I’ve definitely had my share of dead patches, times I felt ready to give up memory sports for good and move on with my life. When I started med school last fall, my workload spiked and memory training took a backseat. Here are some things I’ve been trying that helped me break that slump:
1. Not overcommitting myself: I try to do 2-3 short events interspersed throughout each day, with occasional recognition drills. That’s it. It hardly feels like a “commitment.” If it’s not fun, why do it?
2. Recording my results: I can hardly remember what I ate for dinner last night, much less my cards time 10 tries ago. Making performance notes (anything from “well, that sucked…” to “confused Papa Smurf with Tobias Funke”) has kept me on track and improving steadily.
3. Having a support team: This is a recent addition for me (shoutout to fellow memory athletes Wessell Sandtke, Yanjaa Altansuh, and Lance Tschirhart! Go Team Wessell!). Having a group chat among the four of us has given me fresh ideas and kept up my competitive spirit. This will be even better when the Extreme Memory Tournament rolls out online challenges and tournaments. Can’t wait for that!
4. Rewarding myself: Even if it’s as simple as going to a memory competition. Or better yet, when I break 30 seconds in speed cards I’ll treat myself to a $50 steak. That stuff works.
5. Accepting defeat: There was a time when I felt stuck at the 2:30 mark for speed cards. I wanted to shred the deck every time I tried a run. I need to remember times like that and accept the fact that I’ll fail consistently. There’s nowhere to go but up!