50. These, of course, follow the rules of the phonetic alphabet, as do all the pegs.

 26. notch  31. mat  36. match  41. rod  46. roach 
 27. neck  32. moon  37. mug  42. rain  47. rock
 28. knife  33. mummy  38. movie  43. ram  48. roof
 29. knob  34. mower  39. mop  44. rower  49. rope
 30. mice  35. mule  40. rose  45. roll  50. lace

If the item to be associated with #26 were cigarette, you could see a gigantic cigarette with a "notch" in it. For "mower," picture a lawn-mower. For "mug", picture a beer mug. You can use either a fishing rod or a curtain rod for #41. In associating the word for #42, "rain", I usually picture it raining the particular item that I want to recall. For "roll", you might use a breakfast roll.

Be sure that you know all the words from one through fifty, thoroughly, before reading any further. You should know the higher numbered words as well as the lower ones. A good way to practice this would be to remember a list of twenty-five objects, in and out of sequence, using the peg words from 26 to 50 to do it. Just number the paper from 26 to 50 instead of 1 to 25. After a day or so, if you feel ambitious, you can try a list of fifty items. If you make sure that you use strong, ridiculous associations, you shouldn't have any trouble remembering all of them.

How to Train Your Observation


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How To Develop A Super Power Memory
How Keen Is Your Observation?
Habit Is Memory
Test Your Memory
Interest In Memory
Link Method of Memory
Peg System of Memory
Uses of the Peg and Link Systems
How to Train Your Observation
It Pays to Remember Speeches, Articles, Scripts and Anecdotes
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