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TMHS 739: Supercharge Your Memory, Learn FASTER, and Become LIMITLESS – with Jim Kwik
Have you ever wished you were better at remembering names? The ability to recall information isn’t just a matter of good memory or bad memory—it’s actually a skill we all have the ability to harness. My friend Jim Kwik is a world-renowned brain coach, speed reading expert, and an absolute powerhouse in the realm of accelerated learning and memory.
In his updated edition of Limitless, he unpacks how to increase your productivity, eliminate distractions, and master your habits in a post-pandemic world. He’s back on The Model Health Show to share powerful insights on how to enhance the power of your brain. You’re going to discover powerful tools becoming limitless in the capacity of your mind.
In this interview, you’re going to learn specific strategies to read faster, focus better, and reach your potential. As always, Jim is bringing knowledge and tips you can apply today to begin making improvements in your brain power immediately. Honored and excited to share this interview with the incredible Jim Kwik!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- Why your brain is the most important wealth building device you have.
- The most impactful skill we can all learn.
- An important distinction between speed reading and smart reading.
- Why reading is a powerful exercise for your mind.
- The connection between success and a regular reading practice.
- How to focus better while reading.
- What subvocalization is.
- How much faster you can read while using a visual pacer.
- The connection between sight and touch.
- How to learn to love reading.
- What the reticular activating system is, and how to utilize it.
- The best ways to improve your recall skills.
- What the explanation effect is.
- Why taking notes can improve your retention.
- How to use retrieval to increase your memory skills.
- What prasma is.
- The four brain animals, and how to find yours.
- Three things we can all control.
Items mentioned in this episode include
- PaleoValley.com/model — Use code MODEL for 15% off!
- HVMN.com/model — Save 30% on your first subscription order of Ketone-IQ!
- Limitless Expanded Edition by Jim Kwik
- Mybrainanimal.com — Take the quiz to find your Brain C.O.D.E.
- Connect with Jim Kwik Website / Podcast / Twitter / Instagram
Thanks To Our Sponsors
This episode is brought to you by Paleovalley. During the episode, I mentioned some research coming from UCLA and indicating that turmeric, namely one of the compounds in turmeric that’s been identified called curcumin, has a potential to improve our memory. But to dig even a little bit deeper, there’s a study that was published in the journal Ethnopharmacology, and it points to turmeric’s potential in reducing the severity of both anxiety and depression. So we’re not just talking about cognitive function, we’re talking about mental health as well. Now, absolutely, we can add turmeric into different dishes. A curry, when you’re in a hurry, can help to make you more present. And it’s just one of those kind of home cooked, soothing things that we can get access to. But also, sometimes the dose makes the difference. So getting a more concentrated version, which is what’s used in a lot of these studies, it’s a concentrate of curcumin, or my preferred way is a concentrate of turmeric itself. Number one, it has to be organic, and also having the bio-potentiators that helps our cells to absorb it better. Why do I say turmeric over curcumin alone? It’s because turmeric has thousands of other compounds. Dozens have now been identified that have remarkable benefits for the human mind and body. One of those is Ar-turmerone. And Ar-turmerone has been found, according to a study published in Stem Cell Research, has been found to increase neural stem cell proliferation by upwards of 80%. So we’re talking about stem cells that actually help to create new cells. This process of neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, is something that’s only recently been understood in science. And to be able to find specific foods and nutrients that can help this process to keep your brain youthful and your cognitive function at a high level, that’s what makes turmeric so special. And the turmeric that I use is Turmeric Complex from Paleo Valley. Go to paleovalley.com/model, and you’re going to get 15% off their phenomenal Turmeric Complex. Again, all organic, done the right way. And this is one of my supplements that I literally, I use this on a weekly basis, especially if I’m wanting to give my immune system a little bit of support, helping to reduce inflammation, to recover from workouts, and also, of course, helping to support my brain health. This is one of the things that I turn to on a regular basis, the Turmeric Complex from Paleo Valley. Go to paleovalley.com/model for 15% off.
This episode is brought to you by HVMN. One of the major reasons that people give for not being able to cook home cook meals on a consistent basis is not having the energy to do it. Energy can be one of our greatest assets and it can also be one of our greatest deficiencies. Obviously, our lifestyle factors play a huge role in the availability that we have to access energy. But there are a few recent discoveries that are adding to the energy equation like a few things ever have. Numerous studies, including a study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, or the FASEB Journal, found that exogenous ketones can be up to 28% more efficient in generating energy than glucose alone. If this is about cognitive function, if this is about energy, you’ve got to utilize these ketones. But not just any run of the mill ketone esters that had its time in the sun, but something far better has been brought to the world by HVMN. Go to hvmn.com/model and you’re going to get 30% off your first subscription order of Ketone-IQ. Ketone-IQ is now clinically proven to improve our cognitive performance and also bolster our energy for sports performance. In fact, studies have found up to 15% increased mean power output after recovery by utilizing ketones. And the bioavailability of Ketone-IQ is in a league of its own. Check out Ketone-IQ today. Go to hvmn.com/model for 30% off your first subscription order.
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
You are now listening to The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson. For more,
SHAWN STEVENSON: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. It is the human brain that is the master controller of so many downstream things happening with our bodies, whether it's running our metabolism, our immune system, our cardiovascular health, the list goes on and on and on. The human brain is truly incredible. But we most attribute it towards cognitive function, learning, memory, reaction time, creativity, we all attribute most dominantly to the human brain. And yes, the human brain can do all that stuff, but here's the rub, we often don't know how to do those things very well. A lot of our learning, a lot of our ability to pick up skills or to improve our reaction time or to improve our memory is happening by default.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Some people believe that other people are just born with good memories or a bad memory. Maybe they're born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline. But the truth is memory is something that can be trained. And as our special guest is sharing today, it's not whether or not someone is smart, it's how they are smart. We all learn differently, but we all have this incredible master organ in our bodies. Michio Kaku, who's a modern day oftentimes attributed to being a modern day Einstein, astrophysicist, Michio Kaku said that the human brain is the most complicated object in the known universe. The most complicated object in the known universe. And you have one. Now, this episode is about being able to master our brain, master our cognitive function and tap into these exceptional capabilities that we have.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You're going to learn how to read significantly faster in just the next couple of days. You're going to learn how to learn skills faster than anybody else around you. This is akin to Neo being able to upload programs and pick up skill sets. Now, this is not going to be in a matter of seconds. It's not like that fast, but your learning curve is going to be greatly shortened by what you're going to pick up today. And you're even going to discover a way to find out about your unique brain type. There are certain brain types that each of us fit under that determine how we learn, how we communicate, and also how we interact with other brains. And again, this episode is going to knock your socks off. Truly, what I've learned from this individual has impacted my life in the most profound ways. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him and I don't give thanks for something that he's brought into my life, being able to better access the cognitive abilities that were oftentimes dormant for me.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so I can't go a single day without giving thanks for him and thinking about something that he's taught me and how it's shown up in the world around me in my performance. One of those things, by the way, I'm going to teach you a little nugget of wisdom here, is being able to remember names when you meet people. How often do we meet people and their name is just deleted immediately? You shake somebody... "How are you doing, Steve?" And you don't remember Steve's name. You think his name is Ben or Charlie or whatever. We immediately delete that file, especially if you meet a group of people at one time. But I'm probably the only person in my little neighborhood, my block that I live on, I know everybody's name. And it's because I use this simple mental strategy. It's not a trick, mental strategy to remember people's names. And I'm going to share this with you right now. So I'm going to share you how I remembered everybody's name in my neighborhood.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm not going to share everybody's name because we ain't got time for that, but I'm going to share with you a few of them. So one of the really powerful strategies in remembering people's names are when you hear their name, you can say it back to them. That's one way, just being able to use that vocalization. So you're listening from their lips and from your own. That's one way, but that's not always foolproof. Another way, and this is my top tier strategy, is to attach their name to something very memorable, something that has meaning for you. And oftentimes, something that is silly, something that might be funny, something that is weird because it's going to create this kind of novelty for your brain to really lock that in as a unique thing. So let me give you an example.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So one of my neighbors, her name is Erin, when she told me her name, I immediately pictured her in a Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers jersey, helmet, the whole get up. This is when he played for Green Bay. Obviously, I've known her name for a while, but as soon as she told me that her name was Erin, boom, Aaron Rodgers. I linked it up. Now when I see her, whether she knows it or not, I'm pitching her throwing that pigskin. She doesn't know this. Erin's cool. She works in television and movies, but she's a writer. And so I get... How do I know all that stuff? Just picking it up, logging it, making it memorable.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Another one of my neighbors that I just met when I was walking with my son, Brayden, who's sitting here in the studio with me today, his name is Kevin. Just met Kevin and his wife and their little daughter and their little puppy. And when Kevin said his name, boom, logged it. He's the minion who the other minions say his name. Kevin has an identity. So I pictured him as a minion. He's a big old grown up minion man. And I will never forget Kevin's name. So I did this for each of the people that I met in my neighborhood, locked their name in with something unique and interesting. And I always greet them with their name. It makes people feel important, it makes them feel significant and seen when you remember their name.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, yeah, these are just the kind of cool strategies that I had... My brain was able to do this, but I didn't know until I met my special guest. And so I'm so excited to share this with you. He's such a good friend and incredible human being. And I think you're going to absolutely love this. Now, one of the things that we briefly mentioned, and it was just kind of sporadic, random, that I mentioned this particular food/herb/nutrient source. And I randomly mentioned turmeric, as you'll hear in the episode. But I want to provide a little bit of context on turmeric's ability to improve your brain health.
