Posted on August 7, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Tansel Ali – Memory Champion


I’ve been talking a lot about language learning here (and IG, and snapchat…and pretty much everywhere!) lately because I am really loving the whole process when I completely didn’t expect to, and I’m so grateful for that. However one thing I’ve definitely noticed is that I struggle to memorize more than a few new words a day.

Obviously it’s pretty difficult to learn a language with an extremely limited vocabulary, so learning vocab in my target language has been an absolute priority for me.

I’ve heard of people learning hundreds of words a day but never thought that I would even attempt that, but I’m now super inspired by our Spotlight feature guest today, Tansel Ali. I’m in the middle of reading his bestselling book ‘The Yellow Elephant’ on my Kindle, and I’m starting to put into practice some of the techniques with awesome results so far!

Many of you in Australia would already have heard of Tansel. He is a world-renowned celebrity memory expert who is also a bestselling author and the 3 x Australian Memory Champion. He is also a Celebrity Ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia and an award-winning Multicultural Ambassador for the Australian Football League (AFL) promoting cultural diversity….clearly he’s an all round amazing person 🙂

We are honoured to be able to interview Tansel about his business for our blog, welcome Tansel!

– Marryam


In one sentence, describe your motivation in life:
To be honest I’m not someone who requires motivation. I’m not much into anything motivational, whether it be talks, quotes (motivational posters), or even books. I just go out and do what I want to do because it makes me feel good.

Tell us the story of yourself and your business, and how you got started.
I didn’t believe anyone could improve their memory. I used to watch late night television when I was young and used to see ‘memory freaks’ on tv remembering everyone’s names and numbers and words and always thought they were fake and had tricks and just wanted to sell their CDs. Little did I know they were actually right about everything they said and did.

I found this out when a friend of mine told me he could memorise a random list of 40 shopping list items back to front and any order. I didn’t think he could and when I tested him, he memorised them perfectly. I was shocked and wanted to know the ‘secret’. He told me it was simply some memory techniques and I could read about it. And so I did and found myself doing the same things as he was.

The more we practised the better we got. After playing around and learning more about memory improvement I came across the Australian Memory Championships and asked my friend if he wanted to enter, thinking we’d come last. We both competed that year and came 2nd and 3rd and broke a number of Australian memory records.

From that point on I realised that this power can be used for good, and started to train students with great success. This then grew into training businesses and lead to speaking in conferences and events nationally and overseas. I now focus more on 1-to-1 intensive coaching and speak by invitation at large events for harnessing the power of the mind to develop individuals.

What is one of your favourite aspects of running your business and why?
The ability to work (and not work), any time, any place, any day. Having a chronic illness makes it difficult to work 9 to 5. Working my own hours gives me the flexibility to get sick and still work.

However it also gives me the time to not get sick, meaning I can work on my health during business hours by going gym, exercising, and so on. If I can keep my body fit while I’m keeping my mind fit with work, then I can use that energy more productively when I am travelling, or working intensively.

What has been the highlight or ‘I can’t believe this!’ moment so far on your entrepreneurial journey?
The big one is leaving my full-time work to pursue my own business. I took a huge risk with plenty of bills and a family of five to feed. However it’s been the best decision I made as I started to earn more in one month working a few hours a month than I did working full-time 160 hours in a month. I knew I could do it. I had the belief. However to actually experience it is quite surreal and definitely up there with the ‘I can’t believe this’ moments of my life.

Also, when my app was downloaded 100,000 times. That freaked me out, as well as when my book the Yellow Elephant become a bestseller in Australia. The reason is because I had no expectations for these to do well. It just shows that if you have anything to offer that is of benefit and interest to anyone, they will want it.

How does your faith affect your approach to your business?
As my business is based on developing individuals, faith plays a very important role in business as the core values and underlying principles of being a Muslim help with being a human being to the best of your ability. Without faith I would have no business.

What/where/who inspires you?
My grandparents and my parents inspire me as they were the family entrepreneurs and business minds that helped shape who I am today. They taught me the value of hard work and how to deal with all types of people on a daily basis.

My grandparents left to a foreign country they had no clue about and had very little. Yet their hard work laid the foundations for not just business success, but character success. Having exceptional character is what I’ve tried to live by and hopefully will pass on to my children.

How do you handle the inevitable creative / mental block?
I can’t remember the last time I had a creative / mental block 🙂 However if I did, then I would probably take a break, play guitar, jump on facebook, or go for a coffee somewhere and refresh my mind. The mind loves taking breaks. And so do I.

What 2 pieces of advice, based on your own experience, would you give to a fellow entrepreneur who is starting out?
Don’t try and reinvent wheels. If there are people and business out there that do anything remotely similar that are successful, go straight to them and ask for advice, get help. Most people are more than willing to help. It will save hours and hours of running around and headaches.

The other is to read, read and read more! A knowledgeable business mind has the power to apply the knowledge acquired. I found I’ve learned to tackle business problems much more after reading.

Favourite Social Media or Marketing Platform?
#Instagram! and YouTube. I’ve just worked out how cool Instagram is and the many great uses for business. I love YouTube for geeky tech reviews, guitar lessons, and ‘how to’ videos that come in handy.

If you could travel to one place anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I feel blessed to live in such a great country. I love Melbourne and Victoria in general. Home is where the heart is as they say.

Where would you love to see your business in 5 years time?
I started my business helping individuals. Then it progressed to large groups and community. I would love to see my work helping large communities to become better individuals that help and inspire others.

Where you can find Tansel:


Twitter: @tanselali

Instagram: @tanselali

Youtube: tanselali

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