Jim Kwik on How to Unlock Genius and Uncover Your Superpower | Impact Theory

Jim Kwik on How to Unlock Genius and Uncover Your Superpower | Impact Theory


Tom: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Impact Theory. You’re here my friends because you believe
that human potential is nearly limitless but you know that having potential is not the
same as actually doing something with it so our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that are going to help you actually execute on
your dreams. All right. Today’s guests is a globally recognized
leader in memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning, but no one would
have predicted that when he was a kid, a serious childhood accident left him with a traumatic
brain injury and a significant learning disability. Instead of simply accepting defeat, he set
about making up for his shortcomings through an obscene amount of hard work. He began sneaking comic books after bed time
to practice reading and something about the collision of the words, images and the superhero
mindset spoke to him and for the first time he began to make progress. Despite this, he continued to struggle having
to work two or three times as hard as everyone else to achieve lesser results. After exhaustion caused him to fall down a
flight of stairs and sustain yet another brain injury, he realized something had to change. If he was going to truly overcome his learning
disability, he was going to have to dramatically improve his efficiency at learning itself. This began an obsession with the brain and
the how of learning. An obsession he would ultimately turn into
Kwik Learning, a revolutionary accelerated learning system that now has a bevy of celebrity
clients and students in over 150 countries. His hyper effective techniques have been sought
out by the likes of Virgin, Nike, Zappos, Space X, Harvard and Singularity University. He has directly trained or shared the stage
with such luminary global leaders as Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama. His teachings have been featured in prestigious
worldwide media including the New York Times Best Seller, Use Your Brain to Change Your
Age. Please help me in welcoming the man, bestselling
author, Steven Cutler calls a superhero, whose superpower is learning itself, the host of
the phenomenal podcast, Kwik Brain, Jim Kwik. Jim: What’s up, man? How are you doing? Tom: Welcome, man. Jim: Good to be here. Tom: It’s good to have you here. This is our second time doing this bad boy
and I have to say, you’re probably … Of all the people that I’ve interviewed, you’re
probably the person I’ve gotten the closest with off camera so it’s a lot of fun to
bring you back and talk about different things. People should go sign up for your courses,
look at all that stuff. You got so much amazing content out there
about the actual how to of learning. I want to start somewhere a little bit different. Jim: Do it. Tom: Talk to me about being the son of immigrant
parents. Jim: My parents immigrated here to United
States from Asia. We grow up like a lot of individuals that
work really hard. I grew up in the back up of a Laundromat and
they had many different jobs. I think one of the things that’s important
for all of us is just the work ethic to be able to put in like you do the incredible
hours as an entrepreneur, as a visionary to do whatever it takes because I don’t believe
that there’s necessarily a magic pill but I think there’s a process. Doing the work is very important. I don’t want people to believe that there’s
a silver bullet and all of a sudden, you have a great memory or you have this great success
or great relationship or health and people always ask what’s the one thing I could
do and I always tell people that you have to do most of it and then be smart about it
but you have to put in the work because a lot of times people see on social media. They see all of the success but what they
don’t see is the hustle as Gary Vee talks about. As they say, what you practice in private
they say you’re rewarded for in public, but you have to do the work. I think that’s where I got my work ethic. The challenges growing up with a brain injury
and labeled the boy with a broken brain, I had to work so much harder as everybody else
and you wonder why that why you’re not getting those results. I got my discipline from my parents and I
love them for it. I really say that they are my superheroes. Anything good that’s come out of me is really
a product of them as setting example. Tom: What were they telling you as you were
going through all of that? I mean, your story really is one of grit and
perseverance. I think your story would be a lot easier to
understand if it had been really linear. You get the injury and then you have the magic
moment, you figured out this all rose from there but you actually end up working your
ass off only to then fall again, literally fall again. What are they telling you through that? How are they encouraging you? How did they become your superhero and stuff? Jim: It would be really clean. Sometimes life is messy and success is not
from just A to B and just a straight line. It goes all over the place. I would have loved that my story was, “Oh,
I had this brain injury and all of a sudden, this accident and I was bitten by a radioactive
elephant and this incredible memory or something like that,” but it wasn’t quite that. I suffered and struggled. I had the brain injury when I was five years
old and I suffered all through elementary school, all through middle school, all through
high school and so it was like a good 14 years. A lot of it was this thing where even as a
young age, maybe I was pretending that everything was fine and I would be struggling. It’s like that metaphor of a duck on a pond
and you see it’s like all calm and relax but underneath, it’s just hustling really,
really fast and people don’t always see what’s below the iceberg but for me I struggled
privately and my parents, because I grew up with these challenges and I didn’t have
a lot of people to talk to, because when you feel like that you’re broken, you don’t
connect with a lot of people. On top of everything, I was also painfully
shy. I was introverted but I was also shy and very
reserved. I would always sit in the corner. I honestly, I never talk about this publicly
but I ask everybody what their superpower is and I feel like that my superpower growing
up as an insecure kid who feels like he was broken and taught that by adults that my superpowers
being invisible. I didn’t want to be seen. I mean I ultimately did want to be seen and
I want to be heard like most of us, and accepted, and acknowledged but I didn’t want to spotlight. My parents instilled this work ethic about
working hard. I would do a book report and even though it
was more difficult for me and to a point where I would be like, “Okay. I have it and I was done,” but if a teacher
asked me in high school to present it in front of a class, I would actually lie and say I
didn’t do it. I would take a zero because I was so terrified
of being in front of a group of people. I would throw it out on the way out of class
and it was really scary but my parents always held that there was more, that there was purpose. There’s a reason that I was going through
these challenges. I mean, my mother actually became a special
ed teacher because she really wanted to help because that nobody knew-
Tom: Because of what you went through. Jim: Because of what I went through. Tom: Wow. Jim: They were very caring like that but the
