[00:00:06.4] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Science of Success introducing your host, Matt Bodnar.
[0:00:12.0] MB: Welcome to the Science of Success, the number one evidence-based growth podcast on the internet, with more than a million downloads in over a hundred countries.
In this episode we discuss how our guest went from a childhood head injury to becoming an accelerated learning expert. We covered memory, speed reading, improving your focus, taking notes like an expert. We go deep into the tactics of accelerated learning. We talk about the importance of mastering the fundamentals and get into tons of highly specific and actionable advice that you can use with our guest, Jim Kwik.
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In our previous episode, we discussed how our guest went from a hard-nosed skeptic who thought most self-help was BS, to someone who uncovered that evidence-based growth strategies that actually work. We talked about guest journey from meeting self-help gurus, to spiritual leaders and even neuroscientists to discover the biggest lessons about improving your mind and body and the simple, scientifically validated tools that evidence demonstrates are the best ways to be happier, with Dan Harris. If you want to know the science about being happy, listen to that episode.
[0:02:32.0] MB: Today, we have another awesome guest on the show, Jim Kwik. Jim is the founder of Kwik Learning and SuperheroYou. He’s a brain coach in speed reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning. His methods and work have been utilized with several high-profile companies including Nike, SpaceX and GE as well as individuals such as the Clintons, Oprah and Richard Branson.
Jim, welcome to the Science of Success.
[0:02:57.5] JK: Matt, thank you so much for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this, and thank everyone who’s joining us.
[0:03:02.2] MB: We’re super excited to have you on here today. For listeners who might not be familiar with you and your background, tell us a little bit about your story and how you got so interested in accelerated learning.
[0:03:13.8] JK: You could say when people see on my stage, they see me do these demos where I’ll memorize a hundred people’s names forward and backwards or these hundred words or hundred numbers and I always tell people, “I don’t do this to impress you. I really do this to express to you what’s really possible,” because the truth is each of us, everyone who’s listening could also do that and a lot more. The only reason why we can’t is just because we are taught, if anything, a lie. A lie that’s somehow that our intelligence, our potential, our memory, abilities is somehow fixed, like our shoe size. We have discovered more about the human brain more in the past 20 years than the previous 2,000 years, and what we fund is we’re grossly underestimating its potential.
That’s what I’m really excited about, and I know this from personal experience, because as you’re asking, my origin story started — I wasn’t born with these abilities. If anything, I grew up with learning challenges and some people are surprised when they hear me say that, but it came from an early childhood injury. I had a head injury when I was a kid and I was very slow to understand things. Teachers would have to repeat themselves numerous times. I had no memory to speak of. I have very, very poor focus. It actually took me an extra three years to learn how to read. That was really debilitating for me and really affected me when I was a child.
I struggled all through school. When I was about 18 years old, it got so bad. I was looking at everybody. I’m looking for a fresh start sometimes and I want to show the world and show my family and my friends and myself that I did, that I was smart enough, that I was good enough in these areas. I started taking on a lot of workload and I actually was ended up being hospitalized again because I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t working out. I wasn’t doing anything remotely, looking like self-care, and I ended up passing out in the hospital one night because that’s where I was living practically. I fell down a flight of stairs, I hit my head again. I was in the hospital and I just — A part of me woke me at the same time thinking there has to be a better way.
I started studying, doing a deep dive instead of on subjects in schools. School teaches you what to learn; math, history, science, Spanish, all the important classes, but there was zero classes on how to learn. Just like what we’re talking about in the beginning, this idea of meta-learning, learning how to learn, adult learning theory. I wanted to solve this riddle that, basically, how does my brain work so I could work my brain better? I did a deep dive into adult learning theory and multiple intelligence. It is the early, like old school, the art of memory training and speed reading.
About 60 days into it, a light switch flipped on and I just started. A whole new world opened up to me. I started to understand things. I started to have this laser-focus. I started to retain information almost without trying. I started to be able to adopt my reading abilities to the point where I never finished a book cover to cover, and I was reading like a good book or two or three a week, and my grades improve, and with my grades improving, my life improved.
Really, Matt, the reason why I’m still doing it to this day, a couple of decades later, is because one of the first students I started tutoring this, because I was like, “I can’t believe this is not taught back in school.” One of my very first students, she read 30 books in 30 days. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine going on Amazon and picking up 30 business marketing entrepreneur or leadership, in health, in relationship, whatever, topic you’re interested in, picking up 30 of those books and then finishing it within a month’s time. It blew my mind. I wanted to find out not how she did it, but why she did it, and I found out that through asking that her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Was given 60 days to live, two months only to live, and the book she was reading were books to help save her mother’s life. I was blown away because I found out six months later that not only does her mother alive. She’s really started to get better. Doctors don’t know how or why. They were calling it a miracle. But her mother attributed 100% to the great advice she got from her daughter that learned them from all these books. That’s where I realized at that moment, I realized that if knowledge is power — We’ve all heard that, right? If knowledge is power, then learning is your super power. Learning is our super power.
I think, now, in today’s millennium of the mind, we live in an age where our greatest wealth is found between our ears. Like no longer are we paid like an industrial age for our brute strength. It’s our brain strength. Like nobody listening here is paid for their muscle power. They’re compensated, rewarded for find-tuning their mind power, because we live in this knowledge economy, and knowledge is not only power, knowledge is profit. I don’t just mean financial profit, that’s obvious. The faster you could learn, the faster you could earn. Just all the advantages in life; in your health, in your relationships, in your career and so on.
A lot of it, as you know with your show, the Science of Success, there’s a science in art to being smart, and that’ what I’ve devoted my life to. I never want people to struggle the way I struggled with. I think nowadays people are suffering from all these digital overload and digital dementia, where we’re losing our memories, because we’re relying on our smart devices, or digital distraction. Who doesn’t feel like their brain is not wired differently, because they can’t focus in any area, because their mind is going place to place to place, to phone notification, and texts, and WhatsApp, and social media, and emails and so much to keep up with. It feels like it’s taking a sip of water out of the fire hose.
My goal is I want to be a personal trainer, a brain coach if you will to help people to tap in to more of that potential so they could be more productive, higher performance, have greater peace of mind in a world where we’re driven to distraction.
[0:08:50.6] MB: There’s so much I want to unpack from that. Just starting out, one of the thing that sticks out to me, I want to understand the tension or kind of the connection between doing something, like reading 30 books in a month and how you can actually retain all that information. There’s so much, as you talked about, overload and digital dementia, and there’s just a deluge of knowledge that I feel like it goes in ear and out the other. How can we simultaneously churn through so much and actually retain it and turn it into sort of applied knowledge that becomes useful and relevant?
[0:09:28.2] JK: That’s really the goal; applied knowledge, because knowledge in itself if not power. We know it’s cliché, but we’ve heard it so much, but just all clichés, there’s truth to it, that knowledge is not power. It’s only potential power. It only becomes power when we apply it, when we take action upon it.