SHAWN STEVENSON: During the episode, I mentioned some research coming from UCLA and indicating that turmeric, namely one of the compounds in turmeric that's been identified called curcumin, has a potential to improve our memory. But to dig even a little bit deeper, there's a study that was published in the journal Ethnopharmacology, and it points to turmeric's potential in reducing the severity of both anxiety and depression. So we're not just talking about cognitive function, we're talking about mental health as well. Now, absolutely, we can add turmeric into different dishes. A curry, when you're in a hurry, can help to make you more present. And it's just one of those kind of home cooked, soothing things that we can get access to. But also, sometimes the dose makes the difference. So getting a more concentrated version, which is what's used in a lot of these studies, it's a concentrate of curcumin, or my preferred way is a concentrate of turmeric itself.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Number one, it has to be organic, and also having the bio-potentiators that helps our cells to absorb it better. Why do I say turmeric over curcumin alone? It's because turmeric has thousands of other compounds. Dozens have now been identified that have remarkable benefits for the human mind and body. One of those is Ar-turmerone. And Ar-turmerone has been found, according to a study published in Stem Cell Research, has been found to increase neural stem cell proliferation by upwards of 80%. So we're talking about stem cells that actually help to create new cells. This process of neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, is something that's only recently been understood in science. And to be able to find specific foods and nutrients that can help this process to keep your brain youthful and your cognitive function at a high level, that's what makes turmeric so special.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And the turmeric that I use is Turmeric Complex from Paleo Valley. Go to paleovalley.com/model, and you're going to get 15% off their phenomenal Turmeric Complex. Again, all organic, done the right way. And this is one of my supplements that I literally, I use this on a weekly basis, especially if I'm wanting to give my immune system a little bit of support, helping to reduce inflammation, to recover from workouts, and also, of course, helping to support my brain health. This is one of the things that I turn to on a regular basis, the Turmeric Complex from Paleo Valley. Go to paleovalley.com/model for 15% off. Now, let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.
ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled "Dwelling in Wellness" by Dwells and Wellness. "You have changed the trajectory of my life. I am the healthiest, most vibrant version of myself today, largely due to the content of your podcast. I am so grateful for you."
SHAWN STEVENSON: That is just... Hit me different right now. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I received that. And also, I'm grateful for you. Thank you so much for taking this information and applying it in your life because that is true knowledge. And that's a perfect transition point to our special guest and topic of the day.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author and world renowned expert on accelerated learning. His clients include industry giants, like Google, Virgin, Nike, SpaceX, 20th Century Fox, and the list goes on and on. He's been featured in all manner of major media, including Forbes, Fast Company, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight. The list goes on and on there as well. And in particular, that 20th Century Fox being one of his clients, like I actually got to go with him for one of these events. And we got to see a movie that hadn't even come out yet, the world didn't even know about because he was helping the top person at 20th Century Fox and really helping also the actors and being able to learn their scripts faster and helping staff being able to pick up skills faster. He was just affecting this company in a really positive way. And this is just one of the magical moments of spending time with our special guests that I've had privilege to over the years, and I'm so grateful for this, and I'm so grateful that I get to share his wisdom with you today.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So buckle in and get tuned in because your brain is about to get an upgrade with the incredible Jim Kwik. This is an iconic moment here. We've got our most frequent guest back on the show and somebody who's had such a remarkable impact on my life, I can't even put it into words. Even this show being in existence is largely tied to you. And this was about... We've been knowing each other, I don't know if you realize this, almost 15 years.
JIM KWIK: I do know that, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And you saw something in me that I didn't necessarily even see in myself and started to put me in positions to help to educate people at a bigger level. But you and I were doing a talk in Las Vegas and you introduced me to a couple and they asked me to be kind of the face of their podcast. And at the time, I didn't know what podcasts were.
JIM KWIK: Nobody did.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Nobody did. But they said they had just started this podcast and they were looking for somebody to be like the face of this, their resident nutritionist basically. And I ended up taking that role on and that eventually evolved into starting my own show, The Model Health Show, which is now over 10 years in existence.
JIM KWIK: Congratulations.
SHAWN STEVENSON: My guy...
JIM KWIK: And how many millions of people benefited from this show already and you're just getting started?
SHAWN STEVENSON: The thing about you, man, is that you don't necessarily try to bring magic into people's lives, but you do it just because of who you are. And you weren't thinking about some transformational thing taking place when you made that introduction of us, but it has, it impacted millions and millions of people at this point. And so I just want to thank you, man. Every time I get to sit down with you, it's truly an honor. And being that this is the case and this is an iconic moment, having you here, the guy, I've been telling my youngest son who I brought to the studio today to be able to sit and experience this, you've helped so many people to learn how to learn. And your first appearance on the show was almost 10 years ago. And since then, we've had about 75 million listener downloads since that point. And so there are people who don't know what you know. And so I wanna go back to our origins and to share some of these skills, in particular with now there's so much knowledge out here for us to be able to consume. Let's talk about being able to read faster and to retain information.
JIM KWIK: Let's do it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Let's go. What do you got for us?
JIM KWIK: It's just an honor to be back. You've also been... You're the most frequent guest on our show, our podcast also as well, so it's very fitting. And yeah, our team listens to your show all the time. So our CEO, Alexis, is always posting links in our Slack channel. So yeah, we're big fans.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We're Wonder Twins, man.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. Wonder power is activated. Yeah, I think one of the most... As a brain coach for over 30 years, my passion is teaching people how to upgrade the most important wealth building device that they have, which is their brains. I believe if knowledge is power, then learning is your superpower. And it's not really taught in school. They teach you what to learn, classes like math and history and science, Spanish, but then zero classes on how to learn those things. No classes on focus or concentration, recall they teach you for three hours in school. Reading, writing arithmetic, but what about retention? Socrates said, learning is remembering without remembering. You don't have any knowledge. And so when we've been... We've shared stages before, I'll do these demonstrations. If there are times where I'll have the first few rows stand up and introduce themselves on the microphone and I'll memorize 50 or 60, 70 people's names. They'll challenge me to remember a hundred random words or a hundred digit numbers, and I'll do that forwards and backwards. But 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 person listening right now, they could do it too.
JIM KWIK: And most... Some people are saying that there's just no way, but regardless of your age and your background, your career, your education level, financial situation, gender history, IQ, you could do it. And we just weren't taught and I know it's possible because I couldn't do it once.
