Jim Kwik – CEO & Founder, Kwik Learning
Unlock Your Superpower
As an up-and-coming entrepreneur, you probably think you’re giving it everything you’ve got. Day in, day out, working at max capacity. Right?
Jim Kwik, one of the world’s leading brain performance coaches, has trained the likes of Richard Branson, Jim Carrey, and Will Smith in the art of unleashing the mind’s full potential. And he’s here to put your underperforming brain on notice.
As the founder of Kwik Learning and SuperheroYou, a global community of more than 140,000 students committed to upgrading their brainpower, Kwik has a rapidly growing sphere of influence. But don’t worry, he’s here to use his power for good, not evil.
Be warned: This is not an interview to take lying down. Scrap everything you were thinking about, get on your feet, turn off your phone, and get ready to pounce on Kwik’s game-changing wisdom.
According to Kwik, your mind is your single biggest asset for entrepreneurial success. You’ve gotta learn, so you can earn. But Kwik’s personal story is not your average humble beginnings narrative. The impetus for his career as international brain-training superhero was born from desperation, after a traumatic head injury at age 5 put Kwik severely behind the eight ball as a student. It was a setback Kwik would spend the next decade trying to combat, as he strove to keep up with his peers.
By the time Kwik reached college, he was determined to put the disadvantage behind him, sensing an opportunity to become the “smart guy” he’d always dreamed of being. Only the reality wasn’t quite so simple. After putting himself through the physical and emotional ringer, Kwik began to buckle under the hefty university workload. Try as he might, knowledge simply wouldn’t stick, and Kwik was ready to throw in the towel.
Unfortunately, it took another nasty knock to the head for the way forward to present itself. After a fall left him unconscious for two days, Kwik was recuperating in the hospital when a kindly nurse placed a mug of tea before him.
It bore a quote from Albert Einstein: The same level of thinking that has created your problem won’t solve your problem.
It all clicked. Kwik realized his problem wasn’t related to the information he’d been trying to force into his brain, but the very act of learning itself.
“I thought there had to be a better way. All the classes at school were on what to learn, but there were zero classes on how to learn—how to listen, to learn faster, to concentrate, and to problem solve. I started reading anything I could get my hands on about learning; adult learning theory, learning styles, reading, memory, focus. I wanted to understand this one riddle: How does my brain work so I can work my brain?”
A few months later, as his grades and happiness began to soar, Kwik started sharing his strategy with other students via a series of courses. The powerful effect of mastering relatively simple competencies like speed reading continued to blow his mind.
A Superhero’s Journey
As a child who taught himself to read using comic books, superheroes had always had a special meaning to Kwik. But they began to take on a new level of importance as he headed down this new professional path.
“I talk about superheroes a lot because they have a unique ability or strength and they share it with others in the form of value. I think entrepreneurs are modern day superheroes, as they create value where there was none.”
Kwik believes that every person embarks upon their own superhero’s journey, a path that generally involves some form of struggle before your Yoda eventually shows up. For Kwik, he came in the form of a friend’s father, who took him aside during his university troubles and challenged him, on the spot, to write down his goals.
“He told me, ‘You are this close to everything on this list.’ And I’m thinking there’s no way—give me 10 lifetimes and I can’t crack it! He took me to a room wall to wall with books and I saw many were biographies of people in history who mattered, people who really moved the needle. He pulled out my bucket list and starts to read. Something about being in that place, hearing a stranger say my dreams out loud to the universe, messed with my spirit and my mind something fierce. I still get goosebumps about that moment.”
Having benefitted from the influence of a great mentor, Kwik is a huge advocate of getting help. He believes that while everybody has the capacity to hustle, there is much to be gained from those who have come before us.
“We all stand on the shoulders of other superheroes. Even self-made entrepreneurs had help. I’m always looking for people and ideas. I wake up every morning thinking I could meet that new idea or individual that could completely change my life for the better. I literally walk around with that anticipation every day.”
Although it’s worth noting that most of us don’t get to hang with real-life superheroes like Kwik does. He describes a recent afternoon spent watching a boxing match with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger:
“I always think that genius leaves clues. What does it take to be a champion? Arnold told me it’s all about pushing through the pain. Sylvester said, ask yourself if the pleasure will be worth the pain. The theme is, inevitably you’re going to having struggles, but if you allow them to, they can become your strengths and can also become the way you serve others.”
Understanding the Basics
Before getting into the nitty gritty of brain training, Kwik says there are a couple of vital points entrepreneurs need to get their heads around. It starts with really understanding your brain’s potential.
Our brains are the ultimate supercomputers, he says, and in an economy where most of us are paid for our mental muscle, it has never been more important to see this power fully realized. But what most people don’t comprehend is the extent to which our minds can be hacked. Kwik blames this on an antiquated education system that was designed to educate farmers and factory workers at the turn of the century. The secret to getting ahead in business, therefore, is upgrading your capacity to learn.
“If knowledge is power, learning is your superpower. Every single person can do it; you just weren’t taught how. In many ways you were taught a lie, that your intelligence, your memories, your learning is fixed, like your shoe size. We know from the past few decades of brain science research that this is absolutely not true. We have an incredible capacity to learn, just not by consumption. We learn by creation, by rolling up our sleeves and getting involved.”
This is backed up by the caliber of clientele who regularly engage Kwik’s services to help sharpen their professional edge. From rocket scientists to Hollywood actors, Kwik believes a common trait of the world’s most successful people is that they all understand the greatest resource they have is the “three-pound matter between their ears.”
Another important lesson for entrepreneurs is fully understanding the ROI of learning. As he puts it, the faster you can learn, the faster you can earn. Activities like deconstructing the tactics adopted by other successful people are great ways to accelerate your growth, provided you do so when you’re in the right mindset to absorb the information. (Here’s a hint: it’s not right before bed.)
“We live in a very competitive information age. It feels like we’re trying to take a sip of water out of a fire hose. Knowledge is both power and profit. Entrepreneurs need to be committed to learning, and schedule time for it. Not for things like emails and project management, but to listen to a podcast or do 30 minutes of reading per day. Because if you’re not feeding your mind, you’re falling behind.”
Jim Kwik’s Mental Masterclass
1. How to Learn Faster
When it comes to learning anything faster, Kwik recommends his “FAST” approach.
F – Forget
Start by temporarily forgetting everything you already know, or think you do, about the subject. Why? Because your brain needs to be Miyagi-ed. It has a big old ego that thinks it already knows what it needs to know.
“It’s cliché, but your mind is like a parachute, it only works when it’s open. Forget situational things, forget what’s not relevant or urgent. We can only be aware of a certain amount of things at once.”
A – Active
Sitting down to learn? You’re doing it wrong. Kwik says most people are extremely passive while learning, because that’s what their 20th century education taught them. Activity is key.
“Learning is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit on the bench and expect to learn, you need to participate, take notes, ask questions.”
S – State
Consider the mood of your mind and body, avoiding the dull state that comes with sitting and being lectured to. Learning in this state encodes our memories incorrectly, making them harder to retrieve.
Kwik explains that information combined with emotion is required to create a long-term memory. We all know the feeling—that powerful surge of recollection that comes with a particular smell or the first few bars of a tune.
“They say sitting is the new smoking. Standing and moving changes your physiology, which affects your psychology, your state. And we are all responsible for how we feel. It’s the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer is a device that reacts to what the environment is giving it. A thermostat sets a standard and the environment raises to that level.
“That’s why I believe in entrepreneurs. They are the ones who set standards or levels of value and share it with the world. No matter what stage you’re at, be that thermostat. You want to learn faster? Also be curious, and fascinated, just like children.”
