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If You Don’t Know Tony Buzan And His Mind Map Technique, Here’s How To Learn Faster and Remember Everything!
Actually, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of Tony Buzan before.
But even if you’ve never heard of Tony Buzan, this fact is almost certainly true:
Your life has been touched by someone whose creativity and intelligence was revived by the ideas, processes and incredible inspiration found only in the Buzan troposphere, stratosphere and infinite universe of imagination and inventiveness beyond.
Either way, today’s your lucky day, because you’re about to learn:
- How Tony Buzan transformed himself from thinking he was stupid to knowing he is extraordinary. (You’ll be modeling this simple tactic before you know it.)
- How to create an imagination so valuable that you would never sell it – not even for a trillion dollars!
- How to use your mind to deal with the dark times. No matter how deep the valleys go, with Tony Buzan’s approach, they still can be fascinating and even fun.
- … and much, much more.
In this interview, Tony Buzan also reveals one of his personal heroes and gives clues on how to maximize the power of your own. We talk about threats to the future and exactly how you are already equipped to deal with anything and everything that could ever come your way.
2019 update: Tony has since released a new book called Mind Map Mastery. I’ve reviewed this incredible mind mapping book in full on both the blog and podcast.
For now, be sure to download the MP3 of this interview with Tony to your desktop and revisit this episode often.
You can also download a PDF of the transcript and go over it using the same speed reading skills you’ve learned from the master himself. I recommend that you print out a copy and share it with your friends.
And as you do, be sure to visit Tony Buzan on Twitter, Amazon and check out the World Memory Championships homepage for details of this years event and all of the incredible records over the past 25 years.
Plus, don’t forget World Mind Mapping Day. Here’s a beautiful and amazing mind map about it created by Phil Chambers:
Tony Buzan On The Paradise Of Multiple Intelligences
Anthony: Tony, thank you so much for being on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. It’s been in the making for a while. I’m really excited, actually, that we have done it after I had a chance to meet you and attend one of your trainings, which was so pivotal for me even after some time in the world of memory training. It was just a delight and an honor to learn from you directly. So thank you for being here.
Tony: Well, thank you for being on my course, and thank you for having read so many of my books. Thank you for being such a good beacon really for other people who need to follow the development of their own mental literacy and the empowerment of their memories, their mind mapping skills, their reading, speed reading, their study skills, and their mind-body coordination. You are a lovely example.
Anthony: Well thank you very saying that. It kind of circles back to you, because I remember in high school first just being fascinated by your name and the covers of your book, and they’re really adventures to get into once you’re in there. They are so unique because of that. I know that there are ideas behind how you even design your books to make them feel that way. It’s just amazing how the world works and how fate puts you in certain places.
“I trained myself very cleverly to become stupid, and
I was very successful.”
Tony: It does doesn’t it. It’s almost odd that when I was in school I didn’t like schoolwork. I didn’t like homework. I didn’t like taking notes. I didn’t like studying. So you would think that the person who has written books on studying and thinking would have loved it, but he didn’t. That is actually the beginning of my journey, because I had begun to realize that the way that I was being taught in my school, like in many other hundreds of thousands of schools, I was being taught in a way that turned me off my brain, tuned my brain out. I tuned it out very well. I trained myself very cleverly to become stupid, and I was very successful.
Anthony: Talk about that. What do you define as stupid and how did that feel?
Tony: I think probably stupid, which is a word that ideally should not need to be used anywhere, means being unable to use the natural skills and intelligences with which the brain is gifted. We are, i.e., we humans are astonishingly brilliant, beautifully multiply intelligent.
When the brain is given misinformation, because it learns so fast and when it believes people who tell it what it is, when they are told things that are wrong and they believe them, then they train themselves to become less intelligent. I did that brilliantly.
The Only Stupid Thought Tony Buzan Has Ever Had
It was aggravating because I had dreamt of being bright. I had dreamt of being successful. I wanted to be. Yet I would do poorly on certain exams. I couldn’t remember the dates in history. I couldn’t remember the formulas in chemistry and physics. I began to think I was stupid. That perhaps was the only stupid thought I had.
We are all basically naturally brilliant and it started me on the journey. When I began slowly to realize I am actually brighter than I think I am, that my studying methodology was not only not helpful, it was the opposite of being successful. It helped me get worse and worse.
Anthony: What was the tipping point that enabled you to have a change of mind and set you on the path to thinking more positively and starting to learn in a more optimal way and then design optimal learning strategies?
