Jim Kwik is the world’s #1 expert in brain/ mind optimization, memory improvement, and causing accelerated learning. His Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller, instant New York Times Bestseller, and #2 Bestselling Book on Amazon, “Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life”, is a blueprint for the brain and how to flip your mindset, ignite your motivation, and master the methods to transform and unleash the brain’s superpowers. The book is endorsed by an incredible list of physicians and business, sports, and celebrity personalities including Beth Comstock, Quincy Jones, Stan Lee, Maria Shriver, Will Smith, Jeffrey Cummings, Gerard Butler, Alex Rodriguez, Tom Bilyeu, Maria Shriver, Novak Djokovic, Dr. Daniel Amen, Natasha Bedingfield, Eric Schurenberg, Peter Diamandis and many more.
Jim’s acclaimed podcast “Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik”, is one of the most popular in the world, with tens of millions of downloads, and his online video content has hundreds of millions of views.
Jim is the brain coach to a who’s who of the top business magnates, pro athletes, political leaders and Hollywood elite, and speaks with the biggest companies on the planet. He’s been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Business Insider, CNBC, and many more.
It all started with a major childhood brain injury which caused Jim to create strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. Since then he’s dedicated his life to helping others unleash their brain’s potential.
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Jim Kwik: Limitless Brain Hacks & Memory Techniques
Joining me in this episode is Jim Kwik, the world’s number one expert in brain optimization, memory improvement, and causing accelerated learning. His Wall Street Journal number one bestseller, instant New York Times bestseller, and the number two bestselling book on Amazon, Limitless, is a blueprint for the brain in how to flip your mindset, ignite your motivation, and master the method of unleashing the brain’s superpowers. Jim’s acclaimed podcast, Kwik Brain, is one of the most popular in the world with tens of millions of downloads and his video content online has hundreds of millions of views.
He is the brain coach to the who’s who of the top pro athletes, political leaders, business magnates and Hollywood elite. He speaks with the biggest companies on the planet. He’s been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Business Insider, CNBC and many more. It all started with a major childhood brain injury which caused him to create strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. Since then, he’s dedicated his entire life to helping others unleash their brain’s potential. Please join me now with the very compelling, Jim Kwik.
Jim Kwik, thank you for joining me. How are you doing?
I’m doing outstanding. Thanks for having me, Chris.
I’m happy to have you. It’s an honor and a pleasure. I’ve been looking forward to this. You are in demand as a speaker and your book is doing well because you’re amazing. I’ve never seen a book that was endorsed by many people. You have 4 or 6 pages of endorsements, everyone from Maria Shriver to Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Djokovic, the top tennis player in the world, Apolo Ohno and A. Rod. You also have Simon Sinek, Derek Hough, one of the top dancers in the world, and some other dancers as well, the CEO of Fast Company, and all these great people. Everybody that I talked to loves this book and wants you to speak for them because they want to learn how to learn. They want to improve themselves. They want to get better at their jobs and lives. I try to tell people, and I always remember this from the beginning, it’s not just remembering things better. It’s not reading faster only. Those two things, you’re an expert and you love teaching that. You love talking about it, but it’s a lot more than that.
It’s one of the reasons why the book was so successful even when it was launched during the pandemic. It was an instant New York Times bestseller and number one on the Wall Street Journal. Our publisher asked if I wanted to move it to a later date. I was like, “No.” The book is more than just speed reading, learning languages, remembering people’s names and focus. It’s about regaining and mastering your mind in times of crisis. Optimizing your productivity if you’re forced to work remotely, supporting your children if they’re in and out of school. It’s also learning a new subject or a new skill if your career has been disrupted. I believe that people talk about me being a brain coach or a celebrity brain coach. I believe the number one wealth-building asset you have, you’re born with. It’s a supercomputer found between your ears.
The challenge is it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual and it’s not user-friendly. In an entertaining way, when I’m in front of an audience of a good 200,000 people live each year, I’ll do these demonstrations. I’ll memorize the first few rows of names or a hundred-digit number or a hundred words randomly. It’s entertaining but I’m always like a magician because I’ll show them the method behind the magic and how they can also do this. I believe the number one underrated and underutilized resource we have is the human mind. It’s human capital for your audience, organization and team. They say now that in a lot of organizations, 80% of people are disengaged. They’re not connected to their work. They’re not performing the way that they could. My goal is to show people how to leverage and unlock human capital and human potential because as the title of my book says, everybody has that capability. Limitless is not about being perfect. It’s about advancing and progressing beyond what you believe is possible. Who doesn’t want that for their team and for their audience in a way that’s entertaining and also empowering and educational?The number one wealth-building asset you have is a supercomputer found between your ears. Click To Tweet
This book was the number two bestselling book on all of Amazon. You have a podcast that’s the number one podcast in education. It’s one of the top 50 podcasts in the world. You have hundreds of millions of views of content online. It’s great for the pandemic because you’re already great behind the camera. Everybody can look at all these different videos and say, “He looks good on camera. He comes through well on our screens.” What you’ve been able to do is tackle many different topics like burnout, how to get into the flow state, and how to be productive. In a lot of ways, when you wake up in the morning, these are some things you can do to get your brain ready to hit it out of the park.