T – Teach
If you had to learn a skill like speed reading for the purpose of teaching it to someone else, would you learn it differently? Would you be more or less focused, or ask questions differently? Of course you would, Kwik says.
“When you teach something, you get to learn it twice. When you learn with the outcome to teach it to someone, you own that information more.”
2. How to Remember People’s Names
Kwik believes that one of the easiest, most effective memory tools is “MOM.”
M – Motivation
First and foremost, you need to believe it’s important. Imagine you are offered a suitcase filled with $100,000, if you can simply recall a person’s name. Even the feeblest of memories can suddenly remember without applying a single trick. It’s the same in practice. As you meet somebody, ask yourself why you want to recall their name. The answer itself is irrelevant, but reasons reap results. No reason, no recall.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So before you sell anything, whatever your business is, remember their name. I can’t tell you how many people I know of who hurt a relationship or killed a deal because they forgot or said the wrong name.”
O – Observation
Many people blame their poor memories on retention, when the real issue is attention, or lack thereof. Having had the honor of meeting Bill Clinton many times, Kwik is always bowled over by the extent of the man’s memory.
“Bill Clinton not only remembers my name, but conversations we’ve had and topics that interest me. That’s a real leadership skill. He has a powerful presence, but I think his incredible memory and presence comes from being powerfully present. The key to learning is observing. Take the world ‘listen.’ Scramble the letters and it becomes ‘silent.’ Be silent, hear the name.”
M – Mechanics
Mechanics relates to the practical tips and techniques that can help you to recall names. However, as Kwik warns, if you don’t want to remember a name or you don’t listen, how you propose to do it is a moot point.
3. How to Speed Read
In Kwik’s experience, the reason people read slowly is because they weren’t taught how to read quickly. Reading is a skill most of us haven’t brushed up on in since we were 6-year-olds, which seems practically irresponsible in light of the number of hours we spend reading emails, documents, and digital content in just about any form. Doubling your reading speed over the course of a year, for just one hour a day, could hand you back a whopping nine weeks of productivity.
“Leaders are readers. I once asked Bill Gates what superpower he would choose, if he could have any. He said the ability to read faster. JFK was a master of speed reading, reading 800-1,000 words per minute, compared to the average person’s 250. He was said to read six newspapers every morning with just one cup of coffee.”
Here’s how Kwik recommends you increase your speed:
Focus, focus, focus
How often do you get to the bottom of a page only to have forgotten what you just read? Kwik says this is a common effect of poor focus. Of the thousands of people they test each year, he explains that most people start out believing their comprehension will decrease if they try to read faster, when the reverse is actually true. Most people read just one word at a time, boring their minds until they wander off in search of other thoughts, or get sleepy.
“The reason people who read faster have better comprehension is, if you don’t give your brain the stimulus it needs it will seek entertainment elsewhere. If you’re driving a car slow, you’re not focused. You’re talking to someone, or drinking your coffee. But if you’re driving fast, you’re not thinking at all, you’re focused only on what’s in front of you. It’s the same with reading.”
Tell your inner voice to shut it
One of the biggest obstacles to effective reading is the inner voice that reads alongside us, known as sub-vocalization. Because we can only say words as fast as we speak, our reading speed is limited to our talking speed, not our thinking speed.
Use a visual pacer
One of easiest speed reading tips is using a visual pacer, be it your finger, a pen or a computer cursor. By applying this simple tip, Kwik says you will read 25-50% faster without skipping any words.
“Reading takes time and time is money. When we graduate people online, they tend to read 25-50% faster and that is a real business advantage.”
- Why the power of your mind is the most important weapon as an entrepreneur
- How to stop being a passive learner and start being an active learner
- How to unlock your brain’s vast potential for memory
- How the most influential people in the world use their brains
Full Transcript of Podcast with Jim Kwik
Nathan: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Foundr Podcast. My name is Nathan Chan and I’m your host coming to you live from hometown, proud homegrown Melbourne, Australia. Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, evening, morning, good night, wherever you are around the world and I just wanna say thank you so much for taking the time to share your earbuds with me. My voice is little croaky, I went to an event, amazing event to become a part of this group called EO Windham . Yeah, it was a fantastic event with a very very smart entrepreneur, so doing a lot of speaking, a lot of networking.
But let’s not digress, let’s talk about today’s guest Jim Kwik. This guy is an absolute learning machine and you’ll learn a lot of tricks around memory, brain training, life hacks, productivity and also business building as well. Jim has built a very very successful business and he’s got such an inspiring story and he’s a pretty connected guy. His achievements, you know, he works with people like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hugh Jackman or Will Smith and he trains these people how to remember their lines when it comes to acting. And yeah, insane dude. I think you guys are gonna love this episode, I know I did, it was a great conversation.
I’m just gonna leave it at that. If you are enjoying these episodes, please do take the time to leave us a review. Go to foundrmag.com/cast C-A-S-T, if you’re listening on iTunes, or you can go to foundrmag.com/stitcher, if you’re listening on Spotify, please do leave us a review as well. And I also should remind you, I’m so pumped about this project we’re working on. It’s the next really big step in the growth of building out this media company and that is really scaling up our educational content, you know, our premium content. And from the surveys, you guys did tell us that, you know, one of the biggest things and it was voted the highest was learning how to start a business and one of the biggest kinda businesses that you wanna build, the biggest demand was to how to build a physical-based product.
So, we found someone, that’s one Shopify, Build a Business, has built four multi-million dollar companies and she’s an absolute expert. It’s just funny enough I’m friends with her. And she lives in Melbourne and she has been on the Foundr Podcast, it was a very very well received episode. And she’s teaching us a framework and system on how to build and grow and scale an e-commerce store and sell physical products and build an amazing brand that is recognized by millions of people.
So, if you do wanna know more about that, you can go to foundrmag.com/ecommerce. So that’s foundrmag.com/ecommerce. All right, that’s it from me. Now let’s jump in the show.
Thank you so much for taking the time to be here, Jim. I’m really, really excited to speak with you. I’ve seen and have been following your work from afar for a while now and we connected on Facebook, so the first question I ask everyone that comes on the show is how did you get your job?
Jim: Well, it’s a real pleasure to be here Nathan, and thank you everyone, who is listening. You could say that the inspiration for what I do came out of desperation. A lot of people, they YouTube me or have seen me on stage, I do these demonstrations where I memorize long lists of words, like 100 words or 100 numbers or memorize all these people’s names live from an audience.
And I always tell people I don’t do this to impress you, I do this to express to you what’s really possible. Because every single person who is with us today could also do it, it’s just you weren’t taught how. If anything you were taught a lie. A lie that your intelligence, your potential, your learning, your memory, for example, is fixed like your shoe size and we know from just the past couple of decades of research in the brain sciences, this is absolutely not true. Like, you have an incredible capacity.
And how I know that is because I grew up with learning challenges. At an early age in kindergarten, I had a very bad fall and I had head trauma and some brand of brain injury. And I had a lot of challenges understanding things. It took me longer to learn how to read, it actually took me an extra three years to learn how to read than all my friends. I had no focus or memory to speak of and like went through all school, elementary school, middle school, junior high, high school, just with these challenges and I struggled.
And so I know what it’s like to not feel like you’re smart enough, you know. I was the boy with the broken brain that just no matter how hard he tried it just was sort of hard to succeed. And when I got to college and how I ended up on this path was I thought I could start fresh when I got to university. And I wanted to make my family proud and show the world, mostly show myself that I was worth it and I could do it, and it actually got even worse. And in order to be able to keep up, I just… I was basically at my wit’s end. I wanted to quit, and a friend of mine was saying that, “Why don’t you go…you know, I’m gonna go visit my family this weekend, why don’t you come with me and get some perspective before you tell your parents and try and quit school?” And I agreed to do it.