Tony: There were a number of tipping points. One was my best friend. We were seven years old and my best friend and I only loved nature. That was our main hobby. My best friend could identify the flight patterns of any butterflies or birds. He could identify them with machine gun like accuracy. That’s a sparrow. That’s a cabbage white butterfly.
But, in school, he was called stupid because he was illiterate, he was innumerate, he was dyslexic. But I didn’t know those terms existed. He was just my brilliant friend. I began to think, hold on. How can they possibly be calling this best friend of mine stupid, and sometimes calling me quite bright when I knew that he knew more than I knew about nature? So that was turning point one.
Where Not To Look For Your Brain’s Operating Manual
Another major tipping point was the fact that when I was at university I went into the library, because I was panicking about exams. I thought I’d go find out how to use my brain. I walked in the library, and I said to the librarian, “I need a book on how to use my brain.” She pointed to the medical section and said the medical section is over there. I thought what? I don’t want to take my brain out. I don’t want to operate on it. I want to know how to operate it. She said there are no books on that. That made me think … what?
Whatever I buy, whether it’s a pack of aspirins, or a little radio, or a washing machine, or a car, what am going to get? I am going to get an operations manual. But for this delightful extraordinary gift of a brain, I get no operations manual. That’s when I began to write.
Thank you for your kind words about the covers on the books, because once I wrote one book, people were asking for another book. My first book, Use Your Head, which really was the operations manual, was really written for my brother, my friends and me. It included chapters on memory, chapters on creativity, on reading, on speedreading, on studying, on note taking, and on the origination of mind maps.
How One Book Become
One Hundred And Forty-Two Others
Another tipping point:
People said Tony don’t write that book because as soon as you’ve written it, everybody will copy it, will learn from it and you won’t have any more books to write. It was exactly the opposite. I wrote that book, Use Your Head, and as soon as people and publishers had read it, they would point to me and say, “You’ve got a chapter here on memory. Why don’t you do a full book on memory?” I’d say yeah, okay.
Sure enough within a few months people were saying, that chapter in Use Your Head on mind maps, why don’t you have a book on mind maps? So I thought, yeah, okay. Then when I’d written the mind map book, which was the child of Use Your Head, people read the mind map book and said have you done a book for children on mind maps?
I said no, you know some of it is in the book. They said no, no, a full book just for kids. So I said okay. Publisher came up and said could you do three mind map books for kids. One on mind maps the introduction. One on mind maps memory. One on mind maps for studying. Every book gave birth to more books.
As you and I are speaking right now, I am now on book No. 142. I’m sitting in my garden, and for this afternoon I’ve been working on two books, and in the next hour I’m going to be meeting with a designer, co-designer and co-editor this evening to work on another book.
Anthony: Wow, this is incredible and it reminds me and connects me to some other things that I wanted to ask you. You’ve written about multiple intelligences. You were a huge figure in developing that field. I think that not enough people really recognize how, or at least in the material I’ve read, how that you actually are a demonstration of all these multiple intelligences, because it’s not just about books, right?
You have written books but you’ve been responsive to the audience that wanted more books. But not just through books, you’ve gone into various parts of media such as television, and then you’ve produced software for people and are using the Internet in creative ways, and the mind map itself, the things you’ve done is art and you’ve also been a proponent of art itself.
How To Find Your First Multiple Intelligence
You brought beautiful art to the training that I attended. It’s just incredible. Then you turn people into artists. Just how do you explain your interest in all of this and the energy that keeps you going and enables you to do it? I know it is multiple intelligences and I know that it comes down to things that you’ve classified – creativity, personality, the social, the spiritual, the physical and so forth. But a lot of people just see this from a person like yourself and they’re like, where’s the alpha here? Where do we begin?
Tony: That’s a lovely question because it is a question worth me thinking about. Because when I was a 7‑year-old, 10‑year-old, 12‑year-old boy, I was a kind of good above-average kid, but I was poor in sports. I was virtually hope less with art. Socially I was fairly good but not fully aware of how to get on with other people.
I gradually began to realize, for example with my first intelligence, I began to become very attracted to young girls. The spark in my eyes started when I was about 5. But I didn’t know anything about that.
By the time I was 12, most of my other male friends became interested in girls and so did I. I began to think well I want to get a good girlfriend so I better get strong. So I then went into the gym and I learned how to run. I learned how to swim. I learned how to build my muscles because I wanted to be a good guy on the beach that girls would find attractive because of my good built-up body, my biceps and my six-pack.
