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TMHS 408: Master Your Focus In Turbulent Times & Unlock Your Limitless Brain – With Guest Jim Kwik
Now, more than ever, we’re immersed in an influx of information, notifications, and a plethora of stimuli fighting for our attention. Between our devices, ads, and social media, our brains are easily held captive to endless distractions. While none of these distractions are inherently evil, it’s our responsibility to monitor and intentionally direct our attention.
If you want to learn how to harness the power of your mind, there’s no better person on the planet to learn from than Jim Kwik. Jim is the world’s foremost expert in accelerated learning and memory, a speed-reading expert, and the most frequent guest on The Model Health Show! Jim is back on the show to share more of his game-changing tips to upgrade your brain, accelerate your learning skills, and unlock an exceptional life.
You’re going to hear about how to expand your mindset, motivation, and methods so that you can truly be limitless in whatever you wish to achieve. As always, Jim is serving up concrete and effective tools you can use to maximize your potential and harness your superpowers. You’re going to learn how the things that keep you stuck in a rut are the very things that can empower and liberate you. I truly hope you enjoy (and apply) the powerful insights from this episode.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The question that inspired the Limitless framework.
- How our self-imposed labels become limits.
- The three components of the Limitless model.
- How to change the way you think about motivation.
- The four digital supervillains that hold us back from learning and focusing.
- How your memory is similar to a physical muscle.
- What task switching is, and how it decreases your time management.
- The one skill you need to master in the 21st century.
- How many thoughts we have per day.
- Why your brain acts primarily as a deletion device.
- How the human brain is like the Instagram algorithm.
- The three questions you need to ask to turn knowledge into power.
- How to improve your concentration muscle.
- Which of your senses is most heavily tied to memory and recall.
- Why handwritten notes are better for retention.
- The difference between note taking and note making.
- Why information tied with emotion is unforgettable.
- Practical tips to learn how to read faster.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Beekeepersnaturals.com/model ⇐ Get 15% off raw honey & other natural remedies!
- Organifi.com/Model ⇐ Use the coupon code model for 20% off!
- Limitless by Jim Kwik ⇐ Preorder the book and get your free 10-day course!
- Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck
- Kwik Brain 013: How to Take Notes for Rapid Recall
- Improve Your Memory & Read Faster with Jim Kwik – Episode 56
- Connect with Jim Kwik Website / Podcast / Twitter / Instagram
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!
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. I am so pumped about this episode. We're talking about a subject that I love more than just about anything in the universe. We're talking about learning, but not just learning, how to learn faster. This is a true attribute that we need today more than ever. We are swimming in information, and things to learn, and to be at the top of our game, to be ahead of the curve, to be a lynchpin in society and organization, we need to be able to learn fast, to be able to retain information and to be able to apply it in the real world for real results. Now, I think that a big part of learning is sparked from a love of learning, and developing that kinship of falling in love with learning. It kind of like when you hear the question, somebody will ask, "When did you fall in love with hip hop?" Alright, this is from a classic movie. "But when did you fall in love with learning?" And if you're listening to this podcast, there's probably been a place along your story where you start to fall in love with learning. You're like, "I like this. I like spending this time with you." Maybe it was the advent of podcasts that took it from just this rote activity that you had to do to, "Man, I really enjoy this."
And that's why we do these shows, is to make the process of learning more enjoyable, and fun, and a journey, really, and an adventure. But for me, I have distinct moments in my life when I was instilled with the love of learning. One of them, very early on, I've shared before, kindergarten. My grandma got me this Garfield's little notebook, so I learned how to write my letters, and then I had this realization that I can make words, and I can create stories with these words myself. It was just so empowering. But when I truly... Because that was kind of a crush on learning, but I fell in love with learning in eighth grade, thanks to a teacher. And so many of us, there's usually a person, there's that mentor, there's that figure, there's that Yoda that comes in, or that Morpheus, that instructor, that teacher that gives you the tool, or enlightened you to the fact that there's another level that you have access to. And so for me, it was Ms. Blackmore, eighth grade. We had an assignment, a writing assignment to create all these different types of poetry, and to put it into a book of poetry. So each of the students, we were instructed to create a book of poetry. I had no idea what a haiku was, I didn't know what a tanka was, or free-form poetry, all these different things, but we created these different types of poems, and then we turned it in, and create illustrations for it and everything.
And I literally remember what it looks like, my book. It was a neon green cover or neon greenish-yellow. And by the way, neon was really popping around that time, but it's neither here nor there. But I turned it in, and I did the exercises, I did the instructions, but she took one of my poems, and she actually put it into the school newspaper. And not only that, they read my poem over the school intercom during the day. And if you get your stuff read or you're mentioned on the school intercom, it's like getting blasted all over the world. At that time, in our kind of society lineage, "You world famous now." So basically, I was dubbed to be world-famous, and having this experience of like, "I matter, my words matter, I'm significant." And it just really instilled in me this sense of purpose that I'm good at this thing, because I had a great mentor, a great teacher to just give me this sense of significance. So if you've had that experience, it's such a blessing. If you've yet to have that experience, let today be the day that you are endowed or are bestowed the truth about you, which is you are in fact a genius.
Every single human being is endowed with genius, it's just that our genius can be expressed differently. We learn differently, and also, our unique genius is... For many people, it can be in different places. And so there's this wonderful quote from Einstein, that says, "Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid", right? Your genius is in this one thing over here, or these different things but, then you're judged on this other thing over here, we can be led to believe that we're stupid. We might be a prodigy in math, in business statistics, things like that, but then we might struggle with the English language. And so that's what our system is really built on, is you being okay in a bunch of different things versus, "Let's focus on your genius." But the system is changing. Schools are changing. Stuff takes a long time, but we're moving away from rote memorization to true modalities of learning, which, as you'll learn today, learning is not a spectator sport. It's not something where we're just disseminated this information that's thrown at us and something hopefully sticks.
It's an active thing. And these tools are going to start to turn on switches in your mind that make learning not just enjoyable but making it a whole lot easier. Now, learning is not always going to be a walk in the park, but with these tools that you're going to get today, you're going to be armed with the ability to retain more information to... Whether it's a speech you have to give, whether it's just facts, whether it's remembering people's names who you meet, you meet a room full of people, it is like, you might meet five people and you remember maybe one of their names, maybe, and that could be the difference between a possible relationship taking place, or a business deal. Learning somebody's name matters, so in the context of that. So many different tools and insights that are going to be delivered today from the world's foremost expert in accelerated learning and memory. And I think you're really, really going to enjoy this. So buckle your seatbelt, get locked in, because we're about to go on a real powerful adventure. Now I've also been taking an adventure recently and just looking at different modalities of nutrition, and healing, and immune system support throughout history.
Like a lot of the things that we're doing today, these new inventions that we have for supporting our immune function, for protection against various infections, viruses, bacterial infections, things like that, a lot of this stuff is experimental. We don't have any long-term data. And so I'm just looking at what has been used historically? And so one of those things that I've come across is propolis, right? Propolis. Bees don't just make honey, they also make propolis. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were well aware of the healing properties of propolis and made extensive use of it in medicine. And today, now we have clinical trials that are affirming that they were really on to something. There was a recent study published in Phytotherapy Research that found that when topical propolis was applied to the skin three times a day, it accelerated the healing of cold sores. And so obviously, this is related to a virus. Researchers found that the topical propolis not only reduced the amount of this cold sore virus, a herpes virus present in the person's body, but it also protected the body against future cold sore outbreaks.
What? You don't hear information like that, you just simply don't. And it's right there in the data, but it's about asking the right questions, which you're going to hear about today. And here's another, this is a meta-analysis published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, peer-reviewed journal, found that propolis has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antitumor properties. It was noted to be an effective immunomodulator that can increase the body's resistance to infection. One of the studies indicated that propolis-treated patients showed a reduction in incidence and severity of asthma and allergy symptoms. This is important today, more than ever, of supporting our immune system. Your immune system is this very dynamic and complex intelligence that helps your body to defend itself from all the nefarious things that you come in contact with. And not only that, because we all do, on a daily basis, come in contact with fungi, bacteria, viruses, but your immune system, a healthy immune system, knows how to handle it.
And if you even are exposed, how to adapt and to recover quickly. Because the immune system has this really interesting intelligence and memory that it's able to learn how an infection, or a viral exposure, bacterial exposure, how it operates. And so your immune system becomes very quick to be able to identify that thing, or even things that are similar, if you're ever exposed to them again, and to take them out quickly. Cytokines, macrophages, natural killer cells, it's really, really amazing. But we need to support our immune system via our diet, our lifestyle practices. We know that exercise and our sleep are huge players in supporting our immune system, but also timeless things like propolis. And so right now, every day, even today, for myself, and my family, I'm giving them the propolis spray from Beekeeper's Naturals. And so it's a easy to use spray, you just do four or five sprays, and it tastes really good, actually. And it's just an immediate immune enhancement, just support for the immune system. Just going back on what we talked about, antiviral, antimicrobial, antitumor benefits that are seen with propolis in a easy-to-use fashion. Because a lot of the studies we're actually using these extracts, and in a liquid form, so this is an easy simple spray.
And this is something we just keep in our cabinet, and it's just the overall part of our health and wellness strategy during times, especially the ”flu season”, just to keep your immune system a little bit more heightened and ready to do its job. Being that it's an immunomodulator, that it can lift your immune system up if it needs to, and keep it, and bring it back down if it's getting a little bit out of hand, like what we see with things like autoimmunity. So huge fan of the propolis spray from Beekeeper's Naturals. Get yourself some, they do third-party testing for over 70 different contaminants that are found in conventional bee products. And this is why I really love them. Go to beekeepernaturals.com/model, you get 15% off everything they carry. Even today, just for a little boost, my wife had some of their Superfood Honey, and some garlic, alright? I'm not saying it's delicious, but that's what she had. We love their honey, it can hide some flavors, but also it's raw honey, which we've talked about this several times on the show, the incredible amount of benefits from reduction of inflammation, the antioxidants that are found there. They've got some incredible products and it's done the right way. Beekeepernaturals.com/model, that's beekeepernaturals.com/model, get 15% off. And now let's get the Apple Podcast review of the week.
iTunes Review: Another five-star review titled “Placeholder for a Borat Joke” by my_wit_wont_fit, "Hey Shawn, long time listener from Kazakhstan here. Your podcast changed my perspective on wellness and helped to avoid myriads of health problems tied to being a programmer. Ironically, I started listening to improve my English, and it helped there as well. Thanks, and get well."
