HH001 – Mark Channon

Habits & Health podcast episode 1 - Mark Channon

Welcome to the first episode of the Habits & Health podcast with my guest, Mark Channon.

Mark is a Mindset and Startup Coach and also a certified “Tiny Habits” Coach and in this episode we explore those areas and how he helps his clients.

Mark has been a “Tiny Habits” coach 10 years and he tells us how he first discovered the Tiny Habits methodology from BJ Fogg and how he has since used that in his work.
Other topics discussed:
  • Monkhouse’s memory masters on BBC TV
  • How to remember anything
  • Competing in the world memory championship
  • Learning faster
  • Memory palaces
  • Effective methods of studying
Links:
Books by Mark:
Recommended books:
Favourite quote:
“Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose”
Leonardo da Vinci

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Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits & Health episode one. Welcome to a brand new podcast called Habits & Health. And as the title suggests, we're going to give you lots of ways that you can create new habits to improve, mostly it's going to be improve areas of health. And that could include all sorts of different aspects of health. So it could be physical health, mental health, mindset I would include in a part of health, and mindset is the area we're really going into today, there's my guest is Mark Channon, who's a former World memory champion, and he helps people with learning and remembering and memorising so books or courses, or whatever the case may be. So we're going to hear from Mark in just a few minutes. If you do like this podcast, please do subscribe to it. And if you really like it, why not leave a review, so people get to know about the podcast, and then they can, it's probably it'll get to more people, and they can make a decision if this is the right thing for them. So please do leave a review. And why not share it with anyone who would get some more value from some of the stuff that Mark shares with us today. So I hope you enjoy this show Habits & Health today with Mark Channon. And my guest today is Mark Channon, hi Mark.

Mark Channon 1:34
Very good. Good to be here. Tony. Looking forward to this. Yeah, it's

Tony Winyard 1:38
good to Well, it's gonna say it's good to see you again. I can't actually see you. But yeah, when we first acquainted, what was it five, six years ago, it

Mark Channon 1:45
was a while ago, wasn't it? It was a while ago.

Tony Winyard 1:48
Yeah. And you've been? Well, I mean, you'd say you probably the first person who ever told me about Tiny Habits. And I completely forgotten about you even mentioned, Tiny Habits, until seeing your video a few weeks ago. And so for people who are listening, who are thinking what the hell are they talking about? Tiny habits.

Mark Channon 2:09
Yeah, sure. So I mean, I've had a fairly eclectic background, but later on in my life. Who know There must have been maybe seven years ago, maybe seven, eight years ago, I came across a guy called BJ Fogg. And he had this this process called Tiny Habits, that strategy, this method, and it'll be gone for a number of years, I think he started probably, there might have been 2010 around about that time. And the thing that really hooked me in that grabbed my attention was the promise the Tiny Habits, because the idea was, you can create any kind of behaviour, any kind of habit without the need for any willpower or motivation, either. Okay, it sounds interesting, I'll be honest with you, it was a little bit sceptical, when I first heard that. And so I actually ended up having a conversation with BJ at the time. And as I'll probably talk about, I've got a big background in memory improvement and full kits, etc. And I was running a number of courses back then. And what I saw is what many people see that one courses, people would come in to be highly engaged, they go, this is great. They do it for a few days or a week, and then you see a big drop off and engagement. And so I was really looking for a way to solve this problem for people. How can people let's see, leave a workshop, and actually take some of these strategies and implement them in their lives in a much, much easier way, or just create any behaviour that one. And so that was really what hooked me. I chatted to BJ and he said, Luke, he's just go through the course yourself is five days, give it a go. And I did. And I created three habits to begin with. And basically the big idea of tiny habits is that you take moments in your life that happen already, we call this the anchor. So getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, go to the bathroom, etc. And then you take a behaviour you want to create, and you create a very tiny version of that behaviour. So one of mine was I wanted to do Pilates in the morning now say I wanted to I didn't want to it's just up and my back was not in a very good place. And my wife was a Pilates instructor. And she's like, you got to do some Pilates or sort your backache, I thought okay, I didn't want to do it. But though I have to do it, I thought what would be the tiny behaviour for that and I thought, well, I'll just put my Pilates mat on the floor. After a walk into the living room. I'll put it on the floor. Now the third part of our tiny habit is you give yourself a little celebration. If you get this you know, do these things, and I can give myself a big ol fist pump. And the first three days I did this tiny hobby, I'd come downstairs. I get up before the kids I've got three boys. After I walked into the living room, I put my Pilates mat on the floor i'd celebrate. And the first few days I just went back to bed after that. The idea with tiny habits as far as you you make a habit automatic, it becomes a problem a habit and then it's way easier. To grow, so that got me into it. I did that first week, I got in touch with Ed, I said, This is awesome. This works. This actually really worked. He was like, Yes, I know, Tom, those are the people in this already, like, great. And so I became certified in it. So I think it was one of the UK's first coaches. It was many years ago was when he starts first started certifying people in this. And then I've used it ever since. So I use it for my own life. But I also use it for my one on one clients. And anyone who works with me, it's the first thing I suggest for them to do. Go learn how to do habits fast, and then it's much easier for whatever work we do together, we can then figure out what are those larger behaviours you want in your life and start with some tiny habits.