The Real Secret Of Verbal Intelligence
I was at a party and I developed my verbal intelligence. So I was pretty good at that stage of talking, fairly good at writing and I was getting strong. So I thought the girls would immediately gravitate towards me.
I noticed that some kids who were not doing well in school, not doing well in sports, but they were funny. They were telling good jokes. They were making people laugh and girls would go more for them than they went for me. And I thought how can they be possibly more interested in an unfit kid doing badly in school when I’m doing now well in school and I’m strong.
It quickly dawned on me that being humorous having a sense of humor was a massive creative and social intelligence. I thought well I better build up the package. I better learn how to tell some jokes, learn how to be funny, learn how to make a fool of myself. Not try to be so clever, so good and so always top.
Over the years, and it was years, I began to realize about multiple intelligences. Then my hero in my early teens, throughout the teens and the rest of my life was Leonardo Da Vinci. Who would I really like to be? Sometimes people teach us in saying who would you like to be. I was thinking who would I like to be.
When and Why Being A Copycat Is Good For You
Would I like to be a fabulous artist? Yes, I would. Would I like to be a physically fit man? Yes, I would. Would I like to be an architect? Yes, I would. Would I like to be an astronomer? Yes, I would. Would I like to be a sculptor? Yes, I would. Would I like to be a top scientist? Yes, I would. Of course, they were all wrapped into Leonardo Da Vinci. So he became my hero and I began to study him. As any kid does, try to copy my hero.
So that was part of my journey into multiple intelligences and some of the tipping points in my life that led me to where I am. I now know, it’s not even just think, I know that nearly every kid on the planet can develop into this multiply intelligent wonderful human being.
Anthony: It seems like there is a bit of a code that can be extracted from what you’ve said which is essentially becoming an observer of your desires, observing the observation and then figuring out a way to take action. Would that be fair to say?
Tony: That would be a good beginning summary. In fact, Leonardo said something dead on that. He said, I’ll put this into different words, but basically what Leonard was saying was, look guys, don’t keep calling me an artist. I’m not just an artist. I am more than that. The word artist means a surface level somebody with paintbrushes who paints.
He said but I am a student of nature, and what I do is I notice that people don’t look and don’t see. We need to look and see. So he said I am simply a student of nature. I, Leonardo, am a student of nature and I observe her. When I observe her, I study her, I analyze her, I remember her, I copy her and then I add to whatever she’s given me and that is action. That’s what he did.
He would go into the woods, into the fields and he would observe flowers or animals, and he would observe them. He would then study them. He would analyze them and then he’d measure them. He would then copy them. When he had copied them that helped him remember them, and when he copied and copied say this kind of flower or this kind of face, then he would begin to change it in his own mind’s way. Those were his actions, a total genius. If anybody wants to learn to draw, copy Leonardo because he said copy nature. So go out there and learn how to copy. It’s wonderful.
How To Be A Real Teacher
And Touch The Lives Of Millions
Anthony: I think a common idea that we come up with, and it certainly is in the air already, is something about the way that we are put into schools interrupts this process that you were just talking about which is so elegant and simply has certainly helped you lead an incredible life that has changed so many lives.
Sometimes one wants to point the finger at the Victorian sort of nature of the school education system that has somehow made it’s made its way into the 21st century, but where do you see things now. What do we do to help people regardless of why? If it is the school, or they are not eating properly, or however things are playing in their lives, how do we help people participate in this procedure that you described so beautifully, into what you have called, actually to quote you, a mentally literate planet? At the core of things, how do we get this to more people?
Tony: Good question and an immediate answer is what you are doing now. You’ve got a podcast. You are contacting tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions of people. You are spreading global mental literacy. That’s one wonderful way to do it. Another is to be a teacher, but a real teacher, a teacher who is a beacon to a child. A teacher who is someone who launches the child on the exploration of their internal universe. A teacher is a harvester of questions so being a teacher is a wonderful most important profession. Mind mapping is another way.
Let me give you the hot off the presses two bits of information. We are now approaching the beginning of August. August 19 is the day. It’s a global mental literacy day and on that day, two things are going to happen.
No. 1, I have just been nominated and going to be given the Toastmaster Award. The Toastmaster organization has 15,000 members in 135 countries. Their simple goal for each individual Toastmaster is to learn how to present and to learn how to become confident. As soon as someone learns how to speak publicly, and obviously mind maps are a wonderful way to do that, and as soon as they do that, they then become more confident. When they get to that stage, all they have to do is to help another person do the same. So it’s like a wonderful positive brush fire, a positive viral.
