In this podcast (episode #535) and blog, I talk to brain coach, top podcast host, and N.Y. Times bestselling author Jim Kwik about unlocking your brain’s amazing potential, how to accelerate learning, ways to improve brain health, and so much more!
As a child, Jim suffered from several traumatic brain injuries, which affected his ability to perform in school. Eventually, his desperation led to his inspiration: Jim set out to understand how the brain and memory work, and learn how to learn. As he notes, how to use your brain is often not something that is taught in schools, where we are given lots of knowledge, but are not taught how to make the most of this knowledge. The assumption is that we ought to just know how to think. As a result, many of us incorrectly assume that intelligence is something that we are either born with or not, that it is a “fixed” thing, which is why some people do well and others fail.
Yet, as Jim has shown in his own life, which he describes in his bestselling book Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life, he went from being the “boy with the broken brain” to a world-renowned memory champion and brain coach who has developed a reliable and scientifically sound set of tools to enhance memory formation and learning. He now teaches his techniques to others with astonishing results, and is an in-demand speaker, a brain coach for celebrities and CEOs, the head of a large online learning program, and the host of a podcast with tens of millions of listeners!
This book has now been expanded, and includes a new chapter on thriving in the future of work, whether remote, hybrid, or in-office, an assessment to understand your unique brain type (which you can also find for free at mybrainanimal.com) and optimize your learning, more coverage of nutrition (including nootropics and supplements for cognitive performance), cutting-edge techniques to harness A.I. and enhance productivity, and more strategies to achieve limitless focus and memory in any environment.
As Jim notes, through struggles we build our strength. Growing up as the kid with the “broken brain”, he learnt that he could overcome severe learning disabilities through hard work and learning, and now he is a world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, and accelerated learning. Even though his journey hasn’t been easy, he pushed through—and we all have this potential to make our mark on the world and achieve our dreams, regardless of where we are in life or what we have been told about our brains. It is not about being perfect, but pressing on, going beyond what you and others think is impossible.
Memory, after all, is not a shoe size or eye color. It is important to remember that, no matter what you have been told or how many IQ, EQ and standardized tests you have taken, your intelligence is belief-driven; what do you believe about your capabilities? Your intelligence is not defined by a test; it is determined by you. You are the pilot of your mind—you don’t have to be a passenger when it comes to your life!
At the end of the day, our life is the sum total of our choices we have made up to this point. Difficult times can distract or diminish us, but only if we let them. They can also develop us and help us grow and build our strength. This is not about being perfect; this is about making progress. This is what makes our potential truly “limitless”!
In the original book, Jim focused on the importance of our mindset, motivations and methods:
1. Your MINDSET is important. This is the assumptions and attitudes you have about your abilities: where do you feel stuck? Are you limited or limitless?
2. The power of MOTIVATION. What keeps you going? Jim has a useful formula for figuring out your motivation.
- P = purpose. You don’t have to love every moment, but allow yourself to feel the joy that comes with hard work and success. This will keep you motivated to keep on keeping on, just like the feeling after a hard workout, which makes all the effort worth it!
- E = energy. Make sure you have the energy to keep on keeping on, which means eating well, exercising, managing your stress, and getting enough sleep! Jim has some great tips in his book Limitless, and you can also check out my blogs and podcasts for lifestyle tips to help boost your energy, improve your mental and physical health, and keep you motivated!
- S = small. What small steps can you take right now that cannot fail and will bring you that much closer to your goal? For example, if you want to exercise more, a small step you can take to keep you motivated may just be putting on your running shoes!
3. You need to learn the METHODS needed to achieve true and lasting success. This is the process that teaches you how to use your brain, helping you learn how to think and learn, how to study, how to focus and how to make use of your knowledge.
In the expanded edition, he focuses on the power of “momentum”: the agility need to learn fast and switch between necessary tasks and goals to build on your skills and intelligence and achieve your full potential.
This is not about how smart someone is, but rather what kind of smart someone is, and how to make this work for us in today’s ever-changing world. We are all different—no brain is the same. We all learn differently, and we need to harness this uniqueness if we want to be successful in life, which Jim teaches in his amazing book.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that there is no limit to your creativity, determination or potential. With hard work, determination and practice, you can become your own genius!
For more on unlocking your brain’s potential, listen to my podcast with Jim (episode #535) and check out his amazing work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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0:35 Jim’s amazing book Limitless
1:45 Jim’s incredible story
4:36 How our struggles make us stronger
6:30 We are the pilots of our own minds
7:00 The power of choice
9:15 Our brains can change!
10:35 Why momentum is important
16:00 How to improve your memory
17:00 How to harness your unique brain type
36:00 The pros & cons of technology today and the rise of A.I.
50:00 Ways to improve brain health
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