And the family was very wealthy. The parents were entrepreneurs, they had a beautiful home on the water but they were just really happy. And, you know, the father walks me around his property before dinner and asked me a very innocent question that you would ask, you know, an 18-year-old saying, “How’s school?” And I just break down, I start crying in front of this complete stranger and I just say that all my life I’ve had these challenges and I just don’t think school’s for me and I don’t know how to tell my family I’m going to drop out. And he looks at me and he asked a very important question, because I find that in learning questions really are the answer, and that they direct our focus and give us things, new meanings and new behaviors.
You know, and he has asked me the questions like, “Why are you in school? What do you wanna do? What you wanna be? What do you wanna have? What you wanna share?” And I didn’t really know how to answer right away, Nathan, but after a little while of him probing, I answered the question. And then he stops me and he pulls out of his back pocket a journal and he tears out a couple pieces of paper. And I know that successful people write things down often, right, they write down their goals, they write down their days, their learnings and such in life and in business. And he gives me a couple sheets of paper and he makes me write down my goals.
And after a little bit of time, it became like a bucket list and when I was done with the exercise I started folding up the sheets of paper to put in my pocket. And out of nowhere, he just grabs it right out of my hands and he starts to look at my list. And I’m freaking out, honestly, a little Nathan. I’m like, you know. I’m very insecure, I’m 18 years old, I’m struggling, I haven’t found myself, I’m honestly not successful in school, and this person, this complete stranger is obviously doing really well for himself. And he’s looking at all my dreams and my desires, and my fantasies. And I don’t know how much time went by but after, you know, when he was done he looked up at me and he says, “Jim, you are this close to everything on this list.” And he spreads his two index fingers about 10 inches apart and I’m thinking just, “There’s no way, right, give me 10 lifetimes, I can’t crack this list.”
And he takes his two index fingers, Nathan, and he puts them on the side of my head, meaning, you know, it’s my head, it’s my brain if you will, that was the key. And he takes me into his home into a room I’ve never seen in my life. It is wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor, covered in books. I mean, can you imagine? I’ve never seen like a library in somebody’s home, but I realized that some of those successful people on the planet, like leaders, are readers, right? And he starts grabbing these books from each of these shelves and starts handing them to me.
And I start looking at the titles and I see that they’re the biographies of men and women in history that really mattered, that really moved the needle, amazing men and women history and some very….you’d appreciate this, some very early personal growth books like Norman Vincent Peale, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” “Psycho-Cybernetics,” “Napoleon Hill,” you know, the classics. And he asked me to read one book a week. And I’m just thinking like “Are you kidding me? Like, have you…” And I literally tell him, “Have you not been listening? I have these learning challenges, I can’t even keep up with my schoolwork.” And when I said that to him, he looks at me and he says, “Jim, don’t let school get in the way of your education.” And I was just….I still get these goosebumps, and I call them like, truth bumps.
And I was like, “You know, that makes sense.” I didn’t know at the time this was a Mark Twain quote but I say, you know, that makes sense and yet I really, sir, I can’t keep up with all of this and I can’t read all these books. And then he’s a very wise man, he pulls out of his pocket my bucket list which he still has and he starts to read out loud every single one of my dreams. And something about me in that place hearing a stranger say, another man like say out loud your dreams into the universe and it just messed with my spirit, my mind, something fierce.
And honestly, a lot of the things on that list were things I wanted to do for my family that they could never or would never do for themselves. And with that extra leverage, right, we know the power of motivation and drive as an entrepreneur, I agreed to read one book a week. Now, fast forward, I go back to school and I’m sitting at my desk and I remember it so clearly, on the left side I have a pile of books that I have to read for midterms and papers I need to write and so on for school. And on the right side of the desk, you know, a pile of books that this man lent me to read that I promised to read one a week and I can’t keep up. And I don’t know where to do it or how I’m gonna do it, so I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, I don’t spend time with friends, I don’t work out I’m just living in the library. And I end up actually passing out one night, one evening in the library, I fall down a flight of stairs.
I hit my head again and I wake up in the hospital two days later. And I honestly, Nathan, thought I’d died. And I was down to117 pounds by this time, I lost all this weight because I was not taking care of myself, I was just so driven to try to succeed and work harder because I wasn’t smart enough. And I thought I’d die, I was hooked up to these IVs and I thought there has to be a better way. And the inflection point, the turning point was this is the message, the nurse came in with a mug of tea and on the side of the mug was a illustration, a drawing of a pretty smart superhero, you know, Albert Einstein.
And it said this quote that we’ve all heard before in different iterations. It said, “The same level of thinking that’s created your problem won’t solve your problem, the same level think of thinking that’s created your problem won’t solve your problem.” And it made me think, “What’s my problem?” I’m like, “I’m a really slow learner.” And now it’s like, “Well, how do I think differently?” I was like maybe I can learn how to learn? And I thought that, you know, I just picked up a course bolt and I looked at all the classes and all the classes at school were all classes on what to learn, math, history, science, Spanish all good classes on what to learn but zero classes on how to learn. And have you noticed that? Zero classes on how to listen, how to concentrate, how to focus, how to read faster, you know, how to solve problems, how to be creative, how to innovate, how to remember things even.
I always thought it should have been if they teach you three hours, let’s say in school, reading, writing, arithmetic but what about the fourth hour like retention, recall, remembering? You know, Socrates says “Learning is remembering.” And so I dedicate that time, the next 60 days to really studying everything I’d get my hands on the potential of the mind, and I’m learning adult learning theory, multiple intelligence, learning styles, you know, reading memory focus. Takes one hour to understand this one riddle, and even to this day, just then the question is this is how does my brain work so I can work my brain.
You know, you just say your brain is your ultimate supercomputer on the planet you could do so many things. And right now, today, everyone listening to this, you know, you’re paid for not by your muscle strength, you’re paid by your mind strength. It’s not your brute strength it’s your brain strength and that’s the economy we live in, you know, and if knowledge is power then learning is your superpower. And 60 days of studying this my light switch went on in my mind and I started to understand things, I started to have better focus. I started to read faster, I started to remember things. I started to do better in school and after that, I could help but when you have that kind of revelation you can’t help but share with other people.
I think as an entrepreneur part of what, you know, I think modern entrepreneurs, for the most part, are modern day superheroes. I talk about superheroes a lot because I grew up with these learning challenges, I actually taught myself how to read by reading comic books. And you know, superheroes for me are very meaningful, they’re the ones that are putting on their cape and they have not only superpowers, right, the super talent unique ability if you will, a strength, but not only that they share with other people in the form of value. And I think entrepreneurs create value where there wasn’t value there before. So, I started teaching this and one of my very first students she was a freshman in college, I remember she read 30 books in 30 days.
We teach like a very intense speed reading course, and not just skimmed it, you know, retained it and comprehended it. Thirty books in 30 days. And I wanted to find out not how she did it but why she did it, I’m always interested in human motivation. And I find out that her mother was dying of terminal cancer, was given 60 days to live, the books she was reading were books to save her mom’s life. And I find out six months later that her mother not only survived but is getting better. Doctors don’t know how or why, they actually called it a miracle. But her mother attributed it 100% to the great advice she got from her daughter who learned it from all these books.
And that’s again where I learned that if knowledge is power, learning is your superpower. If knowledge is power learning is your superpower. And I’ve dedicated my whole life to sharing that with people, busy people who just can’t keep up with things and just wanna know what they’re really capable of.
