It turns out decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton isn’t a natural at everything, but he forgot what that thing is.

1. I wasn’t a confident reader

“I remember I recorded a third grade reading level while in third grade, which was behind many of the others in my class who were at a seventh, eighth or even ninth grade level.

“I don’t know what prompted it, but my grandparents ended up sending me all of the Calvin and Hobbes books. I loved reading those books and must have read each two or three times. By the time of my fourth grade reading test, I had an eighth grade reading score, which I believe was down to reading those books.

“I learned so many different words reading those books and got to understand different concepts. It gave me a real confidence boost.”

2. I have childlike enthusiasm

“Brianne always says I’m like a four-year-old kid. Not in an immature way, it is just that I get very excited about things.

“One Christmas I got a paper shredder. I had a profound obsession with it for a long time and when I got it I went nuts. I still use that paper shredder today.”

3. I’m very forgetful

“I’m always forgetting things, whether it is my wallet or keys. Brianne says that if I go to the grocery store to pick up some stuff, the ladies at the store know me so well they ask me if I have remembered everything. My mum is quite forgetful, too, so maybe it is hereditary.

“As Brianne says, when I am driving and talking at the same time I then often struggle to remember the route home. Her theory is I’m too busy thinking about other things.

“I remember my granddad bought me my first suit and I left in the hotel. I once left all my spikes and a brand new digital camera in the overhead lockers on the plane. Brianne gets extremely frustrated.

“Recently, flying out of Nairobi airport, I realised I didn’t know where my phone was. I was then frantically throwing stuff out of my bag and I was on my hands and knees in the aisle looking under my seat trying to find it. I thought I’d lost my cell phone, but thankfully someone had picked it up in the airport and the flight attendant brought it back for me.

“I think Brianne was a little frustrated it was returned because I never seem to learn my lesson!”

MORE! Ashton Eaton's step-by-step account of breaking the decathlon world record