What if you could remember everything, from your grocery list to the names and titles of everyone you meet at a business conference?
You can improve your memory by learning memory techniques that are thousands of years old. That’s what Nelson Dellis did to train for the USA Memory Championship, and you might know that Nelson has won the top prize for two years running. We have teamed up with Nelson to create this "Upgrade Your Memory" video that teaches memorization techniques that can enhance your business and personal life. Since we all have the same "hardware," it's really an upgrade of our "software," or brain, that makes all the difference. We sat down with Nelson to discuss the value of memory.
Fusion: How does your ability to memorize anything help you in your life?
Nelson: These techniques are so useful in everyday life. It's not that I've become a human tape recorder; it's more that I've developed an awareness of my mind and memory. I've mastered techniques that allow me to remember things without fail if I want to. This confidence in retaining information is probably the most helpful part of training my memory in my life. In any social setting I can just feel more at ease knowing that what people will tell me is not going to slip out of my mind.
Fusion: How does your memory ability help you in business?
Nelson: For business people, this is key. If you can walk into a room and know that your memory is a vault, you can be that much more influential. The same translates over to personal life.
Fusion: Are you a nerd who sits at home all day memorizing?
Nelson: Far from it! I do all the normal things people do: watch football, play basketball, forget where I put my car keys, have a beer, etc. I guess one interesting thing is that now when I look at numbers, I don't see numbers anymore — I see people and things.
Fusion: What inspired you to get into the world of mental athletics?
Nelson: My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for many years and she eventually passed away in the summer of 2009. It was at that point that I promised myself that I would never allow the same fate to happen to me. I started training my mind full force from that point on. Once I got into it, I became obsessed. I almost felt like I had developed a super-human power and once you develop something like that, you really don't ever want to let it go.
Fusion: Why start out by learning how to memorize lists?
Nelson: Memorizing lists is a great place to start because it is something we all need to do every day. Whether it’s a grocery list or a to-do list in our mind, we are always making lists. List memorization is also a great way to showcase how the brain works better when dealing with pictures that we link together and associate into a story.
Fusion: It seems like a lot of work to create these stories so quickly, and not just create them, but remember them. Any tips for us beginners? Does it get easier with practice?
Nelson: Yes and no. The technique itself was very easy to learn; almost effortless. After all, it's a power we all are capable of — we just have to tap into it. It sounds like a lot more work to think of all these crazy pictures, but in fact it is easier and more fun for our brains to do that instead. It definitely gets easier with practice. Creativity and quickness of imagery develops quick. Tips for beginners? Just try it out. Once you see the power of it, you'll be hooked.
Check out how Nelson makes a list of ten random words unforgettable by turning the words into images and linking them together in a story.
Check out Nelson's blog post about becoming a Fusion-io ambassador, and click here to read more about having remakable memory using the hardware you have. You can support Nelson's non-profit, Climb for Memory, which is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's disease research here.