This is one that I think if there’s one super power to master in the 21st century, I think it’s the ability to learn faster. We do that with our podcast show and our online programs and we focus in areas of memory improvement, of speed reading, focus on concentration, in note taking and listening skills. These are the things I wish we would have learned back in school. There was never a class on memory.
I think once you’re talking about when your people are reading, are they really retaining what they read? For example, a lot of people, like traditional speed reading programs taught years ago, and in some areas it’s evolved, some areas it hasn’t. Traditional speed reading is more associated with skimming or skipping words or getting the gist of what you’re reading, which is fine, because I think, for some people, maybe that’s all they need. They’re looking for a very specific information, and once they get it, that’s all that they need and they could take an exam and then they could just forget it and that’s all.
For me, that was not the case. I grew up not being able to read very well, and so that was always something I’ve always wanted to conquer and a challenge that led to a greater change. The methods that I teach are really focused around not just speed reading. I think everybody has the potential, double or triple their reading speed and with the same level of retention and comprehension, and we could go over some of those brain hacks.
For me, also, it made sense not just speed reading, but smart reading. I like to spend a significant amount of time teaching people how to comprehend information, even if they’re not reading it faster. How to actually understand more of it and retain more of it also as well. I like to get people who are listening here, if they’re up for the challenge. I just did our own podcast episode on how to read one book a week.
You know how many books the average person reads? Obviously, you read a lot more than the average person, but it’s about one or two books a year, which I find really scary, because I think there’s so much great information out there that if somebody wrote took decades of experience and they put it into a book, maybe they are experts in marketing, or leadership, or optimal performance, health, relationships, whatever it is, and they put it into a book, and you could download decades into days.
I think people first have to start with what’s important to them, meaning that motivation is really a key drive towards learning. I remember I was skimming a talk recently in Silicon Valley, and afterwards Bill Gates came up to me. He was in the audience. We started talking about the future of education, and he’s an avid reader. In fact, I asked him, talking about speed reading, I asked him if he got any one super power, what would it be. He looked at me and says, “Jim, the ability to read faster.” I was like, “Wow! I could totally help with you that.”
Warren Buffett has said to Bill that he’s probably wasted 10 years of his life reading slowly, because think about how much reading we have to do. Probably about four hours a day, half on our workday is spent just processing information, reading emails and blogs and websites and books, newspapers, magazines, you name it. If you could just double your reading speed and save two hours a day, two hours a day over the course of a year is how many hours, right? We’re talking about 730 hours — Let’s just say if you save one hour a day. One hour a day over the course of a year is 365 hours. If you divide that 40-hour work weeks, that’s more than nine weeks of productivity, two months of productivity you get back saving one hour a day.
I think starting point with reading, I think you want to tap into this motivation, because when I was talking to Bill Gates about this, we’re talking about the future of education. I was taking in a meta-learning approach, adult learning theory, and he was talking about it from a technology standpoint where those two things collide, and somebody who was listening was saying, “Is there anything missing?” We’re talking about it. Is there a thing we came up with for that legs of a stool, if you will, is motivation, like human motivation, like what drives people to do what they do, because a lot of people know what they should be doing, but why aren’t they executing and why aren’t they inconsistent, why aren’t they not completing it?
I would say when it comes to reading, which is one of the focuses here, if you want to boost your comprehension, first of all, have a purpose why you read. If we’re talking about motivation, I always talk about the success formula. I call it H-cubed. H, the letter H. Three H’s; head, heart, hands. Head, heart, hands. Meaning that you could visualize things in your head. You could affirm things in your head. You could set goals in your head and have this vision for what you want things to be and imagine it, but if you’re not acting with your hands, nothing change. You’re not taking action.
Usually what I would look at as the second H, which is the heart, which is the symbol of emotions. Where your focus goes, energy flows. What’s the fuel for the car? Everyone, most of your listeners probably read a great book called Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, I assume. Tapping into you why for learning is very important.
Where I would start with when it comes to speed running, even before reading faster, I would tap into your purpose, because the fastest way to read something is just not to read it at all. I see so many people wasting time going through and studying something that might not be relevant and they’re not filtering out for it. Be clear on what your outcome is, going back to motivation. What’s it going to give for you?
For the same reason, like one of the big focuses of our company and our podcast is focusing on helping people to remember names, because I think that’s some of the most successful people out there are really great networks, they’re really great connectors, they have great charisma and they have this unique ability to show that they care to other people. I think that starts with the very first words out of your mouth which is like introducing yourself.
The problem is when people forget other people’s names, they communicate that that person is not important to them and it’s really hard to show someone you really care for their future, their family, their business, whatever it is, if you don’t care enough just to remember them.
That’s just really starting with human motivation, and I think the self-awareness — I do believe self-awareness is a super power to understand intrinsically, extrinsically what motivates you to learn. When it comes to speed reading, I would start with smart reading, understand what your goal is for reading the books that you’re reading, because if you have greatest interest and higher levels of motivation, automatically, your retention, your focus, is going to be boosted and enhanced.
Then when it comes to tactical things, I am not really big on getting soft information. I remember years ago, I’ve learned these skills, and I was speaking on it. I started to build a good reputation for speaking and making entertaining with these mental feats, kind of like a magician who does their tricks, if you will, but then I show, I pull the curtain behind and take people behind the curtain and show them exactly how to do it so they could be the incredible mentalists as well.
We were getting home one night and the person, I didn’t know who it was, so I answered it and he says, “You got to help me, Jim. I have a conference tomorrow and my main speaker, they cancelled.” I was like, “Who’s this? How did you get my number?” “It came through a referral.” Basically, this person couldn’t get out for inclement weather or whatever, to do a keynote, and they needed somebody to speak on stage.
I was like, “Well, what’s the topic? I’m not really prepared for this.” He tells me the topic. I was like, “Why are you calling me? I know absolutely nothing about that topic.” He was like, “Yeah, but this guy, he wrote a book.” I’m like, “So?” He’s like, “I heard you’re a speed reader.” I’m like, “Okay.” He’s like, “Well, can you show up a little bit early and read the book?” I was like, “Well, this is really going to cost you.”
I ended up going there. The talk was around the 12:00. I ended up getting there around 9:30, 10:00. I read the book and then I present on it, and humbly it was the highest rated talk of the whole conference. I don’t think it’s because of my ability to present. I’ve never taken one minute of public speaking, but I was able to read it and also retain it, and also I do this whole thing on how to give a speech without notes and go through it, and I taught it. I think everybody has that ability, and I know it. Just after teaching this for 25 years and having students online, students in over 150 countries, that we grossly are underestimating our own capabilities and we’re faster and we’re smarter than we think.
I’m just putting this out there. Just to start with, I think that half of success is just mindset, and I do believe — That’s why I think it’s great with your show, having people like Carol Dweck and all these amazing icons and experts talking about the power of mindset and growth mindset and such. I really think that’s a starting point. But the other half is really what we teach, which are all the mechanics. Not the person that fixes your car, but like the tools, the strategies, the step-by-step recipes, if you will, to learn another language, to read a book a day, to be able to walk into a room and meet 30 strangers and leave saying, “Bye,” remembering every single one of their names, because I think these are critical skills.
