Nelson Dellis, 4x USA Memory Champion teaches you how to memorize anything. Throughout his career, he has been the speaker and presenter of choice for Pepsi, CNN, LivingSocial, etc and he has been featured on:
CNBC, Wired, Saturday Night Live, CNN, Fast Company & more
Throughout Nelson Dellis’ career he has been featured on:
Saturday Night Live
As busy entrepreneurs, many of us struggle to remember names, many of us struggle to remember numbers. Many of us struggle to remember almost anything, so we ended up saying, ah, so what? What’s your name again? And to kill rapport further, we then say, oh, remind me one more time. What was your name again? So we thought that it might make sense to bring on be current for time USA memory champion Nelson Dellis to teach us how to memorize almost anything throughout Nelson’s career. He’s been the speaker and presenter of choice for Pepsi, CNN living social, and countless massive companies. He’s been featured on CNBC wired Saturday night live, CNN fast company, the breakup midnight podcast with John Brenkus, the Lewis Howes podcast, Dr drew weekly infusion podcast. Then Maria Shriver blog, Wall Street Journal live Dr Oz, Huffington post, Forbes online usa today, NPR, all things considered, the New York Daily News, Espn, and many, many more media outlets thrive nation. Without any further ado, I present to you Mr Nelson. Delis.
We have as entrepreneurs. A lot of things going on in our lives. I’m not sure if you’ve ever found yourself in a spot where you thought, am I supposed to be doing something right now? Or I think Erp will be on the radio show, right? I could be wrong. Or at a Christmas party, right? We had the big Christmas party. Everyone’s introducing you to their spouse. They’re saying, hi, this is my spouse. Her name is Kimberly. This is my husband’s name is Greg. Greg. There’s 500 people at our Christmas party and you and I are trying to remember the names trying. Then when you see him again a second time and you have to ask them, what was your name again? That awkward is what? If you could stop that awkward to see what if you could memorize numbers. That’s not possible. What is possible? Well, I thought, you know, you’re not qualified to talk about it. Oh, I’m not qualified.
Paul, do you feel like you’re qualified to teach you? How to memorize that in the slightest pollock CPA’s not qualified. So I thought let’s reach out to the one time USA memory champion time. And I thought, no, no, let’s go to the two times three times. We need the four time USA memory champion is Nelson Dellis. Welcome onto the show sir. How are you? So that’s one heck of an intro. I’m great. Thank you. I was trying. Remember it? I forgot about half of it. Alright. So Nelson, for the listeners out there that are not familiar with the competitive memory world, how many competitions are there? How does one go about winning the four Time Usa Memory Championship? I mean just walk us. It should help us enter into the world of competitive memorization.
Yeah. It’s a fascinating kind of a subculture of people who are just enthralled by memorizing stuff, which sounds incredibly boring, but when you learn about actually how it’s done, it’s kind of fascinating and fun. And when you can kind of harness your own memory skills, you get addicted to it. So there’s a bunch of people who do this all ages, all kinds of people. All across the globe and there’s the world championships, there’s us, there’s the UK, all these different countries host around championships around the world. Um, and basically what it is is it’s a day or a couple of days of different events. So you know, you’re targeted with memorize a deck of cards as fast as possible or a bunch of people’s names that are printed out on a piece of paper with their head shots, um, or poems or lists of words, historic dates, you name it.
And it’s basically the person who could memorize the most, the most accurately. Um, uh, by the end of the day is crumb the champ. Now you’re the USA champ. Who is the reigning world champ, the reigning world champ. Well, it’s tricky because there’s kind of this faction going on where there’s like two different world championships now because the old owners didn’t like this and, but, uh, so I think there’s one, uh, one other guy, Alex Mullen who’s currently the world champion on one side. And then I think there’s a Mongolian lady who was really good. I’m on the other side.
Do you feel like you could take down the Mongolian lady?
Definitely not. So I am. I’m one of the best, uh, of in the US, but when it comes to the world, it’s a maybe top 10 to top 20 at this point. Uh, it’s, it’s another level of commitment and training, you know, I know Bangali and beef is really good. Oh yeah, that sounds good. Let’s get a sub. The Mongolians have like a. This surgeons have young kids in these schools there that just trained them how to do these memory techniques like massively. So they just go afterschool to these kind of afterschool places and just train, train, train, and then they turn out these incredible competitors. Insane. Probably on steroids and just probably they’re probably all. No, no. Tell them what’s good for you.
Yeah. I’ve been drago method. Now I want to ask you this here. Nelson. Uh, I went to the state fair recently. Nelson Dellis, nobody ever go to the state fair, right? Yeah, yeah, sure. I went to the state fair and Z. you’ve seen over the fireplace. We’re broadcasting today from Camp Clark and Chicken Palace, which is essentially a 17 abode where we live behind a wall. We have trees everywhere. We have chickens and turkeys. It’s kind of a fabulous setup here. And I saw this guy at the fair who can carve anything out of Woodsy, so I paid to have him on a car. My Camp Clark is wood and I’m talking to the guy. And, and uh, have you spent a lot of time in Oklahoma before Nelson?
I’ve never been to Oklahoma.
It’s actually the tourist capital of the world if you’re into sod farms. And so I asked the guy, I said, so, hey, how did you know you’re good at that? I mean, because these are beautiful pieces of Cedar Wood and things. Beautiful. He’s, he’s working through it and he’s like, well man, Andre still got them there and just started using the change. So I’ll shut up now and he car like a beaver, like a bear, like a lie. Anything you want. And I would ask the same question for you. How did you know you were good at this? I mean, did you stay? Did you spend all night just memorizing things and then show your mom or how did you know you’re good at this?
