For many years I believed I had a bad memory. I was never good at remembering names. I used to forget as soon as someone said something to me. I was horrified of speaking to a group people, anxious that I’d forget or say something silly. I barely even read as I’d get mentally exhausted attempting to read, and re-read, and re-read, only to forget what I had read! Yet this all felt normal to me. I thought this was life and I accepted that my memory was not good. If I had any memorizing to do, I would either work twice as hard and exhaust myself out mentally, or just not even bother.
Then one day a friend told me he could memorize forty random objects in any particular order. After hearing that I knew I had to test him. Surely enough, he memorized random words I gave him perfectly. I immediately thought to myself, wow that’s a cool trick and asked my friend to show me how the trick works. He told me there was no trick to it. It was all memory training and memory techniques.
I was now fascinated by this concept of memory training. As I researched more I started to learn how memory training worked. I would eventually also memorize random objects. As my interest grew I found memory techniques to memorize playing cards, exam questions, numbers, and realized that these systems were not just cool tricks, they empowered individuals with key skills to solve problems – the main one which is forgetting stuff!
My memory training research eventually led me to discover that Australia had a ‘memory championships’ where individuals came together from around the nation to compete in events such as remembering the most names, numbers, playing cards, and other events that nothing a little memory training couldn’t handle. My friend and I entered the Australian Memory Championships in 2002. I came second and he third, and we broke several memory records along the way. From that point on, I realized that I didn’t have a ‘bad memory’ as I once accepted. I only had an untrained one.
Since that moment I’ve won The Australian Memory Championships the last four times I entered, broken many records, competed internationally in the World Memory Championships, cheated death, memorized two Yellow Pages phone books in just 24 days, written two bestselling books on memory, The Yellow Elephant and How to Learn Almost Anything in 48 Hours, appeared on television and various other forms of media, including two documentaries about the brain, developed a memory book app which had over 100,000 downloads on Android and iOS, and obtained two Masters degrees, all within the time I got married and had three children.
Memory training didn’t just give me a better memory. It gave me self-empowerment, confidence, motivation, self-discipline, and new-found skills to help others and take on the world. I’m now fortunate and grateful to use these skills to help others who want to improve their memory by running memory training and workshops, coaching, mentoring, keynote speaking and seminars so that individuals may realize their potential and achieve success. If someone like me with a once ‘bad memory’ could do it, so can anyone else. And I'd be delighted to show you how.
Tansel Ali is a 4-time Australian Memory Champion most famously known for memorizing two Yellow Pages phone books in only 24 days. An international bestselling author of the books, ‘The Yellow Elephant’ and ‘How to Learn Almost Anything In 48 Hours’, Tansel is a sought-after memory expert, keynote speaker and memory coach.