Nathan: Yeah, well. Dude that was…I’m blown away by that story man. That was that I’m impressed like you. I’m just thinking, well, this is a super powerful dude I’m speaking to right now with a super powerful mind. So, I got a ton of questions.
Jim: Just start.
Nathan: First one, like I couldn’t stop writing down on my notepad like all these questions I wanna ask you. All right, let’s start from the start, so you’d met this dude and he was kinda like a mentor, right, that kinda pushed you, yeah?
Jim: Yeah. I mean I think, you know, we all have this, the hero’s journey, right? We talk about superheroes and along the way you’re in this area, you’re on this quest, right, and you stumble and you go through struggles. And then your Yoda, you know, shows up and it comes in different forms, right? And so he was one of my early mentors that I think everybody needs to have some kind of mentor, some kind of coach. Because I don’t believe people are self-made, I mean, I think that we all have drive and we can all hustle and we can all work but we all stand on the shoulders of other heroes, superheroes if you will. And the wisdom, you know, of the ages and the people who’ve come before. Even entrepreneurs that say they’re self-made they still had help, right, they had their family, they had their friends, they had their professors, they had their colleagues, they had their clients, they had their customers, right?
And so, you know, I’m always looking for individuals and ideas. So, I wake up every single morning Nathan thinking that at any moment that I can meet that new idea, that new individual that can completely change my life for the better and I literally walk around with that anticipation.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. Okay, so you met this guy, you have this bucket list, I wanna know, to this day, like do you still have that piece of paper and what was on that bucket list? Hit us with that man, people wanna know this stuff I’m sure.
Jim: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s important to write your goals down. And so it’s just remarkable, you know, that there’s that saying that says that, you know, most of us we underestimate what we can do in a day or in a week or even a month. I mean, we overestimate what we can do in the short period of time but we grossly underestimate what we can do over time. And so I think it’s important to be able to write down your goals to be able to hit them and be clear about them also. And so looking back at that list, I was able to achieve the majority of the things on that list. I mean, now, as you grow, right, also your vision grows for things.
And I think you need that aspiring vision for yourself to pull you through the challenging times that are inevitable, right? Because just through life conditions we all go through, you know, these universal human experiences that challenge us but I think going through these struggles we get strengths. So, for example, I do…. So recently I got a call from Sylvester Stallone, right, and, you know, Rocky, and he asked, “Hey, do you wanna see this fight that’s going on?” There was a big fight here going on in the states between Mayweather and Pacquiao and I was like, “Yeah, I would love to watch the boxing match.” You know, with Rocky, that’s a real privilege.
So I go over to his home and I’m sitting on the couch there and it’s only me, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and which is amazing, right? If somebody took a picture of that couch like people like who photoshop that Asian dude, and afterwards, you know, I ask because I always think that genius, you know, leaves clues, right? And so you ask questions and I wanted these two successful individuals so I was like “What does it take to be a champion, to be the best?” And I remember asking Arnold and he has this phrase where he says “Jim, it’s all about pushing through, pushing past the pain period.” And, you know, when you think about somebody who molds their body or people that molds their business, right or anything of value the treasures in your life financial and otherwise, you know, inevitably you’re gonna have challenges like going through those challenges you have change. I remember asking Sylvester Stallone about I had this thing and I don’t know if I should pursue this opportunity, this invitation here and pursue this line here. And he looks at me and says, “Jim.” He said, “Will the pleasure be worth the pain, you know, will the pleasure be worth the pain?”
And these are two champions and I’m talking about….when I talk about superheroes, I’m talking about, you know, in any industry whether it’s technology or it’s in the arts or it’s in philanthropy, you know, when people are moving pushing their dreams forward and they reach a level where they just have, you know, major impact I wanna know what that is. But note the theme here is just is, inevitably, you’re gonna have problems and struggles but my two biggest struggles, it’s so interesting to be reflecting on it right now, today it was learning and public speaking. I was one of those kids because I felt like I was broken, either the teacher would say, “Jim, you know, speak up and give a presentation on your book report.” I would do the book report but I would actually lie to the teacher and say I didn’t do it because I was so terrified of public speaking because I was always afraid that people wouldn’t think I was smart enough and actually afterwards I would just I would take a failing grade, I would throw my book report out and even though I did it.
And you know, it’s so funny that learning public speaking was my biggest challenges and now that’s…think about what I do, you know, week to week that’s all I do, as I public-speak I’m learning. And the universe has a real sense of humor. So my point of bringing this up is, inevitably, we have challenges and if we allow it these struggles can become our strengths. And also it could be the way we serve and, you know, going forward.
Nathan: I see. So what else was on that bucket list, dude?
Jim: A lot of things that were family related. My family like, you know, many families or generations before immigrated here so they were many jobs and stuff like that. And so as those things like family vacations things they wanna be able to do just to be able to celebrate, you know, the hard works and then have the rewards to be able to do that. I had learning goals, people I wanted to meet and, you know, when I meet people who follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, you know, we kind of tell those stories of individuals that we have chance to work with but more importantly, the memories, so I could just kind of share some of the insights and wisdom from other people.
I think we can learn from every single person and I walk around, Nathan, you know, much like yourself believing that you can learn something from everybody. I think everybody serves, they’re an example or maybe they’re a warning of what, you know, what you want and what you don’t want. And so a lot of things on that list were things that I wanted to do for my family, things that I wanted to be able to be…places I wanted to be able to travel, I wanted to be able to do and see but mostly they were learning goals.
You know, even when I was a child these challenges excited… Everyone, it’s great having to-do-list but, you know, it’s also great to have a to-learn list. Because I think learning is the ultimate superpower, it procedes all…like if you want your business to grow. I believe that you have to grow first and the father of all personal development, all growth, is learning. And the faster you can learn the faster you could earn in this society because right now we live in this very competitive information age where information…it feels like we’re, you know, trying to take a sip of water on a fire hose. I think one of the… It feels like, all right? Like how many emails do you get a day?
Nathan: Hundreds, man. It’s crazy, dude.
Jim: How many unread books do you have on your shelf? Like people listening…
Nathan: Don’t get me started over here. It’s crazy, yeah.
Jim: And it’s one of the biggest things and that, you know, knowledge is not only power, knowledge is profit nowadays, right? The right knowledge like with what you do with your podcast the knot of information people could… What I love about a book or I love about podcast is if somebody has decades of experience and, you know, like a Tony Robbins and like Gary V, these amazing individuals, the Richard Branson’s the people that, you get to meet and be able to ask, you know, they have decades of experience and you get to listen to a podcast or read their book in a day or whatever. Then you could download decades in today’s and really accelerate your growth.
And that’s I think the fastest way, I think entrepreneurs nowadays they have to be committed to lifelong learning and schedule a learning time every single day, and not just the things, you know, checking emails and project management, anything you wanna call it. I think if the schedule nowadays just your learning time, your time to listen to that, listen to a podcast today, you know, do 30 minutes of reading every single day because if you’re not feeding your mind then you’re falling behind.
Nathan: Yeah. Now I agree, it’s like you said, a dude like knowledge really is king. So, I’m just gonna hit you, man, I got a ton more questions and I’m mindful of your time. I could talk to you all day, Jim. Let’s talk about, you know, let’s keep following this narrative, right? Like, you said that, you know, you wanted to leave school, you ended up in the hospital and then, you know, you grabbed every single book you could on how to master learning and memory and speed reading all those kinds of things. What happened next? When did you leave school? Let’s close this one off before you started all these companies man?