You know, what, I wasn’t good at this. Um, I, I heard about it, um, and was fascinated by the idea of, hey, maybe I could make my memory good if I practiced and learned some little tricks and, you know, I tried it and was able to do something that was better than what my memory was at the time, but it wasn’t necessarily good compared to the best competitors in the world. But, um, I realized that with a bit of practice and daily training regimen, I could get to a point where I was in contention to, to compete with these guys. And so it wasn’t so much that I realized that I was good at this, who it was that I realized that I could get good at this with just a little bit of, of, of elbow grease. And um, you know, like I said before, it’s, it’s really addictive when you realize that you. And if you work on it a little bit, you can even make it greater. So I just got obsessed with trying to memorize more numbers and more names and more cards faster. And before I knew it I was really good.
Nelson Dellis, my understanding is that um, your grandmother passed away in 2009. Uh, am. Am I correct? That’s right. Yep. That’s right. Yeah. And when she passed away, I, uh, again my understanding, I’ve tried to watch as many interviews with you as I could and read up and sure, it seemed like she had a huge impact on your life and career. How does death impact your decision to go all in as a memorization expert? Yeah. So she, um, she had Alzheimer’s
timers and, and like you said, she passed away in 2009 and that was kind of where I turned from just being mildly interested in, in these memory techniques to a pretty much obsessed. And I was hell bent on trying to take this thing I learned about because of somewhat because of my grandmother situation, I had researched a bit about memory and brain health and tumbled, stumbled upon this a memory competition. And so it just motivated me to take it to another level and you know, part of it was my own fascination, but part of it was also in honor of her. I wanted to kind of prove to the world or prove to myself, you know, you can have an amazing memory no matter what age
Nelson and all of a sudden started. We had this big Christmas party this past weekend, z at the Mayo Hotel. It’s a historical kind of. Some would say it’s, it’s, it’s the nicest or one of the nicest hotels in Oklahoma. And we’re there. We’ve got hundreds of employees and their families there. And I am not exaggerating, so I probably had two dozen people tell me, hey, this is my spouse, their name is such and such. And I’m going, okay. So I’ve tried the move, I repeat their name and I’ll say, well how do you spell that? And the even doing that move I got, I would say if I had to estimate z probably five percent of the people who introduced me, who enjoy who I met, I could recall their name. And you are a guy who apparently you hold the record and America for memorizing 217 names and like 15 minutes. Is that correct? Two hundred 17 amps. That’s how on earth. Yes. How idiots. Which is he. Is He
for one? It wasn’t. It’s not at a party. It’s on paper. So you know, I can go through the phases as fast as possible at a party. You actually have to talk to people, right? Otherwise, yeah. Otherwise you’re creepy. It’s like, what’s your name? Okay, thanks. Bye. What’s your name? Um, but no, you know, that’s, that’s a great situation that you put yourself in at a great example of what people off been encounters, you know, even if they try these little techniques that you may have heard of, repeat the name, ask them how to spell it, you know, and you still walk away with just five percent. That’s, that’s rough. And it’s like you’re trying, you know, and it’s still not working. So a big part of why it’s not sticking is because even though you are trying to reinforce the name somehow by asking them about it, you’re not attaching it to some kind of place in your mind that you already know, right?
Basically, you got to make some type of association to something that’s already grounded in your mind that you know so easily. Right? So let’s say you meet a Nelson. What you want to do is, is think of something that the name reminds you of, right? So what does Nelson Dellis remind you of when I say that word? Nail Salon. Oh, that’s good. That’s actually really good for her. Nail Salon, Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, right? Both are images, right? That you can think of. Nelson Mandela’s very memorable. You can imagine his face, a nail salon. You can picture what that would look like. Um, people getting their nails, did people with their feet and little basketing scrubbed downs, whatever. Um, and so what you do is you take that picture for the name and you try to anchor it to something about the person that you noticed. So something that’s physical about them that you would notice probably the next time you saw them.
So if you saw me, I’m very tall, I’m, you might notice that and say, wow, that guy’s tall, you know, you say this quietly in your mind. And so what you then do is you try to associate the name, the image that you have, a nail salon or Nelson Mandela to that. So give it a reason why would they be any way connected? Why? What does height have to do with the Nail Salon? So maybe you would imagine a really tall ceiling, hair salon, right? And everything inside everybody’s tall that machines are really tall, the people have really long nails, they’re all tall, something really weird, right? And then on the other flip side, if you have Nelson Mandela, maybe you imagine him being really tall and then why would it be tall? Maybe he’s tall because he wants to give people a very motivational speech. So he, he’s called to kind of get above them and to speak below to them, you know? Um, and that, that’s what it’s all about. It’s coming up with a picture for the name and then it was a kind of attaching it to something about the person.
Now Nelson, you are a handsome man. I went to your website by the way, and we went to these actual pictures of him or I went to Nelson Dellis.com and I went there and I thought to myself, CSI, I feel bad about myself now because he’s. He’s a handsome man. He’s got the headphones on. He’s he just now because you’ll forget about it, but Nelson, are you in front of a computer where you could google search something real quick? Yeah, sure. Right here. Okay. If you would just google search the Nelson Band after the rain and you click on the images and as you’re doing that, this is honestly what I thought about when I first heard your name and I’m going to play the song that I thought of when I. Here we go. Let me give you. Cue It up here.