The Toastmasters are going to give me the Golden Gavel Award in Washington, D.C. on August 19 this year. I will be speaking to 2,000 people from 135 countries and all of them know about mind mapping. They are anointing me as like a new leader for them to help the planet learn how to communicate and how to give birth to more leaders. Because people who can communicate, are confident and know how to think can help the world.
So on that day, the 19th, I’m going to be given that award and will be connected to 15,000 people who believe in human beings and believe in helping them to help each other, how to communicate, how to learn and how to become a leader that’s an ultimate global goal. So, please come to Washington and be with me there.
Announcing The First Ever World Mind Map Day!
On that same day, that day is now also going to be announced as the World Mind Map Day because there are global days for football and global days for golf and global days for politics or whatever. But this is the World Mind Map Day on August 19, 2016. On that day, the goal is for every mind mapper on this planet and there are already well over 300 million mind mappers, the goal is to have every mind mapper get as many mind maps out in as many ways as possible.
For example, if you’re an individual who mind maps, you don’t do an enormous number of big things, but you could get mind maps on your Skype, on your Twitter, on your Facebook, you could put mind maps on your car, when you go into a restaurant you could give them a fabulous mind map to stick on the window. You could put mind maps on billboards. You could give them to schools, give them copies, and/or send them virtually.
If you’ve got a little database of a thousand or ten thousand people, send mind maps to every one of them saying welcome to the World Mind Map Day. On my Twitter, my Twitter home page is @tony_buzan. The World Mind Map mind map is there so you can retweet that.
It is going to be like a super nova. It is going to explode mental literacy around the world, and I am really happy with that because in this modern age, despite the fact that the information age has given us a lot of information overload, it can do wondrous things. One of the things it can do is to spread good news to every brain, igniting every brain to become a flame with a beauty, the magnificence of the human mind.
Anthony: This is absolutely true and I’m glad that you raised the topic of people just getting their own podcast or getting out there and Tweeting at whatever level that they can to help spread the good news about these techniques and about the people who are really expert at explaining them.
The Power Of Lineage In The World Of Memory,
Multiple Intelligence And Creativity
Tony: The power of podcasts is a good phrase. You could use that, the power of podcasts because it’s very powerful. You know, if you, for example, Anthony influence one person on one interview you have, and that person transforms the world, it might have been a little Thomas Edison, it might have been a little Maria Montessori, it might have been a little Mandela, it could have been any child who you influenced and ignited. Then one podcast with one person changed and evolving it would be wonderful.
Anthony: I just wanted to tell you, to make a concrete example for people and I should really give a shout out to someone special. I’m here in Tel Aviv, and I have this podcast and maybe we came into connection because you were in British Columbia where I grew up. So maybe there was something in the air about that. Having grown up with your influence and then learning all this time and I’m in Tel Aviv.
I just let people know on my podcast and through my email that I’m here and a guy named Eldon Clem emails me.
He’s in Jerusalem and we haven’t managed to connect yet, but I really want to meet him because he’s taken my training that he found out because that I spread the word about these things, and I’m almost choking up here because he emailed and he said that what I’ve done has changed how he teaches Semitic languages.
I’ve talked to him over a year ago and he told me that he memorized a thousand words in six weeks of ancient Ethiopic and this is a very difficult language where the words have three letters. He said it was no problem even without an online language learning course. I just went on to read a thousand words and then I just started incorporating your stuff into my classes and now I heard that he’s even using the Memory Palace as a technique to give quizzes.
So this is how the lineage works. From me seeing your books as a kid in British Columbia to ultimately getting to meet you and already having had the podcast in action and then somebody gets involved in my stuff and then they start passing it on to students. He said they are getting great success because it enables them in the testing period. So I just want to take this opportunity to give a concrete example that’s happening right now and I hope to meet him and let him know that I spoke with you. It’s amazing what can happen.
Why You Should Come To The
2016 World Memory Championships
Tony: Wonderful. I mean your story links in with the World Memory Championships, because that was just an idea that I had many decades ago. Why are there tidily winks championships? Why are there chess championships? High jumping championships, long jumping championships, weight lifting championships, you name it there’s a championship and nothing on memory. I thought we’ve got to have a World Memory Championship. I discussed that and people said Buzan you must be crazy. What’s the point of having a memory competition? Nobody will be interested in that.
