The Major System really helps you improve your memory!
The Major System is one of the finest techniques to help improve your memory, and for allowing you to memorise long lists, but if you manage to sow confusion right from Day 1, then you’re making problems for yourself. It’s important to keep each of your Major System images distinct, both in themselves and in relation to each other.
It would be so easy to confuse certain words and images if you’re not careful. If there’s likely to be some confusion, try to find a way to differentiate the images from each other. Remember, you’re trying to improve your memory, not confuse yourself!
Improve your memory, but don’t get confused
A good example of this is with two words, ‘mouse’ and ‘rat’. Although they are quite distinct creatures, they share enough similarities that their memory images could easily be confused. This bothered me for quite a while, because in each case the word was the obvious choice. I tried using other words instead of either mouse or rat, but the originals kept coming to mind even when I’d tried to do away with them. Finally, I saw a way out – a way of keeping both, and yet having no confusion between the two. And in the end it was quite simple; instead of just ‘mouse’, I made the image Mickey Mouse! This simple distinction is enough to help improve your memory without causing confusion.
If you want to improve your memory, choose your words carefully!
Now the two are quite distinct. All confusion is avoided. If there are two words/images you want to use, but they share so many characteristics that it could be confusing, try and look for a way out. You really don’t want to ditch a word that works for you just because it might be confused with another one. So work on it and try to find a way to use both.
And remember, if you can memorise lists of peg words (which is basically a one-time deal), then you can memorise long lists of virtually anything. So here goes with the rest of the list, up to number 100.
I wanted to use ‘bat’ and ‘cape’!
Another example should put this into perspective. I wanted to use ‘cape’ for 79, but then I realised the image would be easily confused with ‘bat’ (91). Well, maybe not easily confused, but I didn’t want to risk confusing them. Obviously, the wings of a bat can be cape-like, but on top of that there’s the whole Batman thing going on! I definitely wanted to use bat, so I spent a while thinking about it. Out of the blue, I realised there was a perfectly good word for 79 that I hadn’t thought of before … cop! So that was that, sorted out. In fact, cop seems like a more suitable word than cape, somehow more visual, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of using it earlier.
I’m sure this might seem like being over-cautious, but if you manage to confuse some of the memory pegs, what’s the use of using them in the first place? I mean, these are supposed to be techniques to help improve your memory, not create confusion! And one of the most important characteristics of these memory pegs is that they should be unique, and not confused with any other.
I also tried to steer well clear of using any words or images that I’d already used in the 100 List, since that could also be the cause of confusion. Using the same memory words or memory images in different memory techniques would just be asking for trouble, and certainly wouldn’t help you improve your memory.
You can be too careful!
I found number 84 a bit of a problem. ‘Fire’ seems to fit perfectly – just two sounds (‘f’ and ‘r’), and I preferred it to any other word I could have used. The only problem is that fire, though it’s easy enough to visualise, is not easy to characterise – meaning, yes, I can ‘see’ fire easily enough, but it’s not a specific ‘thing’ or a person.
The only way I got around that is to use a little fire character image, and when I need to use 84, I’ll see the little fire character interacting in some way, unless something obvious and non-confusing springs to mind (like the thing I’m trying to memorise catching fire – but sometimes that would be awkward or confusing, I imagine).
Whichever way you go about it, try to find words that suit you, and that you won’t easily confuse with each other. It might be very, very easy for you. I tend to try to get things exactly right (which slows things down a lot!), so I suppose the moral of the tale is this – don’t be a perfectionist, it really doesn’t help! The important thing is to improve your memory, not try to be perfect at every detail of every memory technique.
To learn more about the Major System, take a look at these other pages: learn the Major System peg words (these will help you to master this amazing system), and learn how to use the Major System as a Mental Notebook. And, of course, check out the other pages detailing the memory images of all the numbers from 00-100.
All the links you need are also in the sidebar >>