Ron is a 2 Time USA Memory Champ. He held the record for fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the USA. He’s been featured on Nat Geo Brain Games and Stan Lee’s Superhumans.
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3 Key Points:
- To remember someone’s name, look for their distinctive feature and connect it to his/her name.
- Whatever it is you’re fearing—that next big step—go for it. If you fail, it’s not going to be half has bad as you think it is.
- Duplicate yourself: find ways to get your content out there to the masses.
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Time Stamped Show notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:51] – Ron began memory training when he was 18 years old and has been teaching people how they can improve their memory for 26 years
- [01:05] – Ron joined the military as reservist and served for 8 years
- [01:38] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Ron’s focus and thrust is to maximize his memory and to teach others about memory
- [02:38] – When it comes to an inability to remember names it’s not because you have a bad memory, it’s because you were not listening in the first place
- [03:04] – As you are walking towards a person, ask yourself this one question, “What is their name?”, repeatedly
- [03:50] – If we work at asking well-worded questions, it is going to focus our brain for that moment
- [04:08] – Focus on a person’s distinctive feature and connect his name to a visual picture of his face
- [05:17] – Worst entrepreneurial moment: Ron made $20,000 when he was just 25 years old and started to tell people how rich and successful he was. There was a guy who was listening to him for a week and began to tell him answers to business problems he didn’t know he had and the guy became his business partner
- [06:09] – Within two months, he had no money in his bank account and was told that his supposed partner was a con-artist
- [06:55] – Ron became a waiter and was kicked out of his apartment; he was living in his car
- [07:08] – Ron was waiting tables and ran into a guy who hired him to speak at a conference in the past
- [07:52] – Ron says he does not blame the con-artist because he was the idiot who signed the document, giving the guy permission to access his bank account
- [08:44] – Whatever your worst fears are—if it happens (barring the death of a loved one) it’s probably not that bad, so don’t worry about it
- 09:21 – JLD says Tim Ferriss has great articles about stoicism
- 09:51 – Greatest AH-HA Moment: For the first 7 or 8 years of his business, Ron had been doing seminars. He called up Billy Burden and told him he needed to make cassettes because people wanted to take something home with them
- [11:45] – What are you most FIRED up about right now: Crypto-currency
- [15:28] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Doubt”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “A year from now, you’d wish you had started today”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – The ability to compartmentalize negative feedback and criticism
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Memorise and Memrise
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Mind Gym by Gary Mack
- [18:42] – Your brain and your memory are so much better than you think
- 19:00 – Ron has a free gift for listeners at Memorytips.net
- [20:06] – No matter what it is you’re fearing, do it right now—and if you fail, it’s not going to be half as bad as you think
Ron White: Yes, I am!
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Ron’s a two-time USA Memory champ. He held the record for fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the USA. He’s been featured on NatGeo Brain Games and Stan Lee’s Superhumans.
Ron, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Ron White: 44 years old. I began memory training when I was 18. I took a memory seminar. I really liked it, and so, I’ve been teaching people how to improve their memory for 26 years. In the middle of that 26 years, I joined the military as a reservist. I served for eight years, and won a couple national memory championships, set the record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the United States. And I can’t believe I just summed up 26 years in ten seconds, but that’s my life.
John Lee Dumas: “That’s my life, and I’m proud of it.” Well, Ron, thank you for your service being an Army combat veteran. I always appreciate fellow service members, so I really appreciate that. And what would you say, today, your area of expertise is? Is it memory?
Ron White: Oh, without a doubt, yes, absolutely. That’s my focus and my thrust, maximizing my memory. I have an interest in memory. I always want to remember names and faces. I give speeches, and I do them without notes, but also teaching others. I would say that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my expertise is memory.
John Lee Dumas: Literally 99 percent of people say this. I’m definitely guilty of it as well. “Oh, my god, I’m so bad at remembering names, blah blah blah.” Again, I’ve said it 100 times, too. What can we do, Ron, to improve at remembering people’s names?
Ron White: Well, the first thing is when you don’t remember somebody’s name, think about this. How many times has this happened to you? You’re introduced to somebody, and two seconds later, you’re looking at them and you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I have no idea what this person’s name is.”
John Lee Dumas: All the time.
Ron White: Yeah, and it’s not because you have a bad memory. In other words, you’re not forgetting the name in two seconds. You were never listening. You were never paying attention. The most honest thing you could say at that moment is, “Hey, a few seconds ago, when we were being introduced, I wasn’t even listening to you.”
John Lee Dumas: “I was zoned out.” So, what do we do?
Ron White: So, here’s a good question you can ask yourself. Start doing this one thing. If you start doing this, you’ll triple your retention for names. As you’re walking towards somebody, from now on, it’s a new person. You’re at a business meeting. You’re at friend’s house. You’re at a restaurant. Somebody’s walking towards you. You never met them before. Instead of asking yourself, “Have I seen this person before? Have they bought my product? Do I have that stain on my shirt? Does my hair look okay?” Instead of all that, ask yourself this one question, “What is their name? What is their name? What is their name? What is their name?” Now, don’t say that out loud.