This year is the 25th World Memory Championships. It is the Jubilee year, No. 25, and there are tens of thousands of competitors and there are multiple grand masters of memory spreading around the world. All the people in the World Memory Championships, like you Anthony, are busting all the barriers that are placed around the human brain.
It’s like balustrades, pickets that are staked around the human brain and it is fenced in like a trapped animal, when in fact when the brain knows how to think, knows how to remember, knows how to learn, knows how to be intelligent, it will break all those barriers. I’m sure you’re going to be at the World Memory Championships this year, which are now going to be in Singapore this year December 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, World Memory Championships. Please, both you and me, invite everybody from your podcast group, team to come to Singapore.
Anthony: Let’s do it! Maybe you can help make it concrete for people. What is the No. 1, or by all means add more than one if it comes to mind, but what would you say is the top benefit of participating in the World Memory Championships for someone who is already feeling that sense of resistance? Like I could never go what’s the tipping point for them to get in there and just give it a try.
Tony: One of the great events in your life, when you compete you will naturally meet all the greatest memorizers in the world. You’ll meet every Grandmaster. You’ll meet Dominic O’Brien, eight-time World Memory Champion ad creator of the Dominic System.
This is someone, who as a kid in school, was told he would never succeed. You can’t remember. You can’t concentrate. You are useless. Get out of this school. He became the eight-time World Memory Champion because he suddenly realized, oh, they say I’m stupid but I’m not.
If you went to the World Memory Championships, you would meet all the people. You would meet me because I will be there. You would meet Anthony Metivier. I mean what a wonderful opportunity. You would be meeting people who would charge something like £1,000.00 or £2,000.00 an hour for their time and you would be meeting them as new friends.
It would be like going into the United Nations where all the presidents of the countries were coming together and you’d just be with them. Same in the memory championships and as soon as you competed, you would learn that your memory, no matter how poor, weak and bad you think it is, it’s powerful and all you need is the correct formulas for unlocking the doors of your genius.
How To Create A Trillion Dollar Brain
I’ve asked people sometimes how much would I have to pay you to promise that you’d obliterate your memory of the World Memory Championships. You just wipe out your memory of it. If you met all the world champions, the national champions, all the best memorizers and they taught you how to remember.
If you met all the top competitors in the world, you met Tony Buzan, Anthony Metivier, Grandmaster Raymond Keene, the ultimate chess, mind sports, Times journalist and writer, how much would I have to pay you if you promised to forget all of it?
People said, no matter how much you pay me I would choose to remember it all. It’s changed my life. It would destroy me if I forgot all that I now know about memory and my new friend Dominic O’Brien. People have said if you offer my £100,000.00, I would still say no. It’s priceless. That’s how important it is.
Anthony: I feel the same way about having attended your training. You couldn’t pay its way out of my memory. It’s just too valuable.
Tony: Thank you for saying that, because if you and all the people on the podcast here said listen Buzan we’ll give you a trillion pounds if you promise that you’ll never use a mind map again, you will never use anything in your books, you wouldn’t use your speed reading, you won’t use your studying skills, you won’t use your creativity, you won’t use your multiple intelligences, but we’ll give you a trillion pounds. I would say you must be mad! What’s the point of wiping my brain out for a trillion pounds? My brain is infinitely valuable and that’s how important it is.
Anthony: Absolutely. One of the things that I want to point out is that I went to the training that I went to as someone who already used the techniques, and I’m just so devoted to learning as much as I possibly can. I was blown away not only by how little that I know but how little that I knew about what I know. Let me put it that way.
Tony: There is that kind of a common saying in most cultures including the Arabic culture, Japanese, Chinese, European cultures. The common saying is the more you know the less you know.
The Truth About What You Know About What You Know
About What You Know About …
That is a complete misinterpretation of what actually everybody meant. The real saying is, the more you know the more you know, and the more you know the more you know that there is even more to know than you thought you would have to know.
Anthony: That is a much more empowering and profound and useful way of using that phrase.
Tony: So I now know that I know a lot more than I ever knew before, and I know that now that I know all that, I know now know there that there are an infinite number of infinite number of infinite number of other things I don’t yet know and would love to know.
Many people are saying about old age, people are saying I don’t want to be old. I don’t want to be over 80. It would be terrible. My brain would rot and I don’t want to learn anymore. My brain is stuffed which is sadly tragic. Because the fact is, the human brain can learn an infinite number of things.
