This show is with a personal friend of mine who I think has the best name ever for a brain and learning expert– Jim Kwik!
We’ll be talking about how you can tune up your brain, on the spot, in real time… and what it was like to hang with the entire cast of X-Men.
But before you check it out, here is a quick update from the road.
We finally made it to the east coast. We are in sunny Florida, hanging out and drinking coffee, maybe a little moonshine, and playing music with the folks. Picking on the old banjo… and Alyson is even learning to play the mandolin!
On the way here we got to stop at Paleo(fx), the biggest paleo conference in the world that I know of, and it was awesome. I had the pleasure to work with Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson, hosting masterminds on sustainability and also on what it means to mate and date in the 21st century from an evolutionary perspective.
Now, Alyson and I are on tour of North America– doing book signings and speaking engagements, and we are looking forward to meeting you in person in your home town. If you want to stay in the loop on the tour dates and events, the best way to do that is to sign up for the newsletter at www.fatburningman.com. Give us your email address and we’ll keep you up to date on everything.
And just FYI, if you come out to one of the book signings, you might just get some of Alyson’s Choco-nut cookies. We were giving them out at Paleo (fx), and people were saying they were the best thing they had eaten at the whole convention. Coconut with nuts and a little bit of chocolate, they’re delicious and you can find the recipe in The Wild Diet (pg. 252).
If you already have your copy, try out the recipe and let me know what you think! If you don’t have your copy yet, grab one at www.wilddietbook.com or wherever you buy books. Check it out, leave me a review, and help support this ad-free podcast!
Speaking about the podcast, I’m humbled to say that Fat-Burning Man won best paleo podcast at Paleo (fx), all because of you guys! Thanks for sticking with me for over 150 shows, I couldn’t do it without you.
Review of the Week
This review of The Wild Diet came from Bret, who says it was “life-changing.”
Bret- 5 STARS – “I’ve been listening to Abel for over two years on his podcast, and I can honestly say he has changed my life. I was never overweight, but that’s not what he’s all about. He’s about changing your lifestyle, about teaching you things about your body that you never knew existed. The people he interviews each bring their own philosophy and it’s great to hear something different. If you want to change your lifestyle then this is the place to start. Buy the book, soak it in, then listen to the podcast.”
We’ve been getting great feedback on the book, it’s full of delicious recipes and lots of information, and if I come to your town I’ll even sign it for you… and maybe you’ll get cookies, or you can bring me cookies!
JIM KWIK: HELPING PEOPLE LEARN QUICKLY
“I’m Jim Kwik. I’m with Kwik Learning and I help people learn quickly.”
With a last name like Kwik, Jim feels like his destiny was sort of planned out for him… He gets to do his passion, his Dharma, helping people be the superheroes they were meant to be. Although, he admits that “Kwik” is not the name you want to have on your driver’s license when you get pulled over.
But there’s a lot of power in a name. Hopefully after this conversation people will be better at remembering names. That’s a big issue for many people.
3 KEYS TO REMEMBERING NAMES
Anyone listening or watching, if you feel like your senior moments are coming on early… like in your 20’s, and you can’t remember where you put your car keys… or your car… or if you shampooed your hair in the shower, here are some ways to hack your brain and boost your memory.
Hack Your Brain and Learn Anything faster
The three keys to a better memory are in the acronym M.O.M.:
Motivation. This is the key to learning.
Once I spoke at a conference, and afterward a man approached me… it was Bill Gates. He told me that if he could have one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. We were talking about the future of education, technology, and so forth, and he said that the most important thing is motivation.
At seminars and presentations, I’ll have 100 people stand up and introduce themselves. Afterward, I’ll repeat back all of their names. I don’t do it to impress you, just to show you what’s possible. You see, we were told this lie that our intelligence, potential, and our memory is fixed. But it can be trained.
There’s no good or bad memory, just trained or untrained.
You have to ask yourself, “Why do you want to remember the persons name?” Where’s your motivation? If you can’t come up with a reason, then you won’t remember. Would you remember if you were offered $100,000 cash? Yes, you would.
The formula for memory success is this: It goes from your head to your heart to your hands. If you learn something at a conference and you don’t apply it, it’s because it didn’t get to your heart. You skipped a step.
Observation. A lot of people aren’t forgetting, they’re just not hearing it in the first place. A lot of people blame their memory on retention, but it has more to do with attention.
JIM’S STORY: HEAD INJURY AND MEMORY
I had a very bad head trauma accident when I was a kid. Lost focus, memory, and it took me two years to learn how to read. It made me wonder why I’m so different. Why are other people better when I’m working so hard?