I know people have said to me that they want to be the best that they can be. They want to be the superhero version of themselves. People are going to have their lives changed just by seeing you speak, and then they’re going to want to read the book. If they’ve read the book, they’re going to want to go read it again. I love that at the beginning of a conference, you told me this years ago and I tell the planners now and they love this. I go, “Jim should be the opening speaker of your event because what he’s going to say is, ‘You are about to learn a lot of stuff. You’re about to take in a lot of information over the next 2 or 3 days, and I’m going to help you retain it. I’m going to help you remember it. It’s going to be useful to you now. I’m going to show you how that works.’”
It’s true that their audience or their organization, their greatest wealth is the mind of the collective brainpower of their teams. More people upgrade their phones, their laptops, their apps or they upgrade the most important technology, which is the human brain. We live in the millennium of the mind. Nobody who’s reading this was paid for their brute strength. You’re compensated for your brain strength. It’s not your muscle power. It’s completely your mind power. The faster an individual or an organization can learn, the faster you can earn, and that’s the key. If there’s one skill to master in the 21st century and it doesn’t matter who the audience is, it’s your ability to learn rapidly because that’s the only constant.
Imagine this. If there was a genie that could grant you any one wish but only one wish, what would you wish for? Limitless wishes? Everyone asks for millions of limitless wishes. If I was your learning genie, and I could help you master any one subject or any one skill but just one, what would the equivalent be of asking for limitless wishes? It would be learning how to learn. It wouldn’t be negotiation, coding, sales or public speaking. If you can learn how to learn, you could grant all of your own wishes towards money, to management, to marketing, to Mandarin, to martial arts, to music. Everything in your life gets easier. That’s why you see all the quotes, whether it’s from the author of The Lean Startup or it happens to be Jack Welch. Your competitive advantage is your ability to outlearn and outthink everybody else.
What we focus on is learning how to learn, upgrading our brains so we can learn anything faster, and unlock human capital and potential. The reason why I feel like we get such amazing word of mouth and many amazing results is because, think about the world we’re living in. We’re living in a world where technology is amplifying certain phenomena that’s wreaking havoc on our productivity, performance and peace of mind, things like digital deluge. This is the phenomenon I talk about in the book, information overload. Organizations are suffering from information anxiety. There is too much information with too little time. It’s like taking a sip of water out of a fire hose. You think about all your inbox, all the media, all the books and everything you have to keep up with.
There’s a real bottom-line effect this has on an individual in terms of productivity, information anxiety, high blood pressure, depression of leisure time and more sleeplessness. We’re drowning in information, but we’re never taught how to swim. That’s why we focus on accelerated learning. We focus on advanced study skills. Think about the second supervillain. These are four supervillains that hold us back. The second one besides digital deluge is a digital distraction. Who is reading this now that has trouble concentrating to get things done? You read a page in a book and you forget what you read. You can’t concentrate on a Zoom call because your mind is going everywhere else.
We are in a society of rings, dings, pings, app notifications and social media alerts. Our smart devices are driving us to distraction. We can’t even concentrate anymore. What’s the toll that it has on an individual or a team when you cannot focus to get things done? That’s why we spend a lot of time teaching people how to focus, how to concentrate, how to get through their to-dos. Besides digital deluge and digital distraction, you have the third supervillain. The third horseman of the mental apocalypse that’s holding us back which is digital dementia. Think about this, Chris. How many phone numbers did you know growing up?
A lot more than I know now.
Digital dementia is where we’re outsourcing our memory to our external memory devices like our phones. It keeps your to-dos, calendar and all your phone numbers. When I train at Facebook or Google, one of the team members will say, “We have this search engine. You heard of it, Google. We have everything. Why do we have to remember things? In my book, Limitless, I have a quote from a French philosopher. He says, “Life is the C between B and D.” B is birth, D is death, C is choice. I believe these difficult times can define us, diminish us or develop us. Ultimately, we decide with the choices that we make. The challenge is we can only make good decisions based on the information we know. If we know it, that presupposes we remember it. I believe two of the costliest words in business are “I forgot.” I forgot to do it, I forgot to bring it, I forgot what I was going to say, I forgot that meeting, or I forgot that person’s name.
Every single time you or your team or your audience, they think of those thoughts. They can lose credibility, trust, opportunity and a sale. Memory could make you money. It’s learning how to improve your memory because we’re so reliant on smart devices. Here’s the challenge. If you put your arm in a sling for six months, would it grow stronger? No. Would it stay the same? Of course, not. It would get weaker and atrophy. That’s what digital dementia is, the higher lines of technology. The biggest chapter in my book is on memory, memory improvement and remembering the things that you need to be able to succeed. Finally, the fourth supervillain after digital deluge, information overload, digital distraction which holds people back and digital dementia, is digital deduction. Digital deduction is where we can’t make good decisions, we don’t have creativity or we can’t solve problems.
They’re saying with technology, because everything is algorithm-driven, that we’re no longer even thinking because technology is doing the thinking for us. It was through recommendations and we don’t have to use critical thinking. We don’t have to use a problem-solving ability. Those muscles are atrophied. That’s why we teach teams how to level up their learning and their productivity by leveling up their thinking to be faster and clearer thinkers. Those are the different topics that we speak on, focus and concentration. We teach the art of speed reading and understanding what you read, the art of memory. We teach habits because I believe that the collective habits of an organization or an audience, first you create your habits and your habits create you. One of the videos you mentioned has over ten million views. It’s just my habits. The ten things I do every single morning to start my brain. I mentioned the view count because this is what people are looking for.