challenge is we don’t know what we don’t know. They did the best they could to be able to
help me but what they did instill in me was that there was a reason that they were going
through a struggle just like when they came through this country, all of us go through
struggles in our health, our relationship, whatever it is but through struggles come
strengths. People didn’t talk about this as much and
I probably have a post-traumatic stress from it going through a brain injury after brain
injury. There’s also post-traumatic growth which
what you know that’s not as widely talked about but there’s some people that go through
immense amount of trauma and difficulty in challenge but they come out of it actually
more empowered that they say to themselves that because of going through this, I found
a new strength, I found my superpowers, I found a new meaning in my life, I found a
new level of commitment, I found a strength, a mission if you will and a lot of them attest
that wouldn’t trade that experience no matter how painful it was at the time for anything. I find that growing up with reading challenges. I couldn’t read for an extra three years. I pretended how to read. It’s like the impostor syndrome. They have this image of how they want to be
projected to the world and then they have this image of what they fear they are and
they have the real who they are but I think a lot of people are suffering, and overloaded,
and overwhelm, and they’re depleted because they’re trying to hold these images in place
and then be themselves also as well, and different context. That’s why I love you because you are the
same on camera and off. There’s a congruency, there’s an authenticity
that’s there. I feel like a lot of people expend unnecessary
amounts of energy trying to hold up this image of their ideal self to the world and they
have this image that they fear it’s going to be revealed to somebody else. Growing up as a kid who couldn’t read, I
would pretend I understood things. Teachers would explain things and I didn’t
want to be the only one who didn’t understand and I would pretend but in private I was really
suffering and struggling. It’s one of those things where you wonder
why. My two biggest challenges growing up were
learning and public speaking which is the universe has a weird sense of humor because
that’’s what I do for my mission now. Tom: Right, exactly. Jim: It’s interesting how things were-
Tom: How did you push through that? Because as somebody who’s seen you speak
publicly, you’re so good at it. You have so much energy and enthusiasm, and
projected confidence even if you’re secretly overcoming something. How do you go through the dark time of feeling
like you’ve been identified as the kid with the broken brain really struggling? Truly, how do you get yourself talk going
in a positive direction? Everything would be pushing back against you. Jim: I even get nervous with doing things
like this and you know that. Tom: Right. Jim: Even being on camera or having my picture
taken, there’s still this residual. I always get butterflies, incredible amounts
of butterflies before I go on stage every single time. How I get through it, I mean we talked previously
about mindset and the importance of having a growth mindset. I always talk about the second G for me is
grit. Tom: These are the three G’s of a superhero
if I’m not mistaken. Jim: Yeah. I think having a powerful mindset being unstoppable
or just having the ability to go and succeed whatever success is for you, you have to be
growing because if you’re not growing, then you’re backsliding but you also need a level
of grit and I think grit just like growth is a muscle. It’s something that you need to sharpen
through challenge because through the challenge you get all the change that comes from it. I would say that if I’m effective having
an impact on stage and we all have the stage of our life whether it’s on a physical stage
or just going through our day, that I challenged my grit and my ability to persist. I feel like that most successful people on
the planet that having the level of impact that they want to, have to go through challenges. It’s just like the heroes journey that we’ve
talked about many times and so how I get myself through it, I monitor my self-talk because
I think that’s important. I feel like with a name like Kwik, you have
to be a runner and so I had to be a runner back in school and to be careful getting speeding
tickets and everything else like that. I remember I was reading a book years ago
on preparing for a marathon and one of the chapters, again, was the psychology of it
and it said this verbatim because I’m the memory expert. It said, “Your brain is like a supercomputer
and your self-talk is a program that will run.” If you tell yourself you’re not good at
remembering names, you will not remember the name of the next person you meet because you
programmed your supercomputer not to. Now, I don’t think the brain is like a supercomputer. I think it’s a weak metaphor for what it
is because this is like a computer that could do so much more and has different capabilities
but I would say that your self-talk is important and it is the program that will run. I always tell people to keep it positive,
keep it empowering because your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk. You have to be careful what you say to yourself
because it’s this unconscious command. I’ll be very careful. When I get nervous or I feel like I’m … I
think some of the most successful people live at the edge of their limits and they play
there also as well. Whenever I feel in my nervous system, I feel
like I can’t do it and I feel like I really must do it because I feel like how we do anything
is how we do everything. Tom: When did you have that realization that
you could overcome some of the fears by knowing what your motives were?
Jim: You’ve had many guests address this and I really do feel … Congratulations. With Mel and Simon, those videos are like
hundreds of millions of people watch it. I was having this conversation, I did a talk
in Silicon Valley and afterwards Bill Gates comes up to me and I ask him what superpower
he could be wanting and he’s like, “The ability to read faster.” I was like, “Oh, I could totally help with
that.” I believe in reading and I know you’re an
avid, avid reader and we share that commonality, leaders are readers, but we’re talking about
the future education and I was taking the approach from adult learning theory and brain
science and he was approaching it for more technology and scale. Somebody who was listening asked the question
saying, “Is there anything missing? What’s missing apps and theory, and technology?” We were talking about it and we came to the
conclusion that’s understanding human motivation. Motive matters and what drives us. I always tell people that there’s success
formula I subscribe to and I call it H cube that it goes from your head, to your heart,
to your hands, especially in the personal development space or what they teach you about
goal setting. You could affirm things in your head or think
things in your head or visualize things in your head, but if you’re not acting with
your hands, there’s something that’s missing. There’s an incongruence there. What I tell people is check in with the second
H which is your heart, which is the symbol of emotion, the energy of motion and so I
feel like that’s the fuel that fuels the car that gets you to take action for something. I do believe what got me through it is figuring