Why Tony Buzan Wants To Live Forever
Therefore I want to live forever because would like to be a concert level violinist? Yes, I would. Would I like to be a concert level pianist? Of course, I would. Would I like to be a brilliant gymnast? Of course, I would. Would I like to be an Olympic level swimmer? Of course, I would.
Would I like to be a bestselling novelist of detective stories like Sherlock Holmes? Of course, I would. Would I like to be a top children’s author with 100 books? Of course, I would. Would I like to go to every country? Of course, I would. Would I like to spend years in each country, in different cities?
Would I like to spend 10 years in Paris learning French, learning French cuisine, learning French philosophy, French poetry, French literature, and French music? Of course, I would. How many years is that going take me? Trillions of years. I would love to live forever.
Every day of my life is wonderful even when I’m in pain or sad or depressed or melancholic, or contemplating suicidal thoughts, I’d far rather be alive than not.
How To Deal With The Darkness
Without Pills Or Psychiatrists
Anthony: Let’s go in this direction a little bit. How do you deal with those challenges that you’ve just mentioned, the dark times? We give this impression always these super incredible intellects they just have it all and live in paradise. But, it’s not the case. So what do you do? How do you use your multiple intelligences to deal with the down sides?
Tony: When I’m down, I explore the bad. You know for example, if I give you a simple example about having nightmares, and let’s say things are going pretty awfully and friends are dying, personal situations are difficult, sickness or illness causes nightmares, and people wake up screaming in the middle of the night with monsters howling or whatever.
Rather than waking up screaming and trying to block out the nightmares, I now think, because I used to try to stop them, but then I began to think hold on a minute, among the most popular movies on the planet are horror movies. Horror movies and how much do they cost to make? It costs $250 million to make one horror movie.
What is my nightmare like? It’s a lot better than that one $250 million movie. It’s fabulous. It’s got monsters in it that I’ve never even imagined before. It has unbelievable pain. It has all the horrors. So I now think, wow, what a great story that is, wat a great poem that will be. You know like the American author Edgar Allen Poe. His horror stories, he got those from his nightmares. Wonderful.
I recently had a big molar wisdom tooth taken out, which was infected, broken, so it was literally a bloody mess. I was asked to take paracetamol or any other painkiller to prevent the pain because for two days it would be really painful after the numbness disappeared from the eight needles I had to have.
I said no, I’m not going to take any painkiller because pain is information. It’s a friend of mine. My mouth is telling my brain I’m in agony. I am bleeding. I am ripped apart. I am in asunder. I am still bleeding and I’m trying to tell you Tony, please look after me. You know rinse me, listen to me, hear me, and so I had all night conversations with pain.
What was fascinating was that the pain in my mouth was a giant pulse – roomph, roomph, roomph. Why? Because the blood was pumping and it was all open and damaged, and it was roomph, roomph. The more I got into it the more it was like a wonderful music, roomph, roomph, and sure enough after five hours of listening to that, I went to sleep. I was sent to sleep by my pain.
The Magic Of Rowing
When I went sculling, you know, rowing sculling in the morning, I was told do not do any big exercise for two days because it will break open all the sealing. But on the third day, I went sculling and every time I put my oars in the water, where I took all the strain, roomph. Every time I took a stroke my mouth, my crater went roomph, roomph, roomph. So it was telling me exactly the moment that I put all my effort into rowing. Stroke, stroke, row, row, and it was in my mouth. I mean it was phenomenal.
Anthony: Rowing has been a fascination of yours and something you’ve been deeply involved in for a long time. Where did that begin and how has it been that it fascinated you so deeply that you still do it to this day? You did it even the morning before you came into the training that I attended.
Tony: I fell in love with it because I saw a superb male athlete sculling in a single boat. In your life, you suddenly see things, and it’s pretty well the same for everybody. Everybody sees something and wow, I want to be like that. I just saw this athlete sculling and it was the most beautiful sport I have ever seen.
I just thought I want to do that. I want to be able to skim across the water like one of those fabulous insects that skims across the water. I wanted to do that with all my gymnastic muscles rippling but not going solid but more flowing. It was wonderful. I did it this morning. This morning I rowed 4,000 meters on the River Thames.
Anthony: I remember you telling us that your doctor said you were definitely in prime territory to keep going for a long, long, long time to come.
Tony: I would invite all the podcast people. Put in your diaries guys June 2, 2042. Second of June, 2042, that’s my 100th birthday. Make sure you come.