Tony Winyard 5:44
And you touched upon just then in the description, we'll be talking about how you got to get rid of ej and about the memory background. And it's not simply a memory programming you did pretty worrying in the world of memory athletes, I suppose you could say? Yeah, it's

Mark Channon 6:00
um, if I take you back over 25 years have we travelled back some way in time, it was actually in the early 90s. And I was an actor. I was an actor until the mid 2005, actually, so I was an actor, a professional actor. For about 15 years, most of my stuff was in the West End, National Theatre for three years, I did a lot of tours, and I did loads of musicals, believe it or not, I was a dancer as well, actor, singer dancer. So that was my kind of bag. But early on, when I was an actor, a good friend who I wasn't actually acting at the time was working in a bar, the Prince Edward theatre bar, actually in London. And so and I was staying with a mate of mine in a flat, and he burst into the room one day, he went mark, he was very energetic with Mark, remember these 20 words, and I had a reputation for having the worst memory last night. We just seen this retrospectively. No, it was genuinely bad. People would make jokes about how bad my memory was. Now, in actual fact, later on, I find it was more about my focus than memory. I think a lot of people maybe have the same kind of challenge. Anyway, I did these 20 words, I remembered about five or six. I thought that was okay. And then Steve went, Okay, do this technique. And he shared with me, a mind palace or a memory palace, this idea where you, you use locations around a room or a journey. And the things you want to remember you placed them on these locations. I've never experienced anything like this before. I mean, this was the mid 90s. This was the mid 90s, early 90s. Actually, probably 92. When I first heard about these things, and the memorise all 20 words, this blew my mind. I never experienced anything like it. It was like magic or Voodoo, they were still in my head the next day, the next week, there was still there the month, they just stayed for months, I couldn't get my head. And it a few weeks later I said, Steve, we have to get really good at this stuff. And so we went on a bit of a a track to find out who could teach us these things. I ended up doing a Kevin Trudeau course, bought lots of books by Tony design. And Harry lorayne. Basically, anyone who was out there the route by this I learned about it. What then transpired met a number of years later, I was about a year and a half later, as I I ended up being in a show called crazy for you. And it was during the time that I was in that show that my agent called me up and said Mark Luke, I've got a friend of mine. It's got production companies are looking for ideas. I was an actor, you never say no. And I was like, give me give me half an hour, give me half an hour and I record this idea for a game show about memory. I take loads of people and teach them how to have that superhuman memory. And then they play all these crazy games against each other. And I had no idea where those would work. By the way, I was literally making up long story short, it I got picked up by this production company was on the BBC. In 1995. It was called monk cases, memory masters. Bonus points for anyone who remembers that it was a lockdown. Remember that ironically, no one knows what this is anymore. But it went up to 8 million people. And basically from that day to this. One of the things I've done is work with people with their memory. Actually, there was a show on Channel Four I did just about a year and a half ago called county improved my memory. And I was working with Joey Essex Gok Wan Valerie Singleton from Blue Peter and he remembers mile and the same kind of thing. I showed him how to improve the memory do these crazy feats. But for me, it was always more about how can you take these techniques, which I started off in a little bit of fun, but how can you apply them in your life? And that's been one of the areas of focus over the years.

Tony Winyard 9:47
And so what well, what there's a few questions that come to mind after what you just said, but one of the things he said the show was called Monkhouse his memory master by Monkhouse because some of this I'm thinking of Bob Monkhouse. It

Mark Channon 9:59
was All banquettes Yes, Bob was the host. I did a little bit on it with Bob. Yeah, but it was it was Bob bunkhouses did the show many, many years ago? I think the period mid game was on the other side.

Tony Winyard 10:13
Right? In that period I wouldn't have I was living at Brooklyn. So that's probably why I've never I've never heard of it. Because I wasn't. Yeah, I wasn't in England around that time. So yeah. So but you'd also been you you've done quite a lot with memory since those days. Because I mean, I first came across you when I read your book, six or seven years ago, I remember and I can't remember the title of the book.