When I got to college, I just pulled all-nighters and it got worse, and I sacrificed sleep, eating well, working out, spending time with friends. I was passing out in public. I fell down the stairs in library, got a concussion, and woke up in the hospital. I was hooked up to IV’s. I weighted 117 pounds. I thought I would die and part of me maybe wanted to.
When I had this thought, a nurse comes in with a mug of tea with a picture of Einstein on it. The quote on the mug said, “The same level of thinking that caused the problem, won’t solve the problem.”
That’s when I realized, “Maybe I could learn how to learn!”
Could I do that in school? I found all the classes on what to learn, but no classes on how to learn, how to think, how to focus and concentrate and pay attention and be creative. In school we were taught Reading, Writing, Arithmetic… but what about these “R’s?” Retention. Remembering.
Socrates said there is no learning without remembering.
I wanted to answer these questions: How does the brain work? How does memory work?
After 30 – 60 days of studying how the mind works, I started reading faster and having laser focus and concentration, and I started getting stuff done.
Now, I read a book a day. I get to work with some amazing individuals. The commonality is that they love learning. They have a thirst for constant growth.
Role modeling is really important. You can say, “That person is really great.” But you also have to ask, “How do they do that?”
Bill Clinton is amazing at memorizing names. He members your name, the people close to you, and what you’re about. He doesn’t use any memory tips (I asked). He says that growing up, his grandfather would tell these stories, and afterward he’d quiz everyone.
Bill Clinton has charisma and connection and he’s an unbelievable communicator, his memory and his powerful presence comes from being powerfully present. When you’re talking to the man, it’s like no-one else exists.
We tend to get distracted, or we distract ourselves internally. We aren’t really listening. Instead, we’re thinking about how we’re going to respond. When I was younger, one of my favorite books was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, I learned that if you rearrange the letters of the word “listen,” you get, “silent.”
Mechanics. This is the final M of the acronym… the last key to memorization success. You want to learn how to give a speech without notes or how to remember pin numbers and pass-codes. You need to know the mechanics.
Back in 1954, Roger Banister broke the 4 minute mile. The belief was that if you did, your heart would explode in your chest. But he’d visualize himself crossing the finish line during his training. And he trained hard, of course. Once he did it, once he broke the 4 minute mile, without any new shoe technology or anything, a few dozen more people did it within the following years.
What you see is that after one person does the impossible, suddenly everyone does it.
When I was eight years old, we were at a family reunion and there were about 25 of us at a restaurant. When the waitress got half way through taking orders, she got to me, and I realized she wasn’t writing it down! I was skeptical. I thought she’d get it all wrong. But when she came back, she got every single thing perfect. Is that a standout talent? She made me realize that more is possible.
When it comes to the mechanics of memorizing names, I have some Kwik tips!
7 TIPS TO MEMORIZING NAMES
Believe you can. Get rid of the negative self-talk. Stop saying, “I’m horrible with names.” All that keeps you from your greatness. “Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk.”
Exercise. When you get physical exercise, you’ll do better on mental acuity tests. But I also mean practice. Practice makes progress and permanent. When you walk into Whole Foods, just try to memorize the names of the employees and then test yourself on the way out.
Say it. When someone introduces themselves, say, “Nice to meet you, Abel.”
Use it. Use it in the context of the conversation… just don’t abuse it, because that will start to sound weird.
Ask. Sometimes you meet someone and they have name you haven’t heard before. What can you ask? How do you spell it? What does it mean? People love it. When I was giving a seminar, I met a woman named Nikita. I asked her how to spell it and what it means. Her face lit up. She said it means graceful, falling waters. None of the 100 or so people who worked with her knew what her name meant.
They say a name is the sweetest sound to a person’s ears… if you’re an entrepreneur or in business, it’s really important to remember peoples’ names.
Visualize. We tend to remember things that we see more than we hear. We remember the face but not the name.
“What I hear I forget. What I see I remember. What I do I understand.”
Give yourself a visual cue. Imagine meeting someone named Mary, and you imagine two lambs under her arms. It may seem very childish, but kids are rapid learners.
End. If you can walk into the room and meet 15 – 20 strangers and leave saying goodbye to every single person by name, who are they going to remember? You.
WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE OF HUMAN COMPREHENSION?
If we continue to break the rules about what ‘s possible with the brain for the next few decades or hundred years, what might be possible in the future in terms of human comprehension and power?
A lot of times we are just unlearning bad habits, but I’m excited about the evolutionary, transcending work… ending the trance that we’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough…
When it comes to learning and the future, they say we use what percentage of our brain, of our potential? Eisenstein said 10%, Stanford 2%, now they’re saying it’s a smaller fraction… a small percentage of pour potential…
I think we use all our brain, but it’s just how we use it. If we tap into more of our potential, it think the world opens up… it controls everything, but we don’t know anything about it. I still think that’s the new undiscovered territory in the mind’s potential.