out what my why was. I don’t want people to suffer the way I
did, if I can do anything about it. For me, it’s like no brain left behind because
I live with that identity for so long. My message to people whether it’s on stage
or in podcast or anything is that we are more than what we’re demonstrating that we’ve
installed this lie that people are taught through school. When I do these demos and on stage memorize
hundred names and words and number, forwards and backwards, it appears effortlessly. 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 everyone can do this too and so much more.” Apply it towards creativity and focus and
flow and problem solving and thinking and really overcoming the biggest challenges of
their life and maybe even the world. The challenge is we were taught a lie. We were taught a lie that somehow our intelligence,
our potential, our learning, our memory somehow is fixed, our creativity is fixed, our thinking
is fixed like our shoe size. What we’ve discovered as you know more about
brain science, in the past two decades, we’ve discovered more than the previous 2000 years
and what we know is that we’re grossly underestimating our own capacity to be able to grow, to be
able to contribute, to improve our intelligence and our influence and our impact. I want to pull the veil behind and just say,
“Hey, this is about transcending. This is about ending the trans that you’re
we’re not good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re not this genius
and telling the truth.” The truth is people could … We’re faster
and we’re smarter than we think. Not just to be able to memorize things but
be able to really solve significant challenges and maybe that these challenges that we’re
going through are lessons that we need to learn the most and then some people who learn
those lessons feel compelled to be able to share that voice with other people so it’s
just not one candle. We just couldn’t set things ablaze. Tom: What are some of the key problems that
you personally want to solve that you think we face as a society. What are those major movements for you? Jim: A lot of these conversations, you and
I have had with our mutual friend, Peter Diamandis over at XPRIZE. I was at the very early stages of their education,
literacy prize when they first launched it. I think for me, my platform is education and
I feel like that growing up … If anyone watching this feels like they’re overloaded,
overwhelmed and they can’t keep up, I always tell people that I don’t think it’s completely
their fault. It’s just we all grew up with the 20th century
education that prepared us for 20th century world which at the turn of the century was
working in factories and farms and assembly line and our education system was married
to that. It was assembly line one size fits all cookie
cutter approach towards education, teaching us things about what to learn, math, history,
science. All the things we could find online nowadays,
right? What do you need to be able to regurgitate
that information for? It was about what to learn but not how to
learn and how to think for yourself, how to solve problems, how to be creative. All the things that you can’t outsource
to automated or technology or you can’t outsource to Asia. Our value in this world is really our creativity
because that’s not something that’s easily outsourced, our ability to create value, be
creators, take our vision and turn them into reality, take the invisible and make it visible
but where are the classes on that on how to be able to live your best version of yourself. That’s why I love this and the conversations
that we have and the conversations that you’re bringing out to the world because nowadays
we live in this … See, here’s the thing. I get to work, you mentioned with Space X
and Elon and such and with rocket scientists. Think about that. We’re living in a world of autonomous electric
cars and spaceships that are going to Mars but our vehicle choice when it comes to learning,
it’s like we’re choosing a horse and buggy. That’s our choice and that we wonder why,
“Wow. This is taking so long. This is so hard. This is so difficult but it’s not our fault. We just weren’t prepared for this world
that we’re living in right now. They say that if Rip Van Winkle, the gentleman
who slept for decades of slumber, if he woke up today, the only thing he would recognize
is our schools. That’s not a slight against teachers. My mother is a school teacher and my aunt
is a college professor. I love those individuals because they’re
some of the most hardworking individuals that I know and I get to train a lot of them but
it’s a systemic issue just like many challenges, it doesn’t grow and it hasn’t evolve as
much as the rest of the world has but I love this because right now classrooms, they don’t
have four walls. I mean how many people are watching this from
how many different countries right now and you never know who’s listening on the other
side. That motivates, inspires the heck out of me
because what if someone right now is watching this on their smart device and they’re in
the middle of a third world country and they become the next Malala or Elon Musk or what
have you and that’s what really juices me. Education, I feel like a lot of people feel
like when they graduate school, their learning is done. In fact, the two big dips and cognitive performance
is usually when people graduate school and the second one is when they retire from work. Often when people retire their mind, they
feel like their body is not too far behind either because of that connection. Tom: Have you thought about what a new education
system would like? Jim: My approach is always been going directly
to the student, whoever the student life happens to be. Now, I know in terms of curriculum what I
would change just because I wouldn’t focus so much on dates. I think it’s good to be well read because
I think that perspective is really important but I would focus more on functional, usable
tools that would help people excel in today’s day and age, the ability to create, the ability
to think differently and leadership skills, the ability to work and manage teams, collaboration
tools. I think all those would be very important. I mean any of the learning methodologies that
we publish on how to focus and how to concentrate. The reason I focus on memory a lot even though
there’s a lot information online because people are like, “Why do I need to memorize
all this stuff if it’s available online?” That’s a valid point. There’s two reasons I would say. Number one, I feel like because people aren’t
memorizing things are losing their ability to remember things because they’re outsourcing
their brain to their smart devices. I mean everything is kept here so they don’t
have to be able to keep it here and the challenge is I believe that the mind is more like a
muscle as opposed to a supercomputer that’s use it or lose it for a stronger way to use
but a lot of people aren’t using it as much as they use to. Think about it, before technology, how would
you have to remember personal history in all your lessons. You would pass it around like share it over
with stories like this and that’s why I love this kind of context. There would be a fire here and we would be
sharing this and be part of who we are. I feel people are losing that ability so I
think storytelling is so important to be able to teach, interpersonal skills. We know that IQ is erroneous. This idea where you have a number and it’s
