Tansel Ali On How Gratitude Can Help You Remember Almost Anything

| Podcast

Tansel Ali Magnetic Memory Method PodcastTansel Ali is possibly the most positive memory champion on the planet.

Turns out there’s a solid reason why.

A few reasons, actually.

And in this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast, I speak with 4x Australian Memory Champion Tansel Ali talks about memory improvement and positive thinking.

This may well be the most valuable hour you spend listening to a podcast about memory improvement.


For starters…

In addition to discussing the role of gratitude in coming up with effective visualizations when using mnemonics, Tansel discusses the importance of reading, memorizing cards with music on and focusing on the right things to maximize performance in your memory and life.

Plus, when you scroll up and click play above, you’ll soon discover…

* Why Tansel was originally skeptical about memory improvement and thought all TV memory trainers were fake.

* The factors responsible for making people suspicious of memory techniques because they seem like magic “tricks.”

* How Tansel wound up at his first memory competition and took second place.

* The other rewards memory improvement brings you, including mindset, job performance and fun.

* Tansel’s transition from memory competition to enhancing his own life and the lives of others through teaching memory.

* Why you need to continue challenging your memory almost like the physical training of the body to keep the mind in top shape.

* Exactly how participating in memory competitions help you develop preparation and developing positive self-talk.

* Why Tansel sometimes FORCES himself NOT to use memory techniques in order to challenge his brain. This is a very powerful study tip.

* Tansel’s definition of consistency and the development of successful habits that you can use to challenge yourself.

* Why you should go without fear of making mistakes for the health of your brain and the development of effective discipline.

Tansel Ali Anthony Metivier Mind Exercises Around the World Magnetic Memory Method Podcast

Tansel Ali book signing of The Yellow Elephant on Kindle for me in person.

* Tansel’s personal training regime and how he makes it count.

* How Tansel thinks about visualization as a kind of muscle and how he trains it for competition.

* A quick comparison of Alex Mullen’s training regime and Tansel’s focus on efficiency to improve the right skills and maximize performance.

* A discussion of aphantasia and why you don’t actually have to see pictures in your mind to use memory techniques.

* How Tansel uses feelings and thinking in words to create mnemonic imagery – and why feeling creates more impact.

* How to give the mnemonic imagery you create greater value through personalization.

* Practical reasons you should memorize cards. For one thing, they set you up to make creative decisions that goes beyond just remembering information. And here are 13 more reasons you should have a system for remembering cards.

* Tansel’s thoughts on music and memory and how he memorizes cards with music playing.

* The benefits of training your memory and where to start (also discussed in this video):

* The importance of making memory training fun and interesting, rather than a chore.

* Tansel’s history with apps for memory training and meditation and how to reduce stress.

* How Tansel changed from wallowing in negativity to living in positivity.

* Why you don’t have to use bizarre or violent imagery to remember information and positive options you can explore for creating and using mnemonics.

* Why we both approach shows like Breaking Bad with caution in order to maintain a positive mindset. Not that Breaking Bad can’t be useful for memory improvement, as you can see here:

* The role of gratitude in increasing the value of your imagination by focusing on specifics.

* Why “the law of attraction” is useless without taking action – and how you can use mindset to create the excitement needed to make sure you achieve your goals.

* Why Tansel wishes he had read more as a young person.

* Some of Tansel’s favorite memory books and why they changed his life, including books by Tony Buzan and Dominic O’Brien.

* Tansel’s take on Digital Amnesia and why he chooses to see the positive side of the debate about the so-called Google Effect.

* How Turkish is helping Tansel learn Japanese even without using Kevin Richardson’s Learn Japanese App (a.k.a. Memory Palace).

I want to thank Tansel for being on the show and thank you for listening. Please be sure to grab his books, visit his site and get connected on his various online platforms using the links below.

Further Resources

Yellow Elephant: Improve Your Memory And Learn More, Faster, Better by Tansel Ali

How to Learn Almost Anything in 48 Hours: Shortcuts And Brain Hacks For Learning New Skills Fast by Tansel Ali

Subscribe to Tansel Ali’s YouTube channel

Visit Tansel Ali’s website

Tansel Ali on Twitter

Tansel’s World Memory Stats 

14 Responses to " Tansel Ali On How Gratitude Can Help You Remember Almost Anything "

  1. wee soon lock michael says:

    Very very interesting.

  2. gjmtielen says:

    Loved the interview, the energy

  3. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this helpful and insightful interview! After listening, it made me wonder about women (and girls) in memory competitions– is the gender balance heavily tilted toward male participation? I live in the U.S, so I’m not sure what other contexts may be but in so many areas, like tech and STEM industries, there have been efforts to raise awareness about the lack of gender and other diversity (ethnic, racial, etc). I was curious with contemporary memory competitions seeming to be a newer field and from what I’ve read or heard, I hear about men and not so much women or minorities (LGBTQ), for instance, in the field.

    After listening to this interview, it also made me think about memory and the connection of mood, outlook and mental health. Has anyone done research on memory techniques to see if it could be effective in helping (perhaps as an adjunct therapy) with PTSD symptoms?

    • Excellent and important question, Sarah.

