What if you were born with super powers but nobody showed you how to use them?

Visit http://jimkwik.com/

** Note: This article had the potential to go off on a number of different tangents.  Rather than try and explore every concept in detail I have highlighted my takeaways and provided links to further information where appropriate.  Listen to the podcast in it’s entirety **

Do you believe strongly in life long learning?

Do you try to cram as much information into your brains as possible in as short a period of time as possible?

What if there was a way to increase both the rate we learn at as well as the amount we retain?

What if I told you that there was a man that has spent over two decades finding, not only ways to enhance our brain performance, but also finding ways to teach those methods to others?  Let me introduce you to Jim Kwik.  I was introduced to Jim via the James Altuchers podcast and I would highly recommend listening to the interview in its entirety.  As you will see, one of the techniques Jim talks about for learning is writing and teaching.  That is exactly why I thought I would summarize and share what I took away from the interview.

Your brain potential is unlimited, that we need to tap into our inner super hero and he shares some insights on exactly how to do this.  Unleashing your inner superhero though is more than just about tactics and techniques, it is largely about mindset.  We need to stand guard of our inner self talk.  How often have you bragged about how bad you are with names, or how you have to write your grocery list in triplicate.  Remember, your mind is always eavesdropping on your self talk.  Be cautious about your negative self talk.

Jim talks about the difference between being a thermostat or being a thermometer.  We need to be the thermostat not the thermometer.  The thermometer reacts to the environment and a thermostat is one that sets the standard and responds to changes in the environment to adjust and correct.  Start by deciding you want to be a thermostat.  Challenge your meta beliefs.  Those overarching beliefs about who you are.  Your beliefs define your behaviours. He covers a variety of techniques to change your beliefs ranging from hypnosis to Emotional Freedom Techniques.  Achievers have a locus of control on the inside and don’t simply react to their external environment.  Some of the things explored in the interview are :

  • Take control of your thoughts
  • Emotion tied to information becomes long term memory
  • 1/3 of your memory is genetic
  • 2/3 is under your control
  • Questions are the key to learning
  • Leaders are Readers
  • “The same level of thinking that got you into a problem won’t solve your problem” – Einstein
  • Your brain consumes 20 to 25% of the oxygen you breathe and the nutrients you ingest.
  • Three parts to memory: Intake, storage and retrieval

Learning is a forced multiplier, meaning that the same level of input will get you a greater output.  Some of the things to focus on:

Jim teaches you some memory techniques including the Location technique.  Basically you take an environment you are familiar with and associate items you want to remember with them.  Mentally ‘storing’ these items in the imagined physical location.  You can then mentally walk through the environment retrieving the ‘items’ as you go.  Jim actually walks you through an example of how this works.


The ten keys to unleashing your inner super hero

  1. Diet
  2. Kill the A.N.T.s; Your automatic negative thoughts.  Your mind is a super computer and your thoughts are the program that runs it.
  3. Excercise
  4. Brain nutrients; supplement where needed
  5. Positive peer group:  It’s not just your neural network but also your social network that determine how smart you are.  Are you spending time with people who encourage you, challenge you, who you can learn from.
  6. Clean environment.  Simple things like cleaning your desk. The magic art of tidying up
  7. Sleep.  Rest for your brain.  Just like working out you need time for recovery and rest
  8. Brain protection.  Be cautious in extreme sports or anything that could impact your head
  9. New learnings:  Your brain is plastic.  New learning creates new connections, create neuroplasticity.
    Most people have 60,000 thoughts per day.  The trouble is that 95% of them are the same thoughts they had the day before and the day before that.
  10. Manage your stress: Learn to shut down.

The four keys to learning F.A.S.T.

  • Forget
    forget what you know about the subject
    forget about what you know situationally
    forget about limiting beliefs
  • Active
    Be active; we learn through movement
    Learning is not based on consumption it is learned by creation
    Take notes, recite, repeat and share
    As your body moves, your brain grooves
  • State
    Emotion tied to information becomes information
    There is a learning curve but there is also a forgetting curve
    The more you can add emotion the more you can hard code into a long term memory
  • Teaching
    Learn to teach
    If you knew you had to teach something would you listen differently?
    When you read something you learn it twice
    Read, Write, Relate

The three steps to an incredible memory all starts with M.O.M.

  • Motivation
    There needs to be a reason to remember.  What is your motivation.  When you meet someone ask yourself why you want to remember their names.
  • Observation
    If you have a problem remembering something, it’s not because of a retention issue, it’s because of an attention issue
    Charisma is more about being interested than being interesting
    Powerful presence comes from being powerfully present
  • Mechanics
    The tips, the tools and techniques that we talked about above

Phew! OK, that is my ‘T’ in the F.A.S.T method of learning.  I hope you find as many take aways as I did but make sure you listen to Jim’s entire podcast.  He has some very cool super hero stories involving Stan Lee and the X-men.  Even my kids enjoyed it!


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Tom Stoyan
Tom Stoyan
8 years ago

Great overview, Michael!
I’M looking forward to listening to the interviews.

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