Here’s the problem. Brian Tracy says nothing focuses the brain more than well-worded questions. Better. Nothing focuses it better than well-worded questions. So, if we can begin to ask ourselves questions and develop that habit, it’s gonna focus our brain at that moment, at that instant.
And really, the next thing you can do is look at their face, observe a unique feature. Maybe they have a big nose or big ears or bushy eyebrows or a thick beard, and really focus in on that distinctive feature until you take notice of it. And then, they extend their hand, they say their name is Steve, and this guy has big ears. Instantly, I will think, “Steve… stove,” and I begin cooking those ears in a stove. Or if his name is Matt and he has big ears, I will see a doormat on his ears. But I’m visualizing pictures on the face, and I’m really seeing it, and as I walk away, I imagine that story in my head, “Man, that guy was wiping my feet on his ears,” or, “Man, that guy was cooking his ears.”
And it sounds silly, and it sounds crazy, and it is, but it does work.
John Lee Dumas: I believe it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Matt’s name, ever. I just saw the picture of him right now. So, Ron, let’s do a little bit of a shift now. And by the way, thank you for that. That’s huge. I am definitely gonna try that. I want to talk about your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. So, take us back there. I’m sure you can remember it, so take us back to that moment. Tell us that story.
Ron White: Well, I’ve been an entrepreneur for 26 years, and when I was 25 years old, I made $20,000.00 that month, and it was the most I had ever made in a month, and I thought I was Rockefeller or something. Whoa, I was a big shot. So, I was running my mouth, telling everybody about how much of a rich and successful businessperson I was, and of course I’m being sarcastic here.
And I was at the local pool hall playing pool, and there was a guy there, and he listened to me talk for about a week or so, and then, he began to talk. And when he began to talk, he seemed to have all the answers to my business problems that I didn’t know I had, and within a couple weeks, he became my business partner. He convinced me I needed him. And within two months of that, I had no money in my bank account.
I called one of our mutual friends on the phone, and I said, “Man, I think Thomas just stole from me,” and he said, “He did. He’s a professional con artist. He conned an insurance company out of $1 million. He made the front page of a newspaper in Connecticut called the Hartford Advocate. He made the front page of that, and it was called “The Art of the Con.” And I thought, “Well, I could have used this information about two months ago.” But he was.
Next thing you know, I’m totally broke. I literally got kicked out of my apartment that day, had no money, nothing in the bank account, and I took a job as a waiter, and I was living in my car. And I remember waiting tables. I’m a speaker. I speak at conferences. And I remember waiting tables one day. This was maybe a month afterwards. And a guy comes in, and he’s a guy I had spoken for his conference. Three months prior, I had been in a suit and tie up on the stage, and he had hired me to speak, and now I’m waiting on him at the Red Robin restaurant, asking him if he wants more fries.
And it was just such a low, but I found it shocking in a way. I was living in my car eating bananas. You hear every motivational speaker say “living in a van down by the river.” So, I hate telling this story because it sounds like so cliché, and I don’t wanna be cliché, but it’s true. But you know what? It wasn’t even that bad. It wasn’t even that bad.
I would say that was, on the surface, my worst entrepreneurial moment, and I don’t even blame the con artist. I don’t blame him because I’m the idiot who, when he said, “Hey, sign this document,” I signed it without reading it, and what it really was was giving him permission to access my funds in my bank account. I didn’t read it. I’m the idiot, not him, so I don’t blame anybody. But that was a low point. I’d say that was a low point for me.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. I like how you said it wasn’t even that bad, with all the things you ended up going through and then having to do X, Y, and Z. And, Ron, what would you want our listeners to really get from that story? Just sum it up in one or two sentences.
Ron White: That whatever your worst fears are, if it happens, it’s probably not that bad, barring the death of a loved one or yourself or a friend. Barring death, it’s probably not that bad, so don’t worry about it. Don’t stress. In other words, we play it too safe, I think, a lot of the times because of our worst fears.
John Lee Dumas: Ron, do you read stoicism, or do you consider yourself a stoic?
Ron White: I don’t, but I’m very fascinated by it all of a sudden.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, get on the topic, brother. There are some great books. I definitely would just google. Tim Ferriss has written some great articles on it. Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius back in Rome, really cool people over the years.
Now, let’s talk about one of the greatest ideas you’ve had to date. And you just told the story of how you got conned, but the reality is you’ve been an entrepreneur for over 26 years. You’ve had a lot of aha moments. Take us to one of those, Ron, and tell us that story.
Ron White: Well, my greatest aha moment… I’m in the speaking-training business. For the first seven or eight years, I was out speaking and training and doing seminars, and I called up a guy. He’s passed away now. His name is Billy Burden. He was a guy who was a predecessor in the memory field that I’m in. He said, “Ron, you really need an audio course” – “cassettes” is what he said. This was in the ‘90s. “You really need cassettes. People wanna take something home with them.” And for me, the greatest thing I did was duplicating myself through audio.