They’re drowning in information. They’re distracted more than ever. They’re very forgetful and there’s a real bottom-line cost to their productivity, performance, prosperity and also their peace of mind. This book is an owner’s manual for your brain. When I get an opportunity to be able to share it with an audience, we’ll give them extremely practical techniques. Things that they could use immediately when they leave to be able to make progress and level up their learning and their life.
Thank you for sharing and going through all of that and defining all of it. One of the things I like that you do is you have these different areas that you focus on, and then you’ll make an acronym. An acronym means a lot for you more than most people because it’s a way to remember a lot of things. You have one that I think one of your most popular. It’s Be FAST.
The reason why I opened many of these events is with most people, there’s a learning curve but there’s also this huge forgetting curve. When people listen to something once, the chances of them losing the majority of it within two days is 80%. Eighty percent of the information is completely lost after just 48 hours. You want to be able to learn to retain everything that you’re going to learn throughout the day if it’s a multi-day conference or event or anything after that, especially right now with learning organizations. To build a learning organization that’s constantly growing and evolving in these disruptive times. We live in an age of autonomous electric cars and spaceships that are going to Mars. Our vehicle choice when it comes to learning and growth is a horse and buggy.The faster an individual or organization can learn, the faster you can earn. Click To Tweet
Our education system hasn’t prepared us as much because the school system taught us what to learn, what to focus on, what to remember, what to read, what to think, but not how to do all those different things. The reason why I’m so passionate about this is because when people see me do these demonstrations on stage where I’ll memorize 50 people’s names or 100 words and numbers, I always tell people, “I don’t do this to impress you. I do this to express to you what’s possible because the truth is every single one of you could do this and a lot more. You just were not taught.” Regardless of your age, background, career, IQ or education level, we can all do this because there’s no such thing as a good or bad memory. There’s a trained memory and an untrained memory.
My goal is to train them because in school there was no class called remembering. They teach you the three Rs: reading, writing, arithmetic. What about recall and retention? Socrates said, “Learning is remembering.” We focus on these areas. I use the art of using acronyms and mnemonic, simple things because I want people to be unforgettable. Remember this, “People remember people who remember them.” It’s not only what you know, I’ll teach everyone to learn faster, and who you know, I’ll teach them how to remember names, clients and product information. Also, it’s who remembers you. When you could walk into a room and meet twenty strangers and leave saying goodbye to every single one of them for instance by name, who are they all going to remember? They’re going to remember you. Maya Angelou says, “People will forget what you say, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”
How are you going to show somebody you’re going to care for their future, their finances, their business, their family or whatever it is that you offer them if you don’t care enough to remember things about them? One of the reasons why it’s so successful is it helps people both in their professional life, but also in their personal life. I feel like there’s too much information and too little time. How many people ever walked into a room and forget why they’re there? They’re absentminded. They can’t remember if they shampooed their hair when they’re in the shower. They end up doing it twice. They’ll read a page in a book and forget what they just read. They misplaced their wallet, purse, cell phone, car keys or something much larger like their car. You see people out there using their car alarms. They are trying to remember where they parked their car. They then remember that they took Lyft or Uber that day, or someone’s name and seconds later, the name drops out of their mind. They wonder where they put it.
These kinds of things affect our productivity, performance and peace of mind. The goal here is we teach people things that they can instantly get so they’re instantly applicable and they can get instant results. My last name is Kwik. I didn’t change it to do what I do. With a name like Kwik, my life and destiny were pretty much planned out. I had to be a runner back in school, which is a pressure when it says Kwik right on your shirt. I get to do my mission, which is teaching people how to learn faster.
The reason why it’s been my mission for almost three decades of doing this full-time and nothing else is because I grew up with learning challenges. People are always surprised to hear that. When I was five years old, I had a traumatic brain injury while I was in school. My parents said that before, I was very energized, curious and playful but after that, I shut down. Where it showed up was in school. I didn’t understand what the teachers or my parents would tell me. I would pretend to understand, but I didn’t understand. I had poor focus and memory. It took me three years longer to learn how to read. I remember struggling when I was nine years old in class. I was being teased because I was holding them back a little bit. I wasn’t understanding the lesson and my teacher would always have to repeat it.
One day my teacher pointed to me in front of the whole class and said, “That’s the boy with the broken brain.” That label became my limit. Every single time I did badly on a quiz, which was often, every single time I wasn’t picked for sports, which was often. I would say, “It’s because I have the broken brain.” The reason why I teach people how to change their thoughts, their negative self-talk, and their negative beliefs is you can learn how to read faster. The reason why I talk about reading as a tangent that’s so important for everyone watching is the average person has to read 4 to 5 hours a day just to keep up. Think about your emails, your inbox, media, books, business plans or whatever you’re studying. That’s 4 or 5 hours a day.
If you could double your reading speed and save two hours a day, what’s two hours a day over the course of a year? Even one hour a day over the course of a year is 365 hours. This is why meeting planners, HR, the CLO of an organization, we get booked a lot because if they can save an hour a day in something ubiquitous like processing information, how many 40-hour workweeks is that? That’s over nine weeks of productivity that you get back. You, your team and your audience regain that. That’s two months of productivity. More than that, you get back saving one hour a day. That’s the other thing. If someone’s reading and processing information 4 or 5 hours a day, that means half of their salary is being paid just to read.