Mark Channon 10:36
Yeah, so I've got three books out there, how to remember anything, improve your memory, which is essentially a rewrite with lots of added content around priming, and focus and productivity. And then I've got book called The memory workbook, which is essentially 101 activities to improve your memory. So if you want something really practical, which just gets the point? Well, that's a good one. If you want something with a bit more background, improve your memory is a good one. People don't check out. But you know, I in terms of memory in 95, I was right. It's a crazy title. But it was ranked as one of the first grandmasters and memory in the world. And the world memory championships. That was actually the only person that got me into that. He said, You got to come and compete in the world memory championships, I had no idea what this was. And when I found out I was like, I thought myself, do I want to do this, that sounds crazy. Some of the games you have to play. Then, after three months of work in about four hours a day, I ended up competing, and did quite well in it so

Tony Winyard 11:32
and so good. I know it's changed quite a lot over the years. And so I'm presuming back then you were having to do lots of packs of cards, and what numbers from pi. And so

Mark Channon 11:42
that was the one of the first events was a 2000 digit number. Here you go on sheets of a4 paper memorise as many digits as you can, in 60 minutes. So I did 744 was the number I stood over 100. But I made a few mistakes. So you lose 40 points. Retain mistake, I think it was 20 points you lose. And then we did like packs of cards names of faces poetry. Now Actually, I was started in the world for poetry. I was, I think because of my acting. Even though I had a reputation for having a very poor memory. When it came to learning lines. I was always very good at learning lines. In fact, I'm just I've just written a book about line learning for actors, which should be coming out. Probably springtime this year.

Tony Winyard 12:30
And so from that, I mean, there's probably some people now are just their minds have been blown because of what you just said before about how you remembered what 700 and something words and or digits rather. Yeah. And they're thinking, wow, how can anyone do that? Because most people can't remember more than that five, six, or seven or something?

Mark Channon 12:49
Yeah, when it's interesting, and the real question is, why would you want to? And that is one of the questions that I asked back then. But what you'll find is, and this is what I talked about this a lot the memory, anyone can have a great memory. And it's a skill, and like most skills is good news and bad news, the bad news, it's a skill, it's going to take some effort. The good news is anyone can do it, if you're willing to put in the effort. And so when people everyone will say to me, oh, I could do with that I could really do with having a better memory. And my question I asked everyone is why in a positive way, but you know, what, what is the benefits, when you really think about it? What would be the benefits, if you're able to learn faster, make things stick. And when I work with people, that's always where I start, because once people really tap into the value of been able to learn faster, and I make a distinction here, you know, when I talk about memories, a starting point, but we're really talking about learning, we're talking about being able to consume more information to cut through information overload to be more focused, less distracted, because if you don't handle that, then you won't remember anything. And once you can do those things, this then shows up in you know, I worked 10 years in corporates in the world of product. So when I worked at BBC, I knew everyone's product, I knew the stats across the, the organisation. And what that gives us a level of influence, you become a go to person. Also, if you if you're in a job where you've got to memorise stuff on the fly. And so I've always been very focused on starting with the idea of what value and benefit with a better memory helps you in your life. And if you think that's good, well then jump on board. And let's do the wire. Because once you've done the work, anyone can learn how to do these things. Actually, the principles are very, very simple. But like most things, when you talk about it, it sounds easy. The hard stuff is making it part of how you

Tony Winyard 14:52
operate. And so typically what kind of people come to you nervin for is it and they come in because they want to learn something in between They can always do companies and some people don't.

Mark Channon 15:04
So I guess my business has evolved somewhat over the years. And actually I have two types of clients I work with. And it really talks to, I'm going to collect a background like I did 10 years in product management. You know, I work with a lot of startups, the right now I have two different types of, I guess, people that I work with. One are people who just want to perform a higher level. Now usually they will be in employed work. And the challenges that they will have is lack of focus, mind wandering, procrastination, feeling distracted. And you get a potentially have, they have a learning curve. So when you go into a new job, there's a learning curve when you onboard, if you want to go into a new domain, or trance, transfer career, there's a learning curve. So that tends to be a set of characteristics. I also have some people who just want to up their game. So I have a set of clients who are high achievers, and they want to just up their levels of focus, they're really good. They would say they had a good memory, they would say they're very productive, high achieving, but they want to take it and get that extra 2%. The other type of clients I've worked with are all startups. So I'll work with a number of small early stage startups. And when I work with those kind of people, it's not so much about how do you perform your highest level, it's more about product development, which is the other part of what I do. So my business is quite interesting and varied. And I tend to kind of think of it in two sectors. I've got people who just want to perform at the highest level, and I've got other people who want to start off on their own. But it's very much if I was to follow a startup approach, where I ultimately want to get investment. What do I do? Where do I get going? problem solution fit, working towards product market fit? That makes sense? So it's a mix?

