Monday, March 26, 2012

Spurred by love and fear, memory champ aims to inspire

Thanks to Will for passing this along.

Nelson Dellis might be able to memorize the order of a full deck of shuffled cards faster than you can thumb through and read it, let alone burn it in your mind.

In the five minutes it might take you to leave bed after smashing the alarm, he can memorize more than 300 digits -- the equivalent of roughly 42 seven-digit phone numbers -- and be ready to recite them in the order given.

Dellis, the current record-holding competitive recall king in the United States, says he has no special or photographic inherent memory, claiming he's more than capable of misplacing his keys or forgetting whether he's showered.

The 28-year-old Miami resident has been doing this seriously for only three years, and his success is like that of no other American. And he's on a mission -- only part of which is to defend his 2011 title. Dellis and 50 other mental athletes will compete in the 2012 USA Memory Championship on Saturday in New York City.

One of Dellis' other goals is to convince people that, with training, they can do the kinds of things he does. Still another is to raise money and literally climb mountains for Alzheimer's disease research.

And this is where you realize that if you ever decide to exercise your mind like him, you'll prefer not to have had experienced what he did to be motivated.


Related book: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Related previous posts:

Joshua Foer: Moonwalking with Einstein

The Secret of Memory