Jim Kwik is the founder of Kwik Learning, he is a world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, accelerated learning and productivity. For over two decades Jim has served as the mental coach to many top celebrities and CEOs.
Jim Kwik has dedicated his life to sharing his strategies and techniques to help people unleash their true genius and brainpower to learn faster and live a life of power, productivity and purpose. By following his techniques, you too can learn to improve your memory, learn to speed-read, increase your decision-making skills, and unleash your ‘superbrain’.
Throughout Jim Kwik’s career, he has shared his amazing techniques with students at universities such as NYU, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford. He has also worked with companies like Nike and GE and Zappos to help their executives and employees get the most out of work and life.
Jim Kwik has a fantastic collection of videos on YouTube. I hope that you will enjoy the productivity tips from Jim’s interview below. I wanted to share both the original video and the text transcript so that you don’t miss any of his powerful tips and strategies that can instantly improve your productivity.
How To Improve Your Productivity And Performance By Jim Kwik
The average person, I read, opens up Instagram 150 times a day. So if you’re not doing it that much, because I certainly am not, somebody else is doing it! So if you are picking up the phone the first thing in the morning, this is the challenge.
First of all, there are these four primary brain wave states, beta is what you and I are in right now, we are awake, delta is when you are fast asleep. In between those two states, theta and alpha, are extremely important brainwave states for learning.
So theta is the state right in and out of sleep. Theta is the state that we call creativity. When you are at your most creative, usually it’s coming because you’re in this theta state of state, and you know this, when you’re in and out as sleep, or you are close to like you’re so deep, your mind goes and you come up with ideas. You know what puts you in that theta state are showers. Have you ever noticed like when you’re in the shower, you come up with some of your best ideas, because you’re in that brainwave state.
So a big part of my work is taking the invisible and making it visible. Like when I do these demonstrations, I always tell people that I do it because I want you to see that there’s a method behind the magic, that when somebody does something that’s extraordinary, in athletics, in education, in technology, with the human body, there’s always a trail, because genius leaves clues.
And a lot of times these geniuses and I say genius, not like IQ, I mean people who excel back in their area of expertise they don’t know how they’re doing it, because they are unconscious about it, because they’ve been doing it, it’s second nature to them, since for so long. And so what I like to do is deconstruct that, and then show people how to learn it more quickly.
But when you’re in this theta state … showers put you in that theta state, that’s why I took five showers this morning, just to prepare for this conversation. Above theta though, is the state called alpha. (Right below beta where you are most aware and awake). Alpha is a state of learning, accelerated learning, it’s the state of relaxed awareness. This is the state we go into when we meditate, because your critical mind is set aside, and you just absorb information unconsciously.
Remember, Recall, Retention
Do you know what puts you into an alpha state? Television. Have you ever noticed that if somebody is watching the game, or somebody’s watching their favorite TV show, and you are trying to have a conversation with them? They literally are in a trance, they don’t hear you, because of the television programming, which might be an interesting word, you know, ‘programming’ and putting people into a trance, but that’s the alpha state, that’s where information is just going inside your mind.
So we train people how to learn languages faster, and learn facts better by putting them into an alpha state, a relaxed state of awareness. And we can do that by design. People don’t realize this, and this is the whole thing. I really think this should have been taught back in school, because school was a great place to learn what to learn: math, history, science, Spanish, important subjects on what to learn, but how many classes were on how to learn?
How many classes were on how to think critically, how to make good decisions, how to solve problems, how to focus and concentrate, how to read faster, how to remember more, right? They teach you three Rs in school reading, writing, arithmetic, but what about remembering, what about recall, what about retention, right? Socrates says, “There is no learning without remembering”, and that’s really the basis of it all.
But I would say that, knowing you are in this alpha, theta state first thing in the morning, you are very suggestible, right? And if the first thing you are picking up is your phone, then that really is rewiring our brain, for two things, the danger is that it is going to really decrease your level of productivity and performance, number one, it’s training you to be distracted, every Like, Share, Comment, everything is just making you just pay attention to everything else and rewiring your brain, so when you’re having a conversation with somebody, you can’t even focus because you have trained your brain to do otherwise.