Tony Winyard 16:57
And so when, what kind of things are best? How to work this thing? What are the best things to try to remember, I mean, I know are there certain things that it is very difficult, and other things that are much easier.

Mark Channon 17:13
Depending on how complex the information, it's obviously going to be harder. So I've worked with people. Let's pick out Jill, for example, Joe was one of my clients a number of years ago, she was 64. From the states, she just failed the California bar exam. And she'd worked with a friend of mine actually, who was really good. So she came to me with knowledge of memory techniques. And the work that I did with jewel was one, just increasing your add in that 2% improvements to her ability to remember. But that was not Joe's challenge. The challenge that she had was her beliefs in her the way her brain operated. She was a scatterbrain, she used to say to me, and she'd enter into complete panic whenever she even thought about this exam. And so for Joe, it was about getting over that fear, which once you got over that fear, she was able to utilise the techniques. Now, obviously, the California Bar Exam, as you can imagine, that is complex. And so you need to be highly motivated, in order to be able to apply memory techniques to that topic. Likewise, anything you've got, which is technical, it's all doable. And and really, it's about when I teach people how to learn faster, I'm all I'm looking at how they already operate. I don't want to completely change the game. I want it to be more additive, I want to go like Why don't you try this technique, test it and see what works for you. I find that you can use these techniques for anything. So a great place to start is names. Because if you get good at remembering people's names, one is just a valuable skill to have. But you're also working the basic building blocks. If I can bring this to life a little bit. The first step in remembering a person's name is paying attention. sounds obvious, right? But you're not paying attention, you're not going to look at that person properly, you're not going to listen, and therefore you won't hear the name to begin with. And when I ask a room of 100 people who here ever has the experience of just not hearing the person's name, the problem 75% the room will put their hands up. That's where the first step. The tricky part. And this is where I turn this creative memorization. It's a model that I use. It is absolutely born from what's called the art of memory, which has been around 2000 years. But it's all about being in a state of flow being completely present, using your imagination association to take what you want. Remember, turn it into imagery. And because we've got great visual memories, it's easy to remember that stuff. That right in the centre of this model is meaning like there's no point memorising stuff, if it's just a bunch of pictures which don't make any sense. So meaning is crucial. But with a person's name, you listen to the name and you create a picture. And then you attach that picture to the face. And then you do all you have to do is say the name aloud. It sounds like we're the crazy landlines, and it does take some practice. But once you get good, what you find is that you can basically create a picture for anything, Tony, like, by the way, I think I've said this to you before, never tell people your pictures. Yeah. Because one, it can be very embarrassing, but I can tell you because we know each other. So Tony, Tony is basically a tool. I know, it's actually Torneo part of the tour. Now you never share that with anyone. And then when you see someone, you make a connection, you see Tony in it, what you find is that the name becomes hard to forget. And it sounds like a lot of work. However, if names are important to you, in your career, then it's a valuable skill to learn, you know, a lot of people in sales, and they need to be able to get locked names in their head, remember the clients. So if you work in an area where you've got lots of clients, maybe you got a very, very large team, for example, or worked with a client with a team of 75 people. And he knew about 10%. And it was very important that you could improve on that.

Tony Winyard 21:20
Well, and also it can be I mean, I remember using it names, I was an emcee at a wedding. And I was introducing various speakers who are doing speeches, and there are some other things going on as well. And altogether, there were around about 20 different people that I had to introduce. And then at the end of it all, I kind of recapped who had spoken and and what they did, and so on. And I did all this without notes, and I had people just come up to me. So what How the hell did you do that? There was only 20. I know you do far more than that. But just even just something as small as that just blew people's minds?

Mark Channon 22:00
Absolutely. It's it's such an impressive skill. I mean, when I think of names, in particular, there's two scenarios that pop into my head, I usually ask people, what do you find more painful, the ability to walk into a room and event, see 20 to 30 people, and to be able to remember everyone in that room, or not as the case may be, or you meet one person in a meeting Two weeks later, they pass you in the street and they go Hey, Mark, you David, and you stare at them blankly. And you're going Oh, great. How are you? I usually find the second one is more painful people say. But the first one is way more impressive. And if you can do both, then you know you're in a good place, but 20 years very impressive. I don't think most most people need to be able to memorise more than 20 people at a time.