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. I love this review so much. And you even put Placeholder for a Borat Joke just to cut me off at the pass. Big shout-out to Kazakhstan, and you, and I appreciate you so much for tuning in, and grateful that I could be able to help in learning English. That's so incredible, but also just picking up the gems that we're sharing here on the show. And man, that just means everything to me. Thank you so much for leaving that review over on Apple Podcasts. And if you get to do so, please pop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for the show, I appreciate it so very much. And speaking of gems, we've got a very special gem on the show today. Today's guest is my good friend, Jim Kwik, which is his real name, spelled K-W-I-K. Jim Kwik is widely recognized as a world expert in memory improvement, brain optimization, and accelerated learning. After childhood brain injury left him learning challenged, Kwik created strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance.
And he has since dedicated his life to helping others to unleash their true genius brainpower. He's also the host of the top-ranked education training podcast, Kwik Brain, K-W-I-K Brain, which is one of my favorite podcasts, and author of the upcoming book Limitless, which I have right here. I have an advanced copy, it's so good. Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life. And this is one of my favorite people in the universe. He's been just a great friend. He's somebody who's always been giving and helpful, and just... I've learned a lot from him. You can't help but learn when Jim is sharing his gift. So let's jump into this conversation with the amazing Jim Kwik. So in the book, one of the crazy things that I didn't realize, number one, you shared detail of how you experienced that brain injury as a kid, which you've talked about, but you also shared a story about your grandmother that I wasn't aware of, and how she's an inspiration for the work you're doing today. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Jim Kwik: Yes. Sometimes our inspiration really comes from our desperation. My parents, they immigrated here, typical immigrant story. My dad was 13 at the time. He had lost both his parents early, very early. And he had to leave his two siblings to move to the States to live with his aunt, who I just called Grandma, 'cause that's all I knew. Our family lived in the back of a laundromat that my mom worked at, and they had multiple jobs. So my grandmother was the one that raised me, and she was my caregiver, right? She was my everything. And when I was going through that brain injury at that same time, where the broken brain label and everything, she was suffering and struggling with dementia. And so I would go and bring her food, and she would call me by my brother's name. She would repeat something she'd just said 30 seconds ago. And just that, when you're that age, and that really gets an imprint on you.
And it made me, even to this day, I spend an inordinate amount of time with seniors and the elderly at helping them polish off their memories. Also, I love hearing stories, because, I mean, what other people had to go through generations ago, there's so much wisdom that's there, and there's some regret too. When people are at those final stages of their life, you hear these honest answers about how they would have done things differently. Yeah, so I'm very passionate. We raise money for various funds, Alzheimer's research. The book Limitless is endorsed by the Founding Director of the Cleveland Clinic for Center of Brain Health, where I train their caregivers, and their patients, and their doctors, and their researchers by Dr. Rudy Tanzi, who's one of the top Alzheimer's researchers in the world at Harvard University. By those institutions, there's exciting progress being made.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. And this is a different dimension of your work, that again I wasn't aware of. We know you, and you... I haven't told you this, but you are the most frequent guest on our show's history.
Jim Kwik: Oh, wow.
Shawn Stevenson: You're basically the resident learning expert. You come on...
Jim Kwik: It's an honor.
Shawn Stevenson: And do share so much so many jewels. But having this other dimension of focus and motivation. And you talk about your limitless formula in the book, and why motivation is such a big part of that. So, can you share that formula really quickly?
Jim Kwik: Absolutely, absolutely. This is, two-thirds of this book is absolutely new content, and it was a real privilege to be able to write this book. Initially, and you're one of the inspirations for the book, cause you're just... I talk about model health. You're a role model not only in health but in so many ways. Even with the podcasts, it's really actually sparking my show also as well, and your sexy voice, so...
Shawn Stevenson: Stop.
Jim Kwik: Yeah. The limitless model is a framework that really came about as a question that I obsessed about for 28 years, is why do people not do what they know they should do? Why aren't they making progress? Why isn't common sense common practice? Everyone knows they should eat right. Everyone knows that they should move and exercise, and prioritize their sleep, and read every day, and they do their journaling, but why aren't they doing that consistently? Initially, when I wrote this book, it was a book completely on methodology. It was how to speed read. It was how to remember names, and learn languages, and all the things that you and I have talked about in previous episodes. And I realized that... I asked myself this question. I really want this book to... Books have changed my world, and books have changed the world, but I wanted this book to have that kind of effect.
And I was thinking, "Well, if somebody just found the book and read it cover to cover, will they get the results?" And my honest answer was no. Because a lot of people know what to do. They've heard it on the podcast before, but they're still not doing it. And then I started going back over almost three decades of coaching children who have learning challenges, to seniors who are losing their mind, to top athletes and performers. And I realized that there were two ingredients that were missing, and this is the limitless model. So it comes in three parts. And what I love everybody to do, is think of an area of your life where you're not making progress, where you feel held back. It could be in your health and wellness, it could be in your relationships, your dating life, your career, your income. Where do you feel like you're stuck in a box? And it's interesting when I say box because a box is like a cage, it's like three dimensions. So these are the three dimensions that keep us in that box.
And it's... Yes, it is the framework for accelerated learning, but I also believe it is the formula for unlocking your exceptional life. And I use the word exceptional because back in school I was anything but exceptional. 10% of the kids got As, 10% got Bs, 80%, those of us who fell in that 80% felt like we failed school as opposed to school failing us, right? And I remember a lot of the kids in class, they were... My favorite people to hang out with were the geeks and the nerds because I would escape a lot in comic books, in video games, in Dungeons & Dragons, in geeky kind of activities. The only thing that made me different in that group was, I didn't have the grades, right? And I remember one day a teacher came in and said, "We have a big news. We're creating a special group called MASP, More Able Student Program." these were the more able kids. Yeah, I know they are more able, these are the exceptional kids. And I remember I was the only one not included out of my clique, right? So I created my own group called LASP and this is literally when I was a kid, Less Able Student Program, and that was my identity back then.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow.
Jim Kwik: So I felt that label became my limit. And so limitless is not about being perfect, limitless is about advancing beyond what you believe is possible in your life. And so it comes down to the limitless model and there are three parts. So, as everybody's listening to this, I want to turn this into an active conversation. I want you to think about that area where you feel you're held back, just one specific one. Now, what keeps you in there? I want you to draw out and I purposely want you to draw this out or imagine in your mind three circles, and they're intersecting right now. And it kind of looks like Mickey Mouse, like three circles, you have two ears and the head. And the first circle is your mindset.
What keeps you locked in that box is... Mindset, I'm defining as your assumptions or your attitudes about how things work, right? What would fall underneath that category of mindset, what you believe is possible, what you believe you're capable of, what you believe you deserve, right? In the book, the big part of it is on methods, but if you... Let's say I teach you how to remember names and I go through whole new strategies on how to remember people's names in the book but your mindset is, "I'm not smart enough," or your mindset is, "I'm stupid. I'm too old." or, "I have a horrible memory," you're not going to get that result. So my mind is trying to solve this riddle. It's always trying to think what's keeping people from doing that action, that's not getting them the results that they desire and they deserve.
So, that's the mindset. Connected to that is the second circle which is at the second M, I always alliterate everything three Ms, is motivation as you mentioned, because somebody could have the ultimate mindset, and they could know the methods, but if they don't have the motivation, they're not getting out of that box. Now here's the thing when I say motivation, it's a loaded word, you hear as a trainer, you hear it from other guests. Some people say motivation is a lie. Motivation, what a lot of people think of when I say motivation is going to a seminar and jumping up and down and being hyped up and energized and excited in the moment, but then the next day, nothing changes. And the proof that you have motivation is you're taking action, that's the only evidence, you're doing something, right? Your motive for action. And I found a formula, it's like the ultimate formula for sustainable motivation. Meaning that it's not just a surge like a lot of people have seen the Limitless movie or the Limitless television show where he takes a pill and he has a surge of motivation, but when it wears off, it's gone, and he's got to get himself up again.
Dr. Mark Hyman our mutual friend, he wrote the foreword of the book, and he says that there is no genius pill, but there is a process that Jim shares with you for your best mind, your brightest future. So there's no pill but there is a process. And there's a process for motivation because motivation is not something you have, it's something you do. And that's the big aha moment for a lot of people, it's not you wake up and you say to yourself, you put yourself into a trance by saying, "I don't have motivation," because that's not something you have, it's a verb, it's something you do. So there's a three-part formula that I've discovered and we could go into that. And then finally, the last M as we've discussed, are the methods. It's how to learn faster. And I focus on five methods because it overcomes the four super villains that I believe are holding everybody back that is just going to get... They're getting stronger and stronger like supervillains do. And so I give you the five superpowers, the methods, and specifically, it's in the area of focus, the area of memory enhancement, the area of study, meaning whether you're a student or not, and you want to study technical material, you're a lawyer, entrepreneur and it's in the area of speed reading and there's a whole also chapter in there on thinking, the power of thinking. All those classes I wish were taught in school, focus and memory and speed reading and critical thinking.
And so that model are the three things that keep you stuck, but also can liberate you at the same time. And when you're looking at this Mickey Mouse kind of Venn diagram, it's interesting, because if you have the motive... If you have the mindset and the motivation where that crosses over, I'm going to give you three I's now, is inspiration. So there are books on mindset, there's a great book called Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck, there are books just on motivation, right? And where they cross over you have inspiration, right? There are inspirational books, there are inspirational speakers, there are inspirational posts on Instagram, but that alone won't get you the result. Where mindset crosses over with methods, you have something called Ideation. Ideation, meaning you have the right mindset, everything is possible and you know what to do, but you're just ideating or you're just thinking about it, you're not actually doing it. And then finally, where motivation crosses over with methods, you have the third I, which is implementation which is powerful, right? You're motivated and you know what to do, but why are you still stuck in that box? You lack the right limitless mindset. Because you're only going to be able to accomplish what you believe is possible and what you believe you deserve.
So the book takes people through a process, what I call unlimiting. Unlimiting is a word I coined years ago, which... Unlimited is one thing, but it feels static, unlimiting is the process of removing these limits that hold us back. And the book really is about redrawing the borders and boundaries of what we believe we could learn and how we believe we can live.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. I was pleasantly surprised, how good this book is. And I know this is messed up, just hear me out.
Jim Kwik: Okay.
Shawn Stevenson: You've read more books than 10 people...
Jim Kwik: I've read a lot of books.
Shawn Stevenson: That I know, that read a ton of books, combined.
Jim Kwik: I don't know.
Shawn Stevenson: But all the things that I've learned from you over the years, I've been to your events...
Jim Kwik: Yes, you've spoken at my events.
Shawn Stevenson: I've spoken at your events, we've had conversations. All the tools that I've learned from you, I learned so much more in this book, and I just couldn't believe it. Once I started in on page one because I was going to jump around a little bit, go and find... But I felt compelled, and like pulled into the book.
