I recently attended an event in Hollywood with Jim Kwik of Kwik Brain, aptly called an evening dedicated to your brain.
Jim suffered from an injury growing up and was known as “the boy with the broken brain,” but has since conquered his limitations through reading and systematic thinking regarding the brain’s ability to learn and overcome.
He has been called upon by industry giants like Zappos, Nike, and Google to help increase the reading, thinking, and learning capabilities of their employees, which gives him credibility with some of the world’s highest performers.
The event was held in a dimly lit, hippie-ish Yoga studio, but was far from translucent.
MAKE LEARNING A LIFESTYLE
“If knowledge is power, then learning is a superpower.” – Jim Kwik
Starting off with Aaron Alexander from Align Podcast, we were jumping and howling, fusing movement and mind: “as your body moves, your mind groves.”
Jim then went on to highlight many of the ideas that serve as the foundation of his system:
♦ First, you create your habits then your habits create you.
KEY INSIGHT: What you do every day makes you into who you are.
♦ All learning is state-dependent. School was boring — what do you remember from your 12 years of primary education?
KEY INSIGHT: INFORMATION + EMOTION= LONG-TERM MEMORY
If you want to learn something, make it matter to you.
Three emotional states that you should link to learning:
♦ Massive intelligent action cures a lot of things. If you struggle to do anything, take massive action towards that goal.
♦ An obstacle to learning is the fear of making mistakes. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
♦ Motivation — why don’t people take action?
- We put pressure on everything to be perfect.
- A sense of overwhelm stops us in our tracks.
- Feel that we don’t have the discipline.
We need to have the grace to learn and make it habitual.
KEY INSIGHT: Take massive action toward the goal you are avoiding. The treasure you seek is hidden in the things you are avoiding.
♦ Self-awareness is a superpower: have the curiosity to know yourself (identity, beliefs, values) and the courage to be yourself.
♦ How to start: work backward from your champagne moment. Ask yourself, “what’s most important in your life?”
If you’re persistent you can have it, if you’re consistent you can keep it. – Jim Kwik
♦ Have character — not about what you say, do. Not about what you promise, prove.
THE IMPORTANCE OF READING
Jim promotes a book a week, which breaks down to 45 minutes of reading per day for the average reader.
That is not a huge time investment considering you can translate decades of information into days. The best in the world have written down what they know, you can learn it all in a matter of days if you commit to a book a week.
The average person reads two books a year and that is why they are average.
Reading can you make unaverage. Weak to strong, regular to rich.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Dr. Michael Breus closed out the night with a compelling speech on the importance of sleep. For all intents and purposes, sleep is the secret edge you wanted to have but had all along.
The key is getting to know your chronotype, which drives the time of day you operate best. You can find out everything you need to know by reading his book, The Power of When.
Besides the insight into the importance of chronotypes, Dr. Breus gave us five things for better sleep:
1) Have a consistent wake-up time (to include weekends) due to the reset of your circadian rhythm. This is why you feel groggy and immobile after sleeping in.
2) Go decaf by 2 pm. What I like most about Dr. Breus is that he understands people and saying something like, avoid all coffee by 2 pm, won’t work. Switch to decaf by 2 pm is an easier pill to swallow.
3) Give your body one hour per alcoholic drink prior to sleeping. If you have three drinks, wait three hours before you go to sleep. Also, drink one glass of water per drink in order to avoid waking up dehydrated (heavily impacts the productivity of the following day).
4) Exercise —20 minutes per day impacts the quality of sleep.
5) Sunlight. Aim to get 15 minutes of sunlight about 30 minutes of waking up. If you have to wake up early or find yourself out of synch due to travel, use a goLITE instead.
21-DAY READING PROGRAM
Following the talk, I was compelled to join Jim’s 21-Day Kwik Reading Program. I am willing to try anything that would make me read faster, work smarter, and think better and this program promises just that.
Check it out here. I’ll be sure to post an update of my progress.