That is why mindfulness is so important, whether it is meditation or something else. I don’t meditate every single day just to be at peace and be in the Zen state. I do it because it’s a mental exercise, it improves my cognitive capabilities, meaning that when my mind goes somewhere else, that’s the opportunity, because when I pull it back with my breath or visualization, I build that muscle.
Taking Nouns And Turning Them Into Verbs
The basis of my work is really about taking nouns and turning them into verbs. So what do I mean by that? It’s like so many people, they wake up and say, “Oh, I hope I have energy today”, or “I have motivation today”, things that they have, right? I have creativity, so I could write today or make videos, or I have memory, or I have focus and concentration.
Those aren’t things you have, those are things you do, and so you don’t have love, you do loving things. You don’t have energy, you do things that give you energy. Just like that applies, same thing with learning. You don’t have focus, there’s a process for doing focus. You don’t have a memory, there are steps to improve your memory, or to remember things better. Creativity is not something you have, there’s actually a process for creativity.
So you should never suffer from writer’s block or anything else like that, because that’s where if you don’t understand how you work, when I was talking about self awareness and understanding yourself, I think if somebody wants to improve their self esteem overnight, just study your brain, you’ll get a boost of confidence and pride instantly, because it is the most incredible … I don’t even know what to call it, a device, a supercomputer, or what, in the whole universe. It’s not just about going out to Mars and all these other places, I want to go in here (points to head), because this controls what? Everything, our careers, our income, our health, our relationships. You know, whether or not you get complete.
The Forgetting Curve
We were talking about this before our conversation here, when you’re training for Ironman and triathlons and everything else, is how much of it is mental? Like everyone knows what to do, but do they do what they know? Because common sense is not common practice, and it’s a myth that knowledge is power.
Knowledge has the potential to be power, but it only becomes power when we use it, when we apply it. People think they should get points for buying books and sitting on the shelf, and it just sits there, and it becomes like shelf help, not self-help, right? Or somebody will go and learn something, or listen to a podcast, or a show, or they’ll go to a conference, they’ll pay all this money, but they don’t do anything with what they learn. And part of it also is because they forget it.
Everyone knows there’s a learning curve, but there’s also a forgetting curve. Did you know, like the forgetting curve says that if you learn something once, within 48 hours, 80% of it is gone. So you listen to a show, you watch something on YouTube, you go to a conference, you read a book, within two days, the majority of it’s gone.That is why memory is so important.
So the first thing, don’t touch your phone, because it is training you to be distracted. The second thing it’s training you for, which is almost worse, is it’s training you, rewiring your brain to be reactive. Reactive, meaning that you’re in this relaxed state of awareness when you first wake up, you pick up your phone, you get one text with bad news, or one voicemail, or one email, and you know this, this has all happened to us, you’re in a bad mood for the rest of your day, because you’re so impressionable, you’re in that hypnotic state.
And it affects you and you can never have a quality life, and be the best version of ourselves, be an elite mental performer, or high performer, when you’re responding and reacting to everybody else. My friend, Brendon Burchard says, “An inbox is nothing but a convenient organizational system for other people’s agenda for your life.”
How can you have vision for your life? I did a whole episode on my morning routine, like 10 things I do every morning to jumpstart my brain and I also have an evening one hour routine, to get into sleep, to maximize my sleep, because sleep is so very important to be able to do. But one of the processes I do besides, you know, blackout curtains and cold and temperatures and breath and stuff, meditation, is I don’t touch a screen, because it creates blue light, and most people should know this, the screen on your laptop, your phone, everything else, emits this blue light, which inhibits the melatonin production, which helps you to relax and go to sleep, so no screens.
But the other thing I do is, I write down to three things I want to accomplish the next day personally, and the other three are professionally. So now when I wake up, I have a vision for my life. Like this is a win today, if I just get these three things done personally, and three things professionally.
Be a Thermostat, Not a Thermometer
When it comes to my phone, I don’t touch my phone until I get at least one thing done, and that’s my test, if I could just do that. And it’s not always perfect, but it’s about progress, right? Because practice makes progress, right? And there’s never going to be a perfect, and I think people need to find what works for them.
But I would say again, to step out, trust yourself as the expert instead of somebody else and test it, you know, maybe for one week, keep your phone outside your bedroom for just one week, and don’t touch it for the first hour a day, and spend the first hour a day being a thermostat, not a thermometer.