Now you will make it to the chorus and we get to the chorus. These two blonde hair brothers, that’s sex out of stick. Right? Let’s get to the chorus, the chorus. Here we go.
It’s going to happen. I don’t know why they’re still relevant today.
Anyway, I apologize. I just don’t think I’ll ever forget you down after that burden to my red.
That’s perfect. That’s the exact process you need to go through with everybody’s name, but mentally, you know the rain. I just. I’m serious. Right? Heard of the name Nelson. I immediately thought of that in John’s, like, stop doing that. He’s not going to like that. No, no. I actually did love that. So. Okay. You picture that song
playing in your head. Maybe I. my whole body’s being covered in rain. Right? Because of after the rain and you can’t help but hear that song. That’s perfect.
Now let’s talk about the the practical uses for memorization. You’ve given trucks. Can you list off some of the big companies that you have spoken to over the years or big organizations? Because I understand that you get booked now as, as a speaker and you actually are. You’re an author now. Talk to us about, so what are some of the companies you’ve spoken to over the years or organizations?
Yeah. Um, let’s see. I’ve talked to for CNN employees, a Pepsi Co Living, social, um, a bunch of different kind of CPA firms and, and often private businessmen, athletes, it, man, it’s all over the board. Everybody has a memory. Everybody needs, um, you know, help with remembering things. So, um, it’s so hard to pick those out because there’s, just
so you’re, you’re, you’re speaking for big companies. I just want to ask you then, it’s like if you’re speaking to Pepsi or, or CNN or what kinds of things does the people in the audience ask you all the time, you know, you’re speaking to large groups and maybe you do q and a afterwards, you know, there’s a cocktail party or you’re mingling a month, a mixed the audience. What kind of questions do people ask you? A lot about memory.
Yeah. I mean the first one I always get is, uh, do you want to go to vegas or something like that? Or did you count cards? So I thought, yeah, but I always shut that down because the card counting honestly has nothing to do with memory. You’re just literally counting cards. They shuffled the deck and if you try to memorize it, if you’re actually doing more work than you need to. So I always let people know that, that, that it’s not as interesting as they might think. So. Um, but yeah, you got it. I think that having a good memory would help somewhere in vegas. Right.
So it’s okay. Now Paul. Paul, you’re a CPA. I am a CPA. And if you had hired Nelson Dellis to come speak to your group or were on the show here, what questions would you have for Nelson before I get back into my pre-prepared super hot questions?
Well I would, I would ask as far as my CPA practices, how can I get people to actually remember to do what I tell them the dough instead the doing what they want to do a deeper of religion. We have a great, great step. Nelson. I do wonder though, you said your grandmother had Alzheimer’s. Do you think there’s an application for the things that you teach to retrain the brain? Is that, is that something that you’ve ever thought about?
Yeah, sure. I mean, that’s, that’s a common question too, is, is this something that I can use a or work on now so that eventually, you know, I may not get Alzheimer’s or I would push it back and even though I’m not a doctor, I can’t officially say anything. And I’ve heard studies that kind of say yes to one side, maybe to the other. Um, I personally think that if you work on your memory as a skill and you build this kind of skillset of different tips, tricks and tips that you know, you kind of store in the back of your head when you need them, you can access them for whatever you need to memorize that. When you get older and you need maybe a little bit of a crutch because you are getting Alzheimer’s or just getting a little slower, you know, with your steps that you’re mental steps that these techniques should help you in that time. Right? And then that would help you kind of be cognitively sharper for longer. I don’t think there’s any way to contradict that or are you against that? So I definitely think that you can use these techniques to kind of further your mind,
old Jay old age and what you’re doing is exactly what he said. You’re retraining your brain, you’re retraining it and how it basically perceives how to memorize things because we’re never taught how to memorize. So if I can teach you that in different ways to approach information that hits you and you want to store ’em, you’re essentially, we’re retraining and rewiring your brain to think differently about memory.
Nelson a, this might sound like a passive-aggressive compliment here. I’ve been looking up Nelson Dellis.com. I went to the website, which by the way, all the listeners should do at least once. Absolutely. Thank you. And I discovered that he’s got a book coming out here called. Remember the book already came out. Remember it? Ah, you got the book out there and it, it, it, it appears to me as though you have this thing that Michael Levine, uh, our friend there, the guy who was the PR consultant for Nike and Prince and Michael Jackson, he refers to it as a magnificent obsession. It, it appears as though you are obsessed with teaching the world how to improve their memories. It seems like you really, really in a, in a way is easy. You know, how like you, you, you were at, at, uh, when you’re starting your optometry clinic, you were obsessed, obsessed with making that business take off. I think you were obsessed with the auto walks and you were obsessed with the bank obsessed. It seems like the Nelson, you are obsessed with this idea of helping people to improve their memories. And I would just say why,
why? I mean I am obsessed or maybe put that a little milder. I’m, I’m passionate about it. Right? Um, but, uh, but yeah, why, you know, I don’t know, when I started this, I didn’t think that this would be my all consuming life kind of project, you know? Um, it was just a baby and I did it out of self-interest and kind of out of the interest of, um, kind of what my grandmother went through, but as I realized that not many people know about these techniques or the nominate people value their mind or their brain health, I just, I thought it was my mission to kind of do that. Um, and you know, the more kind of attention I got for it by my winds at these competitions and getting a bit of media, I felt like I had the perfect platform or I could build upon the platform that I was starting onto to kind of get to more people and to educate people because man, once you get it, if anybody could experience what I went through training for these championships and getting better at memory, I just feel like it would help so many people just with their confidence in life, in their personal relationships, uh, at work and hopefully their, their, their health for the longterm.