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And that formula though, putting those three things together is such a genius way, of course, it just really opened up a new door in my mind. And I think other people are going to experience the same thing. Because, like you said, motivation is, it's an interesting thing, but how do we do it?
Jim Kwik: Right.
Shawn Stevenson: What does that mean? And you actually give strategies and things to implement, a lot, throughout the entire book, and it's just such a refreshing, powerful entity that you've created.
Jim Kwik: Thank you, thank you. My teachers, I wish... I'm going to send that to my teachers back in grade school because my teachers would have been surprised. It took me an extra few years to learn how to read after my brain injury when I was in kindergarten. So my teachers would have been surprised if I finished reading a book, much less wrote a book.
Shawn Stevenson: Wrote a book. And it's so good, it's so good. And today more than ever, a lot of people can identify with the struggles with learning, with focus. And one of the things I really want to talk about, because we'll touch on a majority of some of the topics that you mentioned.
Jim Kwik: Sure.
Shawn Stevenson: But we've got to break this down first. Our current... I call it a learnscape.
Jim Kwik: A learnscape?
Shawn Stevenson: Our current learnscape is complex.
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And let's talk about why today, right now, learning and focus is such a challenge. You actually go through these. There's four D's in the book, and one of them is Digital Deluge.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, yeah. So there are, I mentioned, four supervillains that weren't around in previous generations. And they're creating havoc on our minds, on our business, on our productivity, on our peace of mind, and our profitability also as well. And they're just getting stronger, and they're driven by technology, so I call them digital supervillains, and they're just growing stronger. And the ultimate technology is our brain. So that's why I wrote this book because to show you, you have the ultimate superpower to be able to overcome these supervillains. So the four supervillains, in no particular order, number one is Digital Deluge, which is digital overwhelm. There's just too much information, too little time. I mean, you think about everything that's coming across our screens nowadays, and people buying books that they don't read. People don't realize, this is just a little pet peeve I have, people believe that buying a book just makes...that makes it…Makes them special, like they have some kind of advantage just 'cause they bought a book. But the act of buying a book is different than the act of actually reading a book, they're two separate habits. Some people have that great habit, and they're experts at buying books, and then they sit on their shelves. And as we talked about this, they become shelf-help, and not self-help.
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
Jim Kwik: So with too much information, too little time, it's like taking a sip of water out of a firehose. And that's why, to answer your question, learning how to learn faster is so important. That's why we put the two chapters in there at the end, where we talk about study, to help you to keep up with that deluge and that overload. And also, the area of speed reading, because a lot of information we process is through reading. About, probably, half our day is spent doing that, our workday. And there's health consequences, 'cause this is The Model Health Show, we're talking about information anxiety, higher blood pressure, compression of leisure time, more sleeplessness, it's just messing with our mind, and so there are... And if you have teens, or you have children, they're all struggling with this. So, you have to upgrade their learning capabilities much like you would upgrade your phone or your apps, right? You want to upgrade your mind. Another one is Digital Distraction, going to your focus point. That's a supervillain. These are like the... I'm not saying that's going to an intelligence apocalypse if you will, but these are the four angels of the apocalypse if you will. The horses, if you would. The...
Shawn Stevenson: The four horsemen.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, exactly. The Digital Distraction is another one. And that's basically, we're so dependent on our smart devices. And every ring, every ding, every ping, every app notification, social media alert, like, share, comment, cat video, it's just, it's training our distraction muscles. And distraction is a muscle much like, just like, our focus is. And...
Shawn Stevenson: You're training your brain to be distracted.
Jim Kwik: All the time, as you and I have talked about in previous episodes, something like our touching our phone the first half-an-hour of the day, is just when you're in that relaxed state of awareness, that alpha, meditative state, you're very suggestible, and picking up your phone's probably the worst thing you could do for your productivity and your peace of mind. Get into your day first, and do it with good intention. And then quickly, the last two out of the four. The next one is Digital Dementia, which we have talked about in your show. Where we're dependent on our smart devices as external memory storage for us. So, it keeps our to-do's. It keeps all our phone numbers. I've asked people, "How many phone numbers did you know growing up?" And you're like, "All of them." "How many phone numbers do you know now?" "One, maybe two."
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
Jim Kwik: There could be somebody you call and text every single day, but if you didn't have your phone, you'd have no idea how to write to them. You know, if you're in an accident they don't know how they call emergency contacts. You have no idea what that is. Not that you want to memorize 500 numbers. I don't want to do that. But we've lost the ability to remember one, or a conversation, or something we're going to say, or a meeting that we... We forgot something, perhaps someone's name. And then finally, the last D, the Horsemen, you have digital deduction. And digital deduction is where our technology is doing a lot of the thinking for us. And I cite research in there where children, they're not... They don't have the analytical abilities of previous generations, the reasoning ability. They're not able to use critical thinking because technology spoon-feeds us, not just through fake news, but it's also through just all these algorithms that tell you what to think and when to think it. Even like GPS, we lost visual-spatial intelligence. We no longer... As hunter-gatherers we needed to where everything is, but a lot of us have decreased our ability to be able to see and know ourselves in time and space.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. And it's a cross-adaptation, it's influencing other areas of our lives, and specifically, the digital dementia. You mentioned in the book how just that act of outsourcing our memory to our phones can basically start to deteriorate these brain pathways, these connections, to be able to remember things, both short-term and long-term. And when I read that section, I was at a physical therapy session just doing the ice, just relaxing, and I was just like, "Oh my goodness. I only know two phone numbers." I don't even know my oldest son's phone number, and we text every day. So I pulled out, I looked at his number and I used some of your cues, and I memorized it, which I know right now. I would say it but I... Don't call me... 5-5-5, we'll use a 5-5-5 like in the movies. But it's just being more proactive and utilizing those memory muscles because we've outsourced so much.
Jim Kwik: Just like physical muscles, when you're training somebody. And it's interesting, your Instagrams, your stories always come up first in my feed like that, because I get a lot of inspiration. But when you're working out, if you're not... It's not like we demystify the mindset area a bunch of lies that we are either told, or we assume, quite incorrectly, and one of them is that we use only 10% of our brain, right? And we know research suggests that we use all of our brain, just like we use all of our body, right? Everyone uses our body, but some people use it much more efficiently because they're more fit, and they've exercised it than other people. So if we were going to take a hike up Runyon Canyon, it would be of ease of somebody who's physically fit. But somebody who's using as much of their body, they're just... Haven't been trained, and that's a lot. That's the metaphor I use for our brain. And the reason why I focus on brain is because it's in our society today, in a fast-paced digital age, we're not paid for our brute strength, it's our brain strength, right? It's not our muscle power, it's our mind power.
The reason why I always wear these brain shirts, we were talking about it before we started the shoot, is because what you see, you take care of. You see your skin, you take care of your skin. You see your hair, you style your hair. You see your clothes, you take care of your clothes. But you don't see the most important thing, which controls everything, which is your brain, right? So I always have it on my shirt. I always point to my brain in photographs 'cause I'm like, "Take care of this. Love your brain and prioritize that."
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah. And speaking of loving your brain, you mentioned in the section on digital distraction how task-switching, like multi-tasking literally just burns through brain fuel...
Jim Kwik: Our brain glucose, yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Our brain fuel so quickly, and creates just more mental fatigue.
Jim Kwik: Yes, yes. We cited a number of studies in the book, saying that when people are multitasking, what they really are doing, as you know, is task-switching, they're going from one task to another. And not only does it waste time, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes to regain your focus and your flow... We did a whole chapter on flow states in the area of motivation, but it also burns an immense amount of energy and glucose. And so I would focus... And people want to... And one of the reasons why you can't focus, though is because we're always multi-tasking. And those devices... And again, I'm not anti-technology. Technology allows us to reach, right now, in this conversation, a global audience, it's amazing. It allows you to inspire, to be able to connect, and yet we are supposed to be using technology as a tool, but when technology uses us, who becomes the tool? I'm just saying, add mindfulness, add some consciousness, in terms of just don't pick up the phone out of habit, or out of boredom, right? Then it's using us.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Nobody wants to be a tool.
Jim Kwik: We should make that a shirt.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. In order for us to really elevate beyond these four digital dictators, I think it's important as a starting point for us to revisit your faster method. I think it's super powerful, if people really get these pieces, it's like a big umbrella of success. Let's talk about that.
Jim Kwik: Let's talk about it. Because I think if there's one skill to master in the 21st century, it's our ability to learn quicker because the world is changing so fast. And right now, whether people are working at home, or they're learning from home, that's the ultimate skill, because if there was a genie that could grant you any one wish, just one wish, you would wish, what would everyone wish for?
Shawn Stevenson: More wishes.
Jim Kwik: More wishes, right? Infinite wishes, millions of wishes. And now, if I was your learning genie, and I could help you learn any one, master any one skill, or any one subject, what would the equivalent be of asking for more wishes or infinite wishes? It would be learning how to learn, because then if you could learn how to learn, you could grant your own wishes. You could apply that towards anything. Mandarin, martial arts, music, management, marketing anything gets easier after that. And so the FASTER method I open up in the book where I actually show people how to read this book and I take people on that journey right? When people enter it, it's that hero's journey, right? I challenge them to take the call to adventure. Take the blue pill or take the red pill, and we use the metaphor of... I literally mapped it out and there's a graphic in the hardcover book of "The Hero's Journey" mapped out with the table of contents, and of course, I'm referring to Joseph Campbell's work. And so you're going through there, you go through some trials and challenges, you find a mentor who teaches you some skills, you find your Yoda or you find on your Miyagi...
Shawn Stevenson: Morpheus.
Jim Kwik: Right, exactly. And then you come back and then you have that elixir, that treasure, and then you go back into the world and do some amazing things with it by helping other people. But going through the FASTER method, I teach you how to learn anything faster. So this book will actually help you learn every other book after it. So really quick, it's an acronym. The F stands for Forget and you're like, "Jim you're the memory guy. I've seen you on video memorize all of these people's names, and numbers, and words and everything." But I would quickly remind you that if you want to learn something faster, forget temporarily, what you already know. You know what I mean?
You have to have that zen beginner's mind, and that means you're a sponge and you just start absorbing information because what keeps us from learning faster is this idea we already know it and so many people will come to you, and I'm sure you've had this conversation 'cause you meet so many experts and they say, or people who say they're experts, and they say, "I have 20 years’ experience in this field" and when you really deconstruct what they know, it feels like they only have one year of experience that they just repeated every year so they have 20 years they repeated it. And so 'cause they're stuck in their own epistemology of what they think about something. And you have to have an open mind. It's cheesy, like any cliché but it's true. Your mind is like a parachute, it only works when it's opened. Right?