Tony Winyard 22:51
But it's, um, it is attractive. And I found when I first got into it, I mean, I know we need to extend that you did. But when I first got into memory, and I in a minute, actually, I want to get on to talking about memory palaces. But when I first started using memory palaces and sort of playing, trying to see how fast I could do it, pack of cards and so on. And initially for me, it was because I was speaking. And my initial reason for doing all this was I thought, well, if I'm doing 45 minute talks, I want to I don't want to be referring to notes frequently, I would like to be able to remember the main content of that whole talk without having to refer to that. So that was the main reason I kind of go into that you you early on. You mentioned about memory palaces. And I, I would suspect for maybe people who watch Sherlock Holmes are familiar with it, but

Mark Channon 23:40
I usually give Charlotte Cohn

Tony Winyard 23:42
Yeah, probably. And even even if they weren't Sherlock Holmes, they've still not be super clear on it. So do you want to tell us about memory palaces? Yeah, well,

Mark Channon 23:50
the easiest way to tell someone about it is to do it. So I always start with a body system. Now the idea of a memory palace is you take a place, people will say familiar plates, it doesn't actually need to be a familiar place. But let's say it's a familiar place. And you choose locations in that place, or locations along the journey. And we then tap into a visual and spatial memory, which is fairly phenomenal. Now you don't need to be able to visualise to do this, necessarily. And you create pictures for what you want to remember. And you place those pictures along those locations. And then you fast recall the images and then you think about what it means. So that's a law there to say I'd like to do it is easier. So I mean, you know that stuff. So what why don't we do like five of them just as an example to bring it to life. So I use the body system because everyone's got a body and therefore it's easy. So, first of all, if anyone ever was listening to this, just imagine basically what I say in your mind. You don't need to try to remember that is crucial. And so you might imagine first of all you have a pair of Gladiator swords and just stick them into your feet. Now that's an odd image that actually would hurt quite a lot as well is hard to forget. So you got Gladiator swords in your feet. Next you might have I was actually give you a brain Tony is a squidgy brain and say, Look, put that brain in between your knees. So now and to balance it in between your knees. So now you, you're focusing on balancing that squidgy brain in between your knees. It's got a beautiful mind. By the way, it's a very clever brain. Next, imagine you have dancing girls and boys on your thighs, whatever pops into your mind for that you're dancing girls and boys on your thighs. Next image. Imagine as you're sitting down, if you're sitting down right now you're sitting on a gigantic golden ring. Odd image, a golden ring on your behind his image. Now let's do one more. Imagine you have a money belt around your waist. And inside this money belt is a million dollars, a million dollars. Now we could keep on going and do the five more and if it works or 10 images being ahead, but we put five in there. So let's just have a little chat. What's on your feet.

Tony Winyard 26:15
So it's the gladiators tigers.

Mark Channon 26:18
What's in between is the brain. Yeah, good. Watching your thighs. dancin boys and girls? Yeah, watching a bind

Tony Winyard 26:26
the money belt with a million dollars on your behind a house. Oh, man, that was a gold ring.

Mark Channon 26:32
And around your waist? Yeah. $2 million. Fantastic. So now you have five images. So the next question you have to do is ask yourself, What do you mean? Now actually, each one of these images wrapped presents can you get?

Tony Winyard 26:48
So the first one the tag is was that B 11.

Mark Channon 26:52
Now is this thing, it could be pretty much anything. But in actual fact, is the best picture winners from 2001 to 2005. The years they were awarded. So that image of a gladiator represents Gladiator, Russell Crowe 2001, he was awarded that best picture. 2002 was again, Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind. So you've got that brain in between your knees. And so what you do here is you see the image, but you want to say aloud what it means. Because without meaning it's all a little bit pointless. So you really have to think about what it means the images act as a trigger, a sort of mental map to allow you to navigate around the information, dancing girls and boys, Chicago. So now that image might change a little bit for you, as you're looking at it. Next, if you look at your behind your golden ring, so that's Lord of the Rings that was actually returning the king. And that the money belt around the waist is Million Dollar Baby. So you see the image and you see what it is that light. So you can take this principle, this idea. And rather than using your body, you use your living room, and you use your TV as a memory file. Now memory files where you put the information your feet, your knees, your thighs behind, that's a memory file. So if you're using your living room, it could be your sofa, your TV, I was gonna say hi fi that kind of shows my age limit. They'll have a hi fi anymore, but you get the picture. You could also use locations along the journey. So from here, let's see I live in Sevenoaks, so the station, that might be about 50 locations between here and the station. And that's how you design your memory palaces. So you end up with these journeys in your mind where you can store information. And the great thing is, and this is where the real value lies, my opinion is it's hard to forget actually hard to get out of your head. Yeah, so dependent on what you do for a living. You will have stuff that you want to remember it could be client information, product information, etc. And there'll be stuff the maybe you want to remember just for the next hour, a conversation that was on the fly, for example. And you can use this technique to remember conversation to give presentations for actions and meetings. You can use obviously, for names for networking, you can use it for domain knowledge, literally you can take this idea and apply it to pretty much anything.