Especially, I know a lot of your listeners are thinking about starting their own business, or they are entrepreneurs, or anybody has a relationship with a human being. These are super powers that’s attainable for anybody.
[0:19:00.2] MB: There’s so many things I want to dig into from that. Let’s start with share a couple of the strategies that you have for speed reading. What are some of these brain hacks?
[0:19:10.3] JK: Okay. What I would start with if you want to — People, their goal is to read more. Let’s say they want to read — I would start with a goal. Let’s say with college students and high schools, I talk about their GPA, but I don’t talk about like their grade point averages. I do it as more of like a success formula which G stands for goal, P stands for purpose and A stands for the action that’s going to reach that goal. Kind of like H-cubed.
The goal is inside the head. The purpose is inside the heart. The action lies inside the hands. Having a book, let’s say, starting with the G in terms of goal. I would have a goal for reading. I think one of the most important — I challenge everyone to do this also, is leaders are readers, and I challenge everybody who’s not already doing this consistently to read 30 minutes a day. I do this whole morning routine where I have 12 things I do every single morning to jumpstart my brain and I try to hit most of those 12 things.
I think, as you’ve heard many times, and I’m not the person to talk about this. If you win the first hour or two of your day, then you could win the day. I think people have really bad habits in the morning, like playing with their phone and stuff like that distracts them and wires them to be distracted, wires them to be reactive.
Going back to how I started my day, I start more like — My goal, things I want to be able to accomplish. You always start with a goal. If we’re talking about speed reading, I would have a goal on your reading. Let’s say maybe it is to read one book a week. If you break that down, when it comes to hacking reading — I was looking on Amazon and said that about the middle amount of words per book is about 64,000 words. That’s a really large number, but if you break it down, say the average person reads about 200 words per minute, we’re talking about 320 minutes approximately to read a book. If you break that down into, let’s say, seven days, we’re talking about approximately 45 minutes of reading a day, which makes it much more doable. It’s not like this unattainable goal for people who just never start with reading. I would chart, really hit, see if you could do 30 minutes and start with 30 minutes a day.
One of my favorite actors is Will Smith, and I had the privilege to be able to coach him, and he has this phrase where he says, “There’s two things I do every day. I like to run. I like to read.” I like to run; meaning something to do with something physical. I like to read; do something mental.
When it comes to your brain — What I do is I help people to improve their mental intelligence, and I think it’s great to be able to recall facts and figures and [inaudible 0:21:37.8] all this stuff. As important, if not, more important than mental intelligence, is mental fitness. Really, when I talk about being a brain coach, just like how a physical trainer, a personal trainer at the gym will make your muscles faster and make it stronger, give it energy and give it focus, agility. That’s what I want for your mental muscles. I want your mental muscles to be focused. I want it to have energy, agility, flexibility, lots of power there. A lot of it is underused.
Going back to reading, breaking it down to really set goals, I challenge people to read 30 minutes a day, maybe up to 45 minutes. Finish a book a week, and that would change your life. They say that the — I was looking online and I saw these reports are people reading — The average person reads one or two books a years. The average CEO reads about four or five books a month, about a book a week. I would commit to seeing if you can do 30 minutes a day and watch your life transform completely, because you feed your brain, it’s good things in, good things out.
When it comes to the mechanics of reading, there’s whole programs on this. Fundamentally, people want to improve usually their reading speed, their focus or comprehension. One of the things that will help all three of these things is using what they call a visual pacer. This is such an easy brain hack, and I really have to emphasize and pull out for a minute before I go into this. As you’re listening to this, I doubt this is the first show you’ve ever listened to, right? If you’re listening to this show, you listen to other shows, you’ve read other books and going to conferences, because you’re on this path, this adventure of lifelong learning, because you know in order for your life to grow, you need to grow. Your income to grow, you need to grow.
I would say that one of the dangers and the traps in the personal development field is this idea where people always want the next best thing, and I totally get it, because our minds thrive on novelty. But there is a difference between a dabbler and somebody on the path of mastery. I find that the people that are really on the path of mastery, that the people that I get to coach on a regular basis and spend time with that are icons in technology or entertainment or in politics or what have you, they really focus on the fundamentals and they get really, really good at the basics. It’s that idea with that quote with Bruce Lee saying, “I’m not scared of anything. The only thing I’m scared of is I’m not scared about — I’m not scared of the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once. What I’m scared of is the person who practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Metaphorically, the 10,000 hours and there’s some misunderstandings around that. The idea here is getting really good at the basics. What I’m going to give you is very basic and fundamental, and yet that’s going to give you — Those are the things that are going to give you the highest returns.
For example, my talk about a visual pacer when you read. A visual pacer is like underlining the words as you read with a pen, a highlighter, a pencil, your finger, mouse on a computer, whatever it is, will boost your reading speed, your focus and your comprehension. Simple. Again, it’s common sense, and I’m going to explain why it works. The common sense is not — As we know, it’s not often a common practice.
The reason why it works is when you’re underlining the words with your finger, as you’re underlying, not skipping not anything. Fancy finger motions I don’t think are necessary where you’re taking your finger and running it down the page and making it look like an S. You’re skipping over big pieces of information. My clients, some of the top financial advisers, doctors, attorneys in the world. You don’t want your doctor just get the gist of what he’s reading or she’s reading, right? That wouldn’t be the [inaudible 0:25:15.3]. You’d be very scared to go to that kind of doctor.
Using a visual pacer will boost your reading speed 25% to 50%. Now, I don’t know if that sounds remarkable or not. I was blown away when I first saw this, and I’m not expecting people to believe what I’m saying. I’m saying you are the expert. Test it for yourself . Read something. Take a book. Pick up any book in your home or your office, read for 60 seconds, count the number of lines that you just read, and then reset the timer and then this time underline the words as you read the next 60 seconds and you’ll find that second number will be about 25% to 50% boost instantly with very, very little practice. Maybe people have to practice for a few minutes, they get a feel for whatever it is.
Some people actually improve 100% their reading speed just using a visual pacer. That’s pretty remarkable, right? A 25%, 50% jump doesn’t sound like a lot. How many people would have loved to get in the 25%, 50% return on their investments this past year? It’s incredible, right? That reading takes time, and time is money.
Let’s unpack this. The reason why using the visual pacer while you reads works. Number one is it’s interesting children do it. Every single child, when they’re learning to read will use their finger to help them maintain focus until we teach them not to do it. Second of all, you do it. People who are listening saying, “When I read, I don’t use my finger.” Yes, I understand that, because we’re taught that, but when I ask you to count the number of lines you just read, a hundred out of a hundred people will use their finger to count the number of lines, because they’re using a visual pacer, their finger, to help maintain their focus so they could count. We do it naturally until we’re told to not do it.