Jim: Sure. So, I ended up staying in school because I figured out the way that my mind works so I could work my mind. So as my grades improved my life improved and so I have that kind of harmony and a little level of balance that I was looking for. After that, I started to share this with people because I started to get really upset that this information was not readily available for us. You know, because in the school system is one of the biggest challenges if you’re listening to this you feel overwhelmed and overloaded, and there’s too much to learn too little time. It’s not your fault, you know, with technology, the amount of information is doubling at dizzying speeds, right? And we live in a world of electric cars, spaceships that are going to Mars, but our vehicle of the choice when it comes to learning is like a horse and carriage, it really is. Like a horse and buggy. Because though if Rip Van Winkle woke up today, the only thing he would recognize today is the school system.
The school system is, you know, when it was created a couple hundred years ago, I mean, at the turn of the century. It was designed to be able to train us to be able to work on farms, to work in factories, to be able to follow simple orders. And, you know, it was cookie cutter one size fits all don’t talk to your neighbor, but the nowadays, the world is so fast, right, and we don’t learn by consumption. We learn by creation, we learn by doing these things or we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting involved not just through road , you know, repetition of things.
And so the challenge is upgrading those skills so that way we can be more successful. So, I went through school I started doing these programs right out of schools, you know, at 30 different universities, and eventually, these kids, you know, they obviously were getting such great grades, they were telling their parents about their success and then their parents, you know, they work at law firms, they work at Fortune 500 companies. So, I’ve done these programs anywhere from NYU to Harvard to Berkeley and companies from Marriott to I trained the top 200 officers at General Electric. You know, I worked with Elon Musk and the 100 of the rocket scientists and engineers at SpaceX. You know, here in, you know in Hollywood to help actors to speed-read scripts to be able to memorize their lines, anyone from a Jim Carrey to a Will Smith.
And I get to work with….you know, and train and coach some of the elite mental performers because the most successful people in the world knows their greatest resource that they have is that three pound matter between their ears just like my mentor spreading those fingers out and putting his, you know, two index fingers on the side of my temples, you know, it’s your brain. But your brain is your most underutilized wealth building asset that you have and it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual.
And so I started doing it at dozen universities and then big corporations and then years ago we started publishing these programs online and putting you know, our speed reading courses online, a memory course online, success courses, the critical thinking and problem solving courses.And now, we have students in over 150 countries and, you know, our goal was just to be able to change the way the world learns to help busy people, you know, fortify unleash their brain power so they catch up, they could keep up and they could get ahead so they can win more each day. So that way, when they come home and they’re with their friends or their family and they ask like, “How was your day?” And they’re like, you know, they say “I crushed it.” And they own it because with that competence comes a level of confidence and it’s the greatest advantage when you can go and you could read a book a week, 52 books a year like, you know, when the average person reads like one or two books a year that’s a huge advantage.
When you can walk into a room and use these memory techniques to be able to meet 20 strangers and leave saying goodby, every single one, remembering their name, when you can give a speech without notes remember pin numbers, passcodes, languages. I mean, scripts. You know, press all these presentations and numbers and you have such an advantage, you know, not only in work but in your life.
Nathan: Yeah. Well, dude, you got me for offer, man, like I know we don’t have like a whole day that we could talk, what is some of the biggest things around leverage that you could share with the audience right now around? Let’s just break it down, let’s just start with focus and memory. Yeah, let’s get some quick wins, actional items like what everyone thinks man?
Jim: So everyone is gonna wanna write these down. I will go through it super fast. I just wanna….my goal here, Nathan, is just to give your listeners just, this what you do right now, right? And so, here are some frameworks, I’m gonna give you like four tips to learn anything faster. Any subject, any skill, from Mandarin to martial arts, you know, Polish to, you know, the piano if you will, all right. So, remember this acronym, remember this: fast, F-A-S-T. And if you wanna learn anything faster just remember, fast. The F stands for forget, and so, you have a subject or a skill you wanna learn.
The first step I would say is temporarily forget which already know about the subject, and the reason why is because a lot of people don’t learn really fast because they feel like they know something too much about it already, right? It’s hard to learn marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, leadership if you feel like you already know what that is, you’re not gonna be really receptive to new information, right? It’s cliché but your mind is like a parachute, it only works once opened. So, forget what you temporarily know so you can learn something new.
Ideal thing I would say forget is forget about situational things, so if you’re listening to a podcast, you’re reading a book, you’re in a seminar or you’re learning something new, forget about what’s not relevant, urgent, and important at the moment because we can only be aware of so many things, right? You know, George Miller out of Princeton Harvard says seven plus or minus two, you know, some people say four things they’d aware of any time, but if you’re listening to a podcast or you’re trying to multitask, doing all these things and two bits are thinking about the kids, you know, one bit’s thinking about the client, that only leaves you, like, one bit to think about what you’re really there to learn, right?
So forget about things that are going on. I will say also forget about your limitations, because most people grossly…they don’t know what they don’t know and most people suffer from learned helplessness.
The A in fast is active, you wanna be active you wanna activate your learning. And what I mean by that is most people are very passive in their learning. They’re used to, because they grew up with the 20th century education that prepared us for a 20th century world. They sit passively and they try to consume information and that’s not how you learn, as we talked about. The tweetable for this is, “Learning is not a spectator sport.” Learning is not a spectator sport. So, you can’t sit on the bench and expect to just learn something, so you wanna be active. You wanna ask questions, you wanna be able to take notes, you wanna be able to participate and create this information.
And I teach like a lot of different ways of taking notes, that kind of thing.
The S in FAST, this is very important, stands for state. State. And you’ve heard this word before, the state is like a snapshot of your mind, or the mood of your mind and your body. And the reason why it’s important is because if you’re in just a bored dull state, which is most of education, right, sitting in class being, you know, bored and lectured to, if your state is on a scale of 0 to 10, is 0, 0 times anything is 0. And so here’s the thing when it comes to your memory. Information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. Information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory and you know this listening to this because isn’t there a song or a smell, a perfume, a cologne, a food that takes you back years?
Because that emotion tied to information, stored as a long-term memory, it got encoded and stored that way. And so I would say most people learn something in a very dull, bored state and that’s how it gets coded. So, when you try to retrieve it and recall it out it doesn’t come out because it wasn’t put in the right way. And I would say that who controls our state? We do, right? We control our mood, our feelings or emotions based on what we think and how we move our body. And so focus with our questions and also moving because there’s certain movements you could do that actually…I mean, even just shaking your body out because as entrepreneurs, we’re stuck on our laptops all the time staring and we’re not….you know, now they say, sitting, you know, is the new smoking. You know, that’s why we have standing desks and treadmill desks that you’ve gotta move around, but the other reason why you wanna do it is because it changes your physiology which affects your psychology and the way you feel. And so, change your state.
And we are responsible. I remember I got to introduce two of my superhero mentors together for dinner. It was Sir Richard Branson and Stan Lee and, you know, Stan Lee is like the creator of X-Men, Avengers, Iron Man, you know, you know, like all these teams. And when I picked up Stan and we’re going on to dinner and we’re in LA traffic, takes so long. I was like, “Stan who is your…you created all these superheroes, who is your favorite?” And he says “Iron Man.” And he says, “Jim, who is your favorite superhero?” And I said, “Spider-Man.” Of course. And he says, right away, as soon as I say Spider-Man, he says, “With great power comes great…?”
Jim: Everybody knows that, everyone listening, we don’t remember where we heard it, it’s in our DNA. And I was like, “Stan, you’re right, with great power comes great responsibility.” And, you know, what’s true also is, because my mind always flips things, you know, and inversely and stuff. I was like, “With great responsibility comes great power,” you know, as I reversed it. With great power comes great responsibility but also with great responsibility comes great power. And what I mean by that is when we take responsibility for things we have great power to change it for the better.
