2 weeks. 14 days. 336 hours. 20,160 minutes. 1,209,600 secon- well, you get the idea.
2 weeks of jogging, of trying to stay calm, of trying to think like a game show producer, trying to think like a question writer. 2 weeks of watching Temptation every week night and continuing to play along at home. Even if I didn’t win my play-at-home version of the game on those nights, I knew I could rule out the questions that were contained in them. They wouldn’t be recycling the general “buzzer” questions – and importantly the ‘Who Am I?’ questions – just 2 weeks later, when I’d be back behind the buzzer.
I theorised – if I were a producer of Temptation, who would I put up as a serious contender against me? Probably a man. They’re generally more competitive and eager to prove themselves than women. Probably a younger man. Quicker reflexes, more aggressive, more cocksure.
A couple of times – but truly, only a couple – a tiny doubt crept into my mind. I kicked it out again immediately. My self-talk* told me ‘NO! There’s no room in this brain for doubt! Right now, it’s otherwise occupied!’
It’s general knowledge, and so difficult to study for, but I did buy a globe of the world. I also looked through Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ list, for the ‘Who Am I’ questions, which are valuable in Temptation. They have to be hard to answer but not completely obscure. From the question writer’s perspective, it’s a question that they need to be able to tease out. I remember printing out a periodic table, and my friend Gavin doing a general crib sheet for me about Sports. (Not traditionally one of my strengths).
I listened to positive, upbeat empowering music as I jogged. I do particularly remember this one (Closer by Slinkee Minx) being on high rotation on my iPod as I jogged up and down Bondi Beach.
I wrote a positive self-talk document for myself* that I’d refer to many times before the next record.
Eventually, finally… the day of the record (9th August, 2005) rolls around. I knew that I’d have to win the first 3 games of the record day – “Monday”, “Tuesday” and “Wednesday” – in order to achieve my goal.
I win the first show (Monday night). I have now won a Volvo valued at $62,950.
I win the second show (Tuesday night). I have now won all the prizes in the showcase, valued at $145,326.
If I play – and win! – one night more, I’ll add $500,000 to that total (along with whatever prizes I’ve won along the way in the Gift Shop, and from the Fame Game). And with that thought in mind, it’s time for the lunch break.
I do remember going to the Channel 9 canteen for lunch and having a very average steak with black bean sauce and rice. It was not good food. I also had a couple of coffees, in the belief that maybe a bit of caffeine would help what was about to come….
And I remember pacing up and down out the back of Channel 9 while I waited to digest all that, and for the 3rd game to begin. I didn’t mix with other contestants, I just wanted to be alone, and collect my thoughts. I’d done the calculations, and knew exactly how many questions were asked in the average game of Temptation. I can’t quickly recall that figure to mind now, but I do remember thinking at the time; “Well, in 40 questions from now (or whatever the number was) it’ll all be over – the race will have been run and won.”