So there’s just too many obvious benefits that I, I had to do this. It just became so important to me.
You know, you were actually interviewed by John Brenkus, so we’ve also had on the show from sports science. Oh, could you share with us what, what, what you and talked about on his podcast forever, because I know the listeners, as soon as we wrap up today’s show, they’re going to go, I got to search this guy. I’m going to go listen to some more stuff. Why did John Have you on his show and what was your interview all about with, with John Brenkus?
Yeah, so actually I met John through a mutual friend. I went out to his studio in La and I basically sat in one of his conference rooms. He didn’t know who I was and I memorize a deck of cards in front of him and he was blown away and we kind of kept this phone conversation going for awhile and he called me and he was working on memorizing a deck of cards as well because it was it that. And he tell me, you know, I was on this flight and I memorize a deck of cards in three minutes and the next time he call me and be like, I just got my times down to two minutes. He was insanely obsessed with it too. And um, eventually he had me on a show and his, the main topic of this show was he was asking me what was kind of like my brink of midnight.
I’m John Brenkus. That’s the connection there. A brink of midnight moment, right when I kind of, it you said I could answer that however I wanted, but I basically brought it back to why or how I got into memory, right. Because on earlier in my life I wasn’t into memory, didn’t really think anything about it. Had an average memory. And then suddenly I’m a memory champion. So how did that go from zero to 60? And I basically talked about my grandmother and I’m just kind of how it was the right time to, for me to get into this Nelson Dellis, I’m dying inside. How do you memorize a deck of cards in three minutes?
Yeah. First of all, you put that song on and then look at the cards. Yeah. No. Um, so. Okay. So
this is one of the kind of the highlights of these memory competitions because it’s so cool to watch the speed demon card memorizers shuffled through these cards so fast. Um, and we’re talking three minutes is good, but in championships we’re talking like 30 seconds or less. The world record right now was broken by yet again, a Mongolian kid about 12 seconds if you can believe
I can because I, there’s one thing I, I know and I know the Mongolians can memorize back to you.
So basically what you do is similar to what we were talking about with the names, first of all, with the cards, because it’s such an abstract, you know, there’s 52 cards when you shuffle them. It’s just the barrage of colors and pictures and numbers. It’s hard to get them straight in your mind. So what you do is you give each card kind of a preassigned image as an association. And this has to be learned. This might take a little bit of time, but once you have it, it’s there and some of them you can make kind of, um, just the associations that are intuitive, like king of hearts, you know, I look at that and I see the heart and the king, I think of like my dad, right? He’s the king of my family. Hearts represents family. And then queen of hearts could be my mother, right?
And then Jacko hearts could be me, right? Um, or jacket diamonds could be my sister because her name is Jennifer Delis j d or her initials. And that’s a jack and diamonds. Right? So I’ve translated these cards into picture. So whenever I see these cards, I actually see a different picture than the actual suit and number. I speak a language right, with the cards. And so when you shuffle a deck of cards or somebody random shuffle the cards and gives it to me, I basically see a story of, you know, people that I know characters from my favorite books, objects that are very memorable. Kind of interacting with each other in this long narrative. And I know it sounds like that seems like a lot of work, you know, memorizing all these 52 pictures intertwined, but it’s like watching a movie and if you can tap into your visual memory and you practice this a lot, you actually get a lot better at it quickly. And it’s more memorable than trying to remember 52 different suits and numbers in a row.
Okay. So I’m gonna I’m gonna. Throw some words out at you and you tell me what your image is. Okay. To have. Say it again to clubs to clubs is Jesus. Okay. That’s how I would. I would not have picked that up. Seven of diamonds, seven of diamonds is Gerard Depardieu as a musketeer. That’s awesome. I love it. Okay. How about uh, how about the 10 of spades? Tennis. Spades is Steve Jobs. Oh, that’s, that’s appropriate. Yeah. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be the prettiest card in the deck. The ace of spades. What’s, what do you got? What are you going on? Tap for that one. That one is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well, of course it is obvious I’m brought you and I dominate the game to dominate that is fun to you. Wow. So then you. So, so let’s say you’re going through, now you’re repeating to somebody and the story you have in your brain. Three minutes, two minutes and 12 seconds. That’s incredible. But, um, what’s your, what’s your best time, by the way? I’m in
petition. It’s 42nd. And then personally in a perfect setting at home is 29.
Okay. So that story in your brain would go something like this. And then arnold met my mom who was with my dad, uh, hanging out with Jesus. Jesus. That’s kind of what you’re doing in your brain when you’re coming back. Exactly, yeah. There’s
a second part to it because you might think like, okay, if I’m doing that for 52 things, I’m gonna Kinda flubbed the order. So what you do is there’s this other technique that you kind of mix in with it called the memory palace and um, what it is is you basically use a house or some kind of familiar place that you know, well, uh, to place all of these images or interactions along the path. So you know, if Arnold Schwartzenegger or ace of spades is the first card, I might picture him knocking on my door. Right? So that’s the first location of my house. And then that’s the first card as well. So I walk in and then maybe I’m, I find myself in the kitchen and there’s a, my mom cooking a meal for my dad, queen of hearts, King of hearts. And then I go to the couch in the living room and there is my sister Jackie diamonds and she’s, you know, punching Steve Jobs in the face tennis. Sure. She would be because she’s an angry sister sometimes there. I’ve already got like five cars, right? That’s the ace of spades in my front door. Queen of hearts, King of hearts in the kitchen, my mom and my dad. And then Jackie diamonds. 10 of spades, my sister and Steve Jobs in the living room and that’s the pathway through that space that memory palace is what preserves the order and kind of breaks it up into these manageable bite sized pieces.
