Many of the ideas that I get for writing on the blog come to me when I listen to podcasts.
A couple of months ago, while almost falling asleep during an ice-cold bath, I was listening to this interview of Jim Kwik on the PaleoHacks blog.
Jim and his team have been working with top companies and entrepreneurs, one of which is Space X, Elon Musk’s company. He was also seen with Oprah, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, Stan Lee and other hot shots.
During the podcast, Jim talks about these encounters and about his meetings with other interesting folks. The interview became really catchy for me at minute 53:30, when Jim gave 10 ways that anyone can implement to significantly improve their memory.
And you know that: “The fastest learners are the highest earners”.
You may be thinking that memorizing is outdated, I thought of it as well…
But once you improve your memory, it’s not only the memory per se that’s being improved, but it’s also the circuitry of the brain. There are tons of studies out there showing the mechanisms.
Just go to Public Medical Libraries and do your own research. This way you won’t be biased by my thoughts.
Besides, I’ve experienced it myself. Since I started reading more books and since I started using some of these memory techniques, it seems that I can retain much more information, the same information which I would later easily recall whenever needed.
And it’s not only the storage capacity of your brain, but also the ability to link information across your brain, to calculate and to make better decisions based on the information you have at your finger tips or your brain tips, if I may. This is where your brain becomes more important than any external storage device (as of now).
I’ve been writing and experimenting with some of these techniques previously.
In fact, with a 2 week practice, I was able to memorize an entire deck of poker cards in less than 10 minutes. Who knows how much I would’ve been able to achieve if I’d kept practicing? And the beauty of it is that you can do it too. But this is not about me, it’s about Kwik’s 10 keys:
Most of you think these keys are overly-discussed and that you see them all over the media, but please be honest and ask yourself: how many of them do you actively implement?
Jim Kwik’s 10 Keys for Accelerated Learning
1. Optimized Diet
I will not talk about the best way of eating, because there’s not any for everyone.
My current woe is in this section (keto section). Whatever type of nutritional pattern you are doing, make sure you are not depriving yourself of nutrients: cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, essential fatty acids, and foods rich in antioxidants could be your staple.
To determine if the food you are eating meets your daily nutrient demands, plug them in here and see for yourself. Besides, I would double the recommendations for vitamin B complex and iodine (if not triple).
2. Killing ANTs
ANTs in this case is the acronym for automatic negative thoughts. Daniel Amen talks about it in his amazing book Change your Brain, Change your Life. A detailed blog on killing ants is here.
3. Smart Exercising
This is also overly discussed in the blogosphere and in the media. My major suggestion is:
Do not over-exercise as it may have a counteractive effect (the opposite effect). Exercising is not the best and most efficient way to lose weight. My philosophy on exercise is here.
4. Brain Food
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but more than 60% of your brain is made out of fat. It’s crucial to provide your brain with the right nutrients for it to work efficiently.
Essential fatty acids such as DHA and EPA are on this list (fatty fish from clean water is recommended). It is also important to consume foods rich in B vitamins and foods rich in iodine. Seafood meets these criteria.
If you’re not able to consume these foods and if you need to supplement, please make sure you choose your supplements wisely.
Supplements, however, are concentrated forms of certain vitamins and minerals and would not be able to appropriate replace foods rich in the same vitamins and minerals which additionally contain other thousands of nutrients that make the absorption process more efficient.
5. Positive Peer Group
Kwik reminds us that “We are the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with“.
When I heard him saying that, I also remembered about:
“When you are the smartest person in the room, leave!”
This would imply that one should always seek to stay in a challenging environment, enriched with challenging people. You do not have to spend your time with vampires sucking the “blood” out of you, saying that you cannot do this or that.
You should surround yourself with people who can inspire you, who are a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and who you can grow along with.
This doesn’t mean you should assume the vampire role in this case. I’d recommend reading the masterpiece of Adam Grant Give and Take.
6. Clean Environment
Brian Tracy, one of my mentors, says that:
“Your external world is a mere reflection of your internal world.”
I’m not sure how this could work for some people (as I don’t think it’s a rule)…but, usually, a cleaner environment is mostly inspiring. Take a look at these two pictures:
Which one is the environment you think you’d be more productive in?
I personally like the minimal approach to home decoration and I try not to keep stuff piling up my standing home office.
Aaah…the thing that I hate most…sleeping…
Ever since I started following a ketogenic nutritional protocol, the amount of time that I feel I need to sleep has drastically been reduced.
I’ve talked about it in Ketone Power but those of you who did not read the book yet, I’m gonna say that I can easily be extremely energetic with as less as 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night.
However, the body doesn’t work optimally if I do that. Various mechanisms of hormonal signaling are very tied to circadian biology. They are optimal only at certain times during the day or in the night. Light cycles (day/night) dictate how this happens. I’ve talked about this concept in the Testosterone Protocol which will be out in a few days.
Kwik’s says something that most of the bro-science community keeps ignoring:
“Muscle grows and gets repaired when you sleep (or rest) and not during your workouts.”
Memory works based on the same concept. Long term memory is solidified during sleep.
8. Brain Protection
Kwik talks about protecting your brain from injury, especially if you’re practicing contact sports or other dangerous sports.
Additionally, I draw attention on protecting your brain against non-native EMF radiation. Thank you Jack!
Try talking on your phone as little as possible as it may alter your brain glucose metabolism.
9. Learning New Things
As I’ve written here, more than 40% of what we do during the day is recurrent; it is habitual. We are on autopilot mode.
Engaging in new stuff is often associated with flow. I’ve written about this amazing experience here. Whenever you try doing something different that you are not used to, it engages all your senses and it tends to get you out of your comfort zone.
Reading a book on a different subject unfamiliar to you, meeting with new people, spending time in new places, trying different sports are only a few examples that drastically improve your brain output.
10. Efficient Stress Management
Even though the flight or fight response is an evolutionary mechanism designed to protect human life, it is not wise to having it activated at all times.
Food (or the thought of some foods) can put you in the fight or flight mechanism as Charles Duhigg brilliantly describes it in his book The Power of Habit.
Situations at work or at home can trigger the same cortisol response and adrenaline rush that would have been triggered thousands of years ago when ancient hominids met saber tooth tigers. That’s not normal!
Drag yourself out of those situations (calmly).
I am, currently, not aware of magic pills that can tremendously increase the efficiency of human memory and brain output as these 10 key strategies can do if implemented together. Though there are some interesting emerging products in the market (nootropics for example).
However, these interventions (which are widely unconsidered) can have a powerful beneficial effect on the physiology and the psychology of your brain. And they only take little to no monetary investment to be implemented.
1. Daniel Amen – Change your Brain, Change your Life
2. Dr. Joe Dispenza – Evolve your Brain: The Science of Changing your Mind
3. Steven Kotler – The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
4. Joshua Foer – Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
5. Terry Wahls, M.D. – The Wahls Protocol – How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine
6. Doug McGuff and John Little – Body by Science
7. Dr. Jack Kruse – Epi-paleo Rx: The Prescription for Disease Reversal and Optimal Health
8. Adam Grant – Give and Take – Why Helping Others Drives our Success
9. Brian Tracy – The Power of Self-Confidence
10. Volkow, N. D., Tomasi, D., Wang, G. J., Vaska, P., Fowler, J. S., Telang, F., … & Wong, C. (2011). Effects of cell phone radiofrequency signal exposure on brain glucose metabolism. Jama, 305(8), 808-813.
11. Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why we Do What we Do in Life and Business
12. Daniel Lieberman – The Story of The Human Body
Photos: here, here and here.