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How to Memorize a Numbered List Using Memory Pegging

How to Memorize a Numbered List Using Memory Pegging


    Memory pegging techniques are particularly useful for remembering numbered lists. Every list can be treated as a numbered list. We ‘peg’ each item to a visual symbol for its number. The method I would recommend is a rhyming approach.

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    In fact, I’ve mentioned the list below in my book, How to Be a Brilliant Thinker:

    1. Ton – One ton
    2. Zoo
    3. Tree
    4. Door
    5. Hive (with bees buzzing around)
    6. Sticks
    7. Heaven
    8. Gate
    9. Line (fishing line)
    10. Den (e.g. the lion’s den)
    11. Soccer 11
    12. Shelf
    13. Hurting
    14. Courting
    15. Lifting
    16. Licking
    17. Leavening (baking bread)
    18. Hating
    19. Lightning
    20. Plenty (horn of plenty)
    21. 21 Gun Salute

    Say our task was to remember the first 12 elements in the periodic table. They are:

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    1. Hydrogen
    2. Helium
    3. Lithium
    4. Beryllium
    5. Boron
    6. Carbon
    7. Nitrogen
    8. Oxygen
    9. Fluorine
    10. Neon
    11. Sodium
    12. Magnesium

    Most people would find this a fairly difficult list to remember in sequence but we can do so by associating the image of the number with an image for the element. For example:

    1. A hydrogen bomb with a one ton weight hanging below
    2. Laughing hyenas at the zoo. They are laughing because they inhaled helium gas.
    3. A tree in our garden lit at night. (Lit gives us Lithium)
    4. Who is at the door?  It is Beryl
    5. We imagine ourself boring into a hive full of bees – suddenly they swarm out.
    6. We have some very old sticks which we are going to date using carbon dating.
    7. The heavens at night. We think of a star-filled night sky. (Night gives us Nitrogen)
    8. Behind the gate is a tent.  It is an oxygen tent and there is someone inside.
    9. We pull up our fishing line and find several tubes of fluoride toothpaste.
    10. There is a flashing light in the lion’s den.  The neon tube in the light needs to be replaced.
    11. Next week we have to play Sodium United. Their nickname is the Sods.
    12. On our shelf in the kitchen is a bottle of Magnesium Salts.

    The more dramatic or ridiculous the image, the easier it is to remember.  Now we can easily remember any of the first 12 elements and give its Atomic Number. If you have to remember 40 or 60 items then you can do so by using a red list, a blue list and a yellow list. So 5 would be a red hive, 22 a blue zoo, and 51…a yellow soccer team.

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    Try this method when you next have an important list to memorize. After a little practice, you will be surprised at how well it works.

    (Photo credit: Plenty on His Mind via Shutterstock)

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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