Nelson Dellis put on his noise-canceling headphones, tapped his start buzzer and prepared to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of cards in under a minute.
He had trained his brain to store data like a computer — and it was about to pay off.
Just 40.65 seconds later, he had the deck memorized — his fastest competition time ever — placing him third in that portion of the 2012 World Memory Championships.
Not bad for someone who began training his mind just three years earlier.
“The cool thing about it it’s not that I have a photographic memory or am inherently better at this than anyone else,” Dellis said. “Everybody can do the things I do, it’s just about learning how. It’s about rewiring your brain.”
The 29-year-old from Florida won the 2012 and 2011 U.S. Memory Championships and is now preparing for the worldwide competition this November.