yours for the rest of your life and it’s fixed and it can’t move and it accurately
describes your value in society. I think that’s flawed. I think that we have multiple intelligences. Generally in the United States, we reinforce
two kinds of intelligence. It’s verbal linguistic and mathematical. Growing up, that’s was the SAT. It’s was verbal and the math. If you’re not good at either one of them,
that determines whether or not you go to a school and everything else like that but what
about interpersonal skills? That’s got to be at least as important to
be able to do your ability to connect with individuals like what you have in spades. What about besides interpersonal skills, what
about intrapersonal skills? Just self-awareness. As Gary Vee talks about, I think self-awareness
is a superpower. Awareness of yourself, your own condition
and what motivates you, what drives your own beliefs, identity, your values. Tom: You think that can be cultivated? Jim: I do believe in a culmination of nature
and nurture. I do believe people are born with certain
level of talent. It’s cliche but it’s also true that hard
work will be talent if talent doesn’t work hard. I do believe you could refine and train this. I think when it comes to children, that it’s
harder to model and manage behavior like getting them to do something or stop doing something
but I think what we could do because of children growing up, they have their mirror neurons
and they learn through imitation and such. I feel like it’s easier with modeling or
being good role model for kids and this goes for coaching or any kind of relationship with
a human being is really to be an example and really instead of trying to manage certain
microbehaviors of hundred and thousands of different behaviors that your team has or
your children have, I would say that it’s better to really focus on communicating the
values. Tom: You said that behavior is belief driven. Is that what you mean like focus on giving
them the belief system that’s going to drive you? Jim: That beliefs and the values. I feel like in order for people to transcend,
to be able to end the trans, that we talked about earlier, that a lot of people are just
trying to change a lot of times. I just did a podcast on habits, how to be
able to adapt new habits and also delete and get rid of break bad habits. A lot of people, always wanted … It’s
usually make a change on behavior. They want to get themselves the workout. They want to get themselves to meditate. They want to get themselves to read more each
day. They want to get themselves to X or they want
to stop some behavior. They want to stop smoking. They want to stop eating food. They want to stop … I always tell people
stop checking your phone in the first hour of the day. Tom: I love that. Jim: That’s sacred time for me because for
me, I think that if you want to be a lead mental performer, real life superhero, you
don’t to start off by checking the phone. We talked about this in the past because you’re
training yourself to be reactive. You’re getting your dopamine or you’re
frying your nervous system with all this like, share, comments and everything else like that. Tom: You said, if I’m not mistaken, you
sell your sovereignty if you start by checking your phone. I love that so much. Jim: You’re reacting and firefighting to
everyone’s [inaudible 00:24:39] everyone wants. You’re not really setting, you’re not
living. You’ve heard this many times. You win the first hour of the day to win the
rest [inaudible 00:24:47] day. Anything you want to stop. I say you want to stop checking your phone
in the morning. That’s a behavior. There’s so many other elements to be able
to change because most behaviors don’t stick. When I’m thinking about when I want to transform
or transcend or make a real positive change, I’m looking at all the other areas of our
self. I’m looking at for example our environment. Are people setting up their environment to
win. Change doesn’t happen at this level of behavior
but what you have to change the environment. For example, if you want to stop eating a
certain food, it helps you to be able to not have that food in your home so you change
the environment. If you want to read more, it helps to help
set up your environment where you have the books readily available, where you’re going
to read it because they perform … How I approach habit change is this area of motivation
and this trigger. You want to trigger it to help remind you
to do the behavior. You’re setting up the environment in a way
that triggers the behavior that you want. The B environment is like the when and the
where but behavior is also the capabilities because a lot of people want to change their
behavior but they’re not training in the abilities. What I love about your work and your passion
is the area to be able to … Ability those acquisition. New abilities for yourself and also that can
benefit the rest of the world but most people aren’t training those habits and those capabilities
but also another level of change that we need to address, let’s say, someone is watching
this and they have something they want to change and it’s not sticking then maybe
it’s the environment. Maybe you check about your habits but maybe
it’s your beliefs and your values. Some people will not get themselves to read
every day because they don’t value reading every single day. Let’s say the behavior they want to change
is we did a podcast on how to remember names. I could teach them step by step on how to
remember the name of the most people that they meet yet they won’t do it because they
don’t value it or because that’s not important to them or they don’t believe that they
can. Just like we talked about earlier saying your
brain is like a supercomputer and self-talk is program that runs. If you tell yourself, you’re not going to
remember names, you will not remember the name of the next person you meet because you
programmed your supercomputer not to. They don’t have a belief that enables that. When I say all behavior is belief driven,
if you want to do this behavior, whatever it is, journal, whatever it is, then you need
that belief that allows that to happen because that’s the program that allows it. Tom: How do you get that belief? You’re going to feel like you’re faking
it and that’s where most people stop. They think, “Okay, I get it. I hear what Jim is saying that if I’m able
to shift my belief then I can get a different behavior but I don’t believe it so now I’m
just faking it. How do you help people overcome that? Jim: Some people approach it like this quote
where they fake it until they make it, right? Tom: Right. Jim: My thing with belief is when I do the
trainings in groups or online, my favorite way of changing a belief is getting them to
do something they never thought they could do because it opens up another possibility. Tom: Like what? Jim: For example, in 1954, Roger Bannister,
he broke the four-minute mile which is amazing. Throughout human history, nobody can run a
mile in less than four minutes. If you look into it, how he was able to do
it is he would visualize himself crossing the finish line looking at the clock and it
says 3:59 because he knew that success is inside our process that first it had to happen
in here in order for it to happen out there. Dr. Wayne Dyer has a famous phrase where it’s
not, “Oh, I’ll believe it when I see it.” It’s like, “I’ll see it when I believe
it,” because it’s the opposite. I always like modeling the outliers where
most people just dismiss them. I was like, “Whoa, what’s going on there
