The 100 List, 20-39, a few more characters …
We’re moving on, creating more and more characters for our memory improvement list. It’s important to find memory characters that have something special about them. The more you find, the harder it becomes to find even more that still have something unique about them. But that’s just what you need – memory characters that have that certain something about them that makes them stick in your mind.
Don’t worry, you only need a hundred in total. And once you’ve got that cast of one hundred, it is immensely useful. Each, in its turn will play many parts, performing the actions of the others in all kinds of imaginary situations. So it’s important that as you’re building your memory improvement list you find memory characters that are easily memorable, for whatever reason, and are clearly linked to their unique actions.
Gather your characters … from far and wide!
You can create your cast of memory characters from any walk of life, e.g. films, television, politics, sports, arts, science, history, fiction, fairy tales, and anything else you can think of. You can even include some cartoon characters if that works for you, as long as each one actually has some ‘character’ that you can identify.
Personally, I’ve found some film and television characters fit into the mould perfectly; I kinda feel like I know them already, so casting them into my little mental videos is a breeze. Sherlock Holmes, for example, fits the bill perfectly. He was indeed a master of disguise, so he can easily play many parts! And Basil Rathbone’s voice is so distinctive, if you ‘hear’ him in an imagined situation, you’re not likely to easily forget it.
Choose your characters carefully. Remember, they’re going to be ‘in your head’ for the long haul, so don’t overpopulate your list with horror film characters and serial killers (unless that idea really appeals to you!).
|THE 100 LIST, 20-29|
|No.||CHARACTER||UNIQUE ACTION||MEMORY NOTES|
|20||C-3PO||oiling something||"Star Wars", oiling can|
|21||Sherlock Holmes||magnifying glass||lived at 221b Baker St.|
|22||Dr. Szell||with dentist's 'tools'||"Marathon Man", 2 front teeth!|
|23||Patrick Moore||playing xylophone||wearing a monocle|
|24||Kojak||sucking a lollipop||he buys a box of 24!|
|25||General de Gaulle||slicing onions||tears running down|
|26||Marilyn Monroe||lipstick, pouting||born in '26|
|27||Fred Astaire||dancing||dancing with Marilyn|
|28||Bruce Forsyth||fumbling, giant cards||"Play Your Cards Right"|
|29||Mrs. Wilberforce||straightens picture||with parrot, "Ladykillers"|
Memory cards – a physical memory improvement list
When you come up with your own memory list, it might be a good idea to write them down on cards (or print them) in tens, like they appear here. Carry each card with you for a few days and take a look at it every time you get the chance. Spend a minute or so just visualising the characters, seeing them doing their unique actions (and in different situations), and repeating their numbers to yourself a few times as you visualise them.
How clearly can you see them? Take the time to look closely at them, as if you had to remember them in a line-up. As they line up in your memory list line-up, they may be the usual suspects but you have to pay close attention to them. Pay attention to every little detail. Make it so you could describe them to someone is such detail that they would be ‘seeing’ them almost as clearly as you are.
|THE 100 LIST, 30-39|
|No.||CHARACTER||UNIQUE ACTION||MEMORY NOTES|
|30||Frank Bruno||shaking a bottle||as in HP sauce TV ad|
|31||Dracula||swishing his cape||"Dracula" released '31|
|32||Alf Garnett||striking a match|
|33||Cilla Black||scrawling||a BLACK marker|
|34||Mary Poppins||opening pink parasol||or sliding down a banister|
|35||Tarzan||swinging on a vine|
|36||James Bond||playing roulette||36, highest number|
|37||Michael Jackson||moonwalking||or dancing 'Thriller'|
|38||Harpo Marx||honks / plays harp||"Room Service", '38|
|39||Adolf Hitler||salutes / clicks heels||WWII started in '39|
You could also link each memory character to the next in some way (remember, be creative!), so that if you’re trying to recall what character fits with a particular number, you just have to think of the previous number/character and you’ll automatically see the next one linking to him/her.
Let ‘be creative’ be your motto, as far as both the 100 List goes, and memory work in general. The brain absolutely thrives on novelty and anything out of the ordinary. Make sure you see things in your mind clearly, and vividly, and (if possible) with a bit of weirdness thrown into the mix.
So if you’re linking one character to another, think of something out-of-the-ordinary and maybe even a little weird, and you’ll have a far better chance of retaining that memory. For example, if someone’s unique action is carrying a walking stick, don’t just have him poke someone gently with it, make it like a cartoon and see him knock the person over with it, trip him up with it, or even knock his head clean off! It’s only imaginary so you can do what you like. And the more weird and out-of-the-ordinary the scene becomes, the better you will visualise it and remember it.
This kind of approach will make this memory list more than just a list of names and images – it will come alive in your mind and be ready, at a moment’s notice, to produce little mental videos worthy of Hollywood!
“But I keep making mistakes!”
Good! Great news! Why? Because the only way you make progress is through making mistakes. You learn from them, you start to recognise the pitfalls, you get used to what works and what doesn’t, and you move on, a little better equipped and a little wiser each time. So don’t worry about making mistakes – if you weren’t making any mistakes you probably wouldn’t be making any progress. So don’t look on mistakes as problems … instead, see them as stepping stones.
You’re creating a memory improvement list populated by fascinating and colourful memory characters that will serve you for years to come, and the better job you do right now the more fun it’s going to be! So be creative and keep looking for interesting characters to use, and linking them to unique actions that can be used in lots of different situations.
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