Sancy Suraj: The Capital City Memory Titan for the Fastest Time to Identify All Capital Cities
We sat down with Sancy Suraj, a renowned memory coach and athlete who holds numerous records for memorization. He is already the Singapore record holder for reciting the most pi digits (1,505) and has now set a new record for the Fastest Time to Identify All Capital Cities. With a total of six memory records under his belt, Sancy Suraj is truly a Capital City Memory Titan.
In this exclusive interview, we asked Sancy about his memory journey, how he hones his memory skills, his views on misconceptions about memory, and how he handles the pressure of high-stakes memory challenges. We also got to learn more about what other skills and qualities he thinks are important for success in life.
When did you first realize that you had a remarkable memory?
Thank you for the question. I must say that my journey towards becoming a memory athlete was not something that I had planned for. As a child, I struggled with memory recall and retention, and it wasn’t until my teenage years that I started to develop an interest in memory techniques.
My fascination with memory techniques began when I stumbled upon a book on mnemonics in a bookstore. Intrigued by the idea of using memory devices to remember information, I started experimenting with the techniques outlined in the book. I began by memorizing lists of words and numbers, and over time, I found that my memory recall had improved significantly. It was then that I realized that I had a remarkable memory. I started participating in memory competitions to test and further develop my memory skills. Over time, I have been able to develop memory techniques and strategies that have enabled me to achieve multiple memory records, including the Singapore record for reciting the most pi digits and the record for the fastest time to identify all capital cities.
I believe that my success in memory competitions is due to a combination of practice, dedication, and a willingness to experiment with different memory techniques. I continue to work on improving my memory skills and exploring new ways to enhance memory retention and recall. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had to showcase my memory abilities, and I hope to inspire others to explore the potential of their own memory abilities.
How have you honed your memory skills over the years?
Thank you for the question. Honing my memory skills has been a continuous journey for me. I believe that anyone can improve their memory skills through practice and the use of specific memory techniques. Over the years, I have tried and tested various memory techniques to improve my memory retention and recall. Here are some of the techniques that I have found helpful:
Visualization: This technique involves creating visual images to help remember information. For example, to remember a list of items, I associate each item with a vivid and memorable image.
Association: This technique involves associating a new piece of information with something that I already know. For instance, to remember a person’s name, I might associate their name with a particular feature or quality that they have.
Chunking: This technique involves breaking down information into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, instead of trying to remember a long number sequence, I might group the numbers into smaller segments.
Repetition: This technique involves repeating the information multiple times to help commit it to memory. I often use repetition in combination with other techniques to reinforce my memory of specific information.
In addition to these techniques, I have also developed specific memory training routines that help me improve my memory skills. These routines include regular practice sessions, memory exercises, and memory drills that focus on different types of information, such as numbers, names, and faces.
Overall, I believe that the key to honing memory skills is to remain curious, practice regularly, and experiment with different memory techniques to find what works best for you. With dedication and effort, anyone can improve their memory skills and achieve remarkable results.
How do you think your memory skills compare to others?
Thank you for the question. Comparing memory skills between individuals can be challenging, as memory abilities can vary depending on various factors, such as genetics, age, and training. However, as a memory athlete and coach, I have had the opportunity to observe and compete with other memory experts and athletes.
In my experience, I believe that my memory skills are above average compared to most people. However, I also acknowledge that there are many other memory athletes and experts out there who have achieved even more impressive feats. In competitions, I have had the opportunity to witness remarkable memory abilities, such as individuals who can memorize decks of cards in seconds or recall lengthy strings of numbers.
That being said, I believe that memory skills are not simply a matter of natural talent, but can also be developed and improved with practice and training. With consistent practice and the use of specific memory techniques, I have been able to achieve multiple memory records and help others improve their memory skills as well.
Overall, I believe that memory skills are relative, and what might be considered remarkable to one person might be average to another. However, I also believe that with the right training and approach, anyone can develop strong memory skills and achieve impressive feats of memory recall and retention.
“As a memory athlete, I have come to realize that memory skills are not solely determined by innate abilities but can be enhanced through consistent practice and training. While I believe my memory skills are above average compared to most people, I also recognize the remarkable abilities of other memory experts and athletes. Nonetheless, I am continuously working to improve my skills and help others develop their memory potential as well.”
What are some misconceptions that people have about memory skills?
Thank you for the question. There are several misconceptions that people have about memory skills, and I believe that addressing these misconceptions is essential in helping people develop their memory abilities. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:
“Some people are just born with a good memory”: While it is true that genetics can play a role in memory abilities, I believe that memory skills are not solely determined by genetics. Memory is a skill that can be developed and improved through practice and training.
“Memory techniques are only for people with a bad memory”: Many people assume that memory techniques are only for those who struggle with memory retention and recall. However, memory techniques are useful for everyone, regardless of their natural memory abilities.