JIM KWIK: When I was five years old, I had a traumatic brain injury in kindergarten class, hurt my head really bad, rushed to the emergency room, blood everywhere, and I just... My parents said before I was very curious, very energized, very playful, but after that, I became very shut down. I couldn't focus. I couldn't remember. I had processing issues. Teachers would repeat themselves over and over again. And then I would learn to pretend to understand, but I didn't really understand. It took me three years longer to learn how to read. And that was very frustrating. Every single time you got in those book circles and you had to read out loud, I think that's where a lot of fear of public speaking comes from because as that book inches closer and closer to you, we're not good at it when we first get started and we associate that nervousness and that insecurity with speaking out loud or reading.
JIM KWIK: And that was me when I was nine years old. I remember I was slowing down in class and I was being teased really harshly for it. And a teacher came to my defense one day and pointed to me in front of the whole class and said, "Leave that kid alone. That's the boy with the broken brain." And that label became my limit. This story ends up being okay.
JIM KWIK: When I was 18, I learned skills and strategies on how to overcome it. And I became... Since then, I've been passionate. I'm 50 years old and now I'm just more determined than ever to help people to access the most incredible gift that they're given between their ears, this three pound gray matter that doesn't come with an owner's manual and it's not user friendly. So I think one of the most important skills for all of us to embrace is our ability to learn how to learn. Because if you can learn how to focus and read and understand and retain and implement, you could apply that towards anything, medicine, martial arts, music, mathematics, money, anything gets easier. So that's really my superpower, is learning how to learn and teaching other people how to learn.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely. Yeah. And you've done it over and over again, as you mentioned being 50 years young now...
JIM KWIK: Young, yeah. I like that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And many decades of you teaching this information is such a diverse realm as well because as you know, we're gonna talk about this today too, we have a unique brain and we all kind of learn and process things differently. So we're going to get to that on the back end, but just in general, your... One of your initial forays into this space was learning how to read faster. And again, being that today we're just surrounded by so much information and obviously somebody like myself working as a research scientist for many years, being able to read all of these studies that can be very, very thick, sometimes thickness isn't the best. Some thickness is good. Some can be very time consuming. And so let's dive in and start to articulate that a little bit.
JIM KWIK: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But in particular, being that this... There's a lot of people that can come into the fold and offer advice about reading speed, but we want to learn how to read faster, but also remember what we're reading. That's what makes you different.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. Traditional speed reading is more associated with skimming and scanning, skipping words, getting the gist of what you read. A lot of our students, they're attorneys, they're financial advisors, they're medical doctors, I don't think anyone wants their doctor to get the gist of what she's reading. So we really focus... It's not just speed reading, it's about smart reading. And everybody has this skill. So typically... So first of all, the power of reading. And one of the reasons why we love your show so much is the amount of research you do and preparation that you do. People could trust you because you're very well-informed. And if an author like yourself has decades of experience and you put it into a book and somebody could sit down in a few days and read that book, they could download decades of insights and wisdom and experience, lessons in a few days. That's an incredible advantage. Just think about everybody who's listening, what would you study? Most people read maybe two books a year, but if you could just even bump it up to one book a week, which is very doable, 50 plus books, 52 books a year, you could have like a master's or a PhD in any subject from some of the best experts.
JIM KWIK: So a few things that people could do. First of, it's great that everybody has a to-do list. I also recommend people have a to-learn list, a to-read list. Reading is to your mind what exercise is to your body. It's one of the best ways to keep your brain mentally fit. But we don't also prioritize our reading. Even if you weren't speed reading, we could get through a book a week. The average book has about 64,000 words, and the average person reads about 200 words a minute. So if you divide those two numbers together, it takes about 320 minutes to get through one book. And it sounds pretty daunting, but if you break that down into seven days in a week, that's about 45 minutes of reading a day. So it's not totally undoable. Maybe doing 20 minutes and 20 minutes, breaking up a little bit.
JIM KWIK: Most people also, they don't schedule their reading. Maybe they'll schedule their doctor's appointments or their parent-teacher conferences, or maybe even their workout. But most of us, I think one of the most important productivity performance tools we have is our calendar. But if we don't schedule it, you may wonder why at the end of the day we forgot, or we neglected certain things. And so if people have seen pictures with me, with Elon or Oprah or any of these individuals, people always wanna know how we bonded or connected. And we bonded over books. You read to succeed. You've heard the phrase leaders are readers. So just committing and scheduling it, that alone can make a big difference. But if you wanna up-level it, a few things that people could do very practically, first of all, there's certain obstacles to effective reading. Sometimes it's important to know what the obstacles are, so that you could kind of circumvent those things.
JIM KWIK: So the first one is lack of education. We're not born with the ability to read. We didn't come out of the womb and just went out to the waiting area of the hospital and start reading magazines. It's a skill, and like all skills, they can be improved with training. But when's the last time we took a class called reading? We were like, how old? Six, seven years old? So the difficulty and demand has increased a lot, but how we read it is still the same as our last level of training. So that gap creates a lot of stress, information, anxiety. Symptoms include higher blood pressure, compression of leisure time, more sleeplessness. So it helps to be able to learn these skills, which we're gonna talk about now.
JIM KWIK: A big challenge, though, second one, I would say is lack of focus. Have you ever read a page in a book, got to the end and just forgot what you just read? And then some people are thinking, yes, and then they go back and reread it and they still don't know what they just read. And the focus is a big challenge. How do you focus on your meetings and focus with your family? And one of the things that help you focus better is speed. It's interesting, your brain is the most incredible supercomputer, but when we read, we feed the supercomputer one word at a time. And we're metaphor... Even if you and I spoke like that, everybody, what would their minds do? They would start thinking...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Drift off.
JIM KWIK: Yeah, they would drift off, they would think about other things, they would fall asleep, and that's what reading is. 'Cause often when you read, you think about other stuff, your mind drifts off, you start falling asleep. A lot of people use reading as a sedative because they're reading too slow. It's the equivalent of riding a bike too slow, you start wobbling, you have no momentum. Or if you're driving, let's say you're driving in your neighborhood and you're going whatever, 20, 25 miles an hour, are you really focused on the act of driving? No, what are you doing? You're drinking your coffee, you might be texting, which you know you shouldn't be doing, checking your makeup, thinking about the dry cleaning. But compare that to a race car driver, a trained race car driver who's taking hairpin turns at 200 miles an hour. Does that person have more or less focus? Much more focus. They're not thinking about the dry cleaning, they're not trying to text or anything else, they're 100% concentrated on what's in front of them, and that's what reading is. When you're reading faster, your mind's not going so slow 'cause if you don't give your brain the stimulus it needs, it'll seek entertainment elsewhere in the form of distraction. And that's why we think about other things, our mind wanders.
JIM KWIK: And so I would say that I'm saying this up front because the mindset around reading is so important to address before the methods. Because some people think, oh, if he teaches me how to read faster, I'm not gonna understand more. But actually, we have students in our online academy in 195 countries, every country in the world, and so we have a lot of data. And so we always test people, and when... Actually, the faster readers tend to have actually better comprehension because they have better focus.
JIM KWIK: Third obstacle, and then we'll go to solutions, are sub-vocalization is a big one. Sub-vocalization. Have you ever noticed when you read something, you hear that inner voice inside your head reading along with you? Hopefully, it's your own voice, it's not like somebody else's voice. And you have a great voice. You have that billion dollar voice, it's just a pleasure to listen to. I wish I had that. But it's one of those things where if you hear that voice and you have to say the words inside your head, that means your reading speed is limited to your speaking speed, but not your thinking speed. And another way is if you have to say all the words, your reading speed is limited to your talking speed, but not how fast you can think. That's why a lot of people can listen to your show or your audio books or anything else at 1.5 or 2x 'cause you can understand that fast, but nobody can speak that fast.