that allows this person to get this kind of result?” With Roger Bannister, he saw it in here, be
able to produce it outside just like any innovator or inventor or writer or any creator but what’s
interesting is after that what happened? Nobody could do it from the beginning of humanity. All of a sudden one person does it. What happens after that? Tom: Everybody starts doing it. Jim: Yeah, everyone starts doing it. That’s the thing. Now, what happened? Was there a big change that year and training
methodology and nutrition? No, it was a change of belief because the
belief back then was if you run a mile less than four minutes, not only would you die,
your heart would explode in your chest. I’m a runner. That won’t keep me from running, period. My thing is like that was a chance of a reference. That shook up a leaf. My goal with people when it comes to learning
is get themselves to do something they never thought they could do and then it opens up
another possibility. It literally opens up their nervous system
for something what else could be possible. Now I’d also say that it all plays together
where it’s not easy necessarily just to change a belief overnight. Now, that could be a belief because it’s
like a meta-belief about what beliefs are but people, there’s technology like inception
like a dream or a dream or a dream. I do believe that we have more power to influence
our thoughts and our beliefs. There are a lot of tools and techniques out
there that are resources. When I grew up, we had no money. I had no education because I was very learning
challenged. I didn’t know anybody. That’s where they’ll go though. When there’s a stop gap between where they
are and where they want to be, they’ll say, “Oh, I don’t have the money, I don’t
have education, I don’t have the intelligence, I don’t have the network or anything else
like that. What you know as for all the incredible success
you’ve had and the value of you’ve created for the world is that it’s not about resources
because we know a lot of people who didn’t have any resources that we were able to impact
the world. It’s about our internal resources. What I’m saying is optimizing our environment,
optimizing our behaviors or capabilities, our beliefs and our values and our identity
at the highest level, our identity. You can’t just change your belief or your
values or your behavior even if you don’t believe you’re that kind of person and that’s
why I always go to the superhero mythos because I want people to claim that identity. I call it the superhero you, that version
of ourselves that we’re not waiting for Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman. It’s like you are Wonder Woman, you are
Batman, you are Superman. It’s just we have to commit ourselves to
be able to be unleashing that. Tom: Dude, I’m a huge believer in identity
driving behaviors. I have a hard time explaining to people though
how to adopt a new identity. How have you done it in your own life? I think that’s the best way to start. Jim: I mean my identity, I mean, obviously,
this is a work in progress. I would start with … They call it the two
smallest world where it’s in the English language but they’re the two most powerful
words in the English language, I am. I am because whatever you put after that determines
your destination or your destiny. I think in your identity is who you believe
you are and I feel like when we’re talking about playing to the edge of our limits and
really playing there and living in that place, where we’re stretching, I do believe and
I get inspired. Every time I see your instant story it’s
like 4:30 and you’re working out and you’re doing your work but that’s who you are. You don’t have to fight it because you can’t
imagine yourself not doing that and that’s the level that I think is the most important. I would think about going through an exercise
and I’ve done this with friends. I’ve had them sit or in groups we do these
conferences and such and I find … People pair up with someone they don’t know and
what they’re going to do is they’re going to do an exercise I am and they’re going
to talk a bit. They’re literally going to fill in the blanks
for three minutes until I call time. You have to go and you could do this right
now. If you were to fill in an I am blank, like
I would say, I am a student. I am a teacher. I am a son. All this. Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I
don’t know what else to say and that’s what the real interesting answers come out
of because it’s a great way for networking knowing somebody else but it also shows us
this really big tapestry of our life to the point [inaudible 00:32:39] right now where
we … Can I relate to these aspects of ourselves? I think it’s a nice exercise when we talk
about self-awareness being a superpower really knowing who we think we are because if we
don’t believe that we are public speaker or we’re a great parent or we’re a great
learner or a genius then we’ll never be able to reach our full potential because that
will always be the ceiling that we bump up against. Also when I’m talking to individuals and
I’m interviewing them on our podcast or just talking to individuals like this, I would
be thinking especially about high performer because I think that genius leaves clues and
I believe that could be replicated if you’re willing to put in the work and the learning
and the discipline to be able to do that. Then I want to know really. I want to know their beliefs. I want to know what they value because if
I don’t know that, I’m just working on step by step hacks and everything else. It won’t stick because it’s missing a
huge part. I want to model their behaviors, their values
, their beliefs and also who they think they are that allows them to do those and accomplish
those amazing things in their life. Tom: What are some of the clues that genius
leaves? Jim: It’s interesting when I’m talking
about these levels of change. The identity level is the who. You know all the 5W’s and the H you learn
back in school. The identity is who somebody is. When we’re talking about beliefs and values,
that’s the why. Why they do what they do. When we’re talking about capabilities, that’s
the how, that’s the habit, the skill acquisition. When we’re talking about behavior, that’s
the what. The what they’re doing. Then when we’re talking about environment,
that’s really the where and the when. I’m always going back with I want to create
change, create a new habit, create a new level of learning for somebody. I’m address those different levels and if
I ignore one, with somebody else for myself, then it’s not going to stick because you
don’t have that kind of congruency where it becomes second nature. Going back to this, I think of I’m modeling
genius, and genius leaves clues, I’m thinking about where are they and when are they doing
these things? Certain people are early birds. Some people are night owls. I could teach people like I teach people how
to read one book a week. I really think leaders are readers that in
order to stay competitive in today’s day and age, if somebody has decades of experience
and they put it into a book and you sit down and read that in a few days, download decades
into days, I mean, I’m preaching a choir for whoever is watching but that’s a superpower. That’s a huge advantage. Some people when I’m telling them to practice
and I get these real results in about four or five weeks where it’s permanent, where
they can read 300% faster with the same or better comprehension. Essentially we read something at 20 minutes,
