How to remember anything, improve your memory and make creative use of the brain.

(Photo: Gerard Fritz)

Exercise your mind with memorization techniques. Memorize a Rhyme List. Then any list of items you want to memorize, “peg” them to your Rhyme List. It’s EASI-A!
In this technique we want to learn a very simple memory system called “pegging.” This system will give you a new technique for memorizing and making creative use of the brain.

A peg list is like a closet with many hangers (pegs); on those hangers you can hang different articles of clothing (information). With your mental closet or peg systems, you can always have a place to hang your coat or replace it with a different jacket or piece of information.

It will also help us with learning the exact order or sequence to a list of memorized items. A peg is something we already have stored in our long-term memory. To peg, we take something we don’t know, but wish to learn, and attach or associate it with our already existing peg; something we do know. Let’s review a peg list called the Rhyme List.

The Rhyme List

  1. Gun
  2. Shoe
  3. Tree
  4. Door
  5. Knife
  6. Sticks
  7. Heaven
  8. Skate
  9. Wine
  10. Hen

It’s an easy as 1-2-3

The Rhyme List is very easy to remember because we can associate a number to the image by rhyming it. Read the list and memorize the rhymes for each number.

Repeat the list by saying, “One is gun, two is shoe…” and so on. Do this until the list is completely memorized. Incidentally, this list could easily have varied. One could be bun, or nun. Two could be glue, three, bee, and so on. As long as the peg is an image or a picture, not a feeling or something else not tangible. Fun, for example, is not a picture.

Once you have the Rhyme List memorized, you can use it to peg any information you want to remember. In CMT we use this principle for many of the following:

  • Goals for the day
  • Funny events to remember for sharing later with family or friends
  • Topics of your speech
  • Important principles you need work on

For the sake of practice, let’s have you learn the following list of 10 items:

  1. Bicycle
  2. Arrow
  3. Bone
  4. Windmill
  5. Fish
  6. Bird
  7. Bowling ball
  8. Ship
  9. Telephone
  10. Balloon
  11. Cheese
  12. Camera

When we want to remember a list, we need to use association so we will know what image comes after the gun. Is it the bicycle? How did you know this? Because you picture a gun that shoots bicycles instead of bullets (the odder the image the more memorable). When you think of two-is-shoe, it makes you think arrow or what it is associated to. For example:

Imaging a gun shooting bicycles

Imagine a shoe with arrows as laces

Imagine a tree made out of bones

Building a powerful memory is like getting an EASI A, easy with an “I”, that is. Using my EASI-A system, we have the mental glue to improve the recall ability of our list.

E – Exaggeration

A – Action

S – Senses

I – Imagination

A – Association

Let’s break that down:

Exaggeration and other fish tales.

To overemphasize, make it bigger, smaller, or add quantity. Instead of one buzzing bee, there can be hundreds or thousands. We want to pay particular attention to sizes, shapes, sounds, and quantity. There is the small fish you really caught and the monstrous fish you said you caught. Monstrous is more memorable.


When we use movement in our pictures, they become far more reliable. Running, jumping, and kicking are actions that make pictures come to life. Action is especially important when associating images together. The bee does not land on your nose; it flies up it and brings friends. Try to forget that!


We need to use of all our senses and emotions, taste, smell, sight, sound, and feelings. The more senses you have in your image, the easier it will be to recall. So make sense and use your senses. The pain of the bees stinging your tongue during your favorite meal of bee soup will be sure to keep you awake as to what was in your image. Humor and pain are all great for gluing the information to your head.


The most important key to a magical memory is using your imagination. A vivid imagination is something that we all have, although many of us let it go dormant. With an imagination you are unlimited in what you can create. Good images include all of the above ingredients. With an unlimited imagination, you have an unlimited power of memory. It is normal and unimaginative to see a bee on a flower–easy to realize but not very memorable. How about having the bee swallow the flower instead?


The major secret to remembering stored information in our images is the ability to associate unknown knowledge to known knowledge or link one image with another. Whenever we can associate images to the material in question, it becomes easier to remember.

Only use the EASI-A system for improving your memory and creativity. It isn’t something we want to use when we are focused on visualizing our goals. When visualizing our goals, we want the images to be as real as possible; whereas in memory, we want them to be as unrealistic as possible.

The purpose behind this memory game is to get your brain working on a regular basis. Memorization is a great way to build your mental muscle. The key is to use it. Come up with some creative ways to use this list. I often think of new ideas when I am jogging. Since a mental notebook travels with me everywhere I go, I can jot down these ideas in my head. When I get to my office, I can remember my new ideas, transfer them to paper, and begin working on them right away.

Regardless of what you are using this list for, you want to make sure you are using it on a daily basis. You can remember the grocery list if you need to. Just constantly keep adding new information and using the system. And yes, you can make a new list every single day and not worry about the old list being there to interrupt you. As long as you make the images clear and add some mental glue, you will be okay.

Cheaper than a PDA or I-Pad

Practice on a number of lists before you move on to using it for other things to remember. Also, practice making this list without having to do any writing. The goal is that you don’t have to use a pen and paper for remembering a list or “Tew Do’s.” You have a mental notebook now, free, no batteries needed. Practice this by having a friend or family member list 10 items and then link them to your Rhyme List.

If you have an item to remember that is not already an image, you must convert it into a picture before you link it. For example, you might want to remember a list of achievement beliefs. The first might be “I am Positive.” Well, you need an image for positive before you can link it to your peg list, because simply having a gun shoot out the word positive just isn’t going to do it. Instead you could have the gun shoot a glass that is half full. You could have a gun shooting out + symbols that represent positive. Be creative, but just remember everything must be a picture before you link it.

Winjitsu Work Out

If you have not already memorized the numbers 1-10 with their associated rhyme image (i.e. – 1. Gun), do it now. If you still have some time, make a list of ten things you want to remember (grocery list, chores, attributes – be sure to convert them to images, speech topics, etc.). Now link those items to your memory list. Test yourself. How did you do?

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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