And lot of people, they don’t want the responsibility because they don’t want the burden of it but when we take responsibility, right, we have the ability to respond, we have great power to change things. And I think everyone listening to this….and when I bring it up, I bring it up because we are responsible most of all for how we feel. And there’s a difference between, you know, what I think an entrepreneur or a visionary takes the invisible and make it visible, right? It’s Walt Disney, you know, having this vision for this Theme Park and then all the sudden, you know, it starts with their mind and it goes out, starts to talk about goals and such.
But the other reason I bring that up is I think we’re like entrepreneur or everyone listening to this, aspiring entrepreneurs, established entrepreneurs, people who are winning. They’re like the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat, you know, a thermometer is something, think about it, it’s a device that reacts to the environment, right, it reacts to the temperature of the environment and reflects what the environment is giving it. But a thermostat is completely different from a thermometer, a thermostat sets a goal, it sets a standard, it sets a vision and the environment changes and raises to that standard, right?
So that’s what I believe in entrepreneurs when I say an entrepreneur are the modern day superhero that wearing these capes. They’re the ones that are setting a standard, setting a level of value and sharing that with the world. You know, no matter what stage that you’re in right now and so be that thermostat. And that when I’m talking about raising like your goals or your expectations there, start with like how you feel, right? Because a lot of people their thermometers they react to the weather, the economy, and how clients are treating. I mean, and we’re all human, right, it all affects us some way, but to the degree we’re gonna be happy and successful is to the degree we have the locus of control, right, that agency inside and not from the external world.
And so I would start with your state, so you wanna learn something faster put yourself in a state where you’re curious, where you’re fascinated. You know, and people think like, you know, I’ve been doing this for so many years and that’s what keeps them from learning as their cup is full, right, you know, so you either forget what you know so you can empty it and put something brand new. But the other thing is that state, you know, people think they’re so clever, you wanna trade your cleverness for bewilderment, right? You wanna trade your cleverness for curiosity and fascination. Who are the fast learners on the planet, right? Children, they can learn musical instruments and languages and everything. They learn so quickly because they know they don’t know and they’re fascinated by every little thing that’s the state that you wanna be in and cultivate.
And finally, the T in FAST stands for teach. And what I mean by that is if you learn like, you know, I can go through speed reading and memory and how to remember names, you know, on this conversation. But if you had to learn it as if you’re gonna teach it to someone else tomorrow, would you pay attention differently? Would you have more or less focus, right? If you had to teach it to someone tomorrow, would you take notes differently? Would you ask questions and tweet and participate differently? Of course, you would. Because here’s the tweetable, when you teach something you get to learn it twice, when you teach something you get to learn it twice.
You know, all the time you hear this quote, and I’m guilty of thinking about it too, but when you hear this quote saying those who can’t do teach, right, those who can’t do business teach business. And honestly, growing up when I heard that I never thought it was a negative or an insult. I thought like, “Wow, those who can’t do teach. So if I can’t do something teach it and then I can do it,” right? And so when you teach something to somebody or you learn, teach it to someone which is the reason why you wanna learn anything, you wanna learn it because of what it’s gonna help you with but the other reason to learn something is so you could pass it on and share it with somebody else, right, maybe even in the form of a business. But when you teach it you own that information more.
And so learn it as if you’re gonna teach. So I would say the framework for learning faster, really quick, fast. Forget what you already know in your limitations situational things, be active and participate, roll up your sleeves and get involved. State is controlled like your moods and your feelings because if you’re bored during that time you’re not gonna learn it, but be curious and fascinated. And finally, learn as with the outcome to teach it to somebody else and you’ll learn it so much better.
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Okay, now let’s jump back in. Really amazing you said about the teaching part because I’ve seen many circumstances where, you know, drawing from my memory one time when one of my mentors commented I said “You know, why is that person teaching, you know, they’re not qualified to teach?” And he said, “Well, you know, what, Nathan, sometimes someone, you know, can be a really good coach or a really good teacher but they don’t actually have to be as good as you think at the thing that they’re teaching.” Which is really interesting.
Jim: Completely. And so I think, you know, sometimes what a good coach does is they point out the times like when you’re just doing really well. And some people are really good at something aren’t great teachers at it. There are a lot of people out there that you know I role modeled, I mean, even when I learn these skills. I would notice or see people do things exceptional and I’d be with them try to figure out how they do it. Like, for example, even wait staff at a restaurant. I remember when I was eight years old, eight, nine years old and I was at a family reunion, a busy Saturday night, 25 of us and the waitress comes around and takes everyone’s order. When she comes to me, yeah, I know it’s something funny but she wasn’t writing it down. Have you ever had like a waiter or waitress like that wasn’t writing?
Nathan: Yeah. I always wonder how they do that.
Jim: Yeah, and I thought there’s no way she is gonna get this right, the sense because I was always skeptical growing up and even today. And I’m just thinking there’s no way, but the thing is with people who are good at things they are not always conscious of how they do it. You know, people who are really good with names or are literally good with learning languages or read faster, you know, I always believe that there’s a method behind the magic and there’s a method behind the magic. You know, I just posted, you know, a photograph of me and David Blaine and we’re doing all these tricks as a magician. And it’s just like when you see people do stuff there’s methods behind it and some people who do these things extraordinarily, you know, you could see somebody do something extraordinary and say that person is a genius and walk away or you could say, “Wow, that person is really, you know, amazing, how do they do it?” Right.
And like with businesses, right, ou have an opportunity for the past, you know, couple of years just to talk to them the most amazing minds and DND construct like how they’re actually doing it because there aree reasons, there are things that happened that they’re doing that maybe people don’t see them doing publicly that, you know, that’s attributed to their success.
Nathan: Okay, man, so let’s do this name exercise. You dropped a hint that you would teach us.
Jim: Oh okay, so there’s many…so we teach dozens of ways of teaching people how to remember names. Because I think if there’s one, you know, outside of accelerated learning and reading faster I think that the one of the most important business etiquette networking skills on the planet, the number one by far is the ability to remember people’s names. So first, recognize that it’s an important skill that can be learned, okay? And the reason why is people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care and it’s really hard to show somebody….
I’ll say it again, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care so before you sell anything like whatever your business is, how are you gonna show people you’re gonna care for their health, their finances, their business, their family, their future if you don’t care enough just to remember their name, okay? So, it is that important like I can’t tell you how many people have had a relationship or killed a deal or killed the sale because they forgot the person’s name or they called someone by the wrong name, right?
And so, I would say there are three keys to a better memory, it doesn’t matter what it is names or otherwise, you wanna remember mom, M-O-M. And so the M…well, let’s say that somebody has trouble remembering people’s names but somebody has a suitcase of $100,000 cash or you know, whatever currency for that country, if you just remember the name of the next person you meet, you get that reward who’s gonna remember that person’s name?
Jim: Everyone, everyone because listen, no, watch this Nathan, everyone has trouble remembering names, 99% of the population you know, they have admitted to me they have trouble remembering names. But all of a sudden there is a suitcase full of money for them and who remembers a person’s name? Everyone is a memory expert, all a sudden. No technique, no scale, no strategies. So the M stands for motivation, motivation and the reason why I bring it up is notice it had nothing to do with your potential or your capabilities. Everybody has that capability, did you want to remember the names?