So you forget what you currently know, temporarily, so you can learn something new because if someone is teachable and they have motivation, they're unstoppable. Right? So you have to have that open mind. And temporarily, also forget about what's going on in the world because we talked about distraction. If you want to learn salsa, or you want to learn Spanish, or you want to learn software programming, whatever you're learning, when ideas come in your mind that has nothing to do with the task at hand, just write them down so you don't fight them. So you could forget about them temporarily.
Shawn Stevenson: But that's really a big part of the mindset.
Jim Kwik: It is.
Shawn Stevenson: It's like coming into deciding I already know a thing. You've already blocked the ability to absorb and to learn something new. And for me, this is a huge, huge one, and it's something that I've really cultivated over the years. Number one, I feel like I'm a student, everybody can teach me something.
Jim Kwik: Oh, I love that mindset.
Shawn Stevenson: Even when I was leaving in the car coming over here, and the kid next door he said something to me, it is just like "I started to process and learn from what you just said."
Jim Kwik: I love that about Jim.
Shawn Stevenson: It's a simple statement. And once we think that we've got it all figured out, and I love the quote that you put in here, I'm going to paraphrase a little bit from Mark Twain that "It's not what you don't know that will hurt you, it's what you do know that ain't so." Right?
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And there's so many things, like even now, a year from now, some of the things that we see in clinical research that is a certain way, we're going to disprove it, we're going to find that it's different, that it is a different dimension, or it's not always true in this situation. So, keeping ourselves open to learning, I love that you start with that forget, and come into the situation with an open mind is so powerful.
Jim Kwik: And I think that's what makes you such a great learner and a great also host of this show, because you're present and having that... I can't tell you how many times I've seen interviews or I've listened to podcasts where people are talking about something and they drop a gem there, and I'm like, "Oh," and then the person just goes on, "Oh, and so... " Then they do, you know what I mean?
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Jim Kwik: They're not really listening, they're not really open and I feel like that's where we could always expand that the best teachers are the best students forever, so I love that. So that's the F, it's you forget, and also forget about what's possible temporarily. And going to mindset, this really falls in the area of mindset meaning that you always have a beginner's mind, that everybody, I love that belief that you have, that everyone could teach you something, everybody. Everyone in some way is your superior. They have had different life conditions. And children, you learn from just watching. It's amazing. So you can learn from everybody. You could watch somebody who's speaking on stage and they could be the most boring speaker ever, and everyone's falling asleep, and I could be learning from them like "Wow, now, I know the formula for putting everyone to sleep." That's so fascinating.
Shawn Stevenson: You're so good at it.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, it's incredible. How do they do that? And I get really curious. So that's the F in FASTER. The A stands for "You need to act." Alright, in order to learn something faster, learning is not a spectator's sport, and so many treat it as... Because we're trained. You remember back in grade school, you were just sitting there, you had to just be quiet, you can't talk to your neighbors, it's just like you had to just be lectured to, and that's not how the brain works. The brain doesn't learn through consumption as much as it learns through creation, and creativity and getting actively involved. So even right now as you're listening to this show, how can you be more active in this process? How can you ask yourself new questions because questions have a lot of power as you know to it. How are you taking notes right now? And I think one of the best ways is ask questions that are going to drive you to take this knowledge into action. Like how can you apply this right now? How are you going to use it right now? So that's the A, so you want to be active and you can't expect a teacher, a coach, a choreographer, or a dance instructor or anybody to do it for you, you have to do the work.
Shawn Stevenson: I love that statement that learning is not a spectator sport, right? And it's just... That's the way that our system is set up for the most part, just like you sit there and information is thrown at you, and you try and catch some of it.
Jim Kwik: Exactly, and it's a teacher's...
Shawn Stevenson: If it lands on you by the way.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, of course, it's a teacher's responsibility to do it to you and that puts you at the effect and you can never have a powerful limitless life when you're just reacting to things and hoping they stick. So that's the A, is to remind everyone to be active. The S in FASTER stands for state and you and I have had this conversation before that all learning is state-dependent. And state, I'm just defining as the current mood of your mind and your body. And I feel like that's one of the reasons why we didn't learn a lot back in school. It was very slow process because what was the mood or emotion we felt back in school mostly?
Shawn Stevenson: Boredom.
Jim Kwik: Boredom. And really the key to a long-term memory, and I've said this before, information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. Information alone is forgettable, but information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. And so you want to control. Who's in control of our emotions? We are. But we put ourselves in trance thinking emotions are just something we have. We either have focus or we don't have focus, we have energy or we don't have energy, we have curiosity or we don't have it. But it's not. You need to take those nouns and turn them into verbs. And states are something we constantly produce, we generate them. And so the two best ways of controlling our state of how we feel is... Let me ask you a question, everybody. On a scale of 0 to 10, what's your current state? How would you rate your state honestly, as you're listening to this? And you might... It might be a five, it might be a six, might be a seven. And then, play a game, play these mental games with yourself, have fun with it. What would you need to do to take it from a seven to an eight, or a seven to a nine?
And probably it falls into one of two categories, changing what's going on in your mind or changing your body, right? Changing your psychology or changing your physiology. When people sit up and they breathe, and they put a smile on their face or they put their thoughts on something more positive, then they change the way they feel. So I would never learn something in a bored state. A lot of people read and they use reading as a sedative. It's very boring process because they're not very good at it, so it has a lot of stress around it, and they're not retaining anything. They read a page in a book, get to the end, and just like, "What did I just read?" And they'll go back and re-read it. But part of that has to do with their state. And so manage your state, all learning is state-dependent. The T in FASTER, if you want to learn... Now think about a subject or skill you want to learn, right? Think about that. The T is what we're talking about is you want to teach it.
Teach. You learn, so you could teach. We learn things for the benefit it gives us. And I love this about you because I've had this conversation with you about some of the sleep issues that I've had in the past and other things. It's like you're a sponge because you learn it for yourself, but then you also have the same passion to teach other people. As soon as you learn it, you're like tell people about it. 'Cause I watch you on social media, I listen to your podcast. You learn it so you could teach it. And you learn it so much better as opposed to somebody who's just learning it for themselves, right? And so if you can imagine right now somebody you wish was listening to this podcast, imagine that person and imagine how you would explain what you learn to them right after the show. You would pay attention way differently. You would take notes, way, way, way differently. And when you're expressing it when you teach something, you get to learn it twice, right?
So teaching. And then finally, the E and the R in FASTER. The E is Enter. And what are you entering in? I believe the number one productivity performance tool we have is our calendar. What you put in there if you don't enter things in your calendar, they do not get done, right? And so you enter your doctor's appointment, you enter the PTA meeting with your kid, you enter meetings with your clients or your investor, right? But a lot of people in this community, they don't enter their personal growth. They don't enter when they're going to read that day, or when they're going to journal, or when they're going to work out, and then their day escapes them. And then they're like, "Oh, I forgot to do this." Because it wasn't in their calendar. So enter it, and when you enter it, it's more likely to happen. And then finally, the R in FASTER. If you want to learn any subject or skill faster, the R is a review.
Because the truth is when you hear something once, within 24-48 hours, in 48 hours up to 80% of it is gone, they call it the forgetting curve. And so if you do a spaced review, that's why in every chapter I have them, before they go on, review what they just learned from the previous day. Because that's important, because you're having this interval separation of information, and helps to take it from short-term and consolidate it to more long-term memory.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh, I love this so much. Just to give a real-world example, the enter which is one of those things, just like, "Is it that powerful?" Today, we all have so much stuff going on and if it's not scheduled, it's not real for a big chunk. And I literally have it on my calendar. I have my morning ritual time. It's on my calendar. I have my sleep time, it's scheduled. So I get a little notification 15 minutes beforehand, and sometimes I'm like, "Oh, man. I didn't realize it was this time." You know what I mean? But just having the audacity to put your success... The most important things that makes everything else work on the calendar, I think it's a really powerful step. So I love that formula, and it's just a building block. So this is an umbrella of the things that we're going to talk about because after the break we're going to talk about some methodologies. We're going to talk about how we can improve our ability to learn, our study skills. And even how to read a little bit faster. So we're going to do all of that right after this quick break. Sit tight, we'll be right back.
Growing up, if I thought about chocolate, I think about Three Musketeers. I think about a KitKat, Butterfinger, right? I had all these ideas, hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake. Those are the things that would conjure up in my mind when I thought about chocolate. Little did I know that chocolate itself, the original root of chocolate, which comes from something that's botanically a seed, these cacao seeds, was one of the most healthy foods in the world. Listen to this, this was from a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that polyphenol-rich cacao or cocoa without the sugar has remarkable prebiotic effects on the human body. So what the study found was that folks who were consuming this sugar-free cacao flavanol drink for four weeks significantly increased their ratio of probiotics or friendly bacteria. Bifidobacteria for example, while significantly decreasing their class of Firmicutes, which is associated with fat gain. So there's certain types of bacteria that are associated with gaining fat. And these Firmicutes... So the saying in health right now is that if you want to be firm and cute, you got to reduce the Firmicutes. Alright? I didn't make that up, somebody else did. But the bottom line is wow, it has a really powerful, remarkable impact on what's happening with your microbiome.
So study also found that it was able to reduce levels of systemic inflammation, measured by something called C-reactive protein. And if that weren't enough, cacao also has these compounds that have a really powerful influence on our mood, like Anandamide which is known like... It translates to meaning bliss chemical. Serotonin, tryptophan, these precursors that help your body to produce things like melatonin, that helps you to sleep better. It goes on and on and on, but the quality matters a lot. And when you get real chocolate into something that is even more health-giving, you've got something really special, and that's what they have with the new chocolate Organifi Gold drink. So they got the chocolate along with their incredible, delicious turmeric formula.
And as you know, turmeric has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and it also has been clinically proven to have anti-angiogenesis property. So this means that turmeric literally has the ability to cut off the blood supply to cancer cells. And we all produce cancer cells every day, but a properly functioning immune system, and being able to regulate this angiogenesis, which we need, but we need at certain levels, is incredibly important. And food can help to regulate that. So I'm a huge fan of Organifi, now they've got the new Chocolate Gold, alright? So pop over there and check it out. Just released, just delicious, organifi.com/model, you get 20% off that, and everything else they carry, alright? So head over there, check them out. Organifi.com/model, that's O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/model for 20% off. Now, back to the show.
Alright, we are back and we're talking with Jim Kwik, accelerated learning expert, memory expert, and a really, really good friend. He's part of the reason that the Model Health Show even exists. Real talk, he's somebody who has this really unique... One of his superpowers is just putting people in positions of success and connection, and just grateful to have him on. He's talking about his new book Limitless, which by the way, Will Smith has the cover book blurb. Will Smith. I mean, the Will Smith, alright? I'm not talking about Billy Smith, or William Smith, Will Smith, I.e. From Independence Day, I.e. From the Suicide Squad. Gemini Man was most recent. We just watched his new animated movie last night, or the night before last, Spy in Disguise. Have you seen it?
