Nelson Dellis, USA Memory Champion


Cool Tools Show 111: Nelson Dellis

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Our guest this week is Nelson Dellis. Nelson is one of the leading memory experts in the world, traveling around the world as a Memory Consultant and Keynote Speaker. A four-time USA Memory Champion, mountaineer, and Alzheimer’s disease activist, he preaches a lifestyle that combines fitness, both mental and physical, with proper diet and social involvement.

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Show notes:

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Jacket
“I like to climb, I’m a big climber, and through my charity I do a bunch of big expeditions. So I’ve been up Everest a few times … where you’re dealing with the elements, trying to stay warm and not get cold in different circumstances. You’re trying to find the perfect gear that’s not too heavy and gets the job done. So I’ve experimented with a bunch of stuff, and in 2016 I was on Everest, and I was introduced to this jacket … and I haven’t stopped using it since. It’s just this really lightweight kind of down jacket that folds up super small, it’s super light, and it just has so many different uses. I wear it kind of in between layers, on top of layers, it just stops the wind and just keeps you toasty.”

Peak Design Anchor Links for Camera Straps
“I love taking video of when I travel, when I climb, even for some of my memory videos, I’m shooting them on the go, interviewing people or trying to get a shot while I explain something and sometimes, I like to go really hand-held to get these angles or to just be run and gunning. Other times, I just have to have it’s strapped around my neck and I’m doing something else, holding something else. So, I kind of go in-between those things and I’ve always hated Canon straps that have these double loops that take like, 10 minutes to sit down and fish them through the little loop and all that stuff and I think the Sony’s DSLRs, which I’ve played with too, have these really annoying kind of clips that make noise if you keep them on, so people take them off … this little kind of contraption is basically getting rid of you ever having to do that again … they don’t bother the camera at all, but you can just latch on when you need the strap or not and it’s awesome for dealing with that kind of stuff.”

The Memory Palace Technique
“This technique supposedly was invented by the Greeks thousands of years ago and has been used to memorize massive poems and legions of armies’ fighters names and it’s something people had to use back in the day to store information … The technique works around something that our brains are really good at, which is one, thinking in pictures. … The second step is to take advantage of what our brains are also good at, and that is spatial information. We’re very spatially aware. Our brain is very good at kind of scanning areas and keeping that information within our heads without really trying. And so, if you think about your house for example, close your eyes and picture yourself standing at your front door. I guarantee you, 99.9% of people listening could close their eyes and walk through their whole house without even trouble, right? … So, if you can take those two things, thinking in pictures and using your house or some place familiar, the spatial information that’s already memorized in your mind, you can actually memorize really large amounts of things, and this is the memory palace … Let’s say you’re memorizing all 45 presidents … You would come with a picture for each of the Presidents’ names. So, like, Taft could be a raft, because you’d actually picture a raft, right? Wilson could be a tennis ball, right? Because you think of Wilson tennis, right? Trump’s face is actually memorable, or you could think of an orange … So, you have a picture for each of those things and then what you do is you place the pictures in order, because you want to know the presidents in order, around a path through the place that you’re using as your palace. … So, maybe your picture for Washington is a washing machine filled with a ton of clothes and you picture that washing machine kind of pushed up against the front door and maybe it’s rattling because there’s a ton of stuff in there, it’s really over-loaded and it’s just shaking, making a lot of scary noises and kind of banging up against the door so much so that maybe even the wooden door is splintering and kind of shattering. So you kind of combine the images and have them interact with the space.”

Art of Memory
“This is something I actually helped create with a few other memory friends and it’s basically a place to train your memory. I use it to practice, of course. Teach others as well, these techniques. Play memory games online against other memory enthusiasts and you can actually create your memory palaces through our software online … So, it’s just a great kind of tool. All memory training related. Great resource for learning techniques, practicing them and developing your systems.”

Also mentioned:

Climb For Memory


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