Because nobody here remembers everyone’s name unless they’ve been trained or something or they have that gift but nobody forgets every name either. There are names that you remember, people you’re attracted to, people who could be a big sale for your business whatever it is there’s motivation. And what I would say from remembering names quick tip is, you know, as you’re meeting somebody ask yourself in your mind, “Why do I wanna remember this person’s name?” Simple question, “Why do I wanna remember this person’s name?” Maybe, it’s to show this person respect, maybe it’s I want to make a new friend, maybe it’s I wanna you know, close a deal whatever it is, maybe I wanna practice these tips I learned from Jim Kwik, right? Because here’s the thing if you can’t come up with one reason, you won’t remember because here’s the tweetable, reasons reap results, reasons reap results.
Nathan: That’s cold.
Jim: Yeah, @jimkwik, K-W-I-K.
Nathan: All right, let’s keep moving.
Jim: So, that’s the M. The O in mom stands for observation, observation. And here’s the thing, this is the gold and platinum for everyone here, a lot of people say that they have a challenge remembering names, they’re not forgetting the name. They blame their retention but it’s really their attention. All right, so one of the most amazing individuals that I’ve had the opportunity to meet multiple times is President Bill Clinton. And regardless of your political stance, you know, everyone will say he is a connector, he’s a communicator. He’s got great charisma. What people don’t know, you know, as a leader is he’s got an incredible memory. Every time I’ve met him, you know, he remembered my name, remembered my conversations, he asks about topicsI’m interested in and that’s a leadership skill.
And he has got this powerful presence, I remember asking him, “You now, President, how do you remember, you know, people’s names? What memory techniques do to use?” And he tells me these stories, and not actually using a technique but his grandfather would get the kids around in Arkansas and ask them questions. I mean, tell them stories and ask them questions after to see if they’re listening and I just noticed he’s got an incredible powerful presence. But I think his incredible memory and his powerful presence comes from being powerfully present. And what I mean by that is have you ever met someone, Nathan, and when you’re talking to them they’re really there with you?
Jim: You know, they’re not like looking over your shoulder, which we often do at events and conferences seeing who else is in the room because we’re all so wired with social media and pay no attention span anymore. And if we don’t look around, distract ourselves visually, we’re not really listening we’re actually thinking about….we’re having a conversation inside our minds thinking, “How am I gonna respond to this person?” So we’re not even present but I think a powerful memory, or in his case, a powerful presence comes from being powerfully present.
So, I would say the key to learning, you know, listening and remembering someone’s name is just observing it and listen. If you take the word listen, scramble the letters it becomes a second word and it becomes the word silent. If you scramble the letters in listen it becomes the word silence, so I would say, be silent hear the name. And finally, the M, the second M in mom stands for mechanics. And these are the not the person that fixes your car but these are the tips, the strategies, the techniques on how to remember names, on how to give a speech without notes, and how to read a book a day. You know, but with the mechanics aside, if you don’t wanna remember a name and if you’re not paying attention the mechanics are secondary.
Nathan: Awesome. All right dude, this is good, I really really like the story around if someone had $100,000 cash for that person that you’re gonna focus and make sure you remember, right. That’s game changer because this is something I struggle with too, like I don’t always remember people’s names. Can we touch on the speed reading stuff too? I know there’s so much we cn talk about, maybe have some free resources or something we can send people to as well after they call but let’s touch on the speed reading stuff man.
Jim: Yeah. We can give a just free training to your people as a thank you for listening. So we’ll do that in a little bit but speed reading, okay, so this is it, leaders of readers, right? I remember I did a talk and in the audience afterwards comes Bill Gates, and Bill, he started talking about the future of education, and he talked about learning theory and he talks about, you know, technology and its gonna convergence and human motivation. And I remember asking him, and I put this story online on Instagram, but I remember saying like ” Bill.” I mean, I was like “If you could have any one superpower what would it be?” And he says “Jim, the ability to read faster because that’s a learning skill.”
And Warren Buffett has been known to say he’s wasted, you know, he says that “I probably wasted 10 years of my life reading slowly.” Because the average person has to read three or four hours a day, think about all the emails and the business plans and the websites and the books, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company that you need to read every day, three or four hours. That means half your work day is being spent just to read, right? So that’s an important skill, so here’s the thing, with the reason why we read slowly, and I’ll give you a quick tip on how to boost your efficiency as we’re not taught how to read faster, right?
Reading is not something you’re born to be able to do it’s a skill that you learn through training. But the last class you took was probably when you were how old? Six, seven years old? And most people still read like they’re six or seven years old, that’s the challenge. You know, the other challenge is when it comes to reading is focus, you know, how many people have ever read a page in a book got to the end and just forgot what they just read?
Nathan: Oh dude, happens all the time, I have to keep going back.
Jim: Yeah, and you go back and you read it again and sometimes you still don’t know what you just read.
Nathan: That’scomprehension, right?
Jim: Exactly, it’s focusing comprehension. So here’s the thing we test tens of thousands of people every single year and I could tell you if I ask most people to read faster most people would say that their comprehension would go down. But in actuality, as you read faster in a lot of ways your comprehension can get better. Some of the fastest readers that I know have the best comprehension because they have the best focus. And here’s the distinction that people don’t understand when most people read, they read one word at and, you know, what I’m gonna say, right?
Nathan: Yeah, of course, time.
Jim: Time, and here’s the thing and I am from New York so it’s hard to talk that slowly but if I did, if I talked for a like more time like that what would people’s minds naturally start to do? They would wander, they would fall asleep, they would get bored, they would think of other things. Now tell me those aren’t the exact same symptoms of when people read that when they read their mind wanders, they get bored, they get sleepy. Most people use reading as a sedative to help them sleep at night.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah I do that sometimes dude.
Jim: Right and that’s the worst state to anchor like that activity in like you know, by your bed for, you know, for an embarrassingly long period of time you have the same book that’s there. But here’s the thing most people read so slowly they board their mind and the reason why faster readers have better comprehension is because if you don’t give your brain the stimulus it needs, it will seek entertainment elsewhere in the form of distraction. Most people read so slow they bore their mind and as far as their mind is thinking about everything else that’s going on because it’s bored.
And here’s the thing is just like driving a car, if you’re driving the car going really slow you’re not focused on driving, you’re drinking your coffee you’re texting, even though you shouldn’t. You’re thinking about the clients, you’re talking to someone in the car. I saw someone the other day reading a newspaper going really slow. I mean, you could do all kinds of things when you go slow but when you go fast and you’re racing cars down, you know, and taking hairpin turns doing straightaways, you know, you’re not thinking about the clients, you’re not trying to text, you’re not thinking, you’re not talking, you’re not drinking, you’re focused on what’s in front of you and that’s the same thing with reading, right?
And more of your skills and your attention or strengths come to bear when you’re reading faster and so I would say you wanna read faster because it can help your comprehension but the big obstacle to effective reading is subvocalization, subvocalization now what does is it mean? Vocal means speech, sub means under or speech. You ever noticed when you’re reading something you hear that inner voice reading along with you?
Jim: Hopefully, it’s your own voice inside there and not somebody else’s. The reason why it’s an obstacle is if you have to say all the words, you can only read as fast as you could speak. That means your reading speed is limited to your talking speed but not your thinking speed and that’s why a lot of people will listen to podcasts like, you know, like people who are listening to this now, sometimes at 1.5 or 2.0 or faster speaker they can understand at a faster speed if they’re not trying to multitask and do things. Now, what I mean to say is leaders are readers, right, Anthony Robbins very fast reader, Bill Gates very strong reader, John F. Kennedy very fast reader. You know, he said the average person they can read about 250 words per minute. John F. Kennedy said to about 800 to 1000 words a minute, 800 to 1000.