“Memory skills are only useful in specific contexts”: Another common misconception is that memory skills are only useful for certain professions or activities, such as memory athletes or students. In reality, memory skills are valuable in all aspects of life, from remembering important dates and names to retaining new information and improving cognitive function.
“Memory skills require too much time and effort”: Finally, some people assume that developing memory skills requires too much time and effort. While it is true that memory training requires consistent practice, it can be achieved through short, regular practice sessions, and the benefits of improved memory skills can be significant.
Overall, I believe that understanding the realities of memory skills and debunking these misconceptions is essential in helping people develop their memory abilities and improve their overall cognitive function.
Can anyone develop a remarkable memory, or is it something you’re born with?
Thank you for the question. In my experience as a memory athlete and coach, I firmly believe that anyone can develop a remarkable memory with the right training and approach. While some people may have a natural aptitude for memory skills, I believe that memory is primarily a learned skill that can be developed and improved with practice. The key to developing a remarkable memory is to understand the underlying principles of how memory works and to use specific memory techniques to improve retention and recall. These techniques include methods such as visualization, association, and repetition, which can be applied to different types of information to improve memory.
It’s also essential to understand that developing memory skills requires consistent practice and effort. Like any other skill, memory abilities can be developed and improved with regular training and practice sessions. This means setting aside time each day or week to practice memory techniques and apply them to different types of information. In addition to training, factors such as sleep, nutrition, and stress management can also affect memory performance. Getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress levels can all improve cognitive function and help support the development of strong memory skills.
Overall, I believe that memory skills are not something you’re born with but can be developed and improved through training and practice. With the right approach and consistent effort, anyone can develop a remarkable memory and achieve impressive feats of memory retention and recall.
“Memory is a skill, not a talent. Like any skill, it can be developed and improved with practice and the right approach. Anyone can cultivate a remarkable memory if they are willing to put in the time and effort.”
Sancy Suraj explained that he first realized he had a remarkable memory when he was a teenager and found himself able to memorize entire textbooks in a short amount of time. He has since honed his memory skills over the years by constantly practicing and developing new memory techniques. He believes that anyone can develop a remarkable memory with enough practice and dedication.
When asked about how he stays humble and grounded despite his impressive memory skills, Sancy Suraj emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself and recognizing that memory skills are just one aspect of a person’s abilities. He also talked about the importance of having a growth mindset and being open to learning from others.
Sancy Suraj also spoke about the misconceptions that people have about memory skills, including the belief that they are innate and cannot be developed. He emphasized that memory skills are like any other skill and can be improved with practice and dedication. He also pointed out that memory techniques can be used in many areas of life, not just in memorization competitions.
When asked about the most impressive thing he has ever memorized, Sancy Suraj talked about memorizing the entire periodic table of elements. He explained how he used mnemonic devices, visualization, and repetition to memorize the table and gain a deep understanding of the properties of each element.
How do you stay humble and grounded despite your impressive memory skills?
Thank you for the question. Despite my achievements in memory sports and my success in setting records, I strive to remain humble and grounded in my approach to memory skills. Here are some of the ways I stay humble and grounded despite my impressive memory skills:
Recognizing the role of practice and effort: I understand that my memory skills are a result of consistent practice and effort, rather than natural talent alone. I acknowledge that without dedicated training and practice, I would not have achieved the level of success that I have.
Focusing on continuous learning: Despite my success in memory sports, I recognize that there is always room for improvement and growth. I continue to study and learn about new memory techniques and strategies, and I strive to apply these learnings in my training and competition.
Emphasizing the role of others: I understand that my success in memory sports is not solely a result of my own efforts. I have had the support of family, friends, and coaches throughout my training and competition. I recognize and appreciate the contributions of these individuals to my success.
Maintaining perspective: Finally, I try to maintain perspective on my achievements in memory sports. While my records and accomplishments are significant to me, I recognize that they are only a small part of my life as a whole. I remain grounded by focusing on other aspects of my life, such as family, friends, and personal interests.
Overall, I believe that staying humble and grounded is essential in achieving long-term success and fulfillment, both in memory sports and in life. By recognizing the role of practice and effort, focusing on continuous learning, emphasizing the role of others, and maintaining perspective, I strive to stay grounded despite my impressive memory skills.
What other skills or qualities do you think are important for success in life?
Thank you for the question. While memory skills are essential in certain areas, I believe that success in life requires a combination of different skills and qualities. Here are some other skills and qualities that I think are important for success in life:
Communication: The ability to communicate effectively with others is essential in all aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional success. Effective communication involves not just speaking but also listening, understanding, and empathizing with others.
Resilience: Life is full of challenges and setbacks, and the ability to bounce back from adversity is critical for success. Resilience involves not just coping with difficulties but also learning from them and using them as opportunities for growth.
Adaptability: The world is constantly changing, and the ability to adapt to new situations and challenges is essential for success. This involves being open-minded, flexible, and willing to learn and change as needed.