Jim Kwik: Not yet.
Shawn Stevenson: Fantastic, so good. Such a great family movie. And right now's a good time to hang out with your family, watch cool movies like Spy in Disguise, really fun. But anyways, writing the blurb, and this is what Will Smith had to say, "Jim Kwik knows how to get the maximum out of me as a human being." Come on, man. That's so powerful. So before the break, and we'll talk, we'll share a little bit about Will Smith in this context because this is in the book. You make this really powerful statement in the book, and this is a big part of learning, you say that questions are the answer.
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Questions are the answer. Why is that?
Jim Kwik: Let's talk about this. Okay, so in order to learn any subject or skill faster, you need curiosity, right? And one of the reasons why, again, you're such an expert in so many areas is because you have this curiosity. Is that something that you've always had your whole life?
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, I'd say so. Definitely. I was a shy kid, too so I was always observing and just watching. Yeah, yeah, I was.
Jim Kwik: Okay, okay.
Shawn Stevenson: Is it surprising?
Jim Kwik: Yeah, it is. Amazing. It's incredible. So I feel like that you ask the right questions on this show and you get the right answers. And ask and you shall receive, right? And so people ask about improving their focus, improving their memory, improving how... On their comprehension for what they read. And I would say, start with the right questions. Because we have anywhere from 50-70,000 thoughts a day, and a lot of those thoughts come in the form of questions. In fact, in the chapter I do on how to advance your thinking and solve problems and be a better decision-maker, which I think is the gem of the book, that chapter alone, I feel like it's worth the value of the book, because our life is the sum total of all the questions we've asked to this point, right? And I have a quote in there from a French philosopher that says that life is the C between the B and the D. Life is the C between the B and the D. And you're thinking, "Jim, you're speaking in tongues, you're speaking in code. What's the B, what's the D? I don't get this." Let me give you a hint, the B is birth, so what's the D?
Shawn Stevenson: Death.
Jim Kwik: Death. And C, which is life? C stands for choice. We, right now, our life is a sum total of the choices and decisions we've made up to this point, and part of our decision-making process is on default. Remember that technology is the digital default, we want it done for us, and we haven't developed these thinking skills. But thinking, when you think about it... And I go through various models on how to make good decisions, and how to solve problems, and how to be a better thinker because I think school teaches you what to think but not how to think. They teach you what to learn, but not how to learn. And so when you think about what thinking is, thinking is this process of asking and answering questions inside our own mind. And if you're asking yourself, "Is that true?" Notice you had to ask a question to think about it, right? So that's positive proof.
So a lot of these 50-70,000 thoughts a day are questions, and I believe that there are some questions you ask more than others. They're dominant questions. Maybe you have one, two, or three that you ask consciously and unconsciously throughout the day. And the reason why it's important is, and we've talked about this, is your brain is primarily a deletion device. Let me say that again. Your brain is primarily a deletion device. It's trying to keep information out because if it paid attention to everything, you would go insane. There's a billion stimuli we can be paying attention to. So what gets through that filter? The things that we care about, the things we're interested in, and things we ask questions about, because we have part of our brain, and we do a whole thing on brain anatomy in the book because I want you to know how limitless your superpowers really are. And part of your brain, called a reticular activating system, RAS, simple to remember, it really determines what you're going to focus on, and it gets activated by your questions. And so, as an example, I remember years ago my sister would send me pictures and photographs, emails with this specific kind of breed of dog. It's a pug dog.
They have a pug dog in Men in Black. It's like a smooshy face and you could dress them up like ballerinas, they are very compliant. But I didn't know my question was like why is she sending me all these pictures of pugs? And then I realized that her birthday was coming up. So she's a great marketer.
Shawn Stevenson: Dropping those hints.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So she was seeding all those. But I started asking question about these pugs and then guess what? I started seeing pugs everywhere. I'd go to the grocery store, the health food store, and I would be checking out and somebody in front of me is holding a pug dog checking out. I'd be jogging in my neighborhood and I swear to you, I saw a guy walking six pug dogs. And my question for everyone who's listening is, did the pug dogs just magically appear one day? No, of course not. They were always there, but they were not important to me because I wasn't asking the questions. They were part of that billion stimuli I was trying to keep out of my mind that I wasn't paying attention to.
Now here's the thing. What are your questions? What are the questions you're asking all the time that are bringing certain things into your life? And it's like an algorithm. I talk about it in the book, where it's like, you're programming yourself. It's like when you're going through Instagram or Facebook, everything you like and... Have you have ever noticed you start liking a lot of cat videos or whatever, they start feeding you more cat videos. But our brains are the same way. If we start looking at... Sometimes it's a scary time. We live in some very turbulent times. And if you're just... If the media is hijacking your amygdala to focus on fear and you start looking at it all the time, your brain, you just start looking for threats everywhere and that's all you see, and you delete everything you'd be grateful for. You delete all the opportunity, you delete all the magic also in life. I'm not saying don't focus on things that could be threatening at all but I'm saying what are you asking questions about that dictate your focus?
And so, this dominant question as an example, and we'll get to Will Smith as an example in a moment, is one of the ways of finding your dominant question is just listen to your own voice. In other ways like journaling or meditating 'cause you see certain themes that come up constantly. And I think self-awareness that really, it's a superpower. This book is a book on self-awareness. It's an owner's manual for your mind and how to be conscious and mindful and put intent in your mindset, put intent in your motivation, put intent in the methods that you're using day to day. And so I took my friend through a process and we found out her dominant question that she asks all the time is how do I get people to like me? How do I get people to like me? Now everyone listening, you don't know her age, you don't know her background, you don't know her job, you don't know what she looks like, her ethnicity. You don't know anything about her, but you know a lot about her. If somebody is obsessed with asking the question, "How do I get people to like me?" What's her life, what's her personality like?
Shawn Stevenson: It's going to be one that tries to cater to everybody else.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, exactly that. That person is going to be a sycophant. They're going to be people-pleasing all the time. They're going to be martyring themselves. People are going to take advantage of them. Their personality is always going to change depending on who they're spending time with because they're going to talk about the same kind of interests and the same kind of values, right? They have low self-esteem and... You know all that, and you only know one question she asks herself and that's it. And my question for everybody listening is, what's your dominant question? What's the question you're thinking about all the time that's keeping you may be limited and how can you upgrade those questions to be more limitless? Let me give you an example. When you mentioned Will Smith, I help actors to speed read scripts, memorize their lines, focus better. We've talked about my X-Men story in a previous episode with you. With Will Smith, I was spending the entire day with him in Toronto and he was shooting from 6 PM to 6 AM.
Shawn Stevenson: Which movie was it?
Jim Kwik: So this was Suicide Squad. Yeah. It was wintertime, and it was very cold out, but we found out his dominant question before we went to go shoot is, how do I make this moment even more magical? Actually, before it was, how do I make this moment magical? And then we played with it, like how can we make that even more, even enhance that? Well, let's make it even more magical because it presumes it's already magical, right? And I was like, wow, that's a powerful question. And later that night, shooting and everyone thinks that Hollywood is very glamorous, but you know this, it's just...
Shawn Stevenson: It's a grind.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, it is. It's just waiting all the time and just hurry up to just wait around. And we're on set, and it's a night shoot and it's tough. It's like 2 o'clock in the morning. His family from West Philly, we all know the song, is there, and we're outside and they're not shooting. And I asked them, I was like, "How do you get ready? We're waiting here for hours for you to go on camera and for the director to bring you back on, how do you get ready?" He was like, "Jim, I don't have to get ready. I stay ready." I'm like, "Whoa. It's good to be Will Smith." He's about determination, he does the work. Because I believe the life you live are the lessons you teach. The life you live are the lessons you teach others. It's not what you say, it's what you show. It's not what you promise, it's what you prove to other people. And so it was interesting 'cause we're all cold out there watching these little monitors of what they're filming and he starts to bring people blankets and he starts to make hot chocolate for everybody and bring it to us, and he starts cracking jokes and telling stories. He was living his dominant question of how do I make this moment even more magical?
It was beautiful. And so, my thing for everybody here is be conscious of your thoughts because thoughts are things and what you ask for, you will receive. For example, I introduce three questions in here that I think everyone should obsess about in order to take knowledge and turn it into real action. One of the seven lies that I talk about, and a lie when I in mindset, I refer to a LIE as an acronym, and it stands for Limited Idea Entertained. These are not truths. These are just ideas we're entertaining, giving energy. But they're not necessarily true. That we use 10% of our brain, that's a lie. That intelligence is fixed. Like you take an IQ test when you're eight and that's what your IQ is going to be when you're 88, that's absolutely false. So, I debunk these lies, the BS, these belief systems, right?
And going back to with Will Smith and asking these questions, it's like what? Again, reminder. And the reason I mention these names is so, when next time you watch him on Instagram or watch his next movie, it reminds you of the lessons because that's how memory works. Your memory works on reminders. Your memories works on triggers. When you forget something and then somebody says, "Oh, it starts with a D," and you're like, "Oh, the name's David." You know what I mean? Or you forget something and then you hear a song, like, "Oh, I had to pick up that pizza." You know what I mean? So that's the reason why we tell these stories. But going back to the power of questions. There are three questions that I ask myself to take knowledge into power because one of the lies is, knowledge alone is power. And we know it's not. At best, it's potential power. It only becomes power when you use it.
I have a shirt that says, "Knowledge X Action = Power." And so three questions to turn knowledge into power, number one, these here should be your dominant learning questions. Number one, how can I use this? If you read this book, or you listen to this podcast and started asking yourself, "How can I use this? How can I use this? How can I use this?" You're going to come up with a lot of answers. There are a lot of pug dogs that are sitting in this book, that are sitting in this conversation, that are sitting in your life. So how can I use this? Number two, the second question you want to ask often to take knowledge and turn into real power so you can be limitless is, "Why must I use this?" Why must I use this? Because here's the success formula. You can have things in your head. A goal, a vision for your life, a plan in your head, but not act with your hands. You got to check in with the second H, which is your heart. Head, Heart, Hands. Go back to why.
One of the blurbs in the back of the book is from Simon Sinek, many people I've seen his TED Talk. He has a great book called, "Start with Why." I recommend a lot of books 'cause I'm a reading teacher, I think readers really are leaders today. And it's great to see on social media now, how people are using more and more time to read, especially when they're working at home. And they have to be at home and they're getting back to their reading list. But start... Ask your why. And so, why must I use this? Because if there's no reason, you won't get the result. Reasons reap results. Reasons reap rewards. So find your why to use it, otherwise, you won't. Even when it's remembering names. If you don't have a reason to remember someone's name, you won't. Right? No one remembers everyone's name.
