To be the world champion – that was my goal! A goal for which I had to clear several obstacles first. Starting in my 14th year of life and I had to fight the muscle disease FSHD which weakened my body more and more. Therefore it was important to me to train my mind. To experience what one alone can accomplish through sheer motivation was my road to success.
It is always possible to improve yourself, no matter at what point in life you currently are. Sometimes you just happen onto a niche perfectly suited to your skills. A new idea, a project, a new possibility to recreate yourself. Do not hesitate! Use it!
For me this niche is memory sports. It all started in 2003 with a TV show in which Verona Feldbusch showed the audience she could flawlessly memorize a 20 digit number with a short lesson from the memory trainer Dr. Gunther Karsten. I was enthralled at the possibility to compete with peers in a sport. Back then I started to intensively focus on memory techniques. This did not only help me greatly in competition but in my studies of information technology, philosophy and sociology too.
Memory sports however remained my great passion. Participating in my first Northern German Memory already in 2004. Four years later I became German Memory Champion for the first time and could win the title four more times so far. I participated in world championships too and for example travelled to Bahrain and China. Soon I set out for my next goal: Becoming world champion! During that time I did not only fight for titles in championships but with my waning muscles for my independence too. Walking was becoming harder with every month and soon I did not dare to set foot out of my apartment in fear of falling to the ground. I faced a great dilemma then: I could not win a world championship in memory sports from my couch.
Basically only the wheelchair was left as an option for me. Wheelchair? I fought against that idea for years but only when faced with the choice of sitting at home forever and not reaching my goal was I able to choose that option. This was probably one of the best decisions in my life and not only because I finally became world champion in 2012 after a very close final match.
Today I travel all around the globe in my wheelchair. What many perceive as prison means freedom to me, enabling me to do all the things I want to. Surely you now the following quote from the philosopher Juvenal:
Mens sana in copere sano – A healthy mind in a healthy body.
I would like to tell you something about this quote. A little part often is omitted. The full quote reads: “Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.” - English: You have to pray for having a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Many of Juvenal's fellow citizens prayed for trivial things. Juvenal criticised that and though that you should ask the gods for the really important things in life like a healthy mind and body. So when you fume over a trivial matter again think of this quote of Juvenal! Luckily we are not dependent on the goodwill of the gods in our time anymore and have the possibility to train our body and especially our mind on our own.