      The World Memory Championships site certainly shows no small amount of diversity in its current pictures from the last competition. The one time I competed with Dave Farrow my memory brings up a typically Canadian spread of ages and origins and I was impressed (and challenged!) by everyone.

      Ultimately, I don’t know the answer to the question so thank you for posting this here so I can share it not only with Tansel, but also Lynne Kelly, Tony Buzan and others. I’ll also ask Alex Mullen and Barbara Oakley for thoughts.

      I think also that even in the grand scope of history, the competitions aren’t so new (at least not anymore). There may be precedents in the chess competitions as well, though I think reading both Lynne Kelly’s The Memory Code and Tony Buzan’s The Memory Book will give you a fuller picture of lineage and the nature of memory techniques as a “competitive advantage” in the game of life at large.

      Also, I feel that some of the best books in the memory space were written by women. Christiane Stenger’s A Sheep Falls Out Of The Tree is amazing, Francis Yates wrote a seminal text on key historical periods in the tradition and Julia Shaw does fantastic memory science in The Memory Illusion.

      About PTSD, I would suggest that there is a “yes” ready for anyone to create. Memory techniques give you confidence and command over the mind as such. You can direct them at any area of healing and self-awareness you wish. It’s dated now, but in my post, Memory Tips for the Manic Depressive University Student, I talked about their positive therapeutic side-effects for me.

      In Robin Williams And The Most Unusable Memory Palace In The World, I talk about the therapeutic limits of this in my own journey. There are still potential Memory Palaces I won’t use because, even if I could cleanse them, they still “push” out the information.

      Ultimately, each person would operate on a case-by-case basis and overall, I expect that people who struggle with symptoms of many mental issues will be greatly helped by the peace of mind memory techniques bring across the board, especially with meditation for memory improvement in the mix.

      Thanks again for your question and hopefully we’ll get a response. Are you following the people I’ve mentioned on Twitter in case they only respond there?

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you so much for sharing all these thoughts, Anthony, and for mentioning specific people, books, events like world championships, and links to learn more. A lot to look into and explore, greatly appreciated!

        • My pleasure, Sarah. The memory world is fantastic and there are thousands of years to explore in the past and thousands of years in the future yet to come. Your interest will help all of us influence the preservation of this great tradition.

    • Alex says:

      Historically, yes, the field has been skewed toward guys. I’ve no idea precisely why–I’m sure it’s a combination of things. But it’s starting to change, especially in terms of female competitors scoring big. Before this year’s IAM World Championship, no woman beside Austrian Astrid Plessl (2nd in ’03 and ’04) had cracked the top three of a world memory championship. But this year, women claimed a majority (six) of the top ten finishes. Four of the top ten in the IAM’s active world rankings are women. Ten of the sport’s 21 world records (including Memory League) are held by women. So it certainly looks like the ground is shifting.

      • Many thanks, Alex. This is great to read and thanks for mentioning Memory League and the stats there.

        Sarah, that could be a very rewarding “remote” community for you to explore and tell others about. I’d say it’s the best online app of its kind and eventually want to write a review of it. Thanks to your excellent questions, you’ve opened two avenues of inquiry I wouldn’t have thought to explore otherwise.

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks, Alex. Really interesting! Sounds like an encouraging trend, for sure!
        And Anthony, yes, it certainly seems like a great remote community to connect with!

  4. Lynne Kelly says:

    I have spent my female life in male dominated areas – engineering, computing, teaching physics and maths … STEM galore. I have only just got into memory competitions, for the first time last November. I have never encountered a more welcoming community. At 66, I have also never encountered a less ageist one.

    I intended to only compete once to do the research for my new book on memory methods collected from indigenous cultures and right through time. Given the common factor is the human brain, there’s a surprising amount of overlap. But I feel that I am gaining so much from training and the community that I intend to keep going indefinitely.

    As for the impact on PTSD, you have got me thinking. I have found that training has taught me how to control the thinking I want to avoid. You have to be able to focus and reject mental intrusions. I find that carries on to work after training, but is also a skill I can use whenever that horrible negative self-talk happens. As to whether that would help with more intense mental issues, I don’t know but it is a really good question. Fascinating.

    • These are great pointers from your experience, Lynne. Thanks for sharing them.

      I wonder if the community aspect also helps us control negative thinking when we have representations of other confident minds around us – especially minds working at developing similar focus and filtering abilities.

      I also can’t help but wonder about the temporal-spatial aspects of the competitions, especially thinking back to what we talked about in terms of the development of dementia potentially developing because people are moving around so much.

      What I’m trying to say is that if there is an annual location one returns to for an event (even if that location is always changing), part of the brain and mind can fix on it, work towards it and then round everything out through actual appearance at the event and its location. Over even just over a few years, I can see this developing many deep and healthy grooves in a human brain, tributaries perhaps that keep good things flowing unobstructed towards the lake of consciousness.

    • Sarah says:

      Wow, Lynne! What a wonderful response to hear! It’s very encouraging to hear about communities that are so welcoming.I am looking forward to getting a hold of the ‘Memory Code’ in the next few months and will be looking on your website to see if there are any upcoming talks/workshops in the Seattle area.
      Being able to consciously affect what one’s focus is, certainly sounds like it could overlap with disrupting neurological patterns and memories.
      Thanks, again for sharing your thoughts on these topics!

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