I would like to see if we could do this. Paul is a question for you. I’d like to see if, if you’re okay with this, I’d like to see if z could write down a 20 number sequence. He could put it on the show notes Z. Okay. And you can read it to them slowly and then to see if Nelson Dellis could repeat it back to you. Is that a fair challenge or is that a bad thing? Is that. No, this is great. This is actually one of them.
The events they have at the championship where there’s an audio recording of random numbers being said allowed one digit per second. So that’s, that’s what I would ask of you is if you could say the digits one by one I’m spaced out by.
Could you go ahead and prepare your list, type it on the show notes there real quick. Oh sure. Your numbers and that way we have employee had a question for Mr Nelson Dellis. I always wonder, you know, people that are great at certain things, especially sports or something physical, a lot of times there, there’s something special about them. Maybe their physique, maybe they’re, you know, a pole vaulter and they have a certain or basketball player and the distance but their legs, you know, they always talk about that a lot on the sports science technology, about the force and everything. Do you think that applies to memorization? Do you think that there was something in you, in your DNA and your makeup and your mind that makes you special or do you think that anybody could do this?
That’s a great question and point and you know, I always say that I think anybody can do what I do and you know, I think what I mean usually when I say that is anybody can improve their memory. I think, um, by a large factor. But you know, I don’t think everybody could be a memory champion, but I don’t know if that’s because of the memory skill. I think it’s more, maybe not everybody’s got the motivation in them to train enough to be, you know, at some point, you know, maybe you’re interested in memory techniques and fascinated by how many digits you can memorize. But after awhile you’re like, okay, I’ll only need this to be able to memorize as 40 digits. I don’t care about a thousand. So, um, so maybe what I have that not many other people have is, is just this, that again, that obsession for whatever reason, and maybe that’s somewhere a DNA thing, you know, and maybe it is easier for me slightly to come up with these pictures and that’s why I like it so much. I don’t know. But, um, I do think in general people, anybody can do this.
Now, Nelson, uh, your, your book as these preparing his, his numbers, uh, your, your, your newest book, your new book called remember it is available for people to, to purchase. And, and before I have you share about the book, I want to just to tee up an idea, I’m not sure, Nelson, if you’re aware of this, but throughout your career you’ve been featured on the Maria Shriver blog, Wall Street Journal live, the Dr Oz show, the Huffington post, Forbes online usa today, NPR, all things considered the New York Daily News. Espn, Lewis Howes, the breakup midnight with John [inaudible], fast company, CNN, CNBC. Oh, wired. I mean, you’ve been everywhere, man. You been doing this. You’re missing, right?
You’re missing one. That was my greatest of all time, which was on the weekend update of SNL. They, they, they did a little bit about me. You were on snl? Yeah. I mean, I wasn’t personally, but they use my name and picture. It was great
to Snl, SNL, used Ya. And, and, and, uh, uh, did, did that help you kind of a, was that like for you, like a high watermark where you thought, Oh man, I’m on snl?
Yeah. I mean I was asleep and friends were texting me, hey, you’re on snl. And I was like, okay, whatever. I woke up in the morning and realize, Oh shit, I actually was on snl and I was like, I’m done. Yeah, that’s good.
Drop them, drop them. You’ve been doing this since 2010, I believe it was your first media appearance. I mean, you’ve been doing this for a long time. When did you start this professionally
kind of about then? Well, 2011 after I won my first championship, um, I, I was a software developer and I said, you know, what, I’m gonna, see what I can do. I love this and I think I can make a living off of it. And uh, it was a bit scary at first, but you know, here I am almost eight years later,
how have you been able to pay, pay the bills? So when you went pro and when you would professionally and with this, did you start off doing some speaking some sponsorships and how did you.
Yeah, so luckily the first, the reason I was able to quit my job is there was a sponsor that came off of the championship and was very interested in working with me and they were a, a flash memory for computers company out in Park City and they had the best memory in the world and they wanted to work with me who had the best memory. So we did, I, I basically was sponsored for two years by that. Um, and that kind of let me see it let me, it was able, I was able to quit my job and you know, I was doing other gigs on the side as well, speaking engagements and so on and TV appearances and that kind of built from there. I don’t work with that company anymore. I think they kind of closed shop. But um, it’s, it’s kind of been in flux of, of different sponsorship deals, TV appearances, speaking gigs, and, you know, book opportunities. Uh, yeah.
All the listeners out there is the. I would never say that. If you’re a listener out there, you’ve been fascinated by today’s show and you, you don’t buy a copy of Nelson’s book remembered, I’m not going to go out as far as to say you’re a horrible person. You wouldn’t go that far. I would never, I wouldn’t even suggest that Paul, that’s not the kind of thing, but what I, what I could say is some have suggested that we should say that somehow some of the greatest minds in the world have said, if you love today show and you don’t at least invest. You know what? Twenty bucks to buy this thing on Amazon. Remember it? You may remember this for the rest of your life. Let us know. You might have let us down. So Z, have you prepared your numbers? I have now they are numbers from one to 100.