The third reason why you use your finger while you read is because your eyes are attracted to motion. As you’re underlying the words, instead of your attention being pulled apart, which often it is. People report to me all the time, “Have you ever read a page in a book, got to the end and just forgot what you just read?” It just happens, right? You go back and reread it and you still forget what you just read. By using your finger while you read, it maintains your focus. Your attention is not being spread apart. It’s being pulled through the information.
The fourth, and I’ll give you one more. This is one I find most interesting, is that certain senses in your nervous system works very closely together. For example, have you ever tasted, Matt, like a great tasting piece of fruit? Like something like right off the vine or like right from the farmer’s market? It’s not like it’s been sprayed for six months and sitting in wax and sitting in a supermarket and stuff. Have you ever tasted like a great tasting peach before?
[0:27:49.8] MB: Yeah, for sure.
[0:27:51.2] JK: It’s amazing, right? There’s nothing like it. In actuality, you’re not actually tasting a peach. Your tongue is not really capable of tasting everything that’s in a peach. What you’re actually doing more, so as you’re smelling the peach and you’re like, “Are you sure?” “Yeah.” Because your mind doesn’t know the difference between what you’re tasting and what you’re smelling, because your sense of smell and your sense of taste are so closely linked in your nervous system. You don’t know the difference. You know it when you’re sick though. When your nose is congested and you can’t breathe out of your nose, what does food taste like?
[0:28:25.9] MB: It’s bland.
[0:28:27.0] JK: It’s bland, right? It loses its flavor, if you will. It’s because that’s how much you rely on your sense of smell, and we confuse sometimes our sense of smell and taste, just like our sense of smell and taste are so closely linked, so as our sense of sight and our sense of touch. That actually people who use their finger while they read is what they will report. They say they feel more in touch, touch with their reading. There’s a kinesthetic connections. Kind of like with a little child. Let’s say there’s a toddler there and you’re kind of waving your keys and they look at my keys, “Look. Look with your eyes. Look at my keys,” and the toddler will reach out and grab the keys, because in order for the toddler to feel like they are looking at it, they have to touch it. In fact, when you lose your sense of sight, how do you read? You use your sense of touch with brail and such.
Just one really quick brain hack — And I spend more time to explaining why to do it, because, again, going through the H-cube, you can have in your head, “I want to read 25%, 50%, 100% faster,” but if you’re not practicing the technique with your hand, get into the motivation of it. That’s why I explained why, and I go into leaders are readers, and Bill Gates is an avid reader, and just the more you could learn the more you could earn.
Then tap into your focal point in terms of things like the reasons why, because I do believe — I always tell people, and I get retweeted on this every day, is just reasons reap results. Reasons reap results. You always need to — If you’re not taking action — Like I just did a whole episode on procrastination, because I think so many people are overloaded, overwhelmed. They can’t get themselves to start and do the things that they need to do. Part of it is they’re just not tapping into their motivation in terms of why they need to do it.
Other reasons why — Interesting enough, when it comes to reading — I’ll give you another brain hack, is changing habits. Habits are so hard, but I do believe first do make your habits, and then your habits make you back. It really becomes — Excellence really comes down to a set of rituals and routines and habits.
The reason why you want to habitualize things, routine things, the reason why my whole first hour of the day is set up is because I have decision fatigue. You’re hearing this world all over the place. It’s the idea and science, the research is saying that you could only make a certain amount of good decisions a day. It’s a finite amount. After you hit that limit, you can’t decide what to order at a restaurant at night, because you’re so fatigued. I found this doing research with surgeons and how the increase of mistakes that they’re making later in the day from what their start time was. It’s interesting. That’s the reason why Mark Zuckerberg and Tony Hsieh of Zappos, that they wear the same t-shirt, they wear the same sweatshirt, because they don’t want to waste one of their good decisions on, “What am I going to wear today?”
Going back to what we’re talking about in terms of reading and hacking a brain, is starting new habits. Sometimes it takes a little bit more will power to start it, a new habit and to develop that habit. Once you’re done with it, I find that if we’re always doing the easy things in life, that life is really hard. If we’re doing the difficult, the hard things in life, life becomes really easy. Reading and discipline is one of those things.
As we’ve heard many times, discipline is not something that takes away freedom. Discipline is what gives you freedom, because if you can’t get yourself to do the things you need to do, meditate each day, journal each day. I do this whole thing where I do brain tease and then make brain power smoothies and all these other stuff. You can’t get yourself to do that. Really, that’s a prison that’s taken away from your freedom.
When I’m looking to do this when it comes to habit formation, and I’m going to close this loop in a second, is besides starting with your why and reasons reaping results, is also breaking things down. A lot of people don’t take on something brand new, because it’s this big monster. If you break things down into tiny habits — I get to interview this gentleman. He’s a researcher at Stanford University. His name is Dr. BJ Fogg, and we did a two-parter on how to create habits and how to undo bad habits, break bad habits.
He was talking about this very specific model, it’s called BEMAT; behavior equals motivation, ability and trigger. Whatever behavior you want to, let’s say it’s to read each day, and you did — Your behavior is equal to the motivation. You need a motive, some kind of reward or incentive for what that reading is going to give you. You need the ability to be able to read, and then you need a trigger. That’s the area that a lot of things get ignored. Often, when it comes down to memory training, it comes down to anchors and triggers, reminders, for example.
One of the triggers that I have like, like it’s silly, but every time I get into an elevator, especially when I’m alone, I’ll just do squats, and it’s so silly, but it’s just I feel like — You’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking. That living a very sedentary lifestyle, sitting at your computer all day for eight hours a day is really bad for you. You need to get up. I recommend this Pomodoro Technique, it’s a time management technique that says that they find there’s huge dips of focus after about 30 to 45 minutes. Setting my phone alarm every 30 minutes to 45 minutes to just remind me to get up and take a five minute break is very important.
Going back to memory training and reading training, the reason why I don’t read for more than 30 or 45 minutes, the reason why I don’t study anything for 35, more than 35, for 35, 45 minutes or so on average, is because there’s something called primacy and recency. Primacy says — It’s a memory principle. It says you tend to remember things in the beginning. If I give you, Matt, a list of 30 words to memorize, you probably remember the first few words, because that’s prime. It’s first.
Recency says you tend to remember things more recent, or at the end. You probably remember a few of those last words, because they’re most recent. Similar to if you went to a party and you meet 20 strangers there. You probably remember primacy, the people in the beginning at the party; and recency, the people at the end. Now, how to use this when it comes to reading and studying and stuff like that? A lot of people, they realize there’s a learning curve. What they don’t realize is there’s a forgetting curve. You learn something, it’d be gone. If you want to insulate that and mitigate the loss, sitting for five hours is not the process to do it.
That’s why we take breaks, because if primacy says you remember stuff in the beginning of that five hours, and then stuff at the end of that five hours, but in the middle there’s a huge dip [inaudible 0:34:57.4] of regression where you lose that information. By taking a break every 45 minutes and breaking up that five hours into 45 minute chunks with five minute breaks, all of a sudden you created more beginning and more ends. Do you see that? All of a sudden you could have like eight beginning and eight ends which creates more primacy and more recency, which is more opportunities to retain information.