JIM KWIK: Now, the question that everyone's thinking now is, do you have to say the words in order to understand them? And the truth is, we don't. When you're driving and see a stop sign, I guarantee, you nobody listening says the word stop. But you understand hopefully what that word means. 95% of the words we come across are like that stop sign. They call them sight words, words you've seen thousands of times, where you don't have to pronounce it, you see them, know them by sight. And so we don't have to say all... Especially the filler words, the, of, and, there because. You don't have to say New York City or computer in order to understand what those things are. And so we train people how to reduce the sub-vocalization.
JIM KWIK: And then finally, regression is a big obstacle, back skipping. We do it unconsciously. Have you ever found yourself rereading lines or rereading words? A lot of times we do it because our eyes are just not trained. And I'd say 'cause of our focus. And so what I would...
JIM KWIK: One suggestion is when you read, if you want greater speed and focus and understanding, use a visual pacer. You see... If you're watching this on video, I'm using my finger, but if you just underline with a pen, a highlighter, your finger, a mouse on a computer, that creates a focal point. It's kind of like how we are as hunter gatherers. If you're in a bush and you're hunting lunch, like a rabbit or carrot, depending on whatever your diet is, if a bush next to you moves, you have to look at what moves because it's your survival. It could be lunch or you could be lunch. So when your finger goes across the page, your attention's being pulled through the information as opposed to your attention being pulled apart. People who underline, and you don't have to touch the page or the screen if you're reading on the screen, but you will read 25-50% more effectively using a visual pacer. That's not a little bit, that's a lot. That's like saving 20 minutes of every hour and that really adds up.
JIM KWIK: They say the average person at work has to read probably four hours a day. Just as... Email, you think about all the content you have to consume, but if you could just double your reading speed and save two hours a day over the course of a year, even one hour a day over the course of a year is 365 hours. How many 40-hour work weeks is that? Nine, over two months of productivity you get back to saving just that hour a day. So using a visual pacer is really important. And what I would say if you want to up level this and don't trust what I'm saying, test it. Set your timer on your phone, 60 seconds, read without your finger and then pick up where you left off, do another 60 seconds, count the number of lines you just read. And everyone, by the way, when they're counting, will use a visual pacer. They'll point to help them 'cause they know that it'll help them to focus. And the reasons why, is number one, kids will naturally do it. Without training, they'll naturally use their finger to help them focus until we tell them not to. Adults do it. They may not use their finger, but when I ask them to count, they'll all use their finger to help them focus.
JIM KWIK: Third reason, your eyes are attracted to motion. If someone ran across the screen right now, everyone would focus on that 'cause your eyes are attracted to motion. But the fourth reason, it's interesting, is how our neurology is set up. Certain senses work very closely together. Have you ever been sick or know someone's sick and food just tastes different when you can't breathe? And it's like, have you ever tasted a great tasting piece of fruit, like right from... Not from something that's been sprayed and waxed in the grocery store for six months, but right off the vine or something from the farmer's market? Have you ever tasted a great tasting peach before? So in actuality, we're not tasting the peach, our tongue's not capable of tasting what peach is, but you're actually smelling it. But your sense of smell and taste are so closely linked, your mind can't tell the difference, so is your sense of sight and your sense of touch. If you go to a toddler and you have keys and you say, "Look at my keys, look," what are they gonna do? They're gonna reach out and grab in order for them to understand it. But the sense of sight and touch are so closely linked. Just like if somebody lost their sense of sight, how would they read? Their sense of touch.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We were just talking about Daredevil before the show.
JIM KWIK: Yeah, exactly, they'll use Braille. Or in Daredevil's case, he's super sensitive and could feel the ink on a page. But that's the power. Literally, when people use their visual pacer, they'll say, "I feel more in touch with my reading." And the words are very telling. And so even with your peripheral vision, the other thing is, the reason why a lot of times people get tired when they read, and visual fatigue will lead to mental fatigue. A lot of times when people are very tired when they read, they use it as a sedative.
JIM KWIK: A lot of people have a book on their nightstand by their bed, they use it to fall asleep, and that's not a great association to have towards reading because all learning is state dependent, and you don't want to get bored or tired 'cause you'll take that into your everyday reading. But yeah, literally, one of the things is these fixations. So there are about 10 words per line. And if you're... So a fixation is an eye stop. So most people read one word at a time, so that means they're making 10 eye stops. And it's equivalent to being out here in LA on the 405 or something, and just in traffic, you're just stopping, stopping, stopping. And it's very exhausting visually for your eyes. But if you look at one word, your peripheral vision could definitely see the word to your left and to your right. And so if you could see three or four words at an eye stop, then you'd only have to stop maybe two or three times. And that's much more efficient than stopping 10 times.
JIM KWIK: So part of it is like when you're going across the page, is you don't have to go all the way to the margins. You could go up to like the second to last word, or starting from the second word. So you could pick up more efficiency there also as well. But all of that actually will get people to almost double their reading speed, which is incredible. You save so much time, you have so much more enjoyment, you get so much more comprehension. And it's a real gift we could give ourselves. I think, again, reading is to your mind what exercise is to your body and you read to succeed. But I think it's one of the biggest skills you can learn to be able to up-level your learning and your life, without a doubt.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. This is so powerful.
JIM KWIK: And you could get... And it makes it fun. You read the things that you love until you love reading again. You know what I mean?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.
JIM KWIK: And so, for example, we're getting your new book for our entire team. And we do like our... A big part of our culture obviously is reading and learning. But those are the things that make a big difference. And then also, taking what you learn and putting it into action.
JIM KWIK: I just want to remind everybody that a big lie, a limited idea entertained, that's the acronym for lie, a limited idea entertained, is that knowledge is power. We've heard it so much, but I think it's the biggest lie in the personal performance industry. We know it's only potential power, only becomes power when we utilize it. And I would remind everybody that just hearing a new idea and insight, or reading a book, but not implementing it, you're no better off than somebody who's illiterate. So I would say for every hour you listen to a podcast, or read a book, spend an equal hour putting it into action because the truth is, all the podcasts and courses and books and lectures, none of it works unless we work. When I'm reading, the other thing for greater comprehension is ask more questions. How can I use this? Why must I use this? When will I use this? How does this relate to what I already know?
JIM KWIK: And when you ask these questions, you activate part of your brain called the reticular activating system. You've talked about it on the podcast, RAS. So your brain primarily is a deletion device. It's trying to keep information data out. 'Cause if we let everything in, we would be overwhelmed. We'd be overloaded. So what you decide to let in is filtered through this reticular activating system. And one of the ways of activating is to ask questions.
JIM KWIK: Because years ago, my sister would send me postcards and emails with a very specific species... Like type of dog. It was like a pug dog. And my question was like, why does she keep on sending me these photos of this dog? And then all of a sudden, I started seeing these pug dogs everywhere in my neighborhood. I would be at the grocery store checking out, and the person in front of me is holding a pug dog. I'd be running in my neighborhood, and someone was walking six pug dogs. But my question for everybody is, did these pug dogs magically appear in my neighborhood? No, they were always there, but I was deleting them. It never... Until I started asking the question, then I started seeing them.
JIM KWIK: Here, when you read a page in a book, if you have questions, you're like going through it, and instead of getting at the end and not retaining anything, all of a sudden, you're like reading, and you're like, oh, there's a pug dog, there's a pug dog, there's a pug dog. So that's your comprehension. So you ask more questions, you're gonna get more answers. You ask better questions, you'll get better answers. We've talked about it in a previous episode, this idea of a dominant question. We have 60,000 thoughts a day, and a lot of those thoughts come in the form of questions, and we have one question we ask more than any other question. And if you're asking, how do I get people to like me? All of a sudden, your life reflects that. You start being a sycophant, or start people pleasing, you become a martyr, people take advantage of you, your personality changes depending on who you're spending time with. As opposed to asking questions like, what's the best use of this moment? What can I be grateful for? How can I make this better? Then all of a sudden, you shine a spotlight on the answers in your life. So if you want greater speed, use your finger while you read. If you want better comprehension, ask better questions.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh, wow. And we can do this for ourselves. This is what's so powerful about this, is that these are things we can proactively do and put in place once we realize it. And that visual pacer, again, could be your finger, a pen, highlighter.