And he was said to read six newspapers every morning with one cup of coffee, six newspapers. Most people nowadays takes them six cups of coffee just to get through, you know, they’re cutting their newspaper, right? But, you know, if you could talk at 200 or 300 words a minute but read at 1000, here 700 words a minute you don’t have to pronounce words like computer to understand what a computer is. And so how do you fix this, right? One quick tip that I’ll give you and it’s a tip it’s not a training is this, use some visual pacer while you read, use a visual pacer while you read. What I mean by that is people,not traditional speed read, I’m not talking about traditional speeding skipping words and just putting a line and your finger down the page and getting the gist of what you read. I train some of the most amazing high performers on the planet, entrepreneurs on the planet, and doctors. You don’t want your doctor to get the gist of what she’s reading, right, or he’is reading.
And so easing your finger to underline the words or pen or highlighter or a mouse on a computer without skipping anything you will read 25% to 50% faster, 25% to 50% lift. So, if you read for 60 seconds count the number of lines you read and then use your finger just underlining the words, that second number will be….and count for 60 seconds, that second number will be 25% to 50% greater. Now, people say, “I don;t know if that’s a lot .” That’s a lot of increase, like how many people would have loved to receive 25% return on their investments last year? Right. But reading takes time and time is money, right? You know, if you’re spending three or four hours…if you double your reading speed and save two hours a day, two hours a day over the course of a year is a lot of time. One hour a day over the course of a year is 365 hours. That is 9 40-hour work weeks saving one hour a day, will save you 9 weeks of productivity. Two months of productivity just saving one hour a day on your reading. And so that’s why you wanna be able to get good at that.
So when we graduate people on our, like, online they’re reading at 3 times, 300% faster, it’s a game changer. Someone who could read in 15 minutes that normally takes someone else an hour, that’s a real business advantage.
Nathan: Yeah, I know, this is crazy man. Well, look dude, we have to work towards wrapping up. So this has been an amazing interview. Been one of the funnest, informative, engaging, amazing stories. I have to ask a couple more questions though.
Jim: Let’s do it.
Nathan: Dude, you’re a super powerful guy, obviously extremely connected, how did you work your way up to meet all these, you know, super powerful people, interesting people and actually, you know, get their time and for them to take you seriously to be able to train all of these people? And what is the number one….so two parts of question. How did you meet all these people and work your way up to train all these people and become a thought leader in the space? And then number two is out of all of these people you’ve met, what is one of the biggest commonalities or takeaways that you could give?
Jim: Okay. So, my initial stream of consciousness reaction would be, first of all, I think it’s important for an entrepreneur to be an expert at their craft, right? I don’t believe that to really succeed well you can succeed at the highest level just dabbling and that’s why I see this as a lot of people who are aspiring entrepreneurs, they are everywhere and when you’re everywhere you can be nowhere, and that’s a big challenge. And so I would say really the focus is so important, so my focus while I could do lots of different things, I focus just completely to be a master of my craft. And so I think the highest level achievers respond to that. Do you know what I mean?
Jim: Because they see because in order for them to be as successful as they are, whether it’s people like an Elon Musk or a Will Smith, they’ll reach that certain level and they respond to that in kind. So I say be an expert. So that’s why learning is so important be able do that, read everything you can on your craft, study it. The other thing with these individuals is whenever I’m meeting these individuals I never have an agenda, and this is true for every single person I meet. I don’t come there, whereas a lot of people who are there scream, like, what’s in it for me and try to get something from these people. I’ve never asked anyone I had the opportunity to work with for an endorsement. I’ve never asked them to be able to tweet something or post on social media. I look to be able to primarily to give and that’s my passion, it doesn’t matter who I work with.
And this is not….whatever I post on Instagram, on Facebook and Twitter happens to be that because it’s just these are interesting stories, you know, but the people I spend time with just, you know, children, students with learning challenges, seniors that are, you know, suffering from brain injury, entrepreneurs and educators, you know, every day people, that’s my favorite people to work with. But the other thing besides not having an agenda or an ulterior…any kind of motive there ,is to be true to yourself and remember them. And I think it’s so important when you’re with these individuals to really listen to what they’re saying, not think about what your agenda is, and I remember the things about them, so I could follow up with these individuals and have meaningful conversations about what’s most important to them.
And I would say the thing that I notice with all of these individuals is they’re hungry, right, they all hustle. Nobody gets to this area of success just by accident. And I would say a commonality with these individuals is that they are hungry, they’re hustle…they have a mission there. And just like with Will Smith, yeah, I got to spend with him, you know, just recently a week on set for a film that’s coming out, it’s a superhero film, I cannot wait for it to come out. But it’s just like I was like, “How do you prepare for this?” And he’s like, “Jim, I don’t have to get prepared, you know, or get ready, you know. I stay ready.”
How awesome is that? Because he lives his things and he’s ready, he’s ready. He doesn’t have to get prepared, he stays prepared. And that’s the thing, that the level of congruence, rarely do people see the level of sacrifice that goes on behind the scenes for people to get. And you know this from talking to so many people. I mean, all these individuals, the struggles and sacrifice, the challenges, the failures, the disappointments, the no’s that they had to receive along the way. And most people, just like when I started talking about Arnold, and most people who have to build your body, they won’t push through the pain period and they won’t do that extra set or those extra reps that they’re gonna get all the benefit from, same thing with their business. So, you need something that’s gonna push through there, so I would say the commonality is these people are hungry and they put in the effort, and they’re lifelong learners. These people don’t have to be sold on any kind of development because they are hungry for that advantage. They’re hungry to learn the next thing so they could serve and advance their craft.
And the good thing about this is a challenge everyone who’s listening to this, it’s available to all of us. Every single one of of us, you know, even when I talk about I was one of the most challenged kids growing up. And I’m just saying when you make a decision and you’re on purpose to find out what it is that even though you’re going through some dark sides, you know, that could be pulling you back like a slingshot that’s gonna leap you forward. So, you know, so those setbacks and stuff it can be the groundwork for building your personal Empire whatever that might be. And I don’t just talk about financial treasure I mean all the treasures in your life.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow, man, that was a game changer. Thank you so much, Jim. So, last question is where is the best place people can find you?
Jim: Okay. So, I would love to continue this conversation and share with people. I’m very active in social, so anything, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat everything is @jimkwik, K-W-I-K and you could get a lot of our brain tips there. Also prepared something really special just for your listeners, if you go to jimkwik.com/foundr, jimkwik.com/foundr we’ve put together four training videos. And so that’s where I’m gonna teach you seven strategies on how to remember names. I’ll teach you the top 10 things you could do to completely unleash your superhero brain power. I’m gonna teach you how to be able to give a speech without notes. And just a gift for reaching it to the end here and just for being a superhero for listening to this and being part of, you know, Nathan’s community.
Nathan: Yeah, wow man. That sounds amazing dude. Just wanna double check it’s F-O-U-N-D-R, right? Not A-F.
Jim: That’s correct. Let me correct jimkwik.com/foundr and that’s where you’ll be able to ge that training as our gift for you. And just, you know, our goal is if you accelerate your learning you can accelerate your earning. The fast you can learn the fast you can earn. You could change your brain, you could change your life you can change the world and I challenge you to take the next step.
And I and I applaud you if you’re still listening to this too because I feel like they were kindred spirits, you know, we’re on that path of lifelong learning. I enjoy listening to this podcast also as well because I’m always looking for those ideas and those individuals that can completely change the nature of, you know, my art and how many people we could help.
Nathan: Yeah, well awesome. Man, look thank you so much for your time Jim. This was an absolute blast man.
Jim: Nathan, thank you so much and thank you everyone who’s listening.