It also coincides with our focus, that we can maintain really peak focus for more than 30 or so minutes. So since you’re getting diminishing returns, you should take a middle brain break, if you will, for five minutes and do the things that are good for your brain. Movement; which is very important. Deep breathing; which is very important. Most people get tired because they’re not getting enough oxygen. Then hydration, because your brain is mostly water and it needs to be hydrated.
Going back to habit formation, where I’d like to start with people is just breaking it down. I don’t even tell people to read for 20, 30 minutes. I’ll just say, “Hey, just pick up a book and read one word.” That’s where what I’ve mentioned tiny habits. That’s out of Dr. BJ Fogg’s work at Stanford. That’s where Instagram came out of and everything out of his one of his students, is just starting somewhere small, and then just like flossing your teeth. We know flossing your teeth actually is good for your health. It actually helps you live longer. It’s crazy, right? That brain hack. But most people don’t floss their teeth, and what I would say for them is just, “Hey, practice flossing one tooth.” Who’s going to just floss one tooth? Nobody. So you’re going to do the second tooth and the third and fourth and so on.
That’s one of the ways of overcoming procrastination, is starting with your why. Having a real reason. Motivation; a motive for action. Number two; breaking things into tiny little habits where it’s attainable. Instead of thinking about, “Oh, I got to go all the way to the gym and do this 60-90 minute work,” whatever. Tiny habits is putting on your sneakers. It’s something everybody could do, and then you start building momentum. Then there’s a memory principle actually called the Zeigarnik Effect. Zeigarnik effect is a psychologist, Dr. Zerganik in Europe that was noticing — She would notice when she’s at this café that the wait staff, the waiter and the waitress would remember everybody’s order.
Have you ever had like going out to dinner and had somebody like memorize your order and you’re like a table, a sizeable table and they’re not writing any of it down? The reason why they could do it, it’s something called the Zeigarnik Effect. Unless they’ve been — Unless we do a lot of training at a lot of the hospitality hotels and restaurants and such.
The Zeigarnik Effect basically says that the mind isn’t like open loops. It needs closure. Even when I’m talking right now, I’m opening up a lot of loops and that I’m going through and my cycling through and I’m closing them with reading and habits and everything else like that. The Zeigarnik Effect basically says that if a waiter opens up the loop in terms of what your order is, they will remember it until they deliver the order. Once the order is delivered and the customer has their food, they forget it.
Similar to procrastination and getting yourself to take action, once you at least somewhere, the mind is more likely to want to finish it and conclude it, because it doesn’t like keeping that door open and it wants to be able to finish.
When it comes to speed reading, I would start with using a visual pacer. It would boost productivity 25%-50%. Some of you will double your reading speed. Remember, saving one hour a day saves you 9 weeks of productivity every single year. That’s two months of productivity. I would say if you can’t get yourself to do that, break it down and just say, “Okay. Yeah, I want to build up some reading 20 or 30 minutes a day, because I like what Jim is saying and that makes sense, reading a book a week, 50 books a year and really retaining it. It’s going to be huge for my career and my personal life.” Just saying, “Hey, I’m going to break this down. I’m just going to read one sentence. Start with that.” Once you read the first sentence, I’ll guarantee you’ll read the second sentence and so on. Practice — It’s a misnomer. Everyone says practice makes, how do you say? Makes perfect. I would say that practice makes progress. Practice makes permanent, and that’s really the goal.
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[0:40:28.3] MB: I’d like to come back to the concept of sort of applied knowledge and the idea that — You mentioned, people on the path to mastery focus on the fundamentals. One of the things that I recently realized and I’ve really sort of shifted my focus on a little bit is I feel like there’s so much information out there. There’s so many new self-help books, information, all these stuff, and I’ve actually kind of dialed back and said, “I’m going to read less. I’m going to focus on really high quality stuff. Reading it very deeply and deliberately, and then actually applying and using the information that I read about.”
[0:41:05.8] JK: Yeah. I completely support that. I’m an advocate for people. Whatever it take to actually use the information, because I think there is this imposter effect, meaning that a lot of people getting personal development and they’re trying to live up to some kind of standard that they’re seeing in the industry or social media. I think people waste a lot of energy there trying to maintain this image of who they pretend that they are, and then they’re putting energy into an area where they feel like this is who they fear they are, and then the energy into that they really are. A lot of people are depleted that way.
I would say that you’re 100% right, that I learn something, if you’re not going to apply it for something. There are certain areas that it’s okay. Certain areas that you could learn out of the surface, and that you feel well read on it and it serves you. There are certain areas based on your filtering or qualification, how you’re qualifying information, of good information that you want to deep dive into something. I think a lot of a cycle through both areas, from one thinking to another, where sometimes we want to — Just like with people. Some people want to go out and meet a lot of quantity people, and other people want to go deeper with the handful of people that they’re interested in. There’s no unnecessarily right or wrong. I think that’s great, because that comes down to, again, starting with a goal in mind and having a purpose.
I like mastery, because I feel like the future belongs to those experts who are really to demonstrate a level of outstanding ability and competence. I’m completely good with focusing on one subject, focusing on one book. When I speed reading, again, it’s misnomer. I’m not talking about skimming or scanning. You never read faster than you understand. I’m about up-leveling people’s ability to process information through a series of questions that they’re asking, through series of note taking, through a series of teaching other people and relating to other people so they could deeper in the level of knowledge. It’s not just some information that’s from some third-party, but when they’re teaching it to other people, they get to make it personal for themselves.
Even in a nice brain hack to help people boost their comprehension is reading something. Then after you’re reading it, talking about it to somebody else. That’s why book clubs are so powerful, because learning is not always solo. It’s social. We don’t learn just by consuming information. We learn best by co-creating it with other people. Really, the other thing is there’s — It’s valid. Meaning that — Like I’m all about saying no in our life. I think people should say no more often and make things more clear. I think people, one of the reasons why people feel overloaded, overwhelmed, that they feel depleted, they feel like it’s too much mental fatigue, is because they’re overcommitting to things all the time.
They’re out there saying yes to everything.
When you say yes to everything, it’s equivalent of highlighting everything. Which actually those people that just are reading and they are just like highlighting every other sentence, but if you make everything important, then nothing becomes important. It’s similar to like that book, it’s similar to your life. If you overcommit to everything and everything becomes important, then nothing becomes important. I don’t think you could necessarily manage your time, because time is very abstract. I do believe we can manage our behavior and our priorities.
It’s even hard for me to say the word priorities, because as you know, from your reading, that the word priorities was never plural. It was never multiple priorities. It was always this one thing. More recently, over the past few decades, people have all of these priorities. If everything becomes important, nothing becomes important.
I would scale back to if it’s a goal for people to reach a level of mastery in a specific subject, then I would not dabble. There’s nothing wrong with reading slowly. I just want to make sure people know that reading slowly doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding, because some people read so painfully slow, they don’t retain anything. It’s like riding a bicycle really slow. If I ride a bicycle really, really slow, I’m going to end up falling over.
