Kwik Brain 055: How To Find Your Life’s Vision with Vishen Lakhiani (Part 2)

How do you create a thriving learning organization? In the second half of this two-part episode, Vishen Lakhiani, founder of education company Mindvalley, reveals 5 ways to create a powerful learning organization.

Show Notes

Haven’t listened to Part 1 of our episode with Vishen yet? You can do so here.

How do you create a thriving learning organization?

Vision Lakhiani is the founder of Mindvalley, an education company that has 300 incredibly happy, fulfilled employees from 46 different nations.

Vision believes that because Mindvalley is an education company, everybody at the company must be committed to education and practice what they preach.

When Mindvalley first started in Kuala Lumpur, the city was going through a brain drain: 1{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of the population left every year to work in richer countries. Since he couldn’t get talent in Malaysia, Vishen decided that the way to get people to move to Malaysia to work at Mindvalley was to set a goal: by 2020, Mindvalley would be the #1 place in the world to work.

To Vishen, that meant Mindvalley had to be the place where employees learned and grew the most.

Today, people from 46 different countries have moved to Malaysia to work at Mindvalley. When Forbes released last year’s 30 Under 30 list in Malaysia, 10{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of those people were ex-Mindvalley employees.

5 Ways to Create A Powerful Learning Organization

Define leadership correctly.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Vishen was inspired by this quote, but he also realized that this could lead to poor decisions.

Mindvalley’s leadership quote says this: Leadership is recognizing that everyone you lead is as powerful as you, as brilliant as you, and has the same capacity for greatness. Your job is simply to remind them of this fact.

Google recently released a study that found that their best employees were the best coaches.

Mindvalley is dedicated to turning their employees into great teachers by giving workshops on communication and public speaking.

At their weekly meeting, each team must have one representative share the team’s accomplishments to 200 people in 2 minutes.

Create an organization where students are teachers and teachers are students.

Give people time to learn.

Vishen doesn’t believe that you need to work crazy hours to be successful.

Mindvalley has a 45-5 workweek, where employees spend 1 hour of each workday learning.

Mindvalley also experimented with “Learn Day,” where employees taught each other on any topic of their choosing on the first Friday of every month.

Now, Mindvalley flies people to a team retreat where they spend 4 days doing nothing but learning from each other.

Learning forces people to innovate.

3 years ago, Mindvalley’s customer support team won an award for being the best customer support team in Asia because they used machine learning to improve their service.

Make people passionate about their own vision for themselves.

Bill Jensen, the author of Future Strong, says that in the future, the company will be engaged in the employee’s vision.

Make sure you are supporting your employees’ visions and goals.

Mindvalley has the 3 Most Important Questions in their company, which you can learn about here.

Everybody’s list is on a wall at Mindvalley, which promotes collaboration.

One employee wanted to hike the Himalayas. He found 3 people on the wall with similar goals, and they spent 7 days hiking the Himalayas.

Experiences like these create incredible friendships within the company.

Other employees support each other’s visions, which helps people grow quickly.

When Mindvalley had 90 employees, in one month, 80 out of 90 people in the company were in a magazine, on TV, or giving a TEDX talk somewhere in the city.

Mindvalley keeps millennial employees for 3 years, which is significantly longer than most companies.

Try the 2-Minute Email.

Shawn Achor tried an experiment with companies: every morning, a manager would spend 2 minutes sending an email to one employee from the previous day who had impressed them.

This person would feel recognized and write back to the manager or be inspired to write an email to someone else.

When First National tried this experiment for 18 months, their profits grew $300 million and applications to join the company rose 217{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb}.

Support your employees’ 3 Most Important Questions.

Vishen bought a travel guide to Italy for an employee who wrote in her 3 Most Important Questions that she wanted to spend a year in Italy.

Small things like this transform one’s attachment to work.

A Gallup found that employees who can answer yes to “My supervisor or someone at work cares about me as a person” are significantly more engaged with and loyal to the company.

Want to learn more about Mindvalley? Visit their website and follow their YouTube channel Life at Mindvalley.

Want more from Vishen Lakhiani? Listen to Part 1 of this podcast, download the Mindvalley Quests app and find the free Extraordinary by Design course to go even deeper into these three questions. You can also purchase his book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 054: How to L.O.V.E. Your Brain

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kwik Brains! In this special holiday episode, I share some of my favorite facts about your brain and four ways to L.O.V.E. it today – plus the key to implementing these ideas.

Show Notes

How do you love your brain?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make this ‘kwik’ episode to remind you to romance and care for one of your most attractive assets: your mind.