it normally takes normal people an hour but you have to practice. Some people will practice in opportune times
of the day and they won’t get the same results so part of this is self-awareness knowing
what they call your chronotype when is the optimal time to do this? Depending on your body type, there’s certain
times of the day, it’s better to work out. There are better times of the day to make
love. There are better times of the day to be able
to read, to check email, to ask for a raise. I would think about geniuses find their element,
their sweet spot and they set up their routines and they’re rituals throughout the day to
be able to align with their time when they’re most productive. If they’re not having a lot of energy in
the morning working out, it’s probably not as good as doing some other time. The when and the where in setting up your
environment for success because all your triggers are there that allow them. I think geniuses set themselves up. For example, they have their laptop but they
only use their laptop for work and it’s anchored. That’s part of their environment. It’s anchored to get them into flow states
to be able to write or be productive. They don’t use their laptop to watch binge
on Netflix. They have an iPad that they use when they
do that because that’s the state that they want to anchor for that and they don’t use
that iPad to do work. Set up your environment like your bedroom. We just did a whole episode on sleep hacks
and how to optimize your sleep because that’s a big personal challenge for me, for many
years because I had suffered from sleep apnea because of a breathing disorder. I stop breathing 200 times at night for at
least 10 seconds which is the equivalent of somebody coming in and choking and suffocating
you 200 times a night. Tom: That’s crazy. Jim: The reason why I’m so adamant about
productivity and learning hacks is because for the longest time, for literally five years
straight, and you know this, I’ve slept about 90 minutes to two hours a night total. You know how you feel when you get one bad
night of sleep and where your focus is, your energy level and how I get these horrible
migraines. It’’s forced me to double down in my practices
in terms of … I have a limited amount of time. I have to focus on the things that really
matter, resources and stuff. Anyway, going back to this. My bedroom is sacred space. I don’t do work in there. I keep it because that’s my trigger to be
able to rest, going to parasympathetic space. I set up my environment so I have my blackout
curtains, I have my grounding pads so it’s optimized my restful sleep that I do get. Genius leaves clues. They set up genius environments for themselves. Then the behaviors most people know because
they’re intuitive. These people are investing themselves. They’re investing in self-care. I always tell people that self-love and self-care
is not selfish. A lot of people, they’re there for their
friends and their family and their clients and everybody else but they’re not refilling
their cup. I think that we have to be grow gives meaning
we have to grow so we have more to give to other people so we have more impact with other
individuals. The behaviors are reading each day and putting
together your to-do list and I think having your not to-do list is so important. Having being sleep deprived for so many years,
I think a lot of people, I’m super sensitized to it but I think one of the success rituals
people should have is just going through and keeping the consistent not to-do list and
I think the most successful genius level individuals, one of the clues that they leave is their
not to-do list is bigger than their to-do list. They don’t check their phone in the morning,
they don’t take in … Everything is hell yes or it’s hell no. That’s their filter system. They say no to good so they say yes to great. The behaviors, then you have the habits and
then you have the beliefs and the values. The beliefs and the values, you know because
this is one of the reasons why I watch your show because I’m just hearing all the time,
you’re listening to these amazing beliefs and values from achievers in every area. I mean it’s amazing. I mean you have [inaudible 00:38:30]. You have all these amazing individuals but
you see that there’s a pattern that’s there and there’s an art but there’s a
science to it there and there’s an art to it and how they express themselves. Then I also do believe that some of those
successful geniuses. I say geniuses. I’m not talking about IQ. I’m talking about an incredible artist. I’m talking about an athlete. I’m talking about an advocate in some area. They’re clear about their identity, about
who they are and who they are to the world. I know what they do commit is they do the
work and they’re committed to life-long learning and I feel like that learning … I
always tell people … We had this conversation that if knowledge is power and learning is
your superpower. I think it’s a super power that we all have,
it’s just that we’re not taught. Recently we had Quincy Jones in our audience
and I had to pull him on stage. I was just like I have to ask you we are the
world and Michael Jackson and Oprah. How did you overcome these challenges, these
problems that you had to be able to create all this legacy. He looked at me. He’s like, “Jim.” He’s like, “I don’t have any problems.” I’m like, “Well, what do you mean? You’re 84. You have no problems?” he’s like, “No, I have puzzles and I was
like, “Wow.” That little shift of vocabulary changed everything
for me because puzzles are like riddles. You could solve them. There’s answers for it that and it was a
change of perspective. That was the thing about growing up with superheroes,
reading these comic book late at night when I was so impressionable is for me a superhero
more than anything represents hope. Do you know what I mean? Tom: Oh yes. Jim: That one person can make a difference
and a lot of superheroes go through a lot of challenges. When you think about the most popular superheroes,
they’re all orphans. Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Ironman, Spiderman,
they all lost their parents and they all go through these big challenges but through it,
they found their dharma, they found their mission. I find that if someone is watching this and
they haven’t found it quite yet, maybe I have a belief that their mission and that
people’s mission, their purpose and is looking for them also. Most of us aren’t sensitized to it because
it’s coming in different forms and we’re not open to it as much. My thing when it comes to success rituals
and high performance and making an impact is that we all have that sovereignty, we all
have that power and whenever we put it out there and give it out to somebody else like
we’re a thermometer. The metaphor I always talk about, it’s like
we’re either thermometers or we’re thermostats. A thermometer, you think about the functionality
of it, it just reflects what the environment is giving it. It just reflects the temperature and stuff
but a thermostat is different. It sets a standard. It sets a goal, it sets a vision and the environment
changes along with it. I feel like our happiness or joy, our level
of fulfillment, our success is all depending on where we put the locust of control. I feel like we have more power than we realize
in these cases and it’s hard because we have to fight media, we have to fight marketing. That’s always telling us about all the things