One of the reason — I’ll debunk this myth a little bit as best as I can in this like very short period of time. A lot of people think that if they read faster, their comprehension would go down. Maybe I work with a lot of people from all kinds of countries and backgrounds and levels of education, I find that it’s a misnomer and it’s actually not actually correct, because I find that some of the best readers, in terms of their comprehension, are actually some of the fastest readers, because they have the best focus.
Meaning that the human brain has an incredible capacity to process information. Yet when we read, we feed it one word at a time. Metaphorically, we’re starving our mind. If you don’t give your brain the stimulus and needs, it will seek entertainment elsewhere in the form of distraction.
There’s a myth out there that people that read faster don’t understand as much, but in actually they have some of the best understanding, they have the best focus. It’s equivalent of — Like notice when I was talking slowly. It’s like reading slowly. It’s like — You start thinking about other things. Like if I’m talking slow, your mind would wander. You would get tired. You would go off and do something else. You would fall asleep or whatever it is. Aren’t those the same exact symptoms have when they read? Their mind wanders. They get tired. They use reading as a sedative. It’s such a boring chore, because you’re dulling your brain.
It’s like driving a car. If you’re driving in your neighborhood, you’re going 15-20 miles slow. You could do a lot of different things, because you’re going so slow. You could be drinking your bulletproof coffee, be texting, which you shouldn’t. You could be having a conversation, thinking about the dry cleaning, five different things, because you’re only going 20 miles an hour. If your racing car is going 200 miles an hour down a raceway, do you have more or less focus? 100% focused, right? You’re not trying to text. You’re not trying to fix your makeup. You’re not trying to think about the clients or dry cleaning or anything. You’re 100% focused on what’s in front of you, and that focus gives you the comprehension that you want.
What I would say if you want to go deep in your information, then definitely go deep, especially if it serves you for a topic that’s important to you. Then do a bunch of — Use your finger while you read. Don’t read any faster than you understand, it also as well. But I think that the speed will give you the focus and the focus will give you the comprehension that you’re looking for.
[0:47:21.1] MB: I think that’s a great distinction. Essentially, the idea that it’s not about whether you’re reading slowly or quickly. It’s really about reading for maximum understanding and maximum comprehension.
[0:47:33.4] JK: Right. To your goal, because some people could skim or “speed read” the newspaper and they get full — They get fully satisfied. You know what I mean? Because not everything that we read do we need to 100% focus on or retain every single bit in chunk. It really depends on what your outcome is. That’s why having questions is so important for comprehension. Whether it’s listening to a podcast or reading a book or going to a seminar or reading someone’s blog. Questions are the answer.
What questions do is they activate that part of your brain called the reticular activating system, RAS for short. Basically, it determines right now there’s two billion stimuli in your environment that you could pay attention to, but you can’t, because mainly your brain has a deletion device, because you would be, you’d go crazy if you had to pay attention to too much. Mostly, it’s trying to block stuff out.
You have this reticular activating system that determines where your focus goes. Years ago, years ago, my sister was sending me postcards and emails, photos of these pug dogs. You know, these little like smooching face, little fun or whatever dogs. I was like, “Why are you sending these to me?” I realized that her birthday was coming up and that’s what she wanted.
I noticed everywhere I was going, I go to the supermarket, I see a lady holding a pug dog. I’d be running and doing my jog around my neighborhood, I saw this guy walking six pug dogs. I was like, “Where were these pug dogs before?” The truth is they were always there. It’s just my mind, it fell into that two billion of things that I just didn’t pay attention to. Once she made it important to me, like me asking why is she sending these to me. What’s so important about pug dogs? I started seeing pug dogs everywhere.
Just when it comes to those, if you imagine, pug dogs are the answer you’re looking for, they’re the knowledge or the wisdom, comprehension, if you will, that you want, then you’ll start seeing them everywhere. If you have questions about sales or marketing or whatever it is, and when you’re listening to a podcast, you’re reading that book, all of a sudden you’re like, “There’s an answer. There’s an answer.” Because it acts like a magnet and you’re pulling the information inside as supposed to somebody, a lecturer trying to push it inside of you, because the brain doesn’t work that way. It works better by wanting to answer these questions themselves and satisfy that open loop.
I would focus mostly on what your outcome is for reading, and then that should determine your level of speed and comprehension. I don’t speed read everything. One of the challenges to overcome, the reasons why our programs are so successful and we’re getting 300% increase of reading speed in our online is because the biggest challenge when it comes to reading actually is not focus. It’s something called sub-vocalization. Sub-vocalization is that inner talk that we have.
You notice, Matt, when you’re reading something to yourself, you heard that inner voice inside your head reading along with you?
[0:50:29.9] MB: Yeah.
[0:50:30.7] JK: That voice and stuff. Yeah. Hopefully it’s your own voice. It’s not like somebody else’s voice. You don’t hear like two or three voices in there. The reason why it’s a challenge is because if you have to say all the words to understand what you’re reading, you can only read as fast as you could talk. Not as fast as you could think.
That’s why when I listen to podcast and many people listen to podcast or listen to books on — Like audible and stuff like that, books, audiobooks, is they put it on 1.5 or 2.0 or whatever, because you could understand all that information. It’s just you can’t possibly talk that fast. You don’t have to say words in your mind to understand what words mean, and it’s just a bad habit we picked up when we’re kids based on the way we’re taught in school. The fastest readers I find don’t pronounce a lot of the words, because you don’t have to pronounce a word like New York City, take all that time to say it, because you know what it means on sight. 95% of the words you read every single day are what they call sight words. You don’t have to pronounce and to understand it, because you’ve seen them tens of thousands of times.
This is just going in to just reading methodology and stepping to this commonsense corner of your mind saying, “Does what I learn back then still make sense to me?” I think being a quick learner or having what I call a quick brain is not about just memorizing facts, because you get a lot of facts on Google. The ability to be able to focus, be able to absorb, to learn, to teach, to apply this information.
That being said, a good memory now is more important than ever, because at any given time you can — Our live is a reflection of our decisions that we make day to day, like the decisions of where to live and what to do and who to be with and what to eat and everything. You could only make good decisions based on the information you know and remember.
That’s why Socrates said, learning is remembering. That without remembering, you can’t make good decisions and you lose your power in the areas that you would normally be able to really be unstoppable.
[0:52:28.7] MB: Another strategy, and I think that’s the really key point. In today’s world, there’s so much out there. How can we focus on really capturing and remembering, as much as possible sort of align with our goals in terms of what we’ve determined we want to learn about. One of the strategies that I’ve heard you talk in the past is using things like mind maps. Will you talk a little bit about that?
[0:52:53.0] JK: What happens is when we’re learning something, people want to learn any subject or skill faster, whether it’s Mandarin or martial arts, or it’s marketing, music, whatever it is. Obviously, everyone like to do it faster. What helps you to be able to do it faster is to overcome what they call the forgetting curve. That within 48 hours, just two days, up to 80% of what you learn can be gone within two days. That’s a lot of loss that’s there.