Our students, when it comes to reading, we get students up to five times faster than normal. And it’s not just speed reading. Our students are entrepreneurs, students, doctors. They need to really understand what they’re reading.
Success breeds success.
If anyone watching this is stressed that there’s too much to learn and not enough time, it’s because it’s not your fault.
We all grew up with a twentieth century education, which prepared us for a twentieth century world. It was an assembly line education, to work on an assembly line, cookie cutter, one size fits all. The world we live in right now is electric cars and spaceships that are going to Mars.
We have that, but how we learn is like a horse and carriage. If Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today, the only thing he would recognize is our school system. That’s not a slight against teachers, my mother and my aunt are teachers. But it’s the system.
INFORMATION OVERLOAD AND YOUR HEALTH
When we’re talking about health issues with information overload, it’s huge.
- Information fatigue syndrome.
- Higher blood pressure.
- Compression of leisure time.
- Stress. People can’t even enjoy their free time because their mind is multitasking.
- Sleeplessness is an epidemic right now.
How many emails do you get a day? It feels like we’re taking a sip of water out of a fire hose.
Life-long learning is one of the answers to living a longer, more fulfilled life.
On the cover of Time Magazine, there was a picture of these nuns who were living until their 90’s and 100’s. Half of the reason had to do with gratitude and meditation, but the other half had to do with lifelong learning…
Through neurogenesis, you can create brain cells until you die. Einstein’s brain was no bigger, maybe even smaller, but he had a lot of connections.
THE MOTION CONNECTION TO LEARNING AND MEMORY
Why exercise is good for your brain:
One of the reasons people are slow learners is that they’re passive. Just sitting and listening to a teacher lecture is not cutting it.
Bonus Tips: 4 Keys to Learning Anything Fast
Forget. Forget what you already know so you can add to your cup. Forget about limiting beliefs.
Active. Take notes. Ask questions. Make it an interactive experience.
State. Your body. The current mood of your mind and your body. If people learn in an adult bored state, that knowledge doesn’t go anywhere. You can control focus by questions you have, and you can move your body or sit in a better posture and breathe for better retention. This has a lot to do with the health of your body and your brain wave states.
A study at Oxford University found that jugglers have bigger brains, they create more white matter. Juggling is good for your brain and for reading. When you’re juggling three balls, you can’t focus on them all, you have a relaxed gaze that allows you to take on more of the environment. Same tip with reading.
Touch. Using your finger while you read will boost your speed by 25 percent. Read it and then go back and underline it and read it again. It’s a pacer, but it’s also neurology. Your sense of sight and touch are closely related. I you read with your finger you feel more in touch with your reading.
I recommend people use their left hand to follow along the text. When we look at the anatomy of the brain, your left brain is logic words sounds, but the right side is imagination, creativity, art, emotion, the experience… good readers say the words in their mind on the left, but great readers experience the words.
The average adult reads 4 hours a day– if you could even cut one hour a day, in a year that’s nine 40 hour work weeks!
Better readers tend to be women… they tend to be left handed, and they tend to be musically inclined.
Where can people find you?
HOW I MET THE X MEN
I did a brain training for chairman of 20th Century Fox. It was the best presentation I ever did and then he walked me around the studio. I see a poster of Hugh Jackman, and I wanted to see the movie so bad but it didn’t come out for a couple of weeks. I ended up in a theatre with a pair of 3D glasses in a private viewing of the unreleased film!
I told the chairman that I learned to read by reading comic books, and my favorite comic books were the X-men. Not that they were the strongest, but they didn’t fit in. I thought I was broken. But the big moment was when I was seven, I read that the X-Men’s school where they trained was in Westchester, NY where I lived… On Saturdays I’d ride around on my bike looking for the school.
He asked me if I want to go to Comicon… The next morning we get on the Fox jet it’s the entire cast of X-men… I’m geeking out. I’m between Halley Barry and Jennifer Lawrence.
Then he asked me if I wanted to go on set for actual filming. Um, yeah… in return, he just asked that I train the actors on how to improve their memory, to quickly memorize lines. I’m on the plane with them giving them brain tips and then I get to watch for a week on set (as a seven year old me) my superheroes coming to life!
Lesson: When I got home there was a package the size of a plasma TV, and there’s this photograph of me and the entire cast of X-men and the note on it said, “Jim, thank you so much for sharing your superpowers with us. I know you’ve been looking for your superhero school. Here’s your class photo.”
It’s now the cover photo on Jim’s Facebook page.
“Learning is not a spectator sport.”