Creativity: In today’s rapidly changing world, the ability to think creatively and generate new ideas is highly valued. Creativity involves not just original thinking but also the ability to problem-solve and innovate in different areas.
Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and to empathize with others is essential for success in both personal and professional relationships. Emotional intelligence involves skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills.
Overall, I believe that success in life requires a combination of different skills and qualities, including communication, resilience, adaptability, creativity, and emotional intelligence. While memory skills are important in certain areas, developing these other skills and qualities is essential for achieving success and fulfillment in all areas of life.
How do you handle the pressure of high-stakes memory challenges?
Thank you for the question. The pressure of high-stakes memory challenges can be intense, but over the years, I have developed several strategies that help me stay calm and focused under pressure. Here are some of the techniques that I use:
Visualization: Before a high-stakes memory challenge, I spend time visualizing myself succeeding. I imagine myself calmly and confidently recalling the information and achieving my goal. This mental rehearsal helps me build confidence and prepare mentally for the challenge.
Breaks: During a memory challenge, I take regular breaks to clear my mind and recharge. I use these breaks to stretch, take deep breaths, and remind myself of my goals and the strategies that I’ve practiced.
Chunking: To help manage the information and reduce the pressure, I use chunking techniques to break the information into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes it easier to remember the information and reduces the overall stress of the task.
Positive self-talk: When faced with a high-stakes memory challenge, I remind myself of my past successes and tell myself that I can do this. I use positive self-talk to build my confidence and stay focused on the task at hand.
Mindfulness: To stay calm and focused under pressure, I practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualization. These techniques help me stay in the present moment and manage my thoughts and emotions more effectively.
Overall, the key to handling the pressure of high-stakes memory challenges is preparation, confidence, and a variety of mental strategies. By practicing these techniques and staying focused on my goals, I am able to perform at my best even under intense pressure.
How do you stay focused and motivated during long periods of memorization?
Thank you for the question. Staying focused and motivated during long periods of memorization can be challenging, but over the years, I have developed several strategies that help me stay on track. Here are some of the techniques that I use:
Set goals and milestones: To stay focused during long periods of memorization, I set clear goals and milestones that help me measure my progress. This helps me stay motivated and gives me a sense of accomplishment as I move through the material.
Use repetition: Repetition is key to successful memorization. I use a variety of techniques to repeat the information, such as writing it out by hand, reading it out loud, and creating mnemonic devices. This helps me reinforce the material and improves my ability to recall it later.
Take breaks: During long periods of memorization, I take regular breaks to rest and recharge. This can include taking a walk, practicing yoga, or doing something creative. These breaks help me clear my mind and come back to the material with fresh energy.
Stay organized: To stay focused and motivated, I keep my study space organized and free of distractions. I also use tools such as flashcards and outlines to help me keep track of the information and stay on track.
Find meaning in the material: To stay motivated during long periods of memorization, I try to find meaning in the material. This can include relating it to real-world experiences or seeing how it connects to other subjects that interest me. By finding meaning in the material, I am able to stay engaged and motivated even during long periods of study.
Overall, the key to staying focused and motivated during long periods of memorization is to use a variety of techniques and strategies. By setting clear goals, using repetition, taking breaks, staying organized, and finding meaning in the material, I am able to stay motivated and focused even when faced with a challenging memorization task.
What’s the most impressive thing you’ve ever memorized?
As a memory athlete and coach, I have memorized many things over the years, including decks of cards, strings of numbers, and lists of words. However, one of the most impressive things I have ever memorized was the entire periodic table of elements.
Memorizing the periodic table was a significant challenge, as there are 118 elements with different names, symbols, and atomic numbers. To memorize the periodic table, I used a variety of techniques, including mnemonic devices, visualization, and repetition. I also broke the table down into smaller sections and memorized it in chunks. The process of memorizing the periodic table took several months of dedicated study and practice. However, the effort paid off, as I was able to recite the entire periodic table from memory, including the names, symbols, and atomic numbers of each element.
Memorizing the periodic table was a particularly impressive feat because it required not just rote memorization, but also a deep understanding of the properties and characteristics of each element. By memorizing the periodic table, I gained a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the natural world, and I also strengthened my memory skills in the process.
Overall, memorizing the periodic table was a challenging and rewarding experience that demonstrated the power of memory techniques and the potential of the human brain. It remains one of the most impressive things I have ever memorized, and a testament to the power of practice, dedication, and perseverance.
“Memorizing the periodic table was not just a test of my memory, but also a test of my curiosity and passion for understanding the world around us. It was a challenge that required discipline and focus, but also a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of nature.”
In this interview, Sancy Suraj provided valuable insights into his memory journey and shared his views on the importance of practice, dedication, and perseverance. He showed that anyone can develop a remarkable memory with enough effort and that memory techniques can be applied in many areas of life. Sancy Suraj’s impressive record-breaking accomplishments as a memory athlete and coach make him a true Capital City Memory Titan.