that are going on the world. We live in an abundant universe. We talk about the Matrix which pill people
are going to take and that determines everything. Every single morning, you determine what color
pill you’re going to take. Tom: I have to say it is fascinating to watch
you deal with the sleep issue because going into it, I wondered how your beliefs were
going to play. A lot of times, the belief will kick in and
when the problem is solved relatively easily the belief is intact and everything is right
with the universe, but dude you had to push for years and years, and years. Like you were saying 400 things that you tried
to overcome that. How did you stay focused, committed? How do you push the dark times? That’s really my question. Your entire life is a story of grit and pushing
through the darkest of times. Jim: I would say what keeps me going is I
have a belief that everything can get better. That’s my self-talk. When it comes down to what my primary belief
is, is I feel that things could get better because otherwise if I didn’t then I would
just give up. I have too many examples of friends and family
and just people I don’t know which are just friends of my mind that have superseded much
more difficult situations that I have. The other thing it’s helped me to do is
really focus on the rituals and routines, the habits, the abilities that really matter. The 80-20 rule because when I have a certain
amount of energy, I can only do a certain amount of things. I need to get more back and I’m still doing
the “job” of most three or four people going on stage and traveling like the kinds
of things that we do but it forces me to focus on things that’s going to get maximum return. I think we do teach the things that we need
to learn the most. I think the best teachers are the best students
and I know I’m going through this. I had surgery recently to correct this and
so my sleep has jump up from 90 minutes to two hours to about four hours which doesn’t
sound like a lot. It’s not perfect but it’s a progress. That’s my standard. I’m not really looking for perfection because
I don’t think that standard exists, I’m just looking to make incremental progress. When I wake up in the morning, I have my daily
routine and it’s so fine tuned because I think a lot of people suffer from decision
decision-making fatigue. This is a very strong research saying that
you can only make a certain amount of good decisions a day and after that is spent, you
can’t anymore. That’s really been fine tuned in the medical
field with surgeons and such in terms of seeing where they’re making their errors and stuff
with early on in the day or later in their days and stuff like that. As entrepreneurs or as employees and executives
or as parents we all can make a certain amount of decision and that’s why people like Mark
Zuckerberg or Tony Hsieh, they wear the same t-shirts and sweatshirts all the time because
they don’t want to use up one of their decisions thinking, “Oh, what am I going to wear today.” My goal is to streamline my life, put the
routines the first hour of the day and the last hour of the day. I really micromanage to the point where it’s
habitual. I don’t have even have to think about it. Those are the times of the day where I can
really have the most impact because later on in the middle of the day, team members
need this, [inaudible 00:44:42] client needs that but the first hour or the last hour I
really wanted control. All this really helped develop grit and resilience
in my body so I could have the ability to persevere. I stand guard to my brain all the time what
goes in. I don’t watch a lot of the negative news
and all the market. I really focus. I watch and I listen to your show and maybe
a handful of little things. I read each day because I need to keep it
positive. I want hope and I’m looking for help. I’m looking for inspiration and also some
instruction. Tom: Before I ask the last question, where
can these guys find you online? Jim: The best place is actually our podcast
is Kwik Brain, K-W-I-K Brain. That’s really my last name. I didn’t change it to do what I did. It’s my father’s name, my grandfather’s
name. This is a new venture for us. We published a couple episodes a week and
it’s really … Every episode is less than 20 minutes. It’s to be able to say that these are brain
hacks for busy people who want to learn faster and achieve more. Everything from read a book a week to remembering
people’s names, to my top 10 favorite brain foods, to how to eliminate or add new habits. That’s the best place. Go to kwikbrain.com and they could join our
private Facebook group and post questions for future episodes and also download free. We give them $100 worth of brain training
as a gift or any social media. You know I love our social media. Anything @JimKwik on Twitter, Instagram or
Facebook. Tom: Nice. What’s the impact that you want to have
in the world? Jim: What is the impact I want to have on
the world? We’re small in people but we’re really
big on purpose like yourself. We don’t measure in billions of dollars
but billions of brains really light me up. Billions of brains and minds coming online,
being their best version of themselves, that’s really the mission is to change for people’s
personal education system and how people fall in love with their brains again. I think that if people want creator at your
brain, it directly controls your levels of intelligence, your level of influence, confidence
with people, your level of income and also your level of impact. We want billions of brains to come online
and create a world collectively that the future generations could really thrive in. Tom: I like it. Brother, thank you so much for coming on the
show, man. [inaudible 00:47:11]. Guys, this is somebody who has a degree of
being a tactician that you have to see to believe to know that he started out truly
with a learning disability and didn’t just cause way back to normal, becomes one of the
most world-recognized experts in the field of cognitive improvement. It’s literally one of the most amazing examples
of grit, perseverance and a strong mission of knowing why he’s doing what he’s doing
and wanting to give back and using that desire to help other people as a way to push through
the dark times. Man, like this poor guy, the number of times
that he’s had to redouble down, come back to his belief system and continue to push
through. When he and I first met, he was really at
the beginning of his journey of struggling with the sleep problem and knowing him socially
first and then hearing the private struggle that he was in, it was a really interesting
time to ask how does this play out? Is this somebody that really is going to walk
the walk and keep pushing and do the 400 things that it takes to actually see incremental
improvement or is this going to be somebody that ultimately taps out and that belief ends
up getting choked? Just by the unrelenting nature of the problem
and to see him continue to push for years and years and really come out the other side
and be in a position where he’s able to throw the things that he believes through
his behaviors, through his identity continue to push through even when I think the vast
majority of the world would give up just speaks to why he’s been successful in this arena
for so long and in such a level. It’s absolutely incredible to spend time
with you, man. Thank you so much for coming on. Guys, check him out. You won’t regret it. If you have already, be sure to subscribe
and until next time my friends, be legendary. Take care.