One of the ways to keep that from happening is by taking good notes. I like to talk about different ways of taking notes. Different than making notes, and that’s my distinction, is that when I take notes very simply. Mind mapping is one way of taking notes. It was created by a gentleman by the name of Tony Buzan, and some of your listeners may be very familiar with it, where you put the main idea in the middle of the page and branching out, just like the branches of the tree. You have those sub-ideas.
Imagine the middle is health and then branching out of health is, “Oh, it’s exercise,” and then another branch out of the trunk is called nutrition and so on. Off of nutrition could be a branch that says food, because that’s one place you get your nutrition. Then another part of the nutrition branch could be supplements, so on. Then you can have a branch come off of supplements, different kinds of nutritional supplements and so on, or different kinds of food. You could break down the food groups. You could have this rare kind of sardine that leads to this, say, under the fish, to lead to protein, to lead to food, to lead to nutrition and that leads to overall health.
It’s kind of a neat way on one page view instead of seeing notes on like 20 pages linear notes, and something on page 17 could be important than what’s on page one but it’s varied on page 17. Mind mapping is one way of seeing all the notes on one page view and seeing the relationships and the associations, because ultimately all learning is going to come down to associations, one thing linked to another.
When you’re learning something, you’re taking something unknown, something outside of you and you’re connecting it to something that you know already. That’s why metaphors are such a powerful way of learning when you’re comparing things to what you already understand.
Another way — If to like the mind map with all the colors and the icons and images, these two right brain or imaginary creative for somebody. What I recommend, and I did a whole show on this, is just take a piece of paper and put a line down the middle page, and on the left side, take notes, and on the right side, make notes.
There’s a clear distinction. What I’m talking about is — Because it’s only like a letter off. Note taking is where you’re capturing information. You’re capturing the strategies or the ideas. This is how to read faster. Okay, use your visual pace or a great rate. Do one thing at a time. That would be where you’re taking notes on the left side, you’re capturing notes. On the right side, you’re writing your impressions of what you’re capturing. On the right side, instead of taking notes, you’re making notes. Instead of capturing it, you’re actually creating.
On the right side, you’re writing down questions that you have. How it relates to what you already know. How you’re going to teach it so somebody else, and I think that’s very important, because when you look at geniuses, and I don’t just mean IQ geniuses. People who are excelling in any area and at any industry, the majority of them journal. They take lots of notes. When you’re there — It’s interesting, because I just had a dinner recently with this very well-known multibillionaire. During this gala, if you will, he was just taking lots of notes of every single, what every speaker was saying and everything. I think that’s one of the ways not only do we retain information, but it also helps us to make new associations to something.
Think about the journals of Einstein and Edison and Da Vinci and how priceless those things are. There are studies that want to know, like, “Is it because they’re geniuses that they journal all the time or is it because they’re taking notes and journaling all the time that makes them a genius?”
I’m a big believer in note taking, whether it’s mind mapping or this idea of capturing on the left side and creating on the other side. That’s the other reason, is it also is a great focus tool, because if your attention is going to somewhere else, like it often does when you’re listening to a podcast or sitting in a conference or a summit or whatever, then it might as well go on the right side of the page. Your creative expression of things might as well go to like, “Oh! How is this relate to what I already know? What about this and how am I going to share this with this person and everything?”
By the way, you notice that I’m talking a lot about teaching other people, because another brain hack, if you will, is learn something with intention of teaching it somebody else. Again, it’s common sense, but it’s not common practice, that I challenge everybody who’s listening to this to re-listen to this episode and listen with the intention of teaching it to someone very specific, because if you had to give a talk on this in a couple of days, 48 hours from now on stage or coach somebody on how to speed read or whatever, you would listen at a higher level. You would be more active. You would ask more questions. You would take better notes, because you would have a stake in it.
The reason why I like that is — What gets twitted all the time is this thing they say, I say that, “When you teach something, you get to learn it twice.” Is intention matter. If you learn with the intention of teaching and sharing it with somebody else, when you teach it, you get to learn it twice.
If you want to accelerate your learning, learn any subject or any skill faster, learn it with the idea, the motive to teach it to someone else. Again, going back to this mastery path about fundamentals and the basics, this is very basic. It’s not very sexy, but it’s going to get you’re the result that you’re looking for.
[0:58:45.4] MB: Tell me a little bit about the FAST method and the strategies you have from learning faster.
[0:58:50.3] JK: Perfect. I love talking about this, because — This is a framework that I use, just a guide system for learning anything more quickly, because I think that’s what we want to do. Our ability to acquire new skills. Our ability to acquire new subjects. Really simple four steps. The F in FAST stands for forget. If you want to learn something faster, I would say forget what you already know about a subject. Not permanently, but just set aside what you already know. I find that when I’m coaching somebody, as long as they have a motivation to learn something and then they have an open mind to learn something, a beginner’s mind, that’s really the phrase here, then they can learn faster.
A lot of people won’t learn something faster, because they feel like they know everything and they’re not going to learn faster. I would say if you want to learn something new, temporary forget about what you think you know about it.
The other thing I would say really fast when it comes to forgetting, I would forget about what’s going on that’s not urgent and important. It’s a myth that you can multitask. It is completely been debunk. Yes, you could walk and chew gum and have a conversation on the phone. You can’t do two cognitive intensive activities at once. It’s not possible.
It’s a myth, and when people are multitasking, what they really are doing is what they call task switching, they’re switching from one task to another and every single time you switch to another task, because you’re getting these dopamine fixes and everything, because you’re getting rewarded for the novelty, you’re feeling like you’re getting stuff done, but it actually takes you another 5 to 10 to 20 minutes just to regain your focus and your flow.
You lose time and, actually, that person also has more errors, so they make more mistakes. I would say focus on one thing. The F when it comes to forgetting, I would forget about anything else that’s not going — That’s going on that’s not urgent and important, because if 25% of your attention is being spent trying to do this and thinking about this and this, that only leaves you like 25% to really learn.
The last F I would say for forgetting is forget about what you know about a subject. Forget about situational things, but also forget about your limitations, because most people are out there and they have a focus on what they can’t do. They have a fixed mindset where they are saying, “Oh, I’m just too old,” or “Oh, I’m just not smart enough,” or “I didn’t go to that school,” or “I don’t have that background,” or “This runs in my family,” or whatever it is. They’ll fight for their limitations. If you argue for your limits, you get to keep them. If you argue for your limits, you get to keep them.
I would stop fighting for them. Instead, just set the possibility that something else is possible. Just a quick hack; if you find yourself saying, “I’m not successful.” Just add the word yet. Three letters at the end of that limitation, so at least your mind opens up the possibility that it’s going to happen, because imagination is very powerful. But be very careful whenever you put behind the words I am. Those are very — The two smallest words, but they’re the most powerful words on the planet, because whatever you put after I am, it’s going to determine your life, an identity level. Forget about subjects, what you know. Forget about situations. Forget about limitations.