You can only love a person to the degree that you can love yourself.

And a great place to start is loving your brain.

After all, your brain is the control center for your body and is key to how we do everything from eating to learning to sleeping.

We’ve learned more over the past decade about our brain than we have over the past millennium, so here are a few amazing facts about your brain.

Kwik Brain Facts.

1.  Your brain contains about 100 billion brain cells. That’s on par with the number of stars in our galaxy.

2.  Each of these neurons can transmit about 1000 nerve impulses per second and make tens of thousands of synaptic connections with other neurons. A piece of your brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses – all of which are communicating with one another.

3. If you laid out the blood vessels feeding your brain end to end, they’d stretch almost halfway to the moon!

4. Brain information travels at about 260 miles per hour. Most F1 race cars top out at around 240 miles per hour.

5. Your brain generates 12 – 25 watts of electricity – enough to power a low wattage LED light.

6. The average brain has about 50 – 60,000 thoughts per day.

Of course, the challenge (according to Deepak Chopra) is that 95{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of those thoughts are the same ones you had yesterday.

7. Your brain is capable of over 1,000 processes per second, making it more powerful than any existing computer.

8. Your brain’s memory capacity is virtually unlimited.

How to L.O.V.E. Your Brain

L stands for Learn.

The science of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity state that in order to be able to create new brain cells and connections, you need two things: novelty and nutrition.

Your brain loves novelty, so teach it new things.

How are you improving you learning? What are you learning right now? How often do you read, listen to podcasts, or go to classes or conferences?

I read 30 – 60 minutes a day and listen to an audiobook or podcast 30 – 60 minutes per day, generally when I am commuting or exercising.

O stands for Oxygen.

By oxygen, I mean anything that’s nutritious for your brain – including the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the foods that you eat.

The typical brain comprises about 2{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of the body’s total weight but uses 20{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of your energy.

What you put in is what you take out.

Make sure you are deep breathing (which we discussed here) and taking brain breaks.

Your brain is over 70{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} water, so stay hydrated.

Eat the right brain foods as discussed in this Kwik Brain episode.

V stands for Vacation.

Both the mind and body need to disconnect every now and then so you can reconnect.

There are many benefits of taking a break, including greater relaxation, a boost in productivity, increased creativity, and reduced long-term risk of potentially fatal ailments like heart disease.

Even if you can’t take a vacation, make sure you take some time away from your digital devices regularly.

Sleep is also critical for you to rest your brain and allow it to clear out the plaque that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily breaks will give you the rest and rejuvenation you need.

E stands for Exercise.

As your body moves, your brain grooves.

Exercise increases your heart rate, pumps oxygen to your brain, and aids in the release of positive hormones which provide nourishing environments for the growth of new brain cells..

Exercise stimulates neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

A recent UCLA study found that exercise increases growth factor in your brain, making it easier for your brain to create new neural connections.

The key to loving your brain is to schedule these four things.

If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Remember that self-love and self-care are not selfish.

What you appreciate, appreciates, grows, and flourishes. So follow your heart this Valentine’s Day – but take your brain with you.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 053: How to Find Your Life’s Vision with Vishen Lakhiani

We know that creating a life’s vision is key to success – but how do you start? In this episode, I share the 3-step formula created by Vishen Lakhiani, founder of the personal development company Mindvalley and New York Times bestselling author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.

Show Notes

I went to Kuala Lumpur to record this podcast with Vishen Lakhiani, founder of the personal development company Mindvalley and New York Times AND Amazon bestselling author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. Vishen is a longtime friend, and I wanted to ask him one simple question:

How do you create a life’s vision? Where do you start?

Vishen grew up in an Indian family that wanted him to become an engineer. Vishen ended up at Microsoft – a job he hated, but he didn’t have the courage to quit. So Vishen purposefully got himself fired just 11 weeks into the job, then moved to New York to work at a non-profit for under the poverty line.

During this time, Vishen watched an interview with Jim Carrey.

When Jim Carrey was broke and sleeping in a car, he wrote himself a check for $20 million. He carried that check around in his wallet. In 1994, Jim got his big break: a $700,000 check for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The movie hit #1, which helped him get a $7 million check for Dumb and Dumber. Then, Jim’s movie The Mask hit #1 as well – making Jim the first actor in the world to have three #1 movies in the same year.

The next check Jim got? $20 million for a movie called The Cable Guy.

In the interview Vishen saw, Jim said he believed he was creating this reality in this mind. So Vishen was inspired and wrote a check for $1 billion from himself to the world. He dated the check for 50 years down the road: 2049.