Is that fair? Or do you want to just single digits it. Just feed them. You can feed them to me a single digit. So that’s the easiest one for a second. So single digits and need comedy. Do you have there? Um, well I’ll do 20 then. So I’ll um, I’ll do them one to c, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. We’re working through this here. Folks. Get ready. Dr Zoellner is running out of fingers to count. Okay. So now I have them all single digits 20 of them and I am ready to rock and roll. Here we go. Alright. Just one per second. Not too quickly. Not too slow. Okay. Somewhere in the middle.
Okay. You Ready? Yup. Six, three, four, nine, nine. One, five, six, three, seven, zero eight. One, two, one, four, one, four, three, five.
Okay, let me just review that quickly in my mind. Okay. A six, three, four, nine, nine, one, five, six, m, three, seven, zero, eight. One, two, one, four, one, four, three, five.
We go back to. Book is going to be more expensive. Let me let the song play on your 30 seconds to buy the book. Remember it? Oh Wow. That right there. That was impressive.
You guys are great. Z, Z. I want to hit all the button.
I want to hit all the buttons. I want to go
talk into a box van and say this. Oo, he’s using the force I’m on. I’m pretty excited because I think I may have a second career as the dude go to the memory contents. Reading the numbers for use. You say those numbers really good. Thank you. I just, one of my superpowers just say random racing was amazing. There was consistent. Was it that you think? Okay, now. Okay, Nelson, now I. This is, I want to get into some entrepreneurial questions for you because you are an entrepreneur. Do you have. Tell us about your family. Are you single guy you married? Tell us about your family life.
Sure. Um, I’m, I am married two years married. We just actually had a, a baby boy three months ago, man. Thank you. Thank you. So I’m a father now too, which is crazy to think of. Um, but my parents, my dad was a businessman. I mean he still is and you know, he was actually the CEO of Burger King for awhile and then hurts. He worked for Hertz and then Europe car. So he’s a very successful businessman. My mom was a very successful home engineer, uh, taking care of us and uh, yeah, we grew up kind of moving around. I was born in England and we moved back and forth between Europe in Miami, which is where I live now. I’m growing up and Miami’s where I live now. Yeah,
I think a lot of people. When I started my first company, a DJ connection, it was a, it grew to be the largest wedding entertainment company in the country. I was starting to Dj connection.com Z. I remember seeing people said you’re going to become a fulltime wedding dj. What? What is he going to fall back on when I dropped at a college to do it? They’re like, that put the official stamp of crazy on. Oh absolutely. And I think when you tell people, guys, here’s the deal, here’s the deal, I’m going to memorize numbers and things like, okay, you’re kind of whack and you go and I’m going to memorize and I’m going to actually do professional. Like has anybody else derived an income from this? Right. Well, there are people in Mongolia who are dominant, doing great bro. We best practices typically not in Mongolia. You don’t find a lot of top industries in Mongolia. People had to have thought that’d be a lot of haters, a lot of doubters, a lot of people going, I don’t know. I think the vast majority of humanity has had to think they had to think that you are crazy. So how are you able to fund yourself over the years? How did you fight through the doubt? Just walk us through what it’s like to tell people I want to become a memory expert.
You know, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy. Because even when I did quit my job and I had that sponsor deal, I think even then I wasn’t saying to myself, you know, I’m going to be a professional memory expert. I just Kinda knew that I had something that a lot of people wanted. And um, I was going to build off of that at least for the duration of this sponsorship and having to do a decent job of that and things built from there and meet a lot of connections. Um, but, you know, so many people told me I was crazy to quit my job for this because they were like, once it runs out, what are you going to do? And I was like, deep down, I knew I’d figure something out, but I didn’t really have an answer for them yet. Um, but, you know, like I said, I think it falls back onto the thing that I was able to tell, you know, let people know
and make people aware of the fact that memory is for everyone. Everybody can benefit from an amazing memory. And that’s kind of what I’ve stuck to and it’s, it’s helped me kind of keep this career going.
You know, the first four hours of somebody’s Day. I, we’ve interviewed Z, we’ve interviewed billionaires millionaires. We have the founder of priceline coming up here to the extent of the Ritz Carlton will be on the show soon. The founder of, uh, of expedia. We’ve got John Maxwell on the shows. We’ve had what the, we’ve had really the WHO’s who we’ve had, I mean, some of the top entrepreneurial minds on the planet. The guy who used to manage Walt Disney world resorts, just huge people and every time we interview them, we’re always. Our listeners always fascinated to hear about your daily routine, you know, how you structure the first four hours of your day as an entrepreneur. So I just want to get into that. How do you typically organize? How do you spend the first four hours of your day?
Yeah, and I mean, I’d say that those first four are probably the most productive and important to get my day going. If I don’t start it off with those in the same way that I usually do, it’s a bad day and it doesn’t happen very often, but I start by waking up about quarter to six. I go to the gym for an hour and a half. Um, I go to a crossfit gym, I do the class and then I’d do some kind of extra accessory work. Um, so fitness is a big part of kind of my whole spiel with, with brain health. But, um, that’s how I start my morning off. I come back, eat a healthy breakfast, and then I get into my memory training, which I’m
sorry to interrupt you. Brain breakfast. Can you educate us as, as, as to what the brain breakfast looks like?
Um, yeah. So I experimented a lot of different things, but I try to come in and out. So the most recent thing that I’ve been obsessed with his kito diet, um, but um, what I typically will eat for breakfast is, um, a lot of antioxidant kind of berries, um, and then kind of bacon and eggs, some good fats, and then I take my, uh, my daily kind of supplements. Which part of it, including kind of the most important part is the Dha Omega three kind of supplements that I take. Um, and that’s, that’s, that’s kind of what I eat every day and it’s, I don’t know if it’s more of a habit thing, but that kind of fuels me for the next few hours when I sit down and start memorizing.