JIM KWIK: Highlighter.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I don't know.
JIM KWIK: If you're on a computer, you could use your mouse or something like that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: A meat stick, whatever.
JIM KWIK: Anything. I like fingers 'cause most of us bring them with us.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So you just said something really... Well, you said a lot that was powerful, but one of the most remarkable, and I had this happen firsthand, especially going to a traditional university and just all the books you got to... And what a scam, by the way, with the books. They're like $300 for, come on, man. Stop it.
JIM KWIK: And when you sell them back, you get like 20 bucks.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, come on, man. But going through that, and I remember my wife, she said when she graduated, she had honors. Cum Laude, all the things. She was like, "I'm done." She essentially said, I'm never gonna read again. I'm done. And it was finding a love or finding a connection to reading that got me here. Because for both of us, I felt much the same way. And it was being able to dive into a fiction book that got me back into nonfiction, which was The Da Vinci Code. That came out around that time. We had both just finished school, and Angels and Demons, and Dan Brown. And so reading those books created a new kind of love affair.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But she was reading one of them ahead of me, and I was... Because I was working at the university at the time, and she'll be waiting on me to... So we can discuss it. So she'd be waiting in the other room and I'll just go in there and I'm just like trying to read and absorb this as fast as I can and I didn't have these skills. And so sometimes, she'd be waiting and she'd be like getting irritated. "When are you gonna finish?" But being able to... And this is just maybe a year or two before I met you because the question came up, how can I read faster?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Because I wanna read this. And part of it too was I was trying to force myself to read non-fiction for my craft? And so I'm like switching back and forth and... But first of all, finding some way to love reading, which the Da Vinci code helped me to love reading and this kind of exploration, activating different parts of my brain. And I transitioned that into... And I started to basically paint stories for nonfiction books. Even if it's a kind of a really science dense nutrition book, I would turn it into magic and stories and whatever. I transitioned these skills back and forth. But then meeting you and learning about your work, it just took things to another level. And this is my question for you, saying all this, because we're so tied to doing things a certain way from childhood, part of this is trusting the process. Because when you start to push the accelerator, you might feel uncomfortable going faster. And you might feel like I'm not picking this up correctly. So how do we deal with that transition?
JIM KWIK: It makes me think about back in... When I was in middle school, we had this typing class, and it was real typewriters. 'Cause there were no computers when I was in middle school. And I never really did well in school, like all through school 'cause of my learning challenges. But that class particularly, I excelled in. Because when they were doing it, I'd used the... I invented this two finger method where I'm hunting and pecking with my index fingers. And it was cool 'cause on the chalkboard, they would put my name and my last name really is Kwik, and I would be the fastest typer in the class... And they let you do that for about a week. And the only reason is because when I visited family, my grandparent, they had a rusty... They didn't have any toys, but they had a rusty, dusty typewriter. So I practiced on that. And after a week goes by, the teacher's like, okay, we're gonna teach you how to type. They let us kind of freeform. And then I was like, no, I could teach this. Let me teach everybody here. And no... And they're like, you have to use all your fingers. And there's these things called home keys. And I tried it. And what do you think happened to my typing speed? Yeah. It went down.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Plummeted.
JIM KWIK: It did. So of course, I know better at that age. So I go back to my tried and true strength using two fingers. Interesting thing happened over the next few weeks 'cause they had that leaderboard on the chalkboard. And I started going from one down to three, down to 11, down to all the way to the bottom because I was stuck using those two fingers. But everybody else was using this, all their fingers. And I realized that... After a while, I was like, "That's unfair." They're using five times more fingers. So I had to work five times harder. And the equivalent is to reading.
JIM KWIK: Sometimes, when we first learn how to read, we're like reading with two fingers. And sometimes you have to take a step back to take a couple leaps forward. So it's a different skillset, definitely, but when you upgrade your skills, you get better results. So I would just remind everybody that it is something that's brand new. Just like when... I like teaching people just suggesting they brush their teeth with the opposite hand. And part of it is because it activates a different part of your brain, kind of like an aerobics exercise. But the other reason why, is it keeps you present. And it really helps you to flex your focus muscles. But the third reason is because it's like a gateway habit. It's like you could teach yourself a new skill and you say like, "Oh, if I could do that, what else can I do? What other habits or skills can I learn like that?"
JIM KWIK: And I think typing is one thing, but reading is just another way. So yes, you're not gonna be perfect the first time, but just like anything, after doing it a little bit, and I promise you in only a few days, it becomes second nature because it's more natural. And so I would encourage people don't believe everything I'm saying, just test it for yourself and play with it. I think you have to try things at least three times. One time to kind of be exposed to it, another time to get better at it, the third reason to see if you like it or not. And then you can make a decision. But ultimately, I would say that, it's just working with how your brain works. When you understand how your brain works, you could work your brain. When you understand how your memory works, you could work your memory.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome.
JIM KWIK: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Weird. Like really being able to access our neo capabilities learning from you.
JIM KWIK: It is. We could talk about skill acquisition 'cause that's a little bit what this new book is about. But steps in terms of learning any skill faster. I think the mind is the ultimate adaptation machine. And maybe you can't learn kung fu just to... Just with a quick download, but there's certain things that you could do to be able to learn it. Absolutely. With not only better retention, but also more enjoyment.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome. Got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back.
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SHAWN STEVENSON: So we're picking up higher quality skills and being able to read, comprehend better. You said a key word, you said recall. And this translates to a lot of different areas of our lives. Just yesterday, my family and I were at Agape Spiritual Center, Michael Beckwith, a really good friend, and I think he's the second most frequent guest we've had on the show. And he was dropping gems. Pun intended. Come on. But he was dropping some incredible nuggets. And I saw some people were, they came with their notebooks.
SHAWN STEVENSON: They came with little notepads and they were taking notes, but some people were just there to receive the good energy. And my question is, if we are taking notes, some of those gems because just like some of those things he said is just like, I wanna remember that forever. I wanna make that a part of who I am. But before you know it, by the time you get to the restaurant afterwards, you done forgot what he said. So how can we improve our recall?
JIM KWIK: Yes. And this is so very important. I was on stage recently with Les Brown and one of my favorite mentors and motivational speakers. And people were asking him questions when he was doing his Q&A. And people were like, "How do you remember all of those quotes?" And he just pointed to me. And he is like, "I studied Jim's reading and memory techniques." But it's amazing when you could learn something and then retain it. There's a forgetting curve, where when you listen to something once within 48 hours, research suggests you lose about 80% of it. Which is for people who wanna be optimized, that's could be very disappointing also as well. So a number of ways you could remember facts and figures or quotes, I would... First, I would... If you wanna learn something, I always learn it with the intention of teaching somebody else. I think that makes a difference. If somebody had to give a TEDx talk about what they learned from our conversation right now, they would focus a whole lot better.
JIM KWIK: They would take more thorough notes. They might be posting questions online for both of us and tagging us so we could be able to address it. 'Cause when you teach something, you take advantage of something called in research, the explanation effect.
JIM KWIK: The explanation effect says that when you learn something with the intention of explaining to somebody else, you're gonna learn it so much better and in a fraction of the time. And that's why you learn anything... You learn... There's two reasons you learn something. Number one of how you could benefit from it. And the second reason is how you could share with somebody else. I believe the formulas you learn to earn to return. The faster you could learn, the faster you could earn, especially in today's society, in today's information age 'cause knowledge is not only power, knowledge is profit. It's not just a separation of those who have and those who don't have, there's a separation between those who know stuff and those who don't know stuff. People who subscribe to your show, they listen to your show, they have this huge advantage 'cause they can make better choices 'cause they know stuff that other people just don't know. Most of your listeners, and I know many of them 'cause we recommend your show all the time, most of your listeners alone have probably forgotten more about health than most people in their sphere will never know.
