Mnemonics – how did I get into this crazy sport, what does it take, and what can it offer?
When I first stumbled on a book about memory championships I didn’t know what a gigantic difference the training would make in my life. I was someone with an average short term memory, something I tried to hide. This was frustrating because I take huge enjoyment in learning new things, but I was stuck with the hardware I had. At the time I was very fit physically but had begun to feel my cognitive skills age.
So, after devouring that book and newly inspired, I set out to regain a fit mind, focusing on memory techniques in a self-designed training regime. I gathered together a wide range of memory techniques and set to work. Lucky for me my past career as a professional dancer set me up to understand what it means to work through a vigorous training regime.
Suddenly, I was the Australian Memory Champion!
I was astounded when I saw my memory and cognitive functioning respond to training in just the same way as the body does with physical training.
Five months later I was the 2016 Australian Memory Champion, apparently the best mental athlete in Australia. It was as much a shock to me as to my family and friends. The following year I won the 2017 IAM National title in the Australian Open Memory Championship
Can anyone develop an amazing memory?
Yes, you can become that freak that can remember everything.
The incredible part is that memory training does not need to be very difficult. My over-the-top perfectionist training schedule achieved great results – blame that past career. But with a little regular practice almost anyone can perform apparently impossible memory feats, without any exceptional abilities.
It’s like going to gym a couple times a week. Not an overwhelming commitment, sure some days we don’t want to go, but we do it to stay young, fit and healthy. And it’s sometimes fun.
Practicing mental athletics is not only about staying mentally fit, it is liberating. I now feel confident as I face new challenges, ones that I would have avoided in the past. I am able to learn whatever I like. Really fast, and lots of it. I retain more of it too.
Imagine how good that feels.