Tony Winyard 29:27
I'm just wondering if you know the people that have come to you and you've been working with over the years is there was there any of that real bizarre request from someone to remember something?

Mark Channon 29:40
bizarre request. I'm sure that had been nothing that feels that odd to me really. Golgi nanotechnology was one that may slightly odd but it's chunky, right? That was what was he wanted to remember what data about nanotechnology So this was actually a client that I worked with, though I read a lot of fun, actually, we we did all sorts, and he would have been in my high achiever set. So he was running a successful start up, it was kind of going beyond the startup stage. And he wanted a year just in previous memory, and see the impact that would have. And one of the things was done a technology, this was actually research for a new startup that he was looking to go into. And we did a lot of work on reading what I'd call creative reading, which is a kind of mix between speed reading, and some creative strategies to really dive into things which are complex in meaning. And also memory techniques as well. So that was, that would have been one of the, let's say, more unique challenges that someone came to me with.

Tony Winyard 30:53
And would say, I mean, you mentioned how he did pretty well, while he was a high achiever, maybe I guess, in in his business, but the people that you've been coaching, is there any sort of common pattern between the ones who take to it really well, and the people who struggle?

Mark Channon 31:09
So I, this is this is through observation, through observation, the people who get clear on why they're doing it are the people that continue. Also, what they do is they put the right habits in place. And this is where the tiny habits come in. So I always start with, why do you want it and I use a model, when I work with people when I coach them, it's especially one to one but also my group work is where I use a 331 model, which is three years. And that's about creating a future memory, a memory that is yet to exist, and it has to contain a motion has to get you excited, otherwise you're not quite there. The next three is your three months. And this is looking at your I use okrs as a model objectives and key results. And which is a great model, I find just for really understanding Are you progressing to where you need to be and measuring success. And then the one stands for your one week wins. And so I find people who have real clarity about why they're doing it, the benefits that will give them and a strategy to get there. It works them and then the second part of that is putting the right habits in place, because your motivation will always win. And it takes about six weeks. Now we know this based on science now. Boris Conrad Martin Dressler, you might have seen the resources a number of years back with a number of memory athletes 28, they believe in the measure the brain patterns and the 228 other people who had never done this stuff, and then measure the brain patterns. And what you see with memory athletes is that more of the brain is active while they are memorising. And after a period of six weeks, the brain activity of the people who've never done it before I started to mirror that the memory athletes, and performance improved. Now since the 90s. I've observed it takes about six weeks for those who follow through if they put the right behaviours and habits in place. And so this was kind of backed up by science, which was good to see. Because I've always just been saying, I think it's just about six weeks, and then we've got some real good science to back that up.

Tony Winyard 33:12
So someone's out there listening, and they've they're maybe doing studying for an exam or university or whatever the case may be. And they're, they're struggling to get through this course. So in what ways Would you be able to help them? So they say they've contacted you? I'm really struggling here. Mark, can you help me?

Mark Channon 33:32
Yeah, well, um, so there's a number of options. So I obviously run a number of courses, you can start with a books and books are an easy way in anyone can pick up a book, you can read it itself there, that costs about 10 quid. So that's a nice way to get in, and allows you to kind of test test the water, dip your toe, I also do a number of free courses. So if you go to my website, you can test that a five day memory course that I do. And I touch into memory and focus. So that's a nice way just to dip your toe as well. I run a group course, which is a monthly course that I run and people want to take a step farther. And within I actually it's more a high performance course. And as part of that there's four courses which are memory related one, which is a basic, how do you just learn stop flats, one which is focused on names, one, which is focused on on presentations, and one which is more lead into, you know, conversations practical application. And then I do other stuff around focus and productivity and performance, etc. So it's a real mix. But so there's a there's an option there and I do a lot of one on one work as well. It really was a one on one. I don't work with people unless they have a goal which is super important to them. And usually I will work with people. Well, I'll never work with people under three months because you're really not going to get the impact you're looking for and use their work people for six months. So one on one isn't right for everyone, but for some people, it works really well. Does that make sense?

Tony Winyard 35:03
And so, last year, obviously, we all had to make a lot of transitions from the way we worked. And you sort of touched upon it earlier. But so how was last year for you? And how do you see things going forward this year?