JIM KWIK: And so I just wanna just acknowledge everybody who's listening and watching because they're doing the work. There's a quote in Limitless in my book that says, "Life is the letter C between B and D." Life is C between B and D. Where B stands for birth, D stands for death, life, C choice. We always have these choices, choices of what we're gonna feed our minds, what we're feed our bodies, choices who we spend time with, choices of where we're gonna put our focus and everything, our money or where we're gonna live, what we're gonna do as a career, what we're gonna study. And I believe our lives are the sum total of all these choices that we've made. But because people listen to your show, they could make better informed choices.
JIM KWIK: And so that's why... I was doing a program at Google and they're like, "Jim, why do I have to remember all this? We have this search engine." But in the moment, people could only make decisions on the information that they remember. And that's why memory is so very important. So I would say, start with the intention of teaching somebody else, then you're more likely to be able to remember it. Certainly, taking notes is better than not because it helps you to retain it and you could review your notes. There's something called spaced repetition that we talk about in the book, where if you review something at set intervals, it helps you to consolidate short to long-term memory. Maybe you review your notes an hour later, a day later, a week later, a month later, and then it just becomes part of your gestalt of information inside your long-term memory. So spaced review.
JIM KWIK: Other ways of improving your memories, and you could use... We'll talk about AI and how it could augment your intelligence, but is a retrieval practice, like actually setting it up where people could actually quiz you because it's the retrieval. So there's three parts to your memory as you know. You encode information, you store it, and then you retrieve it. And one of the best ways of having active recall is to test your existing knowledge through active retrieval.
JIM KWIK: And so at your family dinners, you could go around and you could ask people what they learned today, instead of just saying, how was your day at school? Then they say, good. What specifically did you learn today? What did you share with somebody else? And all of a sudden, you ask these questions and they have to go in and then they'll learn it better because they're teaching and then explaining it to somebody else. So between teaching it to somebody else, active retrieval, space, repetition, some people will actually use music while they study. And certain music is actually really... And this is not everybody, just like not every diet's for everybody, but some people, music's distracting for them. But other people, like especially classical music without lyrics, will help you to retain information better. Having it in the background, specifically baroque, that baroque era, it's about Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, it's about 60 beats per minute. And that's like, it harmonizes with a resting heart rate. So you're in a relaxed state and you're very suggestible and you can retain information. So some people do that. Similar to when... How many lyrics to songs do you know?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow. I mean, songs... You might not have heard the song in 30 years and you know the lyrics.
JIM KWIK: Right. And you hear like one or two notes and it just brings it all back. But yeah. And how many did you actually actively try to study those lyrics?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
JIM KWIK: Probably not. And so sometimes, we learn the best when we don't even realize that we're learning. That's why I love your show because you combine three Es. You give education, but you make it incredibly entertaining, and that's where you get empowerment. Education times entertainment equals empowerment. 'Cause education is kind of like, I don't know, it's like that nutritious... It doesn't necessarily taste too good, but entertainment's kind of like that dessert. But then you combine the two, then it's like you kind of fool your nervous system. But then entertainment, the mind candy is not usually very nutritious. So you could kind of combine the nutrition and the good tasting. So it could be nutritious and delicious, like your cookbook.
SHAWN STEVENSON: E-cubed.
JIM KWIK: Yeah, E-cubed.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I love that, man. Thank you so much for sharing that. These are very... Again, all of this is so practical, it seems obvious. A lot of times when you say things just like, yeah, like... But we're not taught these things.
JIM KWIK: And that's what I love. I have the same... Similar love as you do to read all the white papers and do a deep study into certain sciences mind... Especially in psychology and neuroscience. But I'm also thinking, how can I make this fun? How can I make this simple? 'Cause common sense is not common practice. I think a lot of people are listening, they know what to do, but are they doing what they know? So that's a big part of it, just encouraging people with stories and challenges and making learning fun again.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. I shared this with you years ago when we first started because you were asking me about how I was going about what I was doing, and I just happened upon it, which was, as I'm doing research, I'm thinking, how can I teach this?
SHAWN STEVENSON: It just like... It was a switch that was flipped in my mind. And also, one of the craziest things, even at this age of we've got AI full on in our reality right now, but even with a published paper, maybe it's like a huge meta-analysis, finding some kind of benefit we'll just say with turmeric, being able to... There's some researchers at UCLA finding that it helps to improve your memory. So this can be randomized, placebo controlled, all the things published, it can take up to 15 years before that becomes common knowledge in education for university students. There's this huge lag, still 10-15 years on average. And so. Having access to someone who's doing this work for you, who's consolidating it into a way that's entertaining and fun and useful right now so you don't have to wait a decade to get the good news on something simple you can do to empower yourself. That's really the secret sauce.
JIM KWIK: And when you make it into small, simple steps that people could do, then it takes the barrier or the threshold to action. A lot of times people, they know they should work out, but it's too big for somebody who hasn't done it. So maybe a small simple step is putting on your running shoes or just getting to the gym. You break things down. 'Cause inch by inch, it's a cinch, but yard by yard, it's too hard. It could be too intimidating if people want to just have your eight pack and everything else. That could be for somebody who's just kind of getting started, it could be too big. But if they ask themselves a simple question, we talk about the power questions. What is the tiniest action I could take right now that will give me progress towards this goal where I can't fail? Because little by little, a little becomes a lot.
SHAWN STEVENSON: This is something you brought up a little bit earlier, and I definitely want to dive into it and hear what you have to say about skill acquisition, especially in this day and age. Let's talk about that.
JIM KWIK: I think if people want to be more limitless at school or limitless at work, a big part of it is you wanna create a result. And in order to create that result, we need skills to be able to achieve those things. And I would imagine everybody has a skill that they want to add. Maybe something on their to learn list. Maybe they wanna learn a language, maybe they wanna learn how to dance, maybe they wanna learn python or coding or something like that. So it's very simple. I created a word and it's prasma. I want to create something that's kind of unique. Prasma is a combination of two words, practical and plasma.
JIM KWIK: It's like practical plasma. It's like, what does that mean? Practical is pragmatic. Plasma is this dynamic fluid. That's what plasma is. And that sometimes, learning is very dynamic and it's fluid. It could change, depending on context. So prasma is an acronym, and I'll give people just the points too, so they have some kind of framework when they wanna learn a new skill.
JIM KWIK: The P stands for preparation. So everyone could think about the skill they want to acquire. Maybe it's kung fu or maybe it's to fly a helicopter or whatever it happens to be. I'm talking about obviously like matrix in my mind, but the P is preparation. And so preparation is things like the goal, like what's the goal, setting a good intention. Maybe if you want to learn a language, you want to be able to have five minutes conversation of some... With somebody in that native tongue. Or maybe you want to learn very specifically the 200 most used word and some words in that language. Maybe that's your goal. Maybe if you're learning the skill of... I know you're a big fan of standup. Maybe your goal is to do a five minute set. An open mic night at a comedy club or something like that, whatever the outcome is. So we set... So that's part of the outcome. You're setting the specific, you're making it measurable, attainable, and so on.
JIM KWIK: Also, resource allocation. How much time and energy are you going to put towards this goal? That'd be part of your prep. The R in PRASMA stands for the research. And that's where you're actually researching that skill. Maybe if it's to learn a language, you want to go online and look up like the 200 most used words or the most... The 20 most used phrases in that language. So this would be your research part of it. The A is your acquisition, and this is actually where you're learning the skill. You start breaking it down and using the 80/20 rule. You deconstruct it, meaning that you don't have to learn all the words to be functional in a language, this is where you're... Maybe you're using, what's the 20% if you're learning the skills of golf, what are the 20% that's going to give 80% of the results or you're learning to be able to do a certain dance move and you can be able to break it down and deconstruct it.
