In this interview, I had the honor of talking with Johannes Mallow. Johannes is the top mental athlete, has one numerous memory competitions, broken multiple memory records, and was the first and only person to ever break the 10,000 points in a competition. He has accomplished amazing things and it was awesome to talk to someone I admire and respect greatly.
Johannes shares some incredible information about memory competition but also memory in general. He also managed to stump me on my last question by asking me for my answer! I was totally unprepared haha This interview was so much fun. But the best part of the interview is when Johannes shared with me his heart warming story about how memory training saved his life.
His story shows how improving your memory is more just than having a better memory but is something that can transform and affect your life. You need to watch the interview to hear his story. I was touch and inspired when i heard Johannes tell me his story. Seeing how much Johannes has accomplished regardless of his trouble is amazing.
I will do a quick summary of some of the questions he answered below the video but you need to watch the interview to hear his story. Watch the video to hear the whole interview:
Tell me about yourself.
I have competed in memory competitions since 2004. But beside my competing, I studied in a small town in Germany. Then I worked for 6 years in research for the university on the field of MRI. From the being of last year, I started to give lectures of memory and train people,.but also I am trying to compete much more.
How did you get into mnemonics and memory competitions?
I saw this German TV show in 2003 with a former world memory champion who taught a celebrity how to memorize a 20 digit number and she was able to do it. So I thought if she can do it then I can do it! I then went on the internet and did a little research. I found information on this popular site in Germany. I tried using the information on the site to memorize a deck of cards. I was able to memorize a deck of cards in 10 minutes and that is what got me hooked.
Do you get a lot of "You are a genius. You are just naturally talented in memory. It's too hard," when you try to teach people or they see you showing off your ability?
I get that all the time. Most people don't understand that it is an ability you can use for everything. The people just see this guy memorizing a deck of cards in 30 secs or 500 digits and think that they can't apply the skill to their daily lives. You can compare it to physical sports.. You will never need to run 100 meters in 12 secs. Maybe you can go to the supermarket and buy everything super faster because you are running through the supermarket. No one needs to run that fast. If you compare memory to this then it is more clear to people if you can run that faster, you have a physical advantage. You are healthier. When you compare memory techniques this way, people will understand how memory techniques can be used in daily life.
When you broke the 10,000 point barrier, what did you do for that competition?
I didn't plan something different compared to the other competitions. My plan is always to try to get my best scores in all the different events. I try to get close or break the world record in each of the events and have a plan for each of the events. In general, I don't get the scores I wanted for each event but in this competition, my plan worked out for almost each of the events. I never planned to break 10,000 points or anything like that because I didn't expect to. If i count up all my plans for all the events, it comes out to 10,000 points. It was great!