This is a real needle mover. The things that we’re talking about like information overload and updating our abilities, getting people in the flow states, showing them the best routines, have one of the best brain foods. How do you optimize your sleep for greater performance? How do you reduce stress at an organizational or audience level? As a micro individual or a macro team that’s struggling, our goal is like a personal trainer. What do they do? They make your body fitter, stronger, more agile, more flexible and energized. I want your audience and organization’s mental muscles to be sharper, stronger, more energized and have greater endurance. We live in the millennium of the mind where knowledge is not only power. Knowledge is profit. The faster you and or organization can learn, the faster you can earn. It is the number one skill.
That’s why we train at Facebook, Google, SpaceX, Nike, Zappos, WordPress, General Electric and all these different organizations. We trained at Harvard, UCLA, Singularity University, USC, Cal Tech, some of the brightest minds out there. Whether you’re struggling with information overload, distraction and memory loss, everything that’s going to partake or you’re the best at what you do. Some of the names that you mentioned that endorsed our book, dozens of them, and everyone in between. Everyone can benefit. Whether you want to catch up, keep up or get ahead, the key is unlocking the power of the human mind. That’s the reason why I’ve dedicated three decades of my life to this subject.
You said when you were a child, you were the kid with a broken brain. When did you figure out that there was another way that you weren’t going to have a broken brain? You decide that you wanted to fix it? How did you do that?
I struggled all through school, elementary, middle and high school. When I was a freshman, I get into a local university. I thought that a freshman meant you could make a fresh start. Who doesn’t want a fresh start when you’re struggling all day? I realized that this was my chance. I took all these classes. I wanted to make my family proud, show myself and the world I could do this, and I did worse. It was terrifying because I didn’t have the money to go to school as it was. I didn’t have the money to waste. A friend of mine was like, “Before you tell your parents you’re going to quit school, why don’t you get some perspective? I’m going to go home this weekend and visit my folks.” You mentioned Quincy Jones. We’ve had him on our podcasts. We do an annual brain conference ourselves, so I know what it’s like to have my own event and produce these kinds of events. I want to give it my all. I brought him on stage one day because he was in the audience. We’re talking about travel. He’s like, “Jim, you have to go to know.” I was like, “You have to go to know because it allows you a different point of view.”
I go and his family is pretty well off. The father walks me around his property before dinner right there on the water and asked me a very innocent question. It was the worst question he could ask me. He said, “Jim, how’s school?” I was like, “My goodness.” I just broke down in front of this stranger. I tell him my whole story and my broken brain. I’m ready to quit school. I don’t know how to tell my parents. He was like, “Jim, why are you in school? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to have? What do you want to share?” I honestly didn’t have an answer, but when I go to answer him, he says, “Stop.” He takes out a piece of paper like a notebook. He makes me write it down. I wrote in my very first bucket list. All the things I want to be able to be, do, have and share before I kick the bucket. He looks at my list and I didn’t realize it because he took it out of my hand and I’m nervous. I don’t want to be judged. He’s like, “Jim, you are this close to everything on that list.”
I’m thinking, “No way. You need ten lifetimes and I’m not going to crack that list.” He takes his index fingers and he puts them to the side of my head, meaning, what’s in between my brain is the key. He gives me all these books to be able to read. He says, “Jim leaders are readers. I want you to read just one book a week.” I’m thinking. “There’s no way. I can’t do that. I can’t even keep up with my schoolwork.” He says, “Jim, don’t let school get in the way of your education.” I didn’t realize that was a Mark Twain quote at the time. I was like, “That makes sense, but I still can’t do it.” He takes out my list again and he starts reading all the things on this list.
A lot of things on that list were things I wanted to do for my parents. Things they can never do for themselves and/or will never afford or would never do for themselves. Without leverage and human motivation, I was like, “I’ll do it.” In the book, Limitless, I have a third of the book dedicated to human motivation. If you have a challenge motivating your audience, yourself or your team, I figured out the three-part formula for sustained motivation to eliminate procrastination. Primarily, this book was all on methods on how to speed read, how to learn languages if you have an international businesshow to be focused, concentrate and get into the flow state where things happen easily and effortlessly. Athletes call it the zone. It was all on methods but before I hit send to my publisher, I was like, “Will 100% of the readers get the results they’re hoping for?” My honest answer was no because a lot of people know what to do with the methods, but they don’t do what they know. Common sense is not common practice.Your competitive advantage is your ability to outlearn and out-think everybody else. Click To Tweet
I created something called The Limitless Model. It is the framework for not only learning any subject or skill faster, but for unlocking human potential at an individual level or an organizational level, or at a collective audience level. When people understand the three parts of The Limitless Model, mindset, motivation and methods, they can do what they think is impossible. I took this and I went back. I said, “I agree to read all these books. I went back to school and I did, and my life changed. I went from zero to hero because I learned how to understand the human brain. I understand how my brain works so I could work my brain better. I started to innovate it. Sixty days into it, a light switch went on. I started to excel and I could help other people. I started to tutor. My very first student was a freshman in school. She read 30 books in 30 days. Imagine going online, getting 30 books and reading, not skimming or scanning.
I train world leaders, some of the top financial advisors of the world, top CEOs and doctors in the world. You don’t want your doctor to get the gist of what they’re reading. That would be the goal. I teach them how to do this and I wanted to find out not how she did it, but why she did it. Going back to human motivation, cracking the code to productivity and performance, overcoming and smashing procrastination. I found out that her mother was dying of terminal cancer and was only given two months to live. The books she was reading were books to save her mom’s life. Fast forward, six months later, I get a call from this young lady and she’s crying and crying. I find out they’re tears of joy. Her mother not only survived but is getting better. The doctors don’t know how or why. They called it a miracle, but her mother attributed 100% to the great advice that she got from her daughter who learned it from all these books.