The A is active. If you want to learn any subject or skill faster, you need to be active about it. While I was saying that one of the challenges is most people grow up with this very passive education where they were just sitting quietly by themselves, not talking to their neighbors. They had to regurgitate information or [inaudible 1:02:07.6] passive, and learning is not a spectator sport. Learning is not a spectator sport. You have to get off the bench, roll up your sleeves and get involved. Ask questions. Be active. Take notes, like we’re talking about.
The S in FAST stands for state, and this is really a key one. I want to really emphasize this. If you walk out with anything from this conversation know this, all learning is state dependent. All learning is state dependent.
What is your state? A state is a simple word for snapshot of the mood of your mind and your body. How you feel, your motional state. The reason why it’s important is one of the keys when it comes to quick recall, if you want a better memory that I teach, is information combined with emotion becomes a long term memory. Information combined with emotions becomes a long term memory, and you know this because there’s probably a song, a fragrance, or a food, or something that could you take you back when to when you’re a kid, right? We all have it.
There’s a food, a scent, a perfume, some fragrance, some kind of music, whatever. It takes us back decades. That’s because information combined with emotion became a long term memory. You didn’t have to repeat it over and over again. You did it once and it’ll be there forever. That’s really accurate when it comes to learning, that you have to add emotion into your learning process. Otherwise we don’t remember the boring. We don’t remember the mundane, because if your emotional state is zero, zero times anything is anything. You want to up your state.
We have control of our state and how we feel, because what I challenge everybody here is to be a thermostat, not a thermometer. What’s the difference? A thermometer is something — Functionally, it reacts to the environment. It reflects the environment, what the environment is giving it. That’s not a thermostat though. A thermostat is different. Thermostat sets the standard. It sets a goal. It sets a vision, and all of a sudden what happens to the environment, the environment raises to meet that standard, because that’s the power of the thermostat, and I’m here to say that just remember who you are, that you’re more of a thermostat than a thermometer, and that whatever you set that too, you’re more likely to be able to achieve. The thing that you really want to set, the standard for most, is how you feel about things. You could control how you feel based on just your mind and your body. You change your thoughts, right? Thoughts are things. There’s a biology to belief as we’ve learned. Also, by moving your physiology, it affects your psychology. That changing your posture, doing deep breathing, doing the things that I do in my morning jumpstart your brain kind of thing, it changes your physiology, and all of a sudden it changes the way you feel. When you change the way you feel, you’re going to learn faster.
Finally, the T in fast is what we covered already. It’s Teach. Because I think there’re two reasons to learn anything. You learn it. Number one, how it could benefit you. The other reason you learn anything is because how it could benefit somebody else. I would always learn — One of the reasons why I feel like I learn fast, is everything I learn, I learn to be able to share with somebody else. That’s who I am. I think everyone else should do that and should give and pay it forward that way. Don’t give to get, give because it’s who you are.
They say those who can’t do teach, I never thought that was negative. I thought, “Wow! Those who can’t do, teach. When you teach it, then you could do it.” I would encourage people. That’s FAST; forget, be active, manage your state and learn with the intention of teaching somebody else.
[1:05:32.6] MB: Really quickly, for somebody who wants to be — We covered so many topics today. For someone who wants to really simply and easily start implementing some of these ideas today, what would kind of one piece of homework be that you would give them as a starting point to begin?
[1:05:48.6] JK: Yeah. I’ll give people two. Number one, I would invite people to listen to our podcast. It’s only 10 minutes long. It’s not guest-driven. It’s just one brain hack for busy people who want to learn fast or achieve more, on how to learn a language or how to get rid of negative habits, how to read a book a week and so on. It’s not a big time investment. There’s zero cost.
Number two, I would say schedule it. That’s the big thing I would encourage people to do. I think people don’t — They talk about things all the time. If you want to turn knowledge into real power, you have to schedule it down to a task or an activity and you have to schedule it and treat it as time that you would never cancel it with somebody. You would never cancel on a family member. You never cancel this doctor’s appointment. You never cancel this meeting with an investor or your number one client, because if we talk about stuff, it’s a dream. When we write it down and you put it into your calendar, then it’s real.
I would say that the most important thing to take something invisible and make it visible is make it visible on your calendar. I would say like even with your show, I would say, “Hey, this many times a week I’m going to listen to this show at this time.” Then once it’s in there, that’s your learning time, and it’s time you never compromise.
I would encourage everybody to listen to this episode again. Maybe try — Actually, listen to this episode again and do the note taking with the intention of teaching, that capture and create. The big thing is, schedule your learnings. Everybody has a to-do-list. For me, two more important lists that I have is a not to do list. I never touch my phone the first hour of the day. I think it’s somewhat the most destructive things to your productivity or performance. I have a very large not to do list.
I also have a to learn list, and I think that’s very important, that if you want to be a leader, that you always are learning. Dedicate a lifelong learning, and pick subjects and skills that you want to — Every 30 days, take on a new challenge, because when we’re growing, when we’re green we’re growing, when we’re brown we’re rotting. I think all of us, everyone who’s listening to this wants to grow to their fullest potential. I would say it starts with scheduling time for yourself and it’s time well-invested.
[1:07:56.2] MB: Jim, where could people find you and your show online?
[1:08:00.3] JK: The best place for people to go is kwikbrain.com. You have to spell Kwik — Kwik really is my last name. I didn’t change it to do what I do. It’s K-W-I-K, kwikbrain.com. That’s how people can see our podcast. You can see it on Sticher and iTunes and so on.
Then I would love to continue the conversation on social media. I’ve very, very active on Facebook, Instgram and Twitter, just @jimkwik, J-I-M K-W-I-K. I would love people to actually tag both of us on this episode, so if you’re sharing this episode, that’s a way of you teaching somebody else, like we talked about. I think that’s important. I would love to know everybody’s big takeaway. If there’s one aha after this conversation that we had together, I would love for you to post that big aha, because that’s a way of you demonstrating, you’re taking the invisible and making it visible and you’re teaching it, and so you’re owning it and making it your own, and tag us un it, and I would love to read that and respond it and re-share it also as well.
Yeah, Kwik Brain is the podcast, kwikbrain.com, K-W-I-K, and @jimkwik, K-W-I-K.
[1:09:02.7] MB: I think that’s great. I’ll second that. I respond to every listener tweet, and so definitely do that. We’ll both chime in and give you some feedback. Jim, thank you so much for coming on the show. You shared a tremendous amount of wisdom today. I really appreciate all of the awesome insights that you shared with our listeners.
[1:09:19.9] JK: Matt, this was tremendous. I really appreciate you and everyone who’s listening. Remember, you’re faster and smarter than you think. I wish your days be filled with lots of life and lots of love, lots of laughter and always lots of learning. Thank you.
[1:09:31.5] MB: Thank you so much for listening to the Science of Success. We created this show to help, our listeners, master evidence-based growth. I love hearing from listeners. If you want to reach out, share your story or just say hi, shoot me an email. My email is email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
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