Proven Mental Hacks to End Negative Self-Talk with Jim Kwik

I want to ask you a question before we jump into the interview: Are you MAXING OUT your brainpower? 

Do you feel overwhelmed by everything that is happening in your life? Do you have a hard time staying focused? Are you constantly distracted by everything that’s going on around you? Maybe you always forget names right after you meet someone, or you struggle with memory loss. If this sounds like you, then you’re going to want to listen to this interview. 

I’m honored to bring you the great Jim Kwik — THE world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance! With over 7 MILLION podcast downloads, Jim Kwik defines #MAXOUT with the #1 training podcast on iTunes! 

This year, I want to challenge you to LEARN better. Increase your ability to think. You may be saying to yourself, “Well, I’m just not a smart person. I don’t have what it takes to be a genius.” But here’s the thing guys, ANYONE can learn the steps to increase their brain performance and boost their memory. 

There is a natural GENIUS living inside of you. Don’t let negative thinking get in the way of your brain’s full potential. In this interview, we will talk about the PROVEN mental hacks that will help you end your negative self-talk and build skills that help you remember names, speed read, and become smarter than you ever imagined. Let’s go!

Who Is Jim Kwik? 

Jim Kwik is an expert on optimal brain performance, learning quickly, and MAXING OUT your capacity to think and perform in your life. But as a kid, Jim was known as “the boy with the broken brain.” 

At five years old, Jim was in an accident where he experienced a traumatic brain injury. After that, his parents said he was never the same. He became extremely shy and had learning difficulties in school. He was even put in special classes where he would pretend to understand things even when he didn’t. 

Growing up, Jim always loved superheroes, and it was through comics that he learned how to read. As he grew older, he decided that he was going to learn WHY his brain was broken and what he could do to FIX it. After years of training and research, accelerated learning is now his SUPERPOWER and not his weakness.

Throughout his career, he’s shared these mental techniques with students at universities like NYU, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and Singularity. He’s also worked closely with companies like Nike, GE, and Zappos to help their executives and employees get the most out of work and life. Even companies like SpaceX and Virgin, owned by billionaire geniuses like Richard Branson and Elon Musk, have trained with him!

“I always tell people, I don’t do this to impress you. I do this to express to you what’s really possible ⁠— because the truth is every single person that’s listening and watching this could do that … we were taught a lie that somehow our, our capabilities, our potential, our memory, for instance, or our learning abilities or intelligence is somehow fixed like our shoe size. And it’s absolutely not true. We’ve discovered more about the human brain in the past 20 years than the previous 2000 years combined. And what we found is we’ve grossly underestimated our own potential, our own capabilities.” – Jim Kwik

Jim Kwik is a world-renowned expert. He’s worked with the Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Will Smith — some of the highest-profile celebrities and businesspeople in the world. Ironically, this legacy was founded out of a boy with a broken brain. And today, Jim is here to share with you all the mental hacks you need to MAXOUT your brain performance and ACTIVATE your inner genius! 

How to Take Notes Like a Genius 

Jim has TONS of techniques and skills that will help you learn more easily and efficiently, but one of his best mental hacks is definitely his note-taking strategy. This tool will help you retain so much more information that you can actually apply. 

“So I recommend everybody takes notes of this specific episode because it boosts retention. People don’t realize that there’s a learning curve but there’s also a forgetting curve. Science is saying that within two days … up to 80% [of the information] is lost … And so you want to be able to hold that on. And so one of the ways of doing it is by taking notes … what they found is the worst way of taking notes actually is verbatim … you don’t even know what’s most important, but they found the best way of actually taking notes was more on keywords and relevancy.” – Jim Kwik

Jim recommends separating your notes into two columns. One column is strictly for capturing important information, and in the other column, you’ll be writing your impression of the information. What does it mean to you? What are your thoughts on the information? How could you apply it?

“There’s a clear distinction, right? Between just capturing information and … the creative process … a lot of people when they’re listening to something, their mind will go somewhere else. They’ll get distracted. So here, instead of it going somewhere else, it goes on the right side of the page… the left brain is more logical … but on the right side is your imagination, your creativity, right? So your creativity goes there … it forces you to ask questions. I believe that questions are the answer. I think it’s essential for, for critical thinking, for focus, [and] or learning.” – Jim Kwik

Jim’s method for note-taking uses both sides of the brain to their natural advantages, and it helps you retain MORE information and CREATIVELY apply it to your own life. Jim also uses journaling as a form of note-taking and always asks himself three questions to turn knowledge into action.

“Number one is ‘How can I use this?’… The second question is, ‘Why must I use this?’… And the third question I ask a lot is ‘When will I use this?” – Jim Kwik

When you ask yourself these questions when you’re taking notes, then you’ll actually start to APPLY the information that’s in your brain to your life. When you use information creatively, it makes sense that you’ll retain that information, since you’re actually putting it into practice. I encourage you to take notes on THIS EPISODE so that you can not just remember Jim’s expert advice but USE it to MAXOUT your brain performance. 

Connecting Information to Emotion for MAXIMUM Memory Retention 

Jim and I also talked about how to remember people’s names and how this is one of the most important tools in business networking. How are you going to show somebody that you care for their business, their finances, their health, etc. if you can’t remember their name. When we forget someone’s name that we are doing business with, we are essentially showing that we don’t care enough – that’s the message we’re sending. 

“Caring is everything. Nothing sells like caring. The truth is you could always remember [someone’s] name … You just remembered somebody’s name — Why? What’s the difference? You’re motivated … Ask yourself questions [to] elevate your level of motivation. You could ask yourself, ‘What’s my level of motivation to remember something, learn this, or remember this name?” – Jim Kwik 

When you want to learn something new ⁠— whether it’s a new language, a group of names, or some scientific ⁠— it really all comes down to this question: Are you motivated? If you don’t really care about something, the fact is that you’re not going to learn it. 