At that moment, I realized that knowledge is power and learning is your superpower. It’s a superpower we all have. I dedicated the rest of my life from that moment to teaching people how to have their best brain and their brightest future. My mission growing up as the boy with the broken brain is to leave no brain left behind. That’s the mission. That’s why we have these videos of hundreds of millions of views. Our podcast has tens of millions of downloads and this book, which is available all around the world. That’s our mission and part of it comes through speaking.
I take very select opportunities to be able to do these presentations because we also have an online university, Kwik Learning. We have students in 195 nations, in every country in the world for the past years. Our goal is to up-level the collective intelligence of an organization or for individuals of all ages and stages, from children with learning challenges to seniors. We gave away 100% of the proceeds of this book. We donated $50,000 to Pencils of Promise. We built schools over the years from Ghana to Guatemala. We’re very passionate in providing healthcare and clean water to children in need.
We also donated to Alzheimer’s research in memory of my grandmother who passed away from Alzheimer’s. While I was going through my learning difficulties, my parents had their multiple jobs. My primary caregiver was my grandmother. While I was going through my challenges, she was going through her challenges. I remember bringing her food and she would call me by my father’s name or she wouldn’t remember something she just said. If everyone’s ever lost somebody to dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s like when you lose your memory, you feel like the person’s losing part of who they are. That’s why I’m so passionate about showing people how to improve their memory. Everybody can improve, no matter your age, your background, your education level, your financial situation, or your IQ.
I noticed that about 3 or 4 of the endorsements in the front of the book were from top doctors in the world who are working on Alzheimer’s. I was like, “This even works for that.”
Rudy Tanzi out of Harvard, he and his top Alzheimer’s researcher endorsed the book. Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, who’s the founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health, endorsed the book. I do speaking there for their doctors, researchers, patients and caregivers. This book and this topic are so important for everything because when people could learn how to learn, focus, read better and remember, they can apply that towards every area of their life, and that’s where the power comes from.
It’s also great that you go into the mental state that you’re in and the blocks that keep you from learning and being productive. You go into motivation but also tools to get you there so you’re ready to learn. Part of learning is being able to learn at the right time and having the right environment for it.
Whether it’s a 10, 30 or 60-minute presentation, I like to work with clients to customize so that they can have a champagne moment. I asked them, “What needs to happen in order for you to celebrate? I want this to be the best session for your event.” I want people to feel like this time, this tuition or whatever it was for them to be there, that they got so much value out of this session and more than compensated for anything else that they got there. They can leave right up to the session and feel like they got so much value. My goal is to over-deliver. One of the reasons why I know it sticks and people talk about it, and we go back to clients over and over again is because there are many subjects to talk about.
Who doesn’t want a brain coach? You have a voice coach for a singer. Athletes have personal trainers. Top business individuals have marketing coaches or financial coaches, but you don’t have a coach for the thing that controls everything which is our human brain. My goal in doing sessions with individuals is to upgrade their brains like they do their phone. Keep it current, fast and abundant. Be able to store a lot of information there and make better quicker decisions because our lives and our learnings are based on that.
We’re now living at a time where there are a lot of stress, anxiety and external negative forces coming at us. It’s even harder to focus especially when you’re stuck at home the whole time.
I talk a lot about how to optimize your productivity when you’re working remotely, how to overcome Zoom fatigue. There was a national media that I did of how to overcome this myth of multitasking because multitasking is a complete myth. It wastes time and makes more errors. It burns more brain glucose. You get mental fatigue. There are different things to improve memory. Even everything from a good brain diet. What are the best foods that your teams should be eating or your audience should be eating?
I have blueberries every morning.
We talk about neuro-nutrition. We talk about getting rid of negative thoughts that hold us back. These negative beliefs that your team is thinking like, “This is not possible. We’re never going to get this done.” The third area is exercise. Teaching them very specific exercises to boost their brainpower because as your body grooves, your brain grows. We teach the best supplements in terms of what your team, family or audience should be supplementing with to have their best brain. We also talked about positive peer groups. It’s not just your neurological networks, it’s your social networks and how to build community learning, and also clean environments. We know your external world is a reflection of your internal world. When people clean off their desktop or their office or make their bed, they have clarity of thought. I talk about specific things they can do to clean up their environment.People remember people who remember them. Click To Tweet
Also sleep. Sleeplessness is a growing epidemic, but here’s the reason why you want your audience and your team to do this. Number one, it’s where you clean out plaque in your brain that could lead to Alzheimer’s and brain-aging challenges to optimize your sleep. Number two, if you have long-term memory issues, check your sleep because that’s where you consolidate short to long-term memory. Also, that’s where you dream. You’ll probably spend twenty years of your life sleeping and 3 to 5 years dreaming. Did you know that Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein in her dream? Did you know that Paul McCartney came up with the song, Yesterday, in his dream? A chemist came out with the periodic table in his dream. Elias Howe came up with the sewing machine in his dream. Jack Nicklaus was shooting high 70s in a slump in golf. He had a dream of changing his grip. The next day he shot 65.