But some people remember some people's names and there's probably some why. They're attracted to that person or that person will be good for their business. So find your why. And then finally, the third question after "How can I use this?" "Why must I use this?" Third question is, "When will I use this?" When will I use this? Going back to the most powerful productivity tool you have which is your calendar. And we talked about it. If it's not on your calendar, if it's not on your schedule, it doesn't get done. How can I use this? Why must I use this? When will I use this? Those three questions will allow you to elevate and get to new levels of your learning and your life.
Shawn Stevenson: Remarkable, that's remarkable. Just to take a quick step back. There's so much to absorb there and asking those three questions will help us to apply it. And I love the fact that you asked these questions throughout the book, and get us to just contemplate these things because it could be just in a few sentences that you say, "How can I use that?" Right.
Jim Kwik: Right.
Shawn Stevenson: Just immediately start programming yourself to ask these questions.
Jim Kwik: And be more active, also. Every chapter I start with three questions because I used to... I do a lot of training. We have a student success program. And it's very popular where students in over 195 countries, grade 11 years old to graduate school. And we teach students how to be able to read faster, remember textbooks, be able to pick up facts, figures, foreign languages. And so we have a lot of data and a lot of information that comes back to us. And the thing with reading comprehension and tests is that you take a standardized test. You remember this with the SATs, you read it and then there are these questions at the end, right? And you're like, "Oh I didn't know they wanted to know that." And then, simple tip is look at the questions first.
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
Jim Kwik: And then read it and then you're like, "Oh there's a pug dog. There's a pug dog. There's a pug dog. There are the answers, right there." So I start every single chapter with power questions and I believe questions really are the answer.
Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely, and again like you mentioned, our brains are designed to answer questions. It's this phenomenon called instinctive elaboration. Instinctive elaboration happens. Your brain doesn't have a choice. It has to answer the questions you ask. And just to bring, like you mentioned, a big part of becoming limitless it's just that self-discovery and really starting to analyze what is that voice in my head saying? What are the questions I'm habitually asking? And you got an exercise in there, I wrote down, my dominant question is just... I guess, maybe...
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Just the last couple of weeks I've been asking this question a lot with a lot going on, in my life, in the world. But my question was, "What does this mean?" And so this is something that I've been asking like just, it's on repeat in my mind, because I believe that there's this beautiful symphony of life taking place and that there are lessons and there are opportunities in all things. Our great moments and our challenges. So I'm constantly asking, "What does this mean? What does this mean?"
Jim Kwik: Oh, that's a powerful question.
Shawn Stevenson: I thank you for just helping me to bring that out. And then I could share that with somebody else or lots of somebody else's.
Jim Kwik: Yes, very much so.
Shawn Stevenson: Who might take that thing on and it might create a sense of freedom in their life or a sense of meaning. Because humans really are, we both heard this from Tony Robbins, we're meaning-making machines. It's what we do. We're constantly doing it. But if we're not aware that we're doing it and we're just attaching a negative meaning just because it's our habitual thing versus let me ask... Let me do more of an introspection and see what do I want this to mean. Because ultimately, we get to choose the meaning of everything.
Jim Kwik: Isn't that amazing?
Shawn Stevenson: Like this cup right here. I could say, "This isn't a cup, this is a vesicle of testicular power. I don't know. You know, I could make up something so crazy and random and it's just interesting. That's what I want it to mean.
Jim Kwik: And people could do that with anything, they could take the challenges in their life. You spoke at an event of mine where we also have brought on Quincy Jones there and I asked him this question on stage. I was like, "Tell me about your problems. Everyone talks about, "We Are the World" and Thriller and Oprah and all this. But what were your challenges? What were your problems?" And he looked at me, he was like, "I don't have any problems." And I'm like, "Wait, everyone has problems. Unless you're dead, you have problems." He was like, "No, I don't have problems. I have puzzles." How awesome is that? He decided what something means. And so, when we're facing challenges and hardship, maybe these are opportunities. Maybe it's an opportunity for me to prepare, for me to focus. And you could always control. That's said, the reason… This is really three books in one when you think about it, mindset, motivation, and methods. 'Cause originally it was just all accelerated learning meta-learning methods on how to speed read and think and focus and concentrate and remember things. But we could always control our mindset, we could always control our motivation, we could always control what methods we choose to use, right? Our behaviors and the challenge.
Sometimes there are people using old stuff, old script. My mindset was, I was broken and I wasn't born with that mindset, right? You're a clean slate when you're born. But that was imprinted on me when a teacher looked at me in front of the whole class and said, "That's the boy with the broken brain," and that label became my limit. So I'm inviting everybody who's listening and watching, what labels do you have on yourself? What's your mindset about who you think you are? What do you think you're... 'cause we always bump up to this limit in this box or this cage of like "Oh, I'm not that person." When did we decide that exactly? And so, in there, in the mindset chapter in sections, we talked about how to un-limit those negative beliefs that hold us back, because all behavior is belief-driven. Even in the area of motivation, that formula that I reveal to everybody about how to have sustainable motivation, that came from a question. It was my obsessive question is, why aren't people doing what they know they should do? And then I found out why people procrastinate and I turned it into a very simple three-step formula. But once you know it, it takes the judgment out.
This framework, the limitless framework, it's not only a model for Accelerated Learning, it's a tool you could put on top of your life and it's explanatory schema of why we're being held back. Because maybe it's a mindset issue, or maybe I have to address into my motivation, or maybe I'm just using poor methods, whether they're learning methods or relationship methods or marketing methods. And then it allows you to take this stigma of "Oh, I'm just dumb" or either it's just "Everyone else is just so lucky." And it also, that framework, right? This limitless model also not only is an explanatory schema where we're being held back, but it's a way we could role model other people. Because if you see somebody who's getting results that you want, I believe genius leaves clues. And how do you role model them?
You discover and ask them questions that we propose in this book about their mindset. What are their beliefs about what's capable? What do they believe they deserve? Or their motivation, how do they find their purpose? What is their drive? How much energy? And how do they gain energy? What small simple steps are they taking? Or in their methodology, what's the process they're using? Because they might be doing something way different. But here's the thing, a lot of people who do things amazingly well, they're not conscious of the methods they're using because theirs... It's just second nature. And so my obsession since being that little kid watching all the people succeed wave past me when I was working harder than practically any of them was like, "Why are they gaining these kind of results when I'm not?" And I started to ask these questions, I started to delve into the method behind the magic, that there's always a method behind what looks like magic.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, oh man. So powerful, so powerful. And again, just pivoting back, I don't know what I said by the way about the cup. I was trying to throw some gibbers together. I think I might've said testicular, I don't know. But you know, understanding that we get to take control of our beliefs about ourselves, and you creating this model where we're addressing all these things because I think that a lot of us have one or two of those things pretty dialed in, but it's like if you're missing that third thing, you're missing your limitless capacity.
Jim Kwik: Absolutely, you're still stuck in that box. You need all three dimensions. Because once you have the mindset and where the motivation and the method, there's that sweet spot in between where all three of them cross over and it's the fourth I. We talked about inspiration, implementation ideation. The fourth I, that sweet spot where you get all three is integration. And integration is just... It's just who you are. And you have that and we all have areas in our life where we're fully integrated and that's the limitless state. That's the state you want to live in, that's the state you want to learn in.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, absolutely. So with these pieces, now I want to get into some of the methodology. And we've been dropping some pieces of methodology throughout, but I want to get into some of these specific ones. You talk about number one, which I thought was a really fascinating way to put this, but practicing concentration.
Jim Kwik: Right.
Shawn Stevenson: What is... How do we practice concentration?
Jim Kwik: This is really exciting for me because I feel like when we're talking about digital distraction, how do you maintain your focus in a world full of shiny objects? Again, these rings, these pings, these dings, these social media messages, these app alerts, and updates and everything else like that. We know through studying, whether it's studying, whether it's neuroscience, a lot of the book, it's interesting, it's highly referenced. Your books are what I love about it is, it's all science-based and backed. The latest neuroscience apply towards learning and cognitive performance. But I also pulled from ancient wisdom, meaning the chapter on memory. I wrote the chapter on memory actually in Greece because I started doing this deep dive, I wanted to know how ancient civilizations would remember things. How do they pass on all this information before there were printing presses? And they used the human mind, right?
And so I discovered and I wrote a lot of the memory. I actually found out, and this memory is very tied to concentration, that the goddess of memory in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne, she... Her nine kids are the nine muses. The nine muses of science, literature, and art. But isn't it interesting that the mother of science, literature, and art is memory? Right? So I pull from ancient traditions because I believe again, genius leaves clues. Same thing with concentration. I interviewed a number of monks and wanted to find out when you scan their brains how they're different than other human beings. And their level of mindfulness, their meditation, you could actually train. We've discovered that you could actually train focus, you could train extended focus or concentration. And why is that important in your work is because when we're talking about multi-tasking and how much glucose and energy that uses in terms of fuel, but also how can you focus on concentrating on one thing at a time, and still not have your mind be distracted?
And so we know that concentration is a muscle, just like your memory is a muscle, just like motivation is a muscle. And we take it and we turn them into verbs, and we turn them into processes, and it's something that we could all do. But one of the things that that takes away from that potential and that power is exercising our distraction muscles. You know what I mean? And so every single time that, even when I'm meditating, the purpose of my meditation is not just to get into a zen, altered state, that's actually not my reason I do it. I do it because it is a concentration training tool that every single time my focus goes somewhere else. As we talked about in the book, you shine the light back on the thing that's important. And it could be your mantra, it could be your breathing, something like that, and so it's exercising your concentration.
Shawn Stevenson: Love it. So let's talk about some of these study tips. And you've got a bunch of them in here. One of them is, "Music for the Mind".
Jim Kwik: Yes. We go through, we give some highlights of our quick student program in here, and again we're all student of life. So whether you're actually in school or you're just... We always have to study, because the half-life of information as you were talking about in medicine, it's just getting shorter and shorter. Information that people are absolutely certain about, you have to be willing to forget and leave that behind because there's always new information that comes down the road. So we know that listening to certain kinds of music will change your state. And we have different brainwave states that we've talked about in the past. We have things like Beta which is when you're awake, Alpha, this is relaxed state of awareness, this meditative state. You have Theta which is when you're most creative, and again this is a process. Delta, which you're asleep, and be able to optimize that you know. Music, there's certain music that could actually aid you in learning languages faster, for example. Specifically classical music, like of the Baroque era, like Vivaldi, Handel because it's 60 beats per minute, which harmonizes with the resting heart rate and it puts you in a relaxed state of awareness, almost like this trance state.