So you do has Omega Three Fish Oil essentially? Yeah, it’s fish oil.
I knew it, I knew enough people tell us Dha, Omega three, I’ve memorized it now that, that is fish oil. Yes.
Yeah. Now with your weapons, I sit down to memorize and then, you know, I’m doing drills and sets of memorizing cards, memorizing numbers, um, and just, you know, I have a bunch of spreadsheets and, and, and books of all my scores and notes on my performance and what I did yesterday that might’ve been affected how I
performed today and what my goals are, what my records are and where I stand. You know,
I have a question for you about this. You seem like you’re very regimented, but you are self employed. Am I correct? That’s correct. Yeah. How many people work for you or with you? Is it you and your wife or do you have a big team of people that. I got an assistant who’s kind of helping, uh, run the Nelson Dellis Dotcom ship.
It’s me, it’s all me. I probably should have an assistant, but my problem is I think I can do everything myself and I prefer to do it myself, but sometimes that’s a bad thing to think. But.
So you keep it lean, you keep it lean and I know he has a question for you. I’m just asking you how, how do you discipline yourself? Because so many people have this idea of like what I’m gonna do is I’m going to stop memorizing every single day in a row and then, and then just starting tomorrow, hope it over, get to do that and then, oh, I forgot. But then started the next day I will begin. You know, I got to go days in a row. One day I’ll start Monday. Yeah. So how, how do you discipline yourself? Are you, do you have a taser? Uh, do you, do you work a shock collar? What do you do?
Um, I don’t know. It’s, it’s hard to say because at this point if I don’t do it, I just hate myself so much that I got to go back into it over time. But you know, you’ve got to think back, like at some point, I have to say I was going to do this every day. And um, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, I don’t know, you get to some point eventually you’re just like, I’m sick, I’m just putting this off, I want to be the best. And He, you know, you realized, yeah, I can put it off for one more day, but you can also just start like right now, like immediately as you’re thinking about it, just drop what you’re doing and make some work towards this thing you want to do every day. I Journal a lot. I, I make lists a lot and I cross things off lists when I do them. And so that’s all those kinds of things have been really helpful for me to just be satisfied with getting work done every single day. Um, and the thing is, is the more you do it kind of every day, it just becomes habit. And like I said, you skip it, it feels weird and you don’t like it. So you end up always going back to it. So waking up early, going to the gym, doing my daily memory exercises. If I don’t get that in, I’m a miserable sod. So it’s just part of my life, you know,
part part of it. Well, I’ve got, I’ve got to do questions for you to come in and coming in. Hot and Sassy. Hot, Sassy one. You keep a calendar or you just remember everything?
Oh No, I, I, well I have some kind of like, I make my own kind of Google calendar.
You keep track of that stuff. That’s the air second end. Oh, okay. And I know there’s people out there listening. They probably pulled her car over maybe in a truck stop. Maybe it’s um, you know, grocery store, Burger King or a burger king and they’re saying to themselves, how self did you do? I just read for those. You, if you’re just now tuning
in, I read 20 numbers. Random numbers I just wrote down below. I read 20 numbers. Was it at the pace that you requested and you repeated them? What, what was that story? And your brain can do still remember that. $20.
Yeah. So first thing I did was I decided on a memory palace that I was going to use, so I have, you know, we have talked about my house for the cards, but I actually have, you know, 50 or so different memory palaces that I have stored in my head, different things and there are places that I’ve visited or lived or rubbing in familiar places. And so for this one I use, I’m a hotel I stayed in once, I’m on a trip to the Himalayas a few years ago and it’s just a memorable experience and I have it fresh in my head. I always use it for this kind of demo with numbers spoken to me. So then, you know, you said the numbers and what I’m doing is I’m transforming these images of these numbers into kind of an image of a purse and doing some kind of action.
So the first four digits were six, three, four, nine. And that translated to Steve Bear. I’m catching a football and this was happening at the doorstep of the entryway to the hotel. And then I kind of walked into the lobby on the lobby desk or the concierge desk kind of thing. Um, the next one was 91, five six, which was a spaceman or Armstrong. I’m cutting up his suit with a pair of scissors, of course. Yeah, of course. Yeah. And then move over to the couch in the lobby area. And next was Bruce Willis. I’m a and his actions. I don’t know how pg this, this, this radio show is, but he was pleasuring himself
on the couch. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how that happened, but continue to please get it.
So yeah, there’s, there’s something very random stuff in there, but that helps make it memorable. Um, and uh, and then continuing on, what, what do we have? He was me. I’m number 12 actually. Um, and I was playing hockey and kind of this side room that I remember. And then I went up the stairs and then there was a hockey player. I’m shooting a revolver at the wall. Wow.
I, I, my mind is blown. I’m going to try to duck tape it together. I know Paul Hood has a question for you. I would like to ask you this on behalf of all the entrepreneurs out there listening, you, you are an entrepreneur, I mean you are a memory expert, but you also are self employed, you know, you’re building a career and uh, so what, what books have helped you from an entrepreneurial Spec or a PR perspective the most? Do you have a book or two or three that you would say these are books that really helped you to turn your skill into a career? Man, I read
a lot of nerdy books out there, um, and I’d like to read a lot of fantasy stuff like game of thrones and stuff like that, but like a lot that doesn’t help my entrepreneurial skills at all. But um, I dunno, I breed a lot of kind of brain teasers and things that have to do with kind of math and um, I honestly don’t read much that has to do with, with, with entrepreneurship. I know there’s a ton of books out there. My friend is in addition to it and the always shares them with me and I never read them.