Since then, Vishen has failed many times, but he’s always bounced back stronger than before. Today, he has built a life where he can give value to Mindvalley’s 300 employees and millions students because he has a singular massive vision delivering him forward.

How to Create Your Life’s Vision

Know the difference between means goals and end goals.

Means goals are based on other people’s bulls*** rules, or brules, of how the world is supposed to work.

Vishen’s goal of being an engineer was a means goal – because he thought it was a safe way to make money.

In the United States, many people become lawyers because of a ‘brule’ that becoming a lawyer leads to success. But 50% of female American lawyers are clinically depressed, and the United States has only 5% of the global population but 50% of the global lawyers.

When means goals pile up, you wake up at 50 wondering what you’re doing with your life because means goals don’t create happiness.

End goals are the goals that come from your heart and make it sing.

Ask Yourself the 3 Most Important Questions

Start by dividing a piece of paper into three columns.

1: What truly amazing, epic experiences do I want to have?

At the top of the first column, write Experiences.

Spend no more than 3 minutes writing the answer to this question.

When you spend more than 3 minutes, your left brain will kick in and develop reasons you can’t have these experiences.

Experiences might include holding your newborn daughter or cycling across South America or waking up next someone you’re madly in love with every day.

This is NOT a bucket list because bucket lists only have experiences – you need 2 more things to go from happiness to fulfillment.

2: If I were to become the person who had all these experiences, how do I need to grow?

At the top of the second column, write Growth.

Growth is a goal in itself, but we forget this because school makes growth painful.

Create a list of the skills you’ll need to develop and how you want to grow.

If you want to wake up next to someone you’re in love with each day, you need to learn some dating skills.

3: If you were blessed enough to be this person with all these experiences and growth, how would you give back?

At the top of the third column, write Contribution.

Experiences and growth can make you happy, but fulfillment comes from giving back.

When Vishen and I spoke on stage with the Dalai Lama, he told us that the secret to being happy was to make other people happy.

Create a list of ways that you could give back to the world.

Examples could include donating 10% of your income or raising your children into successful giving people or writing a book that inspires the world.

Want more from Vishen Lakhiani? Download the Mindvalley Quest app and find the free Extraordinary by Design course to go even deeper into these three questions. You can also purchase his book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 052: Fix A Broken Brain with Dr. Hyman (Part 2)

How do you fix a broken brain? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the formula is simple: just take out the bad stuff and put in the good stuff. Discover what “the bad stuff” is in the second half of this 2-part episode with the 10-time New York Times bestselling author.

How do you fix a broken brain?

To listen to Part 1 of this episode with 10-time New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman, please click here.

Many of you know that I was labeled the boy with the broken brain as a child. That’s why I was so thrilled to be one of 50+ brain experts in his FREE docuseries, Broken Brain. Discover how to optimize your brain function and reclaim your health, energy, and mental clarity with me and 50+ other experts for FREE here.

Subtraction can be powerful. Whether it’s people or projects, subtracting can multiply your life.

In this episode, Dr. Mark Hyman reveals what you should remove from or reduce in your life to optimize brain health.

Disclaimer: The content of this episode is for informational purposes only. For medical questions, please seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

What to Remove to Fix Your Brain.

Remove the wrong foods.

Sugar and flour (gluten) are well-documented to drive brain dysfunction.

Be careful of refined vegetable oils because we’re consuming them in quantities we never have before.

Large amounts of vegetable oil can be inflammatory, especially without enough omega-3s.

Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fats.

Avoid food-like substances, such as additives and colorings.

In one study, children who drank a dyed drink vs a naturally fruit-colored drink had ADD, hyperactivity, and violence.

Beware of excitotoxins such as MSG and aspartame.

MSG has many names, including healthy-sounding ones like “hydrolyzed vegetable protein.”

Drink less.

Alcohol is one of the biggest brain-damaging substances out there.

A little bit is OK, but a little bit more is not.

Depending on your genetics, you can dramatically impact your health by minimizing alcohol consumption.

Avoid toxins.

All environmental toxins affect the brain.

Mercury is a particularly powerful brain toxin in our food supply and our fillings.

Watch how much sushi you are eating.

Use resources like the Environmental Working Group to avoid toxins in your food, household products, and beauty products.

Many lipsticks have lead.

Detoxify yourself.

Eat foods that upregulate detoxification like broccoli and garlic.

Use saunas.

Remove harmful medications.

Many drugs affect the brain.

Taking a statin drug, which is one of the