JIM KWIK: Now, the S in PRASMA is the skill review. That's the practice. That's where like deep work would come in. You're putting in your... The proverbial like 10,000 hours, which we know you can do... You can cut that down dramatically, obviously with certain skills and mindset on top of that. And then finally, the M and the A. The M is mastery. And this is what I would just encourage everybody, once you get to a certain level where it's second nature, there's always another level. That's where you're optimizing. You're looking for that... Let's say it's sports or basketball, you're looking for those nuances that make a big difference. Maybe also part of mastery would be health optimization or brain optimization. Optimizing your sleep with one of your many expertise. That will get you to the next level. Or optimizing your nutrition, or your stress management, things like that to get to the next level. So that's mastery and beyond.
JIM KWIK: And then the A is the application. Just reminding everybody that we don't learn something in a vacuum. If you could go do it in the real world and get real world feedback. I have a friend who really wanted to do standup and he started... He was so nervous about it. So he started to do jokes in the subway in New York city. And how... But those were... That was where you get real world feedback or doing open mic night and seeing kind of like how a lot of legends would do it where they would see the feedback from the audience. So they would know just like as a public speaker or something else, getting real world feedback from the world, whether it is language learning, maybe you joined a... An online group. They have meetups actually in every city where you could go and just pay for your own dinner and you have to converse in another language. This would be real world application and feedback. But the idea here is most people, when they want to learn a skill, they just kind of jump into it without any map or plan, but this gives people a little bit of a framework and stages or phases that they could follow to be able to do it more clearly and with less friction.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh, I love it. I love it. Skills to pay the bills. So good, man. Now, one of the coolest things that you've been working on recently, and I got to participate in this a little bit, is highlighting for us something... And again, that should be Captain Obvious, but we don't really think about, is that we all have very unique brains.
JIM KWIK: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: No two brains are alike.
JIM KWIK: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And we have unique ways of learning and we have unique ways of carrying ourselves and operating unique perspectives, unique ways that we are interacting with other people. And you have a really wonderful quiz that you put together and my wife and I took the quiz, and lo and behold, we have different outcomes.
JIM KWIK: Right, right.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so I'm looking forward now to getting some feedback on this and what my quiz results are saying. So can you talk about this quiz and... Yeah.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. This is a game changer in the new book. So I realized that people want suggestions, but not everything is for everybody. Everybody reads a little different. They think a little different. They relate and communicate a little bit different. And we realized over years of doing this, that there are four primary cognitive types and I call them brain animals, just to make it fun. A lot of people take these quizzes, like what Game of Thrones character are you? What Harry Potter character are you? Kind of thing. But we create a quiz. It only takes about four minutes and it's a brain code. So C-O-D-E, and these are the animals. The C is the cheetah. And if you're a cheetah, you're a fast actor. You really implement, you apply, you move very fast, you thrive in fast paced environments because you go by your intuition and also you adapt very quickly.
JIM KWIK: And the O in code, is the logical owl. These are people that love facts and figures and formulas. They love data. And just think about it, like a cheetah is gonna invest differently than an owl would. They would relate differently. They would sell differently. They would buy differently. They would also learn differently. They would read differently and remember things differently. The D is your dolphin. And these are your creative visionaries. They have wild imaginations. They're extremely good at pattern recognition and they're very creative. And depending on what cognitive type you are, it would also determine what element you would really thrive in a career as you think about it. And then finally, the E in code are your elephants. And these are your empaths. They love teams. They love social. They have strong interpersonal skills and they're very loyal. And they bring people together, clean collaboration and communication.
JIM KWIK: So we realized that when people were asking, how do you remember names or how do you read, it's similar... You know how you have like personalized medicine or personalized nutrition? Now we can get people personalized learning based on their cognitive type. So when people take the quiz, they get a very detailed report on if you're a cheetah, you could read this way. If you're an owl, you could remember this way based on your proficiency. What I learned over 30 years, it's not how smart you are. It's how are you smart. It's not how smart your kids are or how smart your team is, how smart your significant other is. It's how are they smart? Because we all have a way where we just... If I asked everyone to write their name first and last with their dominant hand, they would do it with a certain level of ease and quality.
JIM KWIK: But if I ask you underneath that, switch hands and underneath, write your first and last with your non-dominant hand, that second time would take longer. The quality probably wouldn't be as good and would feel uncomfortable. Some people, when they're interested in a topic and they're not getting it, sometimes they're trying to learn it with the opposite hand. So it takes longer, it's uncomfortable. And the quality of the retention, the fidelity is not as strong. So I just want to remind people... And this is the great thing about understanding your cognitive type, is it takes the judgment out of it. Or sometimes we're hard on ourselves because we don't connect, but sometimes the way the teacher teaches is different than the way the student learns. And you're like two ships in the night and you pass each other and you don't even realize the other one's there and there's no connection.
JIM KWIK: So when we discovered this, what we do with clients is we determine their brain animal type, and then we know what their dominant thinking is, how they prefer to learn. And we pulled from like left brain, right brain dominance to create this. We create... We had a poll from Myers-Briggs, introvert, extrovert. Multiple intelligence theory from Howard Gardner out of Harvard. Cognitive styles and preferred learning styles. Some people like visual, auditory and kinesthetic. So we pulled from multiple disciplines to integrate into a simple four buckets. And then it's fun. People could take the quiz at mybrainanimal.com and it's free. There's nothing to buy and you get this detailed report. And then I'd follow up with emails based on your cognitive type. So if you're a cheetah, cheetahs love to sprint. So we teach them how to read quicker, how to be able to scan and pick up words. Owls are more meticulous in terms of the facts and we show them how to take notes and really lean into their style, and give people suggestions on how they can relate to others.
JIM KWIK: So you took the quiz and you were a cheetah. Yeah. 'Cause you are incredibly fast acting. You are a very strong owl. So I probably imagine nobody's any one animal. We're a combination. Certainly, you have a primary, you have secondary. But you're able to implement and execute and be able to put things in action. And sometimes, that could... Sometimes, an owl could be frustrating 'cause they want to get everything absolutely perfect. And they're more into the data than they are into putting that into application. Other people, the elephants, like we had our whole team do it, a couple of dozen people. And we noticed like the customer experience people, they were primarily elephants, they were empathic. They really care for their customers. Our financial person is a very dedicated owl. Our CEO is a creative visionary like dolphin. And so it's very telling. And then wait... You could kind of organize your team. And it's interesting thing to talk about at your family meals, even in terms of what their dominant animal is.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That's what we did last night. I read my summary and my son said what B?
BRAYDEN: It sounds like you.
JIM KWIK: It does.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Man, you look handsome over there. The light's hitting you in a certain way. You're looking good, boy. But yeah, just being able to share that and they were just like, especially my oldest son, he was like, "Yeah, that's dad." But here's the thing, as you mentioned, being that I have some of the owl traits as well, my wife is Fumo owl.
SHAWN STEVENSON: She's out here, "Hoo-hoo." She's hooing. And that intersection, if you can match those up, it can be something really special. And as you know, like she runs everything. She runs our team and helps to make all the magic happen. But for me... And I've said this before, one of my favorite character traits in a person is speed of implementation, people that just, you learn something and you do something. That's me. I don't want to have a meeting, that's where we would have conflicts. I don't want to know the 10 things. It's going to just make me want to go take a nap. Just tell me two things, let me go and crush it, dominate, execute on that thing, and then I'll get to the next thing. And so, being able to understand our different characters and also learning about... Even with your team, like you just mentioned, being able to understand how people... Where they're coming from because we tend to just be like, "Why don't you think like I do?"
JIM KWIK: Right, right, right.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Which just creates a lot of suffering.
JIM KWIK: No doubt. It just gives you a different lens into the world. And again, it takes the judgment from yourself, your self-judgment, but also the judgment of the people around because everybody is working their brain animal.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. So that's where we found like a middle ground because she would come in with a 10 and I would be like ready for the two. And so, maybe we settle on three or maybe one thing, actually, just tell me what's the most important thing. Let me just execute on that. And so we found basically three things. She's got three... Sometimes, she's just like... You could see she wants to say more, but we found that middle ground. And yeah, it's really spot on. And again, this is incredible, man. It's such a great gift. You said this already. You get decades of your brilliance, your education, multiple decades of you teaching others in this book. So Limitless Expanded Edition is out there right now on store shelves. You need to have this in your library. And this book is going to help you to read and maintain, recall the information in other books. It's like a superpower.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. It's like Lord of the Rings. They have that phrase, "The one ring that controls them all." This would be the one book to help you learn, read, focus, apply all the other books without a doubt.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so again, run out right now, or of course we've got these supercomputers in our hand as well.