And I remember Brian Tracy was speaking at a same conference I was, probably 20 years ago, and I said, “Brian, I’m gonna write a book.” He said, “Why are you gonna write a book?” I said, “So I can sell it and make some money.” He said, “You could sell a book for $15.00. You can sell an audio course for $20.00. You shouldn’t write a book.”
And for me, the biggest aha moment was just duplicating myself through some form of audio or video. That has been the greatest boon to my business. Especially with the Internet, everything took off, but I’m so grateful I did that 20-something years ago.
John Lee Dumas: Love that. And just what’s the one thing you wanna make sure that we get from your aha moment?
Ron White: Duplicate yourself somehow. Figure out some way to duplicate yourself. It may not be through audios or videos, but there’s gotta be some way you can duplicate yourself.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, all we have is time. You have to figure out ways to scale, ways to leverage your knowledge, your abilities, your voice, your work, whatever that might be. Now, Ron, today, 2017, what has you most fired up?
Ron White: Tim Ferriss just did a podcast on this. I love cryptocurrency.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, fascinating.
Ron White: It is. And I am really excited about that. I am really fascinated about that, about the blockchain and about technology, and that really does have me really excited. But I would say that, just in general, I love learning about new things, and right now, one thing I’m really trying to dive more into is languages and really just – I feel like it opens up a whole world to you when you can get languages. The next one I wanna really tackle is Thai.
John Lee Dumas: That’s not an easy language from what I hear, Ron.
Ron White: Well, somebody told me it wasn’t so bad, so hopefully they’re right. I think when you can speak more languages; it obviously just opens up a different world to you.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. Well, hey, we’ve been talking about Tim Ferriss a little bit today, so we might as well keep the trend up, but he has some great articles and actually podcasts about speed language learning, which I think is really cool, so definitely check those out as well. And if you think, Fire Nation, that Ron’s been dropping value bombs, well, you’re right. He has. But check it out – the Lightning Round’s coming up, and he’s gonna drop value bombs galore after we thank our sponsors.
Ron, are you ready to rock the Lightning Rounds?
Ron White: I am ready to rock the Lightning Round.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Ron White: Doubt. I was 18 years old, and I looked 12, and I was just doubt that I was old enough now to do it. That carries over in different forms today. It’s no longer age, but doubt.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Ron White: It was a quote somebody told me, and they said, “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.”
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit, Ron, that contributes to your success?
Ron White: This is gonna sound cold-hearted, but I’m really able to compartmentalize negative feedback and criticism. I just ask myself, “If I died today, would that person be at my funeral in three days?” and most often, the answer’s not, so most often is I don’t care, and it really helps me not to get worked up over criticism, I guess you would say. I really don’t get worked up over it, and that helps me out a lot.
John Lee Dumas: Can you share an Internet resource that you’re digging right now?
Ron White: There’s a .org out there called Memorise.org, and it’s memory games, and I’m a memory guy. There’s another one out there, and this one is not owned by me. I’m not affiliated in any way. Matter of fact, it’s owned by one of my competitors, but MemRise.com. Awesome resource. It’s so awesome, I’m jealous that it’s not mine. But it is an awesome resource if you want to learn languages. You can literally go on there and take three courses on Spanish. It’s a free website. It’s awesome.
John Lee Dumas: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Ron White: There’s a book out there called Mind Gym. The author of it’s a guy named Gary Mack. It’s a book about peak performance and how what you think will affect you physically. When I was training for the USA Memory Championship, I got this book, and it made such a huge difference in my mindset competing for this memory championship, but it’s really a book about professional baseball players. This guy had access to – Ken Griffey endorsed this book. Ben Crenshaw, the golfer.
He’s a sports psychologist, and it is so, so fascinating about the nuances of our thoughts and how it will affect the physical things that our body does. Anybody who competes at anything, even in business, I would recommend Mind Gym by Gary Mack. The book influenced me so much I reached out to the author. I found his email address and I emailed him. This was about five years ago. And I got a reply back from his widow. She said he’d passed away. But what a great book, Mind Gym.
John Lee Dumas: Ron, let’s end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Ron White: Well, my parting piece of guidance is your brain and your memory is so much better than you think it is. I set the record by memorizing a deck of cards in 90 seconds. It was the fastest ever in the United States. Anybody can improve their memory to remember whatever they want. I have a free gift for your listeners at MemoryTips.net. And my parting tip, my parting thought would just be: Your brain is much more powerful than you think it is. Whatever level you think your memory is right now, double it, triple it, 10x it, you’re not going to approach it. I recently memorized 7,000 words in sequence. Whatever you think the limit is, 10x it, and you’re probably still not even there.
John Lee Dumas: Geez. Love all of that. Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with RW and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Ron” in the search bar. His Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz – timestamps, links galore. And MemoryTips.net is the place to go to learn more.
Any parting words for Fire Nation, Ron?
Ron White: Hey, you guys are awesome. No matter what it is you’re fearing doing right now, do it, and if you fail, it’s not gonna be half as bad as you think.
John Lee Dumas: Hey, Fire Nation, hope you enjoyed our chat with Ron today. And we have a free eight-day goals course for you. It’s just waiting at FreeGoalsCourse.co. Get goal focused!
I will catch you on the flipside.
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