Like when you're watching television, have you ever noticed, someone's watching sports or watching the new movie or whatever, and you're trying to talk to them, but they just can't hear you 'cause they're in a trance from this television programming? Which is an interesting word, programming for that? But that, they're in an alpha state. So information is just going in without your critical mind. Your conscious mind is set aside and information is coming in. Well, you could create that phenomenon using music, using breathing, using visualization to put yourself in that state. And by the way, when you go to a good meditation or hypnotherapist, they'll use visualization or they'll guide you through visualization as a great tool to be able to put you in an Alpha state. They'll have you imagine going down an escalator or an elevator or walking in a... Through a meadow and it'll put you into that trance state, where then they can give you suggestions to change your mindset about your beliefs. That you're a fast learner, you learn things easily and effectively, you have a wonderful memory. Right?
And you could program yourself, you have great self-confidence, whatever it is, that's how they, hypnotherapist will be able to work with you using visualization. Some hypnotherapists also use the breathing techniques. They'll say, "Okay, take a deep breath and exhale". Meditation coaches do that also as well, so that will put you in an Alpha state. And also music. A lot of these therapies will use music or nature sounds to put you in that relaxed state. And then whatever information is being presented to you, you're going to learn better. And so, imagine you wanted to learn a language or you want to improve your business vocabulary and you want to learn 10 words a day. You could record in your phone, the word, and its translation or the word and its meaning, and then play it while you're playing that classical music in the background and it'll help you and put you in the state, an all learning state-dependent, where you're going to learn it quicker and longer.
And so it's really powerful using your senses, whether it's music, or it's your sense of smell, so it's your auditory or sense of smell, olfactory, an amazing tool to be able to enhance your memory. We know certain essential oils and fragrances will help with your focus, will help with your memory. Like things like peppermint, and so on. And also using a unique scent when you're studying. This is interesting. They've done studies where they'll have people memorize something in a certain environment and take them out of the environment, and test them, and put them back in the same environment, and test them. And which one do you think will remember more? So for example, they'll put people underwater with breathing apparatus and give them words to memorize. Take them out of the water, test them, put them back in the water, test to see how many they remember, in which environment do they remember more? In the environment, they first learned it, because we realized that we are encoding the environment as part of the learning that we're actually doing. And so how can you use this in studying or preparing for your TED Talk or preparing for your board meeting?
If you study and prepare in the room that you are going to give that speech, you're more likely to remember it, right? Because then, you will have these unconscious anchors and triggers. Now, most people, or if you study in the room that you're going to take the test in, you're going to recall more of it. Now, most people can't do that. So what do you do? You bring the environment in with you 'cause the most powerful sense, when we're talking about the five senses and in terms of your memory is olfactory, is your sense of smell. Probably 'cause it's survival, right? You need to know if something smells rotten or poisonous or something like that. And then, what if you, when you're studying something, let's say it's a language or it's a technical material, you have an important meeting with a client and you're studying client information, product information, and you smell something unique like a unique fragrance, a lip balm, essential oil, but it has to be unique, and then when you need to perform, you need to do that meeting, you need to give that TED Talk, you wear that same fragrance and that fragrance... You know this, right? Isn't there a fragrance or a food that brings you back?
Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely. Certain smells it takes you right to a certain time or a certain memory.
Jim Kwik: So that's the idea behind limitless, using these phenomenon that were already happening in the human condition, but using it mindfully. If that's happening, if that's been programmed in us, that you smell this food and it could take you back to when you were a kid, right? Or you smell this fragrance and it could take you back to your teens then why not use that to help you retrieve information while you're studying?
Shawn Stevenson: Yes, when I think about, for example, my Aqua di Gio cologne from high school, it makes me think about.
Jim Kwik: What is that?
Shawn Stevenson: About the trouble, I used to get into. But also there's... This is happening all the time, but we don't tend to realize it, but you're saying to proactively do this to our advantage. You know what I mean? And it's so powerful, really starting to understand our brain, understand our senses and how it's all interconnected. I love it so much, man. You also mentioned, and I have this experience even being at your event, and you'll give folks paper to take notes with, but there's a line right down the middle. So one of your study tips is to take note of taking notes.
Jim Kwik: Take notes of taking notes. Another tip for everybody who's listening. A quick tip is, we talked about the forgetting curve, that within 40 hours you can learn, you could actually forget 80% of what you just learned. And so a lot of people take notes the wrong way. And so, we've looked at these studies. The worst way of taking notes is actually pure dictation, full transcript because you can have pages and pages and not know what's important. But actually one of the best ways of taking notes is using keywords and key ideas and making it both logical and creative at the same time. What do I mean by that? Well, some people are familiar with whole-brain note-taking techniques like mind mapping, by Tony Buzan, where you put the main idea in the middle and out like spokes of a bicycle wheel or branches of a tree, you put the other ideas. That's actually how I created this book, right? And actually introduced in the beginning again with that hero's journey my way of mapping it through our adventure together, as we go through it.
So it's like, choose your own adventure kind of book. And that's why I feel like not only is this book teaching accelerated learning, but from the questions and the mapping and everything that we do in here, it actually does accelerated learning to you while it's teaching it to you in the way you like to learn it. But going to the simple way of taking notes, that's whole brain, is when you take a piece of paper, and I always prefer actually handwriting notes. I did a podcast episode on this. That the difference between digital note-taking and handwriting notes, that they're certain advantages, certainly, digital especially storage and sharing with other people, but in terms of comprehension they found the studies found that handwriting notes were actually better for comprehension and retention. And one of the reasons why was because you can't possibly, as you're listening to this type, I mean write as fast as I could speak. Nobody could write that fast. So it forces another level of your thinking to start filtering asking questions about what's the most important. Right? So it forces you and that process, even if you didn't have the notes, puts that information up so you would be able to absorb the information better.
But what I'm asking people to do on a piece of paper, put a line right down the page. And on the left side of the page, I want you to do note-taking. On the right side of the page, note-making. Now, that's a subtle difference. What's the difference? Note-taking is where you're capturing, note making is where you're creating, you're being creative. So on the left side, note-taking would be like, "Oh, this is how exactly Jim remembers names. This is Jim's... One of his favorite speed reading techniques. This is a quote I love that he just said." You're note-taking, that's on the left side. What are you putting on the right side? Your impressions of what you're note-taking. So, instead of your imagination taking you elsewhere, like thinking about whatever else is going on outside of what you need to study, your creativity goes to the right side of the page. And so what are you putting there? Well, you know three things you could put there? Three things you create. How can I use this? Those three questions. How can I use this? Why must I use this? When will I use this? That'd be a great place to note-make on the right side, and it's a simple little technique but employ it. And then tell me the difference.
Shawn Stevenson: Love it so much. Let's talk a little bit about, and this is something that we all experience because we all meet people, but remembering names.
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And I utilize this all the time, man. But you go ahead and talk about how we can do this and I'll share some of my things I've done recently.
Jim Kwik: Okay, I'll give... We give many tips in the book on how to remember names. The largest chapter in this book is on memory because I believe memory is the ultimate, it's the ultimate superpower. I challenge anybody listening to this to do anything, think anything without your memory. It is impossible to do anything without memory, right? So, memory is a forced multiplier. It makes everything better in your life. I believe two of the most costly words in business are, I forgot. And that could be the most two costly words in life, too. I forgot to do it. I forgot to bring it. I forgot that meeting. I forgot what I was going to say. I forgot that conversation. I forgot that name. Every single time you say it, you lose trust, you lose credibility, you can lose opportunity. I can't tell you how many people have come to me over the past almost three decades of being a memory trainer saying, "I lost the biggest deal of my career because I called that person the wrong name." Right? And so how are you going to show somebody you're going to care for their business, their future, their family, their finances, their health and wellness if you can't even remember their name?
So I teach many techniques in the memory chapter. Actually, Socrates said, "Learning is remembering." And one of the techniques I teach is pie. Learning is easy as pie, and simple three steps, and this is to remember anything better. If you want to remember things just remember three things. P-I-E and I love acronyms, right? P is place. So if you want to remember someone's name, imagine you're at an event, you're at a wedding, you're at a conference, I want you to look at them and pick a place, on their face or of some kind of feature. Maybe they're wearing earrings, so the place that stands out the most. And then the I is you want to imagine. Now, what are you imagining? You're imagining their name as an image. Alright? So this is where you're playing Pictionary, you're having a little fun because I believe that we remember more what we see than what we hear. You see the face, you remember the face. You heard the name, you forgot the name. You never go to someone... You go to someone and say, "I remember your face, but I forgot your name."
You never go to someone and say the opposite. You never go to someone and say, "I remember your name, but I forgot your face." That wouldn't make any sense. There's a Chinese proverb that goes, "What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand." What I hear, I forget. Heard the name, forgot it. What I see, I remember. I saw the face, I remember the face. And what you do, going back to implementation and practice, that's what you really, truly understand. I really believe that even in this conversation, that people have heard you say something before or me say something before, what keeps you from mastery is saying, "I know this already." Because you know this, the experts are really great at the fundamentals, right? The basics. So what are you doing? We remember what we see then try seeing what we want to remember, take the person's name and be playful about it, like a child who learns very fast and turn it into an image.
And then finally, the E in PIE stands for entwine, which means... What does it mean to entwine something? It's like you put it together. And what are you putting together? The P and the I, the place and the image. So let's use this in the real world. So if somebody you meet, their place, you're looking... And this is before you even meet them. They're coming over and you're like, "Oh, their nose really stands out, that's the place." You pick the place. And then you find out, you shake their hands, their name is David and you turn it into an image. My image for David is a slingshot. Why? David and Goliath. So entwine, what do I do? I put the two things together, I put the image and the place. I shoot the slingshot right at his nose, right? Something silly like that.
Shawn Stevenson: No, it's awesome.
Jim Kwik: Well, you're like, "Jim, that's so childish." But children, they do this stuff, they make fun of names. I mean, I don't know about you but like I was with last name Kwik. I was made a lot of fun of. You're playful about it, use your imagination or your creativity. And by the way, these are the superpowers you want to enhance right now. The future belongs to the creatives. Where jobs are going to automation, they're going to artificial intelligence, what are you offering that a machine can't offer? You're offering your mind power, right? You're offering your creativity, here are the playthings, creativity, your imagination, your strategy. These are things that are innately human, but yet there are no classes on these things and that's why I wrote this book.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah. Oh, man. It's so powerful as well. So many things...
Jim Kwik: How are you with names?