Because a thermometer, what is its function? It reacts to the environment, and that’s a kind of crappy way to live, we react to environment, we react to the weather, we react to how clients treat us, we react, but to the degree we are happy, is that we have the location of control inside. Right? All the studies show that the happiest people are the ones that feel like they have the control over their happiness, and not put it to somebody else, a person or a place or something going in the economy or politics or anything, right? So a thermometer reacts to the environment, but a thermostat is different. What does that function? It sets the environment, it sets a goal, it sets a temperature, and then the environment raises to it.
► I highly recommend checking out the wonderful Jim Kwik here: http://jimkwik.com/
► This video was uploaded with permission of the owner.
Thanks to LONDON REAL for this amazing interview
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How Neurobics Can improve Your Memory
When you are trying to improve your overall well-being, it is just as important to focus on your mental fitness as well as your physical fitness. Most people have heard of aerobics. Aerobic exercise is a great way to boost your heart rate and burn a few extra calories while improving your heart health. But, have you ever heard of Neurobics? Neurobics is the science behind brain exercise.
Yes, you can exercise your mind and keep it just as fit as your body. But, it is not like your brain is going to do any jumping jacks or jogging any time soon, right? So, what can you do to keep it fit, and how does exercising your brain actually improve your memory?
Let’s dive a little deeper into how Neurobics actually works, and a few exercises you can try to boost your memory and overall brain health.
What Is Neurobics?
When you break Neurobics down, it stands for neurons + aerobics. Neurobic exercises increase the level of oxygen in your brain and “breathe life” into the neurons.
When those neurons are stronger and more stimulated, it improves your brain health – especially your memory. A good way to visualize how Neurobics actually helps is by picturing a piece of glass being blown into a decorative item. The glass maker has to stretch the piece when it is warm and malleable. But, once it is stretched out, it doesn’t spring back to where was before. It stays permanently in place.
Neurobics work the same way. By taking part in an activity or experience that taxes your brain, you are “stretching” the neurons. Once they are stretched, they don’t return to the shape that they were in before.
That is the point of Neurobics – to challenge your mind in different ways so that it gets stronger. If you are working out your body, doing the exact same exercise the same way each day, it would eventually cause your results to plateau. You have to switch things up to “confuse” your muscles and get them stronger. Working out your brain is just the same. With that in mind, let’s cover a few easy Neurobics exercises that you can start doing right away.
Change Your Habits
One of the easiest (and yet, most challenging) ways to get started with Neurobics is to step out of your daily comfort zone. Some habits can already be detrimental to your memory, and cutting them out of your life will make a difference.
When you stop old habits, you are actually using Neurobics to challenge your brain into different thinking patterns. Some ideas to consider include:
- Giving up (or at least cutting down) on television
- Quitting smoking/drinking alcohol
- Changing your eating habits
- Exercising more
When you stop doing some of the things that you have grown comfortable with, you require your brain to stretch, adapt and change. As a result, you will start thinking clearer, become more focused, and remember more things.
Do Something Different
Some Neurobic exercises are things that you can do in just a few minutes each day – the equivalent of doing 50 jumping jacks in a five-minute work break. Things like solving a crossword puzzle, writing in a journal or giving yourself a High Five in a mirror can all fire up the neurons in your brain. Even yoga and/or meditation can force you to push away the “cluttered” thoughts that are in your head and require you to focus on one particular thing.
The places you go and the experiences that you jump into can be considered as Neurobic activities. Anything that challenges your mind and causes you to think differently about something is a great way to stretch your brain.
These could include going to a museum, a zoo, a musical performance, or even different cultural festivals. Allowing yourself to be open to new ideas and experiences is one of the best ways to exercise your brain and improve your memory.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do.”
While one of the biggest benefits of Neurobics is improved memory, it is certainly not the only “perk” to this type of mental exercising. Neurobics can also help you to face your fears, live without regrets, and experience a fuller, more meaningful life.
They can give you the courage to take more chances and experience the rewards. They can turn you into a better leader. Most importantly, Neurobics can inspire you by changing the way you see the world around you.
If you are already passionate about your physical health, it could be time to start thinking about your mental fitness, too! Whether you want to improve your memory as you get older or just want to keep your mind as sharp as possible now, trying Neurobics is a great way to “stay in great mental shape”.
