It's the Olympics, but not as we know it. Over 50 competitors from 20 countries will be striving for Gold throughout a three-day mental competition of the mind known as the World Memory Championships.
The yearly competition comprises of ten events over three days testing the memory of the very elite memorisers in the world. Remembering the order of a shuffled deck of playing cards, thousands of digits of numbers, hundreds of names and faces and 400 spoken numbers at every one-second interval are only a few of the events that are on the competition agenda.
One of those very elite who is representing Australia is Tansel Ali, who has recently memorised two Yellow Pages phonebooks in just 24 days and has won the last two Australian Memory Championships. Tansel, who represented Australia in the World Memory Championships back in 2003, believes he is a good chance of bringing Australia its first ever gold medal from London.
"All the events are extremely challenging. Making one single mistake, like missing one single digit or playing card can mean the difference between coming first and coming last", says Tansel. It will be the first time ever an Australian has ever won gold in the 21 year existence of the competition should Tansel win any of the ten events.
Tansel who is a corporate speaker and memory coach believes that anyone can have an amazing memory just like the memory competitors. "Most people don't believe they can improve their memory. They believe that having a super memory is a gift you are born with. Knowledge and application of specific techniques will enhance the memory function. It is really that simple. Unfortunately this knowledge is not taught widely in schools which is why I also enter these competitions to be an advocate and raise awareness of memory and more importantly, advanced learning using these memory skills so it benefits the wider community".
According to Monique Toohey, Managing Director and Psychologist of Nasihah Consulting Group, "I still cannot believe these techniques are not taught from primary school. Children gravitate towards these techniques not only because they work, but because they utilise a child's creativity which adds fun to their learning experience. Students, even those with learning difficulties can apply the techniques as used by memorisers like Tansel".
Ever since embarking on his memory journey, Tansel has been perplexed at people's limiting beliefs around their own memory development. The greatest challenge is not memorising the phone book or other huge memory feats, it is changing people's mindset and helping them to realise they too can have this capability and it can benefit them in their daily lives, he says.
The World Memory Championships take place in London at the Lilian Baylis Technology School on December 14-16.
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