This is great. This is the real and raw stuff. I just want to know if there’s been a, you know, a book that did impact, you know, if not, it’s great. So I’ll put game of thrones down here. Is there another book you’d recommend for listeners out there? Game of thrones book series. He loves the game.
I love me some game of thrones. Um, one of my favorite books, um, and this might be a bit too nerdy for a lot of people, but I really encourage people to maybe check it out because in my mind it’s a classic. It’s called girdle escher and Bach, an eternal golden braid. It was written in the seventies by this guy, doug was hofstetter. Um, he was a computer scientist and it’s, it’s a fascinating read about how our mind works and Inter, it’s interweaving kind of music art and uh, just brain teasers and kind of a science. It’s fascinating and that, that, that’s actually one of the books that opened my mind to just everything, the, our entrepreneurial at all, but it’s just this kind of. How’d you hear about that book? How did you even hear about this book? Because that’s what I studied. Physics, math, computer science. Those were my college days.
Love Escher. I’ve got a lot of escher prints in my house. Love it.
Oh, nice. Okay. Yeah. So, yeah, and a girdle. That’s, that’s the mathematician. He was famous mathematician who broke all the boundaries of mathematics, uh, many, many years ago. But um, yeah. So essure curdle and altogether,
well I’m going to have to just, we get off today shoving him just crying. I couldn’t even fathom at this time. My mind’s been blown so many times. Paul, final question from you. So what’s your final question,
clay? I’ve got a very, very important question for Nelson. And actually the entire moral fiber of this country may depend upon your answer. No. Oh Wow. Wow. So how can you, you could save marriages, saved relationships with the answer to this question. I don’t know. How can you help us? Men remember our wives and girlfriends birthday.
What’s the trick? It’s easy. I have the perfect answer for this. If you want to remember your significant other’s birthday or anniversary, all you gotta do is forget it once.
Oh. Hey. There you go.
Bone is pulled right there, folks.
Now Nelson, your book, you’ve got a book here called remember it? Yeah. And I know the listeners out there, we have a lot of, of, uh, of readers who listened to our people aren’t people who listened to our show. We just had a kin Schmidt, the guy who led the Harley Davidson, a turnaround from 1985 to 99. He came to our workshop there in December and he sold out his books. Are Our listeners love to buy books? Can you assure the listeners why they should pick up a copy of your book? Remember it?
Yeah, I’d love to. I’m so remember it just came out a few months ago. It’s been a thing that I’ve been working on for years. Um, I’m really proud of it because yes, there are memory books that exist out there. They’ve been around for awhile. I’m sharing kind of similar techniques, but I feel like mine’s different because first of all it’s a memorable book. It’s very colorful, lots of pictures, the design and that I think is a very memorable experience and I just think it’s from me and I feel like I have a very relatable voice. I try to make it as practical as possible. So real life examples that we all encounter where you parked your car, why you walked into a room and suddenly forgot what were their names. Um, and so all that stuff’s in there and these kind of bite sized pieces that it’s really kind of easy to read. Um, you don’t have to train to be a champion or anything. It’s just to help you get by with the everyday stuff. So I think it can help out anybody in. It’s a quick uninvasive read, you know,
I’m going to put a link to it on today’s show notes and a Dr Z. We like to end every show with a boom boom. And uh, uh, Nelson around here stands for big, overwhelming, optimistic momentum, which is what we believe everybody needs to bring to their, to their work day on a daily basis to get things done. Paul, are you prepared to bring a boom? I have stretched. I’m ready. Are you prepared? I kept getting a Nelson. Are you prepared to bring the boom? I’m prepared. Here we go.
If you are like most humans that I know when you see two gas stations and one sells gas for a little bit less and they’re next to each other, you might go for the one that sells gas for less money. It, it, it makes sense. You know, every little bit can help, you know, I don’t really agree with that. I like to spend as much money as I possibly can on fossil fuels or just something I’m into. But here’s what’s weird though. Sometimes we save a few pennies here and there and ignore opportunities to save huge money. I’m talking about life changing money. If you switch today as an example to medicare for your healthcare, it could be a massive savings for you and your family. The typical savings for a family is about $500 a month. I repeat $500 a month. Ah, so okay. I have a quick question.
So when you said you could save like $500 a month, I mean, are you talking about actually being able to save $500 a month? Yes, that’s why I said the number. You could actually save $500 a month. Just think about that for a second. What would you do with all that extra money? Thrivers you can be buying a flat screen every single month. That’s 12 flat screens a year. $6,000 per year or 12 flat screens per year. Well, I have been trying to save up for 12 flat screens and this seems to be the most, a reasonable, prudent way to do it. And yes, people love it. They love it because it works. It’s believers who share each other’s health care costs and now with over 400,000 people, a k, eight members of Medicare, again with over 400,000 members, there’s proof it works and it’s growing like crazy. It would be like having a seven foot tall third grader in your family. It’s like growing like a weed. It is taking off fight at how much you can save and why Medicare is so popular. Go to medicare.com, forward slash clay. That’s Medicare m, e, D, I share.com forward slash clay, or call them at eight, four, four to five. Share for more info. That’s eight, four, four, two, five. Share.