Memory Champ

One thing you will never hear Ron White
ask is, “What did you say your name
was again?” Recounting names of rooms
full of people is all in a day’s work for
White, who teaches others how to master
memory skills, too.

Recently, after a year of preparation,
White won the 2009 USA Memory
Championship in New York, capturing the
title by memorizing a 167-digit number
in five minutes, recalling random details
about strangers, and memorizing the
order of a deck of cards in less than one
minute, 30 seconds.

He made a commitment.
After coming in fourth place in the
competition last year, he decided to raise
his game. “I set out on the most intense
and most focused training schedule of my
entire life. These goals were huge for me,”
White says.

He wrote down his goals.
Memorize a deck of cards in less than
one minute, 30 seconds.
Memorize
a 167-digit number in five minutes.
Win the national championship.

He enlisted the help of a mentor.
A reservist who served in
Afghanistan in 2007, White found
a mentor in U.S. Navy Seal T.C.
Cummings. “I asked him to coach me
for one hour a week via telephone in
the 10 weeks prior to the tournament.
I wanted to have the confidence,
discipline and winning attitude of
a Navy Seal,” White says. One
of the best strategies he learned
was to make his training tougher
than the actual competition, so when the
tournament arrived, it would be easier.

“In 2008, I saw many people were
distracted by the media or people
moving in the room. In an effort to
have the ultimate focus and make my
training tougher than the competition,
I invested in snorkel gear and trained
memorizing cards underwater,” White
says. Underwater, he had to pay attention
to the motion of the water, his breathing
and staying afloat—all while memorizing
plastic cards. “Instead of seeing this
as a distraction, I saw it as a training
opportunity for me.

“I reached the point where I could
memorize a deck of cards in two minutes
and five seconds underwater. When the
tournament arrived and it was above
water, my time was one minute and
27 seconds.”

He visualized his win and its benefits.
White travels the world, offering memory
seminars. He holds workshops for
corporations and organizations, including
Microsoft, the Boy Scouts of America
and Lexus. He can teach anyone to recall
names and product knowledge more
efficiently, boosting sales in the process.
Winning the competition would tell the
world what his loyal clients already knew.

When it was over, White defeated 51
competitors to take the title. “I achieved
my three goals exactly as I had written
them, and that was a powerful goal-setting
and visualization lesson for me.
This training schedule was intense and
the focus was unlike anything in my life,”
he says. “The human brain is the best
computer ever made.”

Find out more about Ron White.

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