JIM KWIK: We do.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You can head over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble...
JIM KWIK: Wherever.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Your favorite retailer, get Limitless Expanded Edition, the new insight's in here. Let's talk a little bit more about what people are going to be getting. So the new stuff.
JIM KWIK: People go to limitlessbook.com, and really we wrote this book for a post-pandemic AI world, where you have to be agile at work, where it's really about momentum. We talk about three M's in the book, part of the limitless model. In order to become limitless, you have to control the controllables. And I believe these difficult times, they could distract you. These difficult times can diminish you or these difficult times they could develop you. Ultimately, we decide with our choices, but there are three things we could always control. Our mindset, our motivation and the methods we're using. Our head, our heart and our hands. We can always control those three things. And so we lean into things that we could control. And when you do all three, you get the fourth M, which is really the focus of the book, which is personal momentum. When you have the mindset, which are the set of assumptions and attitudes you have about something.
JIM KWIK: 'Cause often, the problem is not the problem. Often the problem is our mindset about the problem, our attitudes and assumptions about the situation. And so, we show people how to unlimit their mindset because if you teach someone a method on how to remember names and languages and do this, give talks without... From memory, then... But if your mindset is I'm too old or I'm not smart enough, or I have a horrible memory, people at events all the time, they come to me after they... After my talk and they just say, "Jim, I'm just not smart." And I would say, "Stop." If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them. If you fight for your limits, they're yours. So that has to be unlimited. And so we talk about a process for reframing those thoughts and how to go through and change those limiting beliefs.
JIM KWIK: Because all behavior is belief-driven. Your brain is this incredible supercomputer and your self-talk are the programs it will run. So 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 programed -not to. But you could also be stuck in life. So I talk about being stuck, meaning that change is hard. Going after your dreams can be very scary, but nothing is as scary as being stuck somewhere where you don't belong. And I feel like a lot of us are stuck or limited. As a kid, I felt very limited because I couldn't learn or read or do these things. And so, we... If you're stuck, part of that... If you think about a box, stuck in a box, there are three dimensions that keep that box. It's three dimensional. So the first dimension is your mindset. You could not believe it's possible. You might believe you don't deserve it. Or you're not... Maybe it's possible for someone else, but it's not possible for you.
JIM KWIK: But let's say you unlimit that. The second thing that keeps you stuck in that box is the second M, which is your motivation. You might not be motivated to get out of that box. Maybe you have this big goal, but you're not motivated to eat that food or to meditate, or be able to do that thing with your sleep. So we show people in the book how to tap into limitless motivation through a process of purpose, energy. Sometimes, when we're more exhausted, you eat a big processed meal, and you're not very motivated to read. And if you have a newborn child and you haven't slept in three nights, you're probably not very motivated to go to the gym. So there's an energy part. So people here, you've shared so much about, optimizing your energy and vitality and then breaking things down to small, simple steps. So we talk about habits, how to access flow states. That state of flow where you feel your best and you perform at your best. But then the third M that could keep you stuck, maybe you have a limitless mindset and limitless motivation, but you don't have the... You're using old methods.
JIM KWIK: Maybe old methods for sales or marketing or, in this case, reading. And then you could still be stuck in that box. So we show people how to upgrade. So I really feel like the biggest mistake people are making right now out of fear is they're downgrading their dreams to meet their current situation. We shouldn't downgrade our dreams to meet the current situation. We should be thinking about how to upgrade our mindset or motivation and the methods we're using to be able to meet our destiny. But when you unlimit all three of these things, then you have no friction. Then you have momentum, positive momentum, where it's just this natural progression towards bigger and bigger goals. And the things we talk about in the book that will amplify momentum, the velocity in your acceleration are things like knowing your brain animal type. When you understand who you are, you can lean into those strengths and have more momentum.
JIM KWIK: We talk about brain nutrition, something that you're an expert on. The different foods and potential nootropics you could use to be able to accelerate your focus, your mental energy, that will give you more momentum. We have new chapters in there on things like learning agility, how to be limitless at work. And so if you're working remote or you're hybrid kind of thing, or you're switching from this book to this book, fiction to nonfiction, how do you do it more agile with more agility? Just like you're incredibly... Your family is very... It's like the model, like superhero family, but you have this physical fitness and like physical agility is your flexibility, your speed, your ability to adapt. You want mental agility. You want greater mental muscles to be able to keep up with things, to be able to be quick on your feet with your thinking and your ability to be flexible in your approach. So we really show people how to optimize their mental muscles.
JIM KWIK: And then there's a whole new chapter also on artificial intelligence. People are so scared that we're going to... The Skynet or what... And then, pins is out of the box already. And technology for me, even when I talk about digital distraction in the book and digital dementia and digital deduction, digital deluge, and digital depression, where people are just comparing themselves to everybody else and it affects our mental health and our brain health also as well. We talk about different things that people could do to use artificial intelligence to be able to... I always think with AI, it's... For me, AI is not artificial intelligence, it's augmented intelligence. And I'm always asking my primary question, the questions or the answer is how to use AI to enhance your HI, your human intelligence. And there's so many strategies that we pack in there on how to use it to get smarter.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh, this is so exciting, man. Thank you so much for putting this together for all of us. And everybody again, pick up a copy right now, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your favorite local bookstore.
JIM KWIK: We create a great site, limitlessbook.com and people could get all the links to all the stores there. And then, a couple of really special bonuses, brain training, that's worth many times the investment of the book.
SHAWN STEVENSON: As usual, man, you over deliver, you do over deliver. And your previous version of the book is one of the books... I think I've gifted that book more than any other book.
JIM KWIK: Thank you.
SHAWN STEVENSON: As a matter of fact, I was just giving it to even certain segments of my audience for a time period.
JIM KWIK: Thank you.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You have maybe like a special on the book and I just buy a bunch of them.
JIM KWIK: Thank you. We donate the proceeds, author proceeds to charity. So we built schools everywhere of our team from Guatemala to Kenya to Ghana for children who have no access to education and also Alzheimer's research for women. Women are... As you know, are twice as likely experience Alzheimer's than men. And most of the research is still done on male brains and treatments on male brains. But in memory of my grandmother who passed of Alzheimer's. So it's a real... Yeah, but it's always so much fun being with you, my friend.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. It's my honor. My honor.
JIM KWIK: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Grab your copy. Limitless Expanded Edition right now.
JIM KWIK: Take that quiz.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And take the quiz. Absolutely.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. Can I challenge everyone to do something?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Let's go.
JIM KWIK: Yeah. After you take the quiz, my brain animal, you'll get all this amazing art work. I would suggest people post what animal they are and tag us both. And so, that's how where we'll get to see it. And I'll repost some of them and we'll also gift a few copies out to your community, just as a thank you.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Amazing. What's your handle on IG?
JIM KWIK: Jim Kwik, everything. K-W-I-K.
SHAWN STEVENSON: @JimKwik, @ShawnModel tag us.
JIM KWIK: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I love you, man. Thank you so much.
JIM KWIK: Love you too.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Jim Kwik, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. This is one to share out with your friends and family like crazy. Of course, as Jim mentioned, take a screenshot of the episode, share it out on social media, tag him, @JimKwik, K-W-I-K. It's crazy his name is Kwik. That's like legit. He didn't go to some courthouse and change his... His name is Jim Kwik and he's about that accelerated learning. Amazing. And of course, tag me. I'm @SeanModel. We've got some epic masterclasses, world-class guests coming your way very, very soon. So make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day. And I'll talk with you soon.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you've got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much and take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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