Eran Katz: Memory Is Based on Imagination
Memorisation is not only for remembering something, but also widening your potential and creativity. Can you believe that? Let's learn from the master of memorisation.
Eran Katz: The Memory Artist, Author
Eran Katz is best-selling author, entertaining speaker and seminar leader on memory and intelligence. He has delivered his Lectures and seminars to hundreds of leading multinational companies and organizations worldwide. Among them are Motorola, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Singapore Government, and more. Katz is the bestselling author of "Secrets of a Super Memory", "Jerome Becomes a Genius" and "Five Gifts for the Mind". His books were translated to 17 languages and won literary prizes. He also holds the Israeli Guinness Book of World Records title in memory stunts.
-----For those who are not familiar with you, allow us to know more about yourself. How did you get interested in “memory”?
I was a mediocre student at high school who wanted to succeed at school… but still not work TOO hard, so I read books and learned memory tricks. It was a hobby that became a profession and mission in life – to help others forget less and improve their brain skills.
-----Is memorization a natural talent or acquired skill? How did you become aware that you are so good at that?
As mentioned, it's an acquired skill. Everyone can do amazing things with their memory. Not only remember better but also… erase unwanted memories. I teach that [does ‘that’ mean the methods to these things or specifically the idea that one can erase unwanted memories? Not a big deal if you don’t know but it is ambiguous to me] in my book 'Five Gifts for the Mind' [I’m assuming this would have to be plural, but check his book title again to be sure]
-----Why did you decide to share your knowledge and wisdom with people instead of taking advantage of your skills for your own sake?
School and life are not an 'American Idol' competition with one winner. Everyone can get A's. There is no allocation for only one A at school. On the contrary – it's in the school, work and society's interest that everyone gets an A, that we all succeed. We don't need to compete. We need to cooperate.
-----People often try to make a comparison between memorization and creativity. How do you think they can reinforce each other?
Memory is based on imagination. The more strange and extraordinary things are – the better we remember them. If you want people to remember you, your work, product or project – you need to be creative; make it unusual. Help people by providing them with the outstanding uniqueness of what you do so they will remember you.
-----At the beginning of your life as a memory artist, what was the biggest difficulty and how did you overcome it?
My biggest difficulty was my natural laziness. I never overcame it. It still is J [does the happy face mean ‘me’? e.g. ‘It is still who I am.’].. However, I learned how to brain hack and bypass many difficulties in life, and that's what I teach in my books. A good life – and good memory – is all about balance.
-----You have published many books internationally, how do you expose yourself to a variety of countries?
The key word is patience and persistence. I received countless rejections, but I knew it was all about getting one victory at a time. First get published in one country, and then another, and then one more. It took me 15 years to find an American publisher, which was always my dream. I knew the day would come but I invested time in other countries, enjoyed meeting readers from so many places… and eventually caught the attention of some American publishers. I enjoyed the journey and waited for the right moment to come, always believing it would come.
-----If you want to publish a book and share your ideas, what would be the first step?
Think how readers can benefit from you. Write for a reader and enjoy the process. Maintain humility in your writing and don't constantly brag about yourself and achievements.
-----For those who are reluctant to take a leap of faith, what would be your advice?
My daughter is a perfectionist and sometimes gets too anxious because of this. I asked her once to fail an exam deliberately. It was hard for her, but she did, and ever since she realized it's not that bad to fail.
Rejections are rarely final. I was once rejected by a certain publisher, so I made some changes and sent him the manuscript again. He was surprised, read it, but rejected it a second time. Three years later I sent him my book the third time explaining to him why I think we will succeed together. He wrote me back a complimentary email that never in his lifetime had he met an author that kept trying after being rejected twice.
Authors tend to get insulted by rejections - a blow to the ego. In reality, there are many factors involved and it’s nothing personal. Keep trying with a publisher you really want, even if you get rejected. They will appreciate your efforts and see you as an author that is not ego-oriented but sales-oriented.
-----If you could make a call to 20-year-old Eran Katz, what kind of advice would you give to him?
Nothing. "He" did what was right for him at that time.
We all have our rhythm, timing and learning curves in life. Some people are bold enough to be independent at the age of 20, I needed more time to gain confidence and thus began my independent journey as a writer and speaker at the age of 35. I don't think I could have succeeded before that. I didn't have the tools or the courage.
-----If you could leave one message to make the world a better place, what would be your message?
Forgive yourself and others for the past, notice the present and be enthusiastic about the future.