Mark Channon 35:16
Well, it's interesting, isn't it? I mean, if I think about last year, I, personally for me, because I'm so used to work in online. That wasn't a huge change. In my business, I had a lot of live stuff, and I love lifestyle, I love an audience. I came, I was an actor. So of course I do. But a live audience and working with people live is probably my favourite thing. So that was, that was a little bit tough, just getting my head around that. However, I was very lucky in the fact that a lot of my businesses online, whether it's online courses, that people just go do your, you know, live work, everyone's on zoom, now everyone's used to it. And so that that was good. I've, my business has evolved quite a lot over the last year. I've more, I've pivoted more and is continuing to pivot more across the the challenges of mind wandering distractions, which is something that when I do a little survey when people come in to my courses, that is the number one challenge, people talk about lack of focus caused by either distractions, mind wandering procrastination, so I'm doing a lot of work in that space right now. In fact, I just did a master class for The Guardian last week, just focusing on these areas focus productivity. And so I find that last year, probably just because of the needs of my clients, I just started working more in that space. And it's a space that I've, I've been passionate about, since the same time it got into memory, because as I said, the main thing with my memory wasn't my memory was my focus. It was, as you can tell it get bit energetic sometimes. But as a young, 20 year old, I was I wasn't all over the place, but I was lots of ideas. And nailing me down was tough. And I've learned to do that over over the years. And so last year was really starting to shift the business, starting to do a lot more work with startups. And I guess now it's, it's very, very focused, especially the work that I'm doing one on one with people, and the business is going to continue to evolve more in that vein, memory will always be a part of what I do. I mean, in my opinion, if you're able to learn fast, you have an unfair advantage. And whatever you do, like whatever you do, when I was an actor, I knew I could walk into an audition and learn the lines, probably in the top 10% of people in that edition. Likewise, when I was working in product, I knew I could get up to speed very rapidly in a new domain. So I really do think that if you can learn fast, make things stick not just understand things intellectually, but get that stuff into your body. So you use it, it becomes part of your behaviours, you really have an unfair advantage in the world.

Tony Winyard 38:03
And have you worked with your your boys on this?

Mark Channon 38:07
Yes, I am interesting that you should say that my my youngest came to me. So I've got three boys 16 ones turning 13 on Friday, very exciting. And my my 11 year old who's turning turning 12 next month, he came to me and said, Dad, I really want to do the periodic table. And I didn't prompt him to do that. So what can we do the periodic table together. I mean, he's playing Minecraft most days in Roblox but he was really excited about it. So we've started doing that together. For my middle son, he was very good. He still is and for, I think for kids, sometimes they're looking for shortcuts, which is great, because it's a great way to get them excited and motivated. In terms of learning these techniques. Also, it's fun. You're creating stories in your head, like for kids, there is no problem. And imagining crazy pictures for adults is a much bigger leap. And so for my kid, he'd come to me with poetry. In the morning, it'd be five past day, it'd be leaving for school at 830. And he goes, Dad, I've got to learn a poem today. Can we do the thing? I go? And then we go, this is Elijah, my middle son. And then we basically memorise this poem, and we're going to stick it in his head and he go off to school, so and it wasn't your question. Yes, we've done quite a lot over the years. There is one story I tell my oldest. He doesn't like me. Tell him that story so much. No, but I'll tell it to you. Anyway, when he was young, he was two years old. Man, I thought I wonder if a two year old. I wonder how they get on with these techniques. And so I did the body system with them by use shock things you buy with going shopping, and I put like, catch up on his feet and bananas in between his knees. And then and he did it all he remember these 10 things and he was taking And I showed it to my wife I was like this is. So we come here and see this. And she was like, What are you doing here to leave the kid alone. But then five minutes later, I had Zach going, ah, making a noise and he was shaking, because you can't see it's a visual thing. But he was shaking his feet going as to what's going on Zack, you want to catch up? I can't get the catch up off my feet. So at that point, I stopped for a couple of years. Okay, give it time

Tony Winyard 40:29
about how did that work out for them with unsigned presuming they've done better than average at school because of that sort of technique or that ability?

Mark Channon 40:39
Well, it's really interesting, because it depends to my middle. And my younger one, I would say is they are highly academic, like in terms of how they're wired, my older, my older one not so much. You know, he's, he's more into Well, actually, that film college age. So he's different. The wellness isn't exams, but it's not where his passions live. And so I'm I'm very, very open. And behind the idea of inspiring your kids strengths, and their talents and their passions. And so I've never, I could probably tie them down and go stick this stuff in your head. But they don't want to do it. I'm okay with that. What I find is, if you expose your kids to this kind of stuff, when they're ready, they'll come to you. And they go we do for that just like my youngest right now.