“So you don’t remember all names, but you certainly don’t forget all names [either] … usually the names you remember are the names you’re motivated to … you’re somebody that is attracted to somebody [or] somebody that could be good for their business, right? So there’s emotion there. So emotion tied to information becomes a long term memory because here’s the thing ⁠— is there like a song or fragrance or food that could take you back to when you were a kid? Absolutely. Because information tied with that emotion becomes a long term memory.” – Jim Kwik

It makes sense, right? The opposite is true as well. When you experience an event that produces boredom or no strong emotion, then you’re most likely not going to remember that experience. It’s like being in school and learning about the periodic table when you’d rather go and play kickball. You’re not going to remember that. Entertainment is actually a HUGE part of learning because it infuses emotion into the experience. 

Use Your Brain or Lose It 

You guys know I love a good fitness metaphor, and Jim gave a perfect one about the brain. If you’re training your body for elite physical fitness, you have to do it consistently. You can’t work out just one day of the week for thirty minutes. When you’re training yourself for elite mental performance, the same rule applies.

“Your brain is like a muscle. It’s use it or lose it. But people are suffering from digital dementia. This is the new term in healthcare ⁠— digital dementia ⁠— where we’re so dependent on our smart devices.” – Jim Kwik

Jim went on to say that he went to dinner the other night with nine other people, and when the waiter came with the check, half of the 10 people pulled out their phones to divide the check by 10. All you do is just move the decimal over, but we’ve become so reliant on technology that we don’t know how to solve simple math problems anymore. 

“[This is] the paradox. If you just do the easy things in life ⁠— you procrastinate, you put things off ⁠— then life is hard. But if you do the hard things in life, life becomes easy. And that [is] because you’re building those muscles … mental fitness is as important as mental intelligence.” – Jim Kwik 

Technology has made a lot of things easier, and a lot of this is for the good, right? But when we depend on technology to do everything for us, then it becomes harder to do things for ourselves. Have you ever just picked up your phone and opened an app without knowing why? That’s your brain seeking a dopamine response – it’s a distraction. On my episode about MAXING OUT your productivity, you heard me say that I don’t pick up my phone for the first hour of my day — why? Because if I do, my brain is rewired to look for distractions. Technology is a TOOL that you can use, but it shouldn’t be a habit.

A great way to increase your mental fitness is to physically move your body. Movement changes your physiology which affects your psychology. We live in a culture where sitting is the new smoking — it slowly kills us and our performance potential. 

“The primary reason why you have a brain [is] to control your movement … as your body moves, your brain grooves.” – Jim Kwik

If you work at a desk all day, schedule times where you can take a quick walk, do some stretches, or maybe some jumping jacks. You’ll be AMAZED with how much that will increase your mental awareness and get those creative juices flowing! 

IQ Isn’t Everything: How to Fall in Love with Your Own Genius 

Now you might still be saying, “This sounds all very well and good, but I’m just not smart enough to learn a new language, speed read, or have a super memory.” Maybe you took an IQ test and the results disappointed you. Here’s what Jim Kwik has to say about IQ: 

“I don’t think [IQ] has the value that people give to [it] … the two issues I have with IQ [are these] … Number one, it’s saying that when you take this test, whether you’re six or 60, it’s going to be the same, and it’s fixed. And I do not believe that [they’ve] proven that. I literally could show anybody how to do better on it because it’s just [about] how to learn things … the other thing is, I don’t think IQ is an accurate measure of intelligence.” – Jim Kwik 

Jim explained the multiple intelligence theory to me by Howard Gardner which says there is more than just one type of intelligence. There’s visual, spatial, visual intelligence that artists, architects, and graphic designers used all the time in their jobs. Their intelligence looks different from a philosopher, mathematician, or fitness coach’s intelligence. 

LeBron Jame’s genius is different from Bill Gates’s genius, and not one is inherently “better” than the other. I want to encourage you to FALL IN LOVE with your own GENIUS. EMBRACE your gifts and use them to your advantage. You may not have insane math skills, but maybe you have uncanny initutino. I think there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of different types of intelligence. Your magic is different than anyone else’s, so OWN it. 

“It’s not how smart you are. It’s how are you smart?” – Jim Kwik 

Don’t burden yourself with negative self-talk, because you are a GENIUS. If you constantly tell yourself that your memory is no good or that you’re dumb, you’re going to push yourself into a rut. But if you remind yourself that you have the capacity to MAXOUT your brain performance, you’ll set yourself up for success. Jim says it perfectly:

“And my goal for everybody who’s watching and listening to this is that they’re smarter than they think. It’s just, we weren’t taught how to do these things. And when you’re in congruence and in alignment, things happen. Your natural superpowers … come out organically and are not forced.” – Jim Kwik

#MAXOUT with Jim Kwik

Guys, this article just scratches the surface. We talked about so many different hacks in this interview that will increase your mental performance, increase your memory retention, and stop your negative self-talk. 

If you’re looking for more mental hacks, I strongly encourage you to check out Jim’s podcast Kwik Brain and check out his website for coaching resources! His Instagram is also full of great tips and Q&A sessions. 

If you loved this episode as much as I did, please share it on Instagram! And while you’re there, connect with Jim, @jimkwik, and with me, @edmylett. Use the hashtag #MAXOUT to share with me your biggest takeaways from the episode in the comments below! I read your comments every week, and a few select winners get all sorts of prizes from gear to coaching calls with me!

You are smarter than you think! You just haven’t been taught how to optimize your brainpower. This interview will teach you how to MAXOUT your ability to think and perform in every area of your life! You got this!

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