Your brain is this incredible technology. I teach people how to remember their dreams and how to optimize their sleep, when to go to sleep, how much sleep, and the temperature that the room should be at. It’s very specific. Also, protecting your brain and also how to use new learnings to build your brain power through neuroplasticity. Also, how to manage your stress. Did you know chronic stress shrinks your brain? Chronic fear makes you more susceptible to colds, viruses and flu. There’s a whole area of science that talks about this called psychoneuroimmunology and how to be able to mitigate that in a way that’s fun, simple and straightforward where they can do it immediately and get a result. I’m very passionate about all these areas. There’s so much to be able to talk about as you can imagine.
That’s the great thing when we’re working with people. It’s like, “Which way do you want to go? Where are you guys coming from?” There are many different areas that Jim is an expert in. We’ve been talking for a while and before we go, I want to ask you a little favor. Do you think there is a particular exercise that you might share with me that’s one of your most popular, that’s one of your short ones where I can see you in action, and everybody can see how amazing this is?
To everyone who’s reading this, I just give the ten keys to unlocking your limitless brain. It’s brain habits, if you will. When I train at these places like the Cleveland Clinic or I speak at places like Harvard, the research says that about one-third of your memory is predetermined by genetics and biology, two-thirds in your control. Those ten things I just mentioned are the ten keys for unlocking your limitless brain. If you needed to give a TED Talk on these ten things and I teach a lot of actors. You mentioned Will Smith. He gave the cover quote endorsement for this book. We got to work with the cast of X-Men. There’s a whole story behind that. People could search Jim Kwik, X-Men on YouTube or Facebook, and how that happened and using the power of your imagination to create your own reality. I teach a lot of TED speakers how to memorize their 8 or 18 minutes talk in a fraction of the time.
Let’s say you needed to give a TED Talk on the ten keys for unlocking your quick brain, your limitless brain, the ten things I mentioned. I’ll teach everyone how to do that now. I want everyone to take a deep breath, exhale and I want you to close your eyes. I’ll walk you through a quick exercise. Imagination is incredible amounts of power. I teach everyone a technique saying that improving your memory is as easy as PIE. P stands for the Place, I stands for Imagination and E stands for Entwine. If you want to learn and remember things better, you need a place to store the information. You need the information turned into an image or imagine, and then you need to entwine or connect those two things.
I’m going to walk you through a memory palace. I want you to imagine that you are coming to my office in Westchester, New York. Imagine you’re there. It’s a big glass building surrounded by trees. I’m going to walk you through ten places in my office. When I go through each of these ten places, I’m going to put and link one of the brain tips in that place. The first place on the first brain tip, and the second place on the second brain tip. You’ll see what would happen as we go. You will imagine that your car is pulling up. We’re getting to the building. The first place is the parking lot. I want everyone who’s reading to say the place out loud. What’s the first place? It’s the parking lot.
You get out and the first brain tip is there, a good brain diet. I want you to imagine a buffet of avocados, blueberries, broccoli, olive oil and eggs, if your diet allows, all the neuronutrition. You’re eating this great brain diet or maybe create a food fight of brain diet. If you make some humor into it and you use your emotions, you’re more likely to remember it. From there, there’s a waterfall. It creates a moat around my building and you have to cross a bridge. The second place is the bridge. What was the second place?
As you’re crossing the bridge, I want you to be killing ANTs. Imagine you’re killing ANTs. ANTs stand for Automatic Negative Thoughts. You’re getting rid of those negative thoughts because your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk. Your brain is like a supercomputer and your self-talk is a program that will run. If you tell yourself, “I’m not good at remembering names,” you will not remember the name of the next person you meet because you program your supercomputer not to. You’re killing ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts. You walk into the building. You get into third place, which is the elevator. What’s the third place?
Automatically when you get in there, exercise. I want you to think about the exercise that you do. Maybe you’re doing pushups, burpees or yoga. Maybe you have a trainer in there with you. You are exercising in the elevator. You get out and the fourth place is waiting for you. It’s the hallway. What was the fourth place?
In the carpeted hallway, you see on the carpet, the hallway there, all these brain vitamins to remind you of brain vitamins, brain nutrients. These are your vitamin Bs, your vitamin Es, which is very neuroprotective. It’s your ginkgo biloba. Maybe your DHA. It’s your Omega 3s. You’re jumping on all these brain vitamins, you’re tripping on them. Imagine that. You go from there, you open up the office door and immediately to the left when you walk in is the fifth place, which is the closet. What’s the fifth place?
The closet.Knowledge is not only power; knowledge is profit. Click To Tweet
You open it up and inside the closet is your positive peer group. All your happy friends, because remember who you spend time with is who you become. It affects your brain. You start adopting and adapting their same language and habits. All your happy friends are in the closet. We’re halfway there. That’s number five. From there you go to the receptionist, the sixth place. What’s the sixth place?
The receptionist is cleaning the environment. Imagine the receptionist is mopping, vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning the environment. A clean environment is a clean mind, but that’s good for your brain. Marie Kondo your mind. That’s number six. Behind the receptionist is the seventh place, which is this beautiful fish tank. What’s the seventh place?
The fish tank.
I want you to remember the brain tip is sleep. I want you to imagine the fish are sleeping. They’re in their pajamas. You see Dory and Nemo in there. They are snoring. They’re in their bunk beds. They’re all sleeping. The fish are sleeping. Imagine that. From there, you walk over to the classroom. Maybe you’re going through a speed-reading class and the door is locked, but that’s the eighth place, the door. What’s the eighth place?
