You don’t have to look very far on the internet to come across articles on Jim Kwik, the boy with the broken brain how he taught himself to hack the brain to learn fast. This article compiles input from a number of sources, Jim himself is prolific in self promotion but there are a number of other articles and collectively here is what I have learned.
Apparently Kwik suffered a brain injury when he was young, which caused him to have a number of problems learning. When he was in college he was struggling with school even considering dropping out. After spending a weekend with his roommate’s family he was encouraged to write a bucket list. That list helped him realise the only way to achieve it was to improve, so he read all the available texts on problem solving and memory.
The logic is to not let what you might already know get in the way of learning. So by approaching the learning subject fresh you can absorb and understand it much better.
Focus – everybody multi-tasks and when you try to learn and multi-task you are very inefficient at learning. You are much better to dedicate to the one task and make a note to come back to the other topic later.
Think of the mind like a parachute: it only works when it’s open.Jim Kwik
We learn when we are actively engaged. The old quote is “Tell me and I will listen, show me and I will watch, engage me and I will learn”. Taking good notes when you are learning helps to engage the brain, writing it down helps form the neural pathways and it helps the brain to encode the material for long time memory.
Handwritten notes have been shown to be better at helping absorb the material into learning. This may be because we write slower and it the brain has more time to think about and consider as the words form on the page.
Kwik states “When it comes to notes, quantity is better than quality. Write down as much as possible. If it isn’t possible to ask questions, write them down. Same with comments. The more we capture our thoughts during the learning process, the more likely we are to remember the information we’re learning.”
State refers to the emotional state that you are in when you start to learn. Our mood informs our engagement and curiosity, which enables our ability to explore and learn. Information combined with emotion, leads to long term memory.
When you are learning, consider how you will teach your new found knowledge to someone else. The process of teaching actually helps to embed the learning. The questions interactions and observations will help broaden the understanding and bond it into knowledge and long term memory.
Entry is about planning. By making a calendar or schedule entry you have made a commitment to prioritising the time when you are going to learn. By doing this you will find it easier to focus and learn.
The process of reflection. Go back review your notes and learning. When you take time to review something multiple times it helps the brain keep the information on recall. Many of us can study for an exam or read a book and promptly forget the narrative. The brain needs time to convert the learning into knowledge stored in long term memory.
Studies have indicated that we normally forget up to 90% of new information in the first three days. However if it is reviewed in twenty four hours the likelihood of retention increases from 10% to 80%.
In his latest book “limitless” he also makes suggestions for mindset, motivation and method.
- Mindset – many of us face negative thoughts when we start to learn something new or foreign. These Automatic Negative Thoughts or ANTs are telling you that you can’t learn this new thing. Kwik advises you to talk back to the ANTs and reconfirm yes I can learn that.
- Motivation – what you eat helps you learn. There are a bunch of brainfood recommended including Blueberries (reduces effects of brain ageing). Also Eggs (memory improving choline), Green leafy veg (Vitamin E), Fish (rich in Omega-3). Tumeric (antioxidant and reduces inflammation). Walnuts (antioxidants and Vitamin E). Dark Chocolate (Flavinoids which improve cognitive function). Finally and importantly remain hydrated with plenty of water.
- Method – Set time aside (this is really the same as the [E] ntry above which is all about making time to dedicate to learn. Commit to learn and track progress and commit.
- There is plenty of self help ra-ra-ra here but it is also clear that applied properly we can all significantly improve our learning and retention.
- There are numerous other documented processes for learning and memory retention but Jim Kwik has codified it and it appears to be popular.
A DIGEST from The Startup Learn Anything F.A.S.T.E.R by Jim Kwik https://medium.com/swlh/learn-anything-f-a-s-t-e-r-5190e69bdc9a and CNBC Make It Brain coach used by Elon Musk’s SpaceX: 3 tips to learn anything faster by Jade Scipioni Published: 24th May 2020 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/24/elon-musks-former-brain-coach-3-tips-to-learn-anything-faster.html and OZY Is Jim Kwik The Next Lumosity Or Just The Next Fad? by Eric Pfeiffer Published: 17th October 2015 https://www.ozy.com/the-new-and-the-next/is-jim-kwik-the-next-lumosity-or-just-the-next-fad/64628/ and MindValley 10 Morning Habits Geniuses Use To Jump Start The Brain For Maximum Learning & Productivity by Jim Kwik https://blog.mindvalley.com/?p=17711&itm_source=bibblio_EN and Kerwin Rae Jim Kwik Broken Brain to World Learning & Memory Expert https://www.kerwinrae.com/broken-brain-to-world-learning-memory-expert-jim-kwik/ and JeyJetter Jim Kwik Review 2020: Should You Join it? (Honest Opinion) by Julia Jerg Published: 9th March 2020 https://www.jeyjetter.com/jim-kwik-review/