100 thoughts on “Jim Kwik on How to Unlock Genius and Uncover Your Superpower | Impact Theory

  1. Kwik mentioned where are the classes on that? i.e. learning how to create and make the invisible visible… UNIVERSAL KABBALAH … No joke.. the best class out there that helps teach this. hands down if you want to learn how to create and be an empowering leader, take that class with the Modern Mystery School.

  2. You are right i am from sudan watching you keep doing what you doing and i get benefit from these videos like many people around the world and i try to become me because everyone have the ability to become intelligent in his own field

  3. I love the mention of Chronotypes. I'm definitely a bear. I can adjust to different schedules, but it kills productivity in the worst way AND NOW I know why. I can adjust to a different work schedule, but I basically have to structure my routine the same, or sleep longer and shorten my hours of productivity.

  4. Hi tom you are amazing person that i ever seen in my life such great impact that you are making in humans life through all genius guests I’m so grateful to you for creating this show thanks for great contributions in human life i just changed my pattern of life through this show and ideas from all the greatest people in planet 🌎 ❤️❤️❤️❤️!

  5. I am 27years old and I am watching this from my Smartphone in the third world… DR Congo to be precise. I get to know so many great stories and great minds that inspired me everytime I listen to your interviews, thank you Tom!

  6. I love Jim Kwik! Not only wise he has a gentle soul. I struggle from a broken brain and his words gives me hope I can overcome this to be my best well self.

  7. He is saying word for word what Tony Robbins teaches. For habits he just repeated the work of Gretchin Rubin. When talking about skills and talent it was taken from Angela Duckworth's book Grit. I don't see him presenting anything new. He is just repeated things that others have discovered and shared already. No offense to him at all just nothing new.

  8. The you is what you make of it, This is because of choices that we make. Choose good for yourself and the world, for the world and for yourself.

    A coin has 2 sides both sides make the same coin.

  9. SO much valuable information here. Please, this should be taught as basics in every school!!! I hope one day I can help people like this.

  10. This is incredible:

    Decision making fatigue. A study found > you can only make a certain amount of good decisions a day.

    Why does Mark Zuckerberg always wear the same grey t-shirt, because a human can only make a certain amount of good decisions a day and he doesn't want to spend it to that."

  11. How amazing is he. Ppl whom have had full advantage of their brains"besides the brain washing of the gov) arent as inspiring or intelligent as he is🙏

  12. I use to like you a lot Jim, but you must have hired someone to advertise for you, and I find it very very annoying.

  13. Thank you Tom and Jim, for making this so readily available to everyone. There so much to learn from this priceless and invaluable 50 min conversation! I'm grateful to have chanced upon it and am totally inspired! Kudos!

  14. You know I am really very enthusiast of your advocacy however, you have a lot of TALKING and not being direct to the point!!!! You have a lot of stories that is IRRELEVANT to the subject you want to convey! Please make it SMART in giving advice.

  15. A LOT OF TAKING ABOUT HIS LIFE!!!! BE DIRECT TO THE POINT OF THE SUBJECT YOU WANT TO SHARE!!! WE DON'T CARE OF YOUR PERSONAL STORIES!!! I AM WATCHING IT AND CONFUSE WHAT HE WANTS TO SHARE OF BEING GENIUS!

  16. Haha Jim, we prefer to be referred to as living in developing countries not third world countries which sounds like we are stuck back there. We may be slow, but we shall catch up eventually especially with your amazing mind tips. I'm in Kenya btw and yes, I'm watching from my not so smart phone.😄

  17. Jim: "There are technologies like inception, like a dream of a dream of a dream"
    Tom: coughing
    Me: there is something here…

  18. Like jim said, you are more focused and retain better when reading faster. Same goes for sound, so watch this on 1,5 X speed or more.

  19. This interview is very important for those who want to success in their life, and thanks for delivered attractive information with us. Thanks again sir

  20. I cannot say how much i love Jim Kwik he is really himself, in every interview every doc i have seen with him. And his message is so true and honest HE is my real role model. Authenticity is everything for me.
    Icant really connect to some one like Elon Musk for instance he does a lot.. but he kind of lives in his very own world.. or space… ehem.

    When i watch Jim Kwik i can still see the young version of himself, the inner child.. that i believe is what we truly are. It is great reminder. Thanks for this episode! 🙏

  21. I love how Tom listens to every word that's coming out of Jim's. A lot of hosts lost this ability nowadays. Most of them were just waiting for their turn to throw the next questions…

  22. We were also impressed by Jim. He's truly a genuine and down to earth guy.

    We loved having him on the show.

    https://youtu.be/Ds4XYF8l0RI

  23. The belief we all share: the healing power of music, The-currently practiced rehabilitation! Faith in humanity to have the “common sense” to insure all societies are Grooving!

  24. Wow, he really held my attention. I usually click off when a speaker starts to reiterates but he presents in different ways with the same ideas. Thank you.

  25. I'm dealing with A brain injury now, from vibrant flight attendant to staying home and trying not to stutter, regain balance throughout the day, and am slow in trying to find words. I'm hopeful and I expect I'll get better. Jim is an inspiration for me! I am going to find my superpower!

  26. Oh dear! I'm thinking how many kids out there that are so painfully shy that rather take a "0" instead of reading their hard work essay in front of the class! Oh man this broke my heart! I'm broken because of this! 🙁

  27. I miss 1/2 of what he says b/c it scrolls by so fast. He speeds up gradually as well. Listen to 15 minutes then take a 5 minute break, come back & get much more…

  28. I am watching from my smart phone from a 1st world country Bahrain 😍 I have a mac book computer but smart phones are convenient specially when youre busy mother like me 😊

  29. Tom – thanks so much for your videos and making this content so accessible. The 'change' I have only dreamed about is moving from being improbable to more possible. Thank you 🙂

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