Use some of the exercises listed here to get started. You might be surprised by just how quickly your focus and memory will start to improve.
8 Great Ways To Reward Your Employees
Employee engagement is more than a current trend – it is something that more businesses across the globe are starting to value for plenty of good reasons. When employees feel happy and appreciated, they are more likely to be productive and loyal to your company.
While basic benefits packages are still important, it is now more important than ever to go above and beyond for the people working for you. Not only can great rewards help you to hire the best talent, but they will also make your business environment a positive one where people will actually enjoy coming to work and do their best.
The great part about rewarding your employees is that you can let your creativity shine. Think about practical, functional rewards that your employees will actually use and appreciate. Then, don’t be afraid to have some fun with your ideas.
Feeling stuck? Not sure where to get started? Let’s cover some great ways to reward your employees.
1. Make Your Gratitude Public
Sometimes, the simplest gestures can make the biggest difference. If you really want your employees to feel good, make sure everyone knows how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
So, thank them publicly. The next time you have a company meeting or public event, carve out some time to thank people individually. Giving them a few moments of attention in a public setting is a great way to show them how much that you appreciate them. After all, who doesn’t like to be complimented?
2. Give Time Off
A reward doesn’t have to be something tangible to be valuable. If your employees have been working hard, reward them with some extra time off. It could be a long weekend, a surprise vacation, or even just an afternoon off on a random Tuesday.
If you do decide to reward them with some free time, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate the work that they have been doing. That appreciation, along with getting a break from work, can help them to feel more motivated and productive when they return.
3. The Little Things Count
You don’t need to go overboard with flashy, expensive rewards. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most. Plus, you will be able to give them more frequently.
Hand out things like gift cards to local coffee shops or movie theaters, or give them something practical like a travel mug or ergonomic desk chair. Small gestures can really mean a lot and your employees will remember and appreciate the gesture.
4. Build Community Through Food
Everyone has to eat, but not everyone likes spending money on their lunch or bringing a regular sandwich from home.
One of the easiest ways to reward your employees is to have lunch catered in as often as possible. Not only does it show them how much you appreciate their work, but when everyone eats lunch together, it will build a more positive work environment. Your business benefits all around.
You can take things one step further by making your catered lunches a scheduled event, whether you do it once a week, once a month, etc. It gives people something to look forward to and serves as a constant reminder of your appreciation.
5. Subscription Services
Subscription services have become more popular than ever in recent years. They really grew during the pandemic, when most people started spending more time at home.
Consider signing your employees up for a subscription service you think they would enjoy. Perhaps give them a list of magazines that they can choose from and give them a years subscription for a job well done.
6. Schedule Company-wide Activities
Host company parties, picnics, and other fun events as often as possible. Everyone deserves to have fun after working hard, and it is another great opportunity for your employees to get closer, a build a better bond. Company activities can also help to prevent burnout in the workplace.
Make sure to include certain events that can include employees’ family members so everyone can join in the fun and your workers don’t have to be away from their loved ones. Family picnics, movie nights, bowling tournaments, or even a catered dinner are all great ways to make sure everyone is involved.
7. Extra Responsibility
While more responsibilities might not seem like a “reward” at first, it is how you present it to an employee that makes a difference.
When you sit down to talk to an employee about increasing their responsibilities, make sure they know why. Talk about how much you trust them and their ability to make decisions on their own. Let them know their value as a part of the company, and you take their career goals as seriously as they do.
8. Give Them A High Five
Giving someone a high five should not be confined just to sports. You have probably seen the viral videos of a teacher giving their students a high five as they enter the classroom. You can feel the positivity, genuine excitement and the wonderful energy from these videos. Research has shown that the biggest difference in whether or not someone will enjoy their job and be more productive, is not the amount of vacation time or their salary package. It is when someone has a manager who cares, appreciates and trusts them and makes them feel that they matter. The next time someone hits a target, makes a sale or gives great customer service why not give them a well deserved high five and see how it makes them feel.
While your employees might not regularly expect rewards, that is half the fun of giving them. Boosting morale, no matter how big or small your business might be, will make a big difference in how productive your workers are. It will shape the environment of your entire company, and the best part? It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to reward people for a job well done. Get creative, get personal, and find unique ways to show your employees how much you appreciate them.