It’s locked and there’s a helmet hanging there. You put on the helmet to remind you of brain protection, to protect your brain so you don’t get a traumatic brain injury like Jim. You head-butt the door open and it splinters everywhere. In front of the classroom is ninth place. It’s a whiteboard. What’s ninth place?
I’m there. I’m teaching you. I’m writing these two words on the whiteboard, in your favorite color marker, “New learnings.” Because if you want a better brain, always be learning. They did this study with super nuns. They wanted to find out how they were living 90 and above. They found half of it had to do with our emotional faith and gratitude. The other half, they were lifelong learners. It’s on the cover of Time Magazine. They call it Aging With Grace. Because they were lifelong learners, it adds years to their life and life to their years. They were really good years. Always be learning, lifelong learning, new learnings. Finally, on the side of my classroom are all these bonsai trees. What’s the tenth place?
The bonsai trees.
I want you to remember stress management. Manage your stress. Whatever lowers stress for you, maybe you’re doing meditation on the bonsai trees. Maybe you’re getting a massage on the bonsai trees. Maybe you’re having some red wine on the bonsai trees. If it makes you laugh, you’re more likely to remember. Now here’s the magic. I just showed you the method behind what looks like magic. Now, you’re giving your TED Talk and I’ll often do this. I’ll pull people right on stage and say, “Do you remember the ten keys?” You don’t need the teleprompter. You don’t need slides. You just need to be in your brain.
Once you understand your higher brain works, you can work your brain. Once you understand how your memory works, you can work your memory. I just walk you through my office. This is wonderful because if somebody has a question and breaks your state, and then you answer the question and you come back, “Where was I?” Walk through your memory palace. Walk to the first place. You go into the parking lot in your mind. I want everyone who’s watching this, do this with us. What does the parking lot remind you of?
It’s good brain foods. You go over there to the waterfall.Potential power becomes power when you utilize it. Click To Tweet
You cross the bridge and you step on all the ANTs.
The Automatic Negative Thoughts, kill those negative ANTs. You step into the elevator. What does that remind you of?
In the elevator, you get into the hallway. What’s all over the carpet?
The supplements and pills.
Your brain supplements and pills. From there you go into my office immediately to the left is the closet. You open the closet. Who’s in there?
Your good friends.Inch by inch, it's a cinch. Yard by yard, it's too hard. Click To Tweet
All your good friends that are positive. Being around good people is good for your brain. From there you go to the receptionist. What is the receptionist doing?
Cleaning the whole place.
A clean environment is good for your brain. Behind the receptionist is the seventh place, which is?
A fish tank.
What was the fish doing?
They remind you to prioritize your sleep. From there, you go to the eighth place, which is the door and then it’s locked. You put on a helmet. It’s brain protection. You head-butt the door open and upfront is the ninth place, which is?
The “new learnings” on the board.
The bonsai trees on the side are reminding you of what?
Manage or reduce your stress. I bet Chris, you could do it backward and everyone who’s reading this could do it backward.
That’s amazing and unbelievable.
This is what I often do in these keynotes and online. We make it interactive. Here’s the thing. Learning is not a spectator sport. To get the most out of it, you don’t want to put people to sleep when they’re learning online or in person. How do you keep them active? We have a lot of brain exercises where we get people moving. We could do breakouts, polls, quizzes, and we teach some things that are extremely practical. It took four minutes for an exercise that they’ll know for the rest of their life. They’ll be telling all their friends, their boss and their coworkers. They’ll be able to talk about that at work. That’s the goal, to give people an unforgettable experience because they are unforgettable.
That’s unbelievable and unforgettable. Thank you so much for that. I know this is on a lot of people’s minds, including my own. Maybe I’m being a little selfish, but you do talk about procrastination and getting into that state of flow state and whatnot. What’s the best way for us to get there and make sure we’re not procrastinating? It’s true, you said it before. Why would you not want to do the things you know you have to do? The things that you know are going to make you more successful. Why do you not do these things? Tell us what’s up.
Your audience doesn’t need more information. There’s a lot of information that’s out there, but people don’t act on that information. It’s a big lie that knowledge alone is power. It’s potential power. It becomes powerful when we utilize it. That’s what we do. We teach people the information, but also the implementation. Why don’t people act on the things that they learn at an event? There are three parts to hacking procrastination. Its purpose times energy times small, simple steps. It’s P x E x S3. Part of the reason is we need to show people how to find purpose in following through. We have a very specific technique on how to do that through the art of asking questions, to give people the pleasure of following through and completing, and also the pain and consequence if they don’t.
Besides that, you can have a limitless purpose, but you might not have the energy. Maybe you have a newborn child and you haven’t slept in three nights. Maybe you had a big process meal and you’re in a food coma. That’s why we talk about in the book and on stage, how to optimize your mental energy so you don’t suffer from mental fatigue. Let’s say you have a limitless purpose and energy. The other thing that keeps people from acting and they procrastinate is because this thing is too big. That was KPIs or those goals, this vision for this organization or this company is too big. What’s S3? It’s Small, Simple Steps. It’s the art and science of breaking things down. How do you find your small, simple step?
Let’s think about something you procrastinate on, something everyone can relate to. Let’s say working out. Let’s say they’re not working out and they’re not exercising. We know as your body moves, your brain grooves. If you’re not working out, maybe working out an hour day is too big for you. A small, simple step is to put on your running shoes or reading for 45 minutes a day. When you see pictures of me and Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, we bonded over books. Leaders are readers. The average person reads only two books a year. The average CEO that we’re working with reads 4 to 6 books a month, a book a week, 52 books a year. You can have a PhD or an MBA in any subject learning how to learn that because leaders are readers. Someone who has decades of experience puts it into a book.
