What it is hardest part of the memory guys job?
Memorizing stuff? Nah….that is fun and over 20 years I have just gotten faster and better.
Being a two time USA Memory Champion? Well….yeah…that was pretty tough :)
Speaking in front of a group? Nope…enjoy that as well. I am more comfortable in front of 3,000 than I am 3. (seriously)
Getting speaking engagements/business? Well….that isn’t an easy thing to do in any business but luckily for me I have stuck in the same career for 20 years and have tons and tons of contacts and repeat business.
The toughest part of my job is convincing people that I don’t have a natural ability to memorize names or numbers. When they see things like I did here on the CBS Early show (below). They think…’WOW! This guy must have been memorizing French when he was 4 and playing the piano by 5.’ Not even close. I was a very normal student growing up.
So what do I attribute my ability to? I won’t suggest to you that I was a bad student or dumb student but I also don’t think I have some special memory aibility that the average person doesn’t have. Frankly, I have close friends who have better memories than me. They remind me, ‘Remember this person from high school?’ I think…’Nope.’
I put it this way – Do you think you could learn to speak a foreign language fluently if you practiced it every day at least 20 minutes for a year? I think most people would agree that they could. There may be a case where some pick it up easier than others but for the most part a person who practices 20 minutes per day for a year could get very very very good. That is all I have done. I have become fluent in the language of memory.
But getting back to it – Do I have some special ability? No, I don’t think I do. Yet, if I am to compromise a little with the people who suggest that my ability is the result of a natural memory and not memory training I would bend a little and say that if I have a special ability it is my work ethic. When I find a project (such as memory training) to work on my mind really wraps around it and it is hard to shake me off that focus.
So, my answer is that if there is some special ability it isn’t my memory it lies in the fact that I worked at developing my memory so diligently with good old memory training techniques. I do believe ANYONE can improve their memory….anyone.