Shawn Stevenson: Oh, man. Outstanding now. This was something that, of course, just like most folks, you'll meet a room full of people. We might go to a Mastermind or just hang out with Jim, people are going to be around, and just like, "I forgot your name, I forgot your name, I forgot... ", as we're shaking hands, it's like, "Oh, okay," and then you just forget... Maybe you might... And you talk about recency as well, so you might remember like the last person's name. But today, no, it wasn't today. It was, I think it was yesterday 'cause I was out for a walk today, but I think it was yesterday, but I meet three of my neighbors, and I utilized it. So by the way, you break down all these different pieces in the book as well. There's a great deal of information with visualization, association, emotion, location method, you've got all these methods. If you want to remember big chunks, like if you got a talk or an event, something like that. But so I'll use an association and for me, it's visualization and just making pictures. And so I met Stan, who as soon as he told me his name, I immediately thought about the show Martin and Stan was his boss and he worked at a radio station. So I pictured this guy, who looks more like a kind of a Simpson character, at this radio station like kind of DJ and he's like, Stan was like probably in his 60 or 70s. And so, it was just easy to remember Stan, like I'll remember it forever.
Jim Kwik: And it's fun, right?
Shawn Stevenson: Exactly.
Jim Kwik: And it's fast. It didn't take a long time to be able to do.
Shawn Stevenson: No, it was an instant picture.
Jim Kwik: And here's the thing, when, and later on people ask like, "Will I have all these images here?" No, it's a means to an end. Once you know the person's name is Stan, the picture disappears. What the techniques are, is a way of overcoming what I call the six-second syndrome. It's like somebody tells you their name, and you have six seconds to do something with that name, otherwise, it's gone in the ether, right? So it allows you to focus on the place, the person. It allows you to focus on the image, the name. So even when it doesn't work, it still works 'cause it gets you to focus on the person and the name and just trying to come up with something to get your focus on it. And really the key to a better memory, it's not your retention, it's your attention.
Shawn Stevenson: Exactly.
Jim Kwik: And that's the... It's just like questions. Questions force your attention onto something as opposed to distraction, pulling you away.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. The other neighbor was Troy and my son Brayden was with me. He was like, "Troy." And I immediately thought about the movie Troy. So I pictured this guy as dressed up in Brad Pitt's outfit, Achilles. And so boom. He's locked in. And then Aaron was the other person. And Aaron, this is a woman, which is kind of a unique name for a woman. First of all, I thought that's cute AF and then I thought about her being Aaron Rodgers. I picture her in the Green Bay Packers throwing the football, got those names locked in just like that.
Jim Kwik: And the great thing about it is it adds emotion to it. Remember, we said information by itself is forgettable. The name by itself is forgettable. But when you tie it with emotion, it becomes unforgettable. So you're having fun with Aaron Rodgers, right? Or with Stan or Troy, you have these images. And we're using more of our... That makes you more limitless. I believe everyone listening to this is your ability to learn and live is limitless.
Shawn Stevenson: This is so remarkable but I cannot let you go because we've got this book here. We've got Limitless but people want to be able to, not just read Limitless but to read all the books that they have probably on their shelves that they need to get to. And so you are the master, really. You are world-renowned for helping people to read faster. You've been on the show before, you've talked about the importance of having a visual pacer. And that instantly jumps up your reading speed how much?
Jim Kwik: At least 25-50%. Using your finger or a highlighter, a mouse on a computer, a pen, just to underline the words. Not skip anything, because some people will use like, go straight down the page. Nothing like that or fancy forms. Don't skip anything and just test yourself. Time yourself to read for 60 seconds, count the number of lines you just read. And then use a visual pacer, like your finger and underline the words. Don't touch the screen or don't touch the print. Because as you go faster, there's friction. But when you test yourself again after 60 seconds, with just a little bit of practice, 25-50%. Some people will double their reading speed. And the reason why that's important is because man, leaders are readers. I like to... We have a hashtag one, the number one book a week, and we have thousands of people going through this where they're just posting every week the book that they finish. I mean, how remarkable is that? That if somebody has decades of experience like you do, and you put it into Sleep Smarter, and then all of a sudden, somebody could read that book in a few days, they could download decades into days.
Like here in this book, is 28 years of field-tested research. Seeing people at both ends of the spectrum, and putting all that knowledge into one place. They don't have to spend, they don't have to read the thousands of books and papers that I read to be able to do it because I put it all in that book, the best of what works. They don't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars you and I have spent on our own personal education, and on conferences and programs and everything else, to learn all this stuff. The time, the years, 30 years, they could get all of that by reading a book. And so that's why I feel like, whether you're using a visual pacer while you read, whether you're asking new questions, because what will get you through that book faster also is reading smarter. And you know, just what we talked about, utilizing the power of questions, not just speed reading, just smart reading. And smart reading is going through a book with pure intention. A lot of people don't remember anything they read or hear 'cause they don't have questions. So they wonder why they don't learn anything. But when you have specific questions, like I never go into a book without a dozen questions that I want answers for, because then when I get to it, I pull it out. And it's mine. Right?
Shawn Stevenson: Oh, man. Jim, this is one of my favorite all-time episodes, just right off the bat. And I'm just grateful for you taking your life and your experience and putting it in book form for us, finally. And we're just scratching the surface of what's in the book. Even with speed reading, we've got other tips and strategies in there, insights. But I feel that even when I got to that part, it's a trust process. Because it's just like some of the things you're saying, we're going from reading words, to be more like watching a movie. Once you can work away from having that sub-vocalization...
Jim Kwik: And that's why that areas falls underneath the methods. So in the methods section, again, it's three books in one, there's a whole section on mindset and how to unravel negative beliefs that hold you back, and what you feel like you deserve and motivation. There's the three chapters on the formula for extensive sustainable motivation, and then we had a bonus of flow. And then in the methods, we talk about the five pillars, if you will, to meta-learning. When we talked about focus, everything to overcome those four horsemen that are really bringing us down and holding us back. And so we have focus, we have study that we've talked about, we have memory, we have speed reading, and then we have critical thinking. Because again, life is a choice but who teaches us how to make good choices in our life and in our learning. But it was really meant to be an owner's guide for the most powerful superpower out there, which is your mind. The human mind.
Shawn Stevenson: And you've created it. Limitless. Limitless is going to be available very soon but right now people can preorder and get an incredible bonus. You're about to surprise me and tell me about it.
Jim Kwik: No, this is huge. So my goal for this book to make it really unique for everybody is, I want to make it ultra-valuable for you right now. And so when you preorder this book, what you'll immediately get is a 10-day system called QuickStart. And Quick Start is to take you from zero to hero. And so when the book arrives, you already have this limitless brain. So you have these tools. So in each of the days, I give you some of the highlights of what I go through in the book. And so if you like to listen, if you're more of an audio or a video kind of person, what I do is I prime your brain each day for 10 days. So we do a couple of days on how to unravel those negative self-talk, the negative beliefs we have about ourselves. We do a couple of days on hacking your motivation and getting into flow, that zone where you could overcome procrastination, there's a whole day on that. And then we go into the methodology. We do days on how to study deeper, suggestions and strategies on how to read faster and how to remember what you read and apply critical thinking to the things that you need to. So when the book arrives, you know you're going to finish this book, right? That's my biggest drive in writing this book, is implementation.
This book is about transcending. It's about ending the mass hypnosis of fear, or that we're not enough, or you need to be fixed 'cause you were labeled broken. Maybe you weren't labeled broken like I was as a kid, but all of us had those labels. And those labels became our limits. So this 10-day program is to upgrade your brain. So when this book comes to you, you're just like, you have those superpowers where you could just go through it. And it's the fastest way I know, the Matrix, Neo where he jacks in and he's like, " I know Kung fu." Like Keanu Reeves. That's the best way I know to be able to prime your brain. So we're going to give you that program. That program is not for sale anywhere, but you get instant access when you go to limitlessbook.com. Limitless book. Hopefully, everyone could remember it, limitlessbook.com and you get that program as our gift. Because my goal is, I grew up as a slow learner. I grew up with the broken brain. And my mission is to build better, brighter brains to show you that your limits are learned and the good news is you could unlearn your limits and no brain left behind. Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Jim, you're one of my favorite humans and...
Jim Kwik: Likewise, man.
Shawn Stevenson: Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us today.
Jim Kwik: Dude, I want to remind everybody, can I challenge everyone to do something?
Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely.
Jim Kwik: Besides going to limitlessbook.com, I challenge everybody right now to take a screenshot of this episode and tag Shawn, tag myself at Jim Kwik, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, whatever your favorite platform is. And remember I said when you teach something, you get to learn it twice. So I want you to share, either take a picture of your notes, hopefully, you took some notes, or take a picture of this episode, or this video and share your big aha. What's one thing that learned in this conversation that you could teach to somebody else? Because when we come full circle, you learn, so you could earn, so you could return. You learn, earn, and then you have more to return, you have more to be able to give. And so post your big aha and tag us in it. I'll repost some of my favorites and I'll also send a signed advanced copy, a galley to my favorite.
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome, bro.
Jim Kwik: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Thank you so much, Jim. You're the man. I love you so much, man.
Jim Kwik: I love you so much, too. Thank you everybody.
Shawn Stevenson: Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in to the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. Jim is so generous and this is real talk. Again, when I'm saying that the Model Health Show being in existence part and partial to him, I really mean that. He's somebody who's been very generous with many different aspects of his life and getting access to a book like Limitless is like a huge game-changing gift, in and of itself. Some books give us knowledge. This book is giving us the gift of being able to learn more, to be able to read more books, to be able to assimilate and extract information from the things we are reading. It's a super book. It's a limitless book and definitely pick up your copy, get that bonus. Again, super generous, limitlessbook.com. Get that bonus, pre-order the book today because I don't think that that bonus is going to be there once the book is released, so make sure to go and get that right now.
And I want to add one more piece here to the story and the power of questions that he talked about. So today, and thinking about this and even what you might post, how can I use this? Some of these things that you've picked up today, even one idea, how can I use this? And ask yourself that question. Second question, why must I use this? What is the reason that you need to use what it is that you want to use? And finally, when will you use this? Hopefully, right now. Hopefully, right now, but it might be something that can get applied to certain area of your life at a certain time. So asking these questions, questions are indeed the answer. And we are meaning-making machines. I said something crazy about this cup, but we get to decide. This is a cup of water, or this is a cup of power juice that fuels my brain. Or this is a cup of water that I have to drink because such and such expert told me I had to.
We get to choose our meaning and the meaning gives us power. And we are the ones, we are the ones endowed with that gift of choosing our meaning. And I'm meaning to tell you how much I appreciate you so much for tuning into the show today. Follow Jim's suggestion, take a screenshot, share it on social media. I'm @ShawnModel. He's @JimKwik, and let us know what you thought about the episode, a big take away. And we've got some epic stuff coming your way, but you're going to be able to learn more from what's to come by getting yourself plugged into Limitless. Alright? I appreciate you so much for tuning into the show today. Take care. Have an amazing day and I'll talk to you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to the modelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you 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 this 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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