If you sit down and read that book in a few days, you get that down decades into days. That’s an advantage for an organization, an audience or a company. Get through one book a week. The average book has 64,000 words. The average person reads only 200 words per minute. If you divide those two numbers, that means it takes 320 minutes to get through one book. If you break that down into seven days in a week, that’s 45 minutes of reading a day, the average. We triple people’s reading speed in our training programs. That means they’re reading in 15 minutes what would normally take them 45 minutes with better comprehension, focus, retention and greater enjoyment. When you know how to read, reading is effortless and fun. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 45 minutes a day, some people won’t do it.
A small, simple step is opening up the book or reading one line because you’re not going to stop at one line. How do you find your small, simple step? What is the tiniest action I could take right now that will give me progress towards this goal where I cannot fail? That’s why I show individuals and organizations how to do small, simple steps because inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is too hard. Little by little, a little becomes a lot because consistency compounds. We show people the art of momentum, the art of accessing a focal point. That lead domino that would hit knocks down all the other dominoes. That’s the art and science of accelerated learning.
You are amazing.
I appreciate that, Chris. I appreciate those who are reading this. I would recommend people to contact you to just have a conversation further about this, or look at the book and let it speak for itself. You can connect with me on social media. We have millions of followers, @JimKwik. The reason why we do this area of learning and education because it’s crossed over into pop culture with the amount of support that we’ve had, is because we could take this information, the latest neuroscience or even what the ancient Greeks did 2,500 years ago, the art and science of accelerated learning.
How do people learn at their best and make it understandable and digestible for the average person? Whether it’s children with learning challenges, the aging seniors, high-performers, leaders, executives, educators, entrepreneurs and everyone in between, there’s something for everybody. If it’s students, it’s how to study and less time and how to get better grades. If it’s seniors, how to stave off dementia and those kinds of challenges. If it’s high performers and entrepreneurs, how to grow your brain so you can grow your business and your brand. If it happens to be in the area of wellness or focus, it doesn’t matter who the audience is, everybody can benefit. Everyone dreams of having a better brain, the brain they desire and deserve.
I don’t think a lot of people think of that. I don’t think they say, “I need a better brain,” but they realize that it’s what they need.
They want a better memory. They are drowning in information. They want to be able to read faster, have clearer thoughts, make better decisions, learn from home, be able to engage their team, get them active and producing, or get them to do the things that they know they can do.
I tell people all the time, be more creative and make better decisions.
That’s fundamental. Changing the way people see themselves, which is a big part of Limitless. It’s about progressing and advancing beyond what you believe is possible. I get retweeted a lot when I say this. When you think about your audience, their life is like an egg. Your life is like an egg. If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If it’s broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things begin on the inside. You have greatness inside of you. Your audience has genius inside of them. My goal is to help people to unlock it and release it. I believe the biggest mistake people are making right now is they’re downsizing or downgrading their dreams and their aspirations to meet the current situation. Do not downgrade your goals, dreams and aspirations to meet the current situation. Upgrade your mindset, motivation and the methods that you’re using to be able to unlock those dreams, the greatest dreams possible.
That’s where we should leave it right there because you hit it out of the park and made it relevant to what’s going on right now. This book is amazing. I know it came out during the pandemic and it still has been an incredible success. We’re having you speak a lot virtually and probably a lot more in-person in the second half of 2021. This is such good information. I’m glad you got to come on the show with me and talk about all of this, and excite everybody about what you’re all about and what you teach. Thank you so much. I know you’re so busy. I appreciate you.
Thank you, everyone. I wish your days be full of lots of life, lots of love, lots of laughter and always lots of learning. Be limitless, everyone.
Take care, Jim.
About Jim Kwik
Jim Kwik, speaker, (his real name) is a widely recognized world expert in brain performance and accelerated learning, speed-reading, and memory improvement. Jim has one of the top 50 Podcasts in the world, “Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik” with over 7 Million Downloads – available on iTunes, Spotify, PlayerFM, and Stitcher. Kwik Brain is billed as a fun, fast-paced show designed to help busy people learn and achieve anything in a fraction of the time.
Jim has over 100 million views of his videos online, and has captured (and enhanced) the minds of hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. He is also the bestselling author of “Limitless – Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life” – a 2020 Random House release. Jim’s online courses are used by students in over 100 countries. For two decades he has served as the mental coach to students and seniors, entrepreneurs and educators, and advisor to many of the world’s leading CEOs, Leaders, and celebrities.
After a childhood brain injury left him learning challenged, Jim created strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. He has since dedicated his life to helping others unleash their true genius and brainpower to learn anything faster and live a life of greater power, productivity and purpose. Jim’s cutting edge techniques, entertaining presentation style, and impressive brainpower feats have made him a frequent and highly sought out trainer for top organizations, with clients that include Virgin, Nike, Zappos, SpaceX, NYU, GE, Fox Studios, Harvard, and Singularity University.
Jim has shared the speaking stage with global leaders, from Sir Richard Branson to the Dalai Lama. His work is featured in worldwide media, including the recent New York Times best-selling book, “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age.” As an author, Jim’s first book is set to come out in Spring 2020, and is expected to be a major international bestseller!
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