Tony Winyard 41:29
Yeah. I mean, for people who are listening and thinking, well, this sounds fabulous. I want to find out more about these causes, and so on. So you want to give us some URL of your website and social media and so on.

Mark Channon 41:41
Yeah, it should be pretty easy to remember, it's just MarkChannon.com. I always recommend to start with Tiny Habits. So that's on my website, pop into the five day course and just start with habits. Beyond that, I usually recommend just booking a call with me and we do a 15 minute call. And we just figure out what is right for you. If you want to continue, do you want to jump into group programme is one on one more appropriate, there's also a free memory course you can, you can take a taste or run at that as well. But that would be the simplest way to get started. You dip your toe in, you see what it's like to work with me. If you want to do some more than we can have a chat about it.

Tony Winyard 42:24
And are you active on social media?

Mark Channon 42:27
I am active. You can check for LinkedIn. I'm enjoying LinkedIn quite a lot right now. So definitely connect with me on LinkedIn, just search for Mark Channon. And I'll pop up there on Instagram I'm @Mark.Channon, on Twitter I'm just @MarkChannon But definitely follow me on LinkedIn. I think especially for a lot of the business world. I'm posting more and more content on LinkedIn at the minute.

Tony Winyard 43:01
And is there a book that you often recommend to people?

Mark Channon 43:06
Well, well, it's interesting, actually a book I've got, I'm looking at my shelf, I've got a whole tonne of books over there. And I always feel with books, I don't know about you, but it's whatever's on my mind right now becomes the book. Yeah, and there's a couple of books actually, there's a couple of books one would be Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg only because he just launched it this just last year. So it's a new book. And if you're interested in that era, it's well worth reading it will give you a little insight behind there. Simon Sinek: Find your why, you know or finding your why and you know, figuring out why you want to do things has always been my thing. So I think the model he uses the Golden Circle, etc. If you haven't read it, definitely go check I find your why and if you're into any of the startup area, the Scaling lean books, the Running Lean by Ash Maurya well worth checking out as well. Those are the things that pop off the top my head as I kind of peruse my bookshelf.

Tony Winyard 44:10
And finally, Mark, is there a quotation that you particularly like?

Mark Channon 44:14
there is actually in fact, if you connect with me on LinkedIn, you'll see it. It's on a mind map that I did many, many, many years ago. And it's a DeVinci quote, which is: "Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose". And for me, that really talks to find a way to do the thing that you love in life, you know, find a way to make your work in keeping with what you are set here to do. Now, interestingly, and maybe a little bit different from Simon synnex taken it, I actually think your profits will change over time. You know, when I was an actor, a young actor, like if I was to give a pithy statement for my the time as an actor, I'm making this up now it would be something along The lines have to entertain people to make them laugh to make them cry to maybe change what they're thinking at the time. Through that through that four by that creative process that was acting, that's that would have absolutely it would have been somewhere in that ballpark. Now what's different now is very, very different. I think, for me now. It's, it's more about inspiring people to play at the highest level. And I actually I use the word play in there very deliberately, because I'm very big on Play, play at your highest level. Because I think implicitly within that word is fun. And I've always been about fun, professional, fun has to be involved. And the reason I think that's important is that play at your highest level, you're much more likely to transform your life and make an impact in the world. So in terms of that statement, make your work to be in keeping with your purpose. It ties very much into a deep belief that I have about finding ways to do the thing that you love and like

Tony Winyard 46:06
Mark, it's been great speaking with you and catching up and hearing how well you're doing and to the people will realise they really improve their own learning.

Mark Channon 46:23
Fantastic, great to chat, Tony. I've really enjoyed that. It's been great to catch up again, after so many years. Yeah,

Tony Winyard 46:31
thank you.

Mark Channon 46:32
Cheers.

Tony Winyard 46:36
Next week, habits and health Episode Two is with Greg Potter, and he helps a range of individuals improve their health and performance from elite athletes to CEOs. He did a PhD on sleep on circadian rhythms, nutrition and metabolism. And Greg spends much of his time helping individuals sleep and eat better. He's the co founder and chief science officer of Resilient Nutrition, a supplement company that makes performing better, simple and delicious. So we're gonna hear a lot more about Greg in next week's episode, and a lot more about how you can improve your sleep and your metabolism. If you enjoyed this week's show with Mark Channon, why not share it with anyone who would get some real benefits from some of the value that mark shared with us around learning and memory and habit creation and so on. And please do subscribe to the show so you can get it every Tuesday last time when it's released. And hope you have a glorious week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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