Anthony: Absolutely, I can’t wait for the 100th birthday of Tony Buzan!
Tony: What I would love to do is do another podcast with you.
The Greatest Challenges To Planet Earth And Humanity
Anthony: I would love that as well, and the time has gone so fast and I really appreciate that you’ve been able to be here. If I could ask one last question before we go, what in your future do you feel is your biggest challenge and as a person with so many tools to tackle them, what is your No. 1 tool for tackling that challenge?
Tony: That’s another book of a question. The greatest challenge to this planet is the destruction of intelligence. It can be destroyed in a number of ways. It can be destroyed in schools where like I taught myself to be stupid and I was very successful. Children have to be taught to learn how to learn and then they will think intelligently and they will deal with all the future problems and they will find solutions. That’s one.
Another threat is technology used in the wrong way. So for example, when technology is used, consumes all the hours of a day that has people become couch potatoes, diabetic, fat, nonathletic, that’s the negative side of technology. Technology when used well, like you can use mind maps with technology to your advantage. That’s another wonderful threat and opportunity.
We must learn how to use technology intelligently. So we have to use information intelligently. We have to use agriculture intelligently. We have to use knowledge intelligently, and we have to use intelligence intelligently because the threat is that if we don’t use intelligence intelligently, we lose intelligence. If we lose intelligence, we die. It’s as simple as that. Think intelligently or die.
How To Eliminate The Manipulation Of Thinking
Tony: Another big threat is the manipulation of thinking. So for example, in politics all the arguments are spun. Truth is manipulated. When truth is distorted, being destroyed, intelligence becomes destroyed.
So in politics for example, if there is some wonderful evidence that when people eat a lot of junk food, all the statistics show that the brains in the wombs of pregnant women, the brain in the embryo get destroyed or damaged. There are masses of incontrovertible information, studies done on hundreds of thousands of pregnant moms, and we know that if someone keeps on stuffing themselves with dangerous food, the body bloats and basically explodes.
There are many people when they are given information like that, they say yeah, yeah, yeah that’s what those statistics say, but statistics always lie. I know and I believe that eating all the food that I eat is good for me. I know it. I believe in it. You’ve got to believe in it. I mean I am still alive. I may weigh 400 pounds, but so what? I enjoy that food and those statistics must be wrong. I believe in what I believe.
That is intelligence hypnotized, mesmerized and destroyed and it goes blind. So blinding intelligence is another hyper-dangerous threat. All we have to do is ignite the intelligence and get it working, the intelligence working well and the world will be fine. We have to work hard to do that.
The Path To Becoming A Warrior Of The Mind
Begins With This …
What we’re doing today, what you’ve been doing, more and more tens of thousands people, millions of people are beginning to think about thinking intelligently which is wonderful. What I’ve just said wouldn’t be true if you did not have a thousand podcast people because people wouldn’t be interested. But I’ve never met anybody who isn’t interested in intelligence as long as it is explained properly.
Anthony: I do hope that you will write a book on the topic and since you called me a Warrior Of The Mind, I’ve been thinking that that would be an amazing title for a book. So, I don’t know if that will trigger anything, but I think it’s certainly in line with the solution is for people to become a warrior of the mind. I am going to do everything that I can to get the people listening now and the people that will find my website in the future also linked up with what you do.
Anthony: I’m so delighted that you gave me the opportunity to do it with an interview between the two of us, a discussion, and that you have already proposed the next one. So let’s definitely get together to talk about that and what more we can do together.
Tony: Let’s do that after the Mind Map Day.
Tony: By then we can talk about the results and the Mind Map Day, the World Mind Map Day will extend into the Mind Map Week, the Mind Map Month and the Mind Map Year.
Tony: It’s going to go on until the end of December.
Anthony: Just to let you know, and the listeners know, since I was there, you guys were teaching memory. I was watching you use mind maps and you talked about mind map as well as a bonus. Since then I’ve created at least nineteen and designed more outlines for books than I have time to write over the next ten years, but just the exercise of being able to use that to plan out ideas and books and so forth is just so empowering and I really want as many people as possible to have this skill.
Tony: Welcome to my world Anthony.
Anthony: It’s a wonderful place to be, and you asked if I could hear birds at the beginning and that moment I couldn’t but throughout the interview, birds have been audible and they are going to be in the interview. I hope everybody enjoys that as well. We talked about nightmares and I said it’s not always paradise but quite frankly, it sounds like it is always paradise where you are.
Tony: We do live in paradise.
Interview with Tony Buzan
Much food for thought
Philosophy of visual learning
In honour of your guest, I drew up a mind map to plot the main points of my comment. 😉
First of all, I thank you for being the beacon of which Mr Buzan spoke. It is exciting to see the practice of visual communication and memory art being carried forward by men and women of all walks of life and of all ages into the present age.
What started with Simonides, flourished under Tullius Cicero, then waxed and waned throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, now has Twenty-First century mind warriors. As Mr Buzan mentioned, we need as many as we can get; because the challenge of deliberate mind hobbling is daunting indeed.
Mr Buzan’s mind-mapping method truly is a boon to memory artistry because it helps us to use the vivid visual imagery and memory places that practice and tradition have taught us work so well.
It was a true delight to hear a man in the tradition of St Thomas Aquinas and Leonardo da Vinci speak so humbly and so powerfully of his progress in the art of mind improvement.
Finally, I want to thank you for the excellent questions you asked Mr Buzan and for allowing us a glimpse into the lives of memory artists we can emulate (such as yours and Mr Buzan’s.)
Thanks for this, Alex.
Yes, there is great tradition and lineage evident in this episode. I’m glad you enjoyed the questions, and I’m sure Tony would be delighted if you made a pic or scan of your mind map and tweeted it to him. I’d love to see it too – and if it’s cool with you, we could add it to this page. 🙂
In the meantime, I look forward to your next post. They are always Magnetic! 🙂
Thanks a lot for this interview. I just wanted to learn some Spanish and now I am realizing that there is so much more…
I sometimes think, that we should not blame school for all bad habits about learning. It’s our society in general. No teacher stops us learning the rivers in Europe with a memory technique xyz. Some of them are in the hamster wheel like we students were/are. One point is critical for me. That past is gone and now I can do better..
Thanks for these great thoughts, Bjoern. It’s great hearing from you!
Yes, pointing fingers at the school system is not necessarily the best strategy. What I think is the greatest thing and what I love so much about the Warrior of the Mind concept is that we all take responsibility for filling the holes in the world as such. Mental literacy, as you say, lacking in society as a whole, including work places, religious institutions and government.
But thanks to you and your memory practice and participation, thinks are now changing at an even more rapid pace. I can’t wait for your next comment and future contributions to Art of Memory’s ongoing Renaissance! 🙂
You make an excellent point Bjoern about not blaming school entirely for our learning or lack of it. For one thing, learning occurs every day; each interaction we have, each conversation, each thought can provide insights and learning.
“I never let schooling get in the way of my education,” is a humourous and spot-on quote that has been attributed to Mark Twain (among others.)
The idea to me is that we are responsible for our own learning. We need to help ourselves and our children learn that education is a journey not a destination.
It galls me that so-called “educators” and “experts” try to divert others and dissuade others for taking responsibility for their own progress. They bully and berate, and they cause much heartache.
Thankfully, however, men such as Mr. Buzan and others provide some much needed guidance and encouragement to those on a path of enlightenment.
The concept of Warrior of the Mind is a useful one because a warrior must be courageous and dedicated to follow through. A Warrior of the Mind is anyone of any ethnicity or any age who decides to take responsibility and continue on the path no matter the challenges.
That is a great quote, regardless of who it comes from!
It also sums up much of how I ran my own education.
That said, I was blessed to study at York University during a particular era when the post-Vietnam/Berkely/1968 influence was still strong. It was liberal, filled with interesting professors and they had novelists and other writers on the faculty. It was a wonderful time because so many of them were self-invented rogues who knew original thinking when they saw it and knew how to nurture it.
Ha ha … I have been missing university life a lot lately … I might just need to do something about that to see if I can bring a bit of Warrior of the Mind feeling with me back into the classroom at a higher level than the last time around. 🙂
One thing that the postwar era had as well was philosophers of learning who did not insist on grading! (Grrrr grading = system.)
I recall that York (and some of the other Canadian universities as well) was involved in the free college movement: Rochdale in Toronto and Pestalozzi in Ottawa.
You are right Anthony: we need more Mind Warriors to carry on. 😉
Great podcast Anthony!! Great inspiration. Tony is an such a role model for the rest of us who aspire to the lofty heights he and Leonardo have achieved. He has definitely found the on switch for learning and interesting living. Thanks for sharing with us.
Thanks for this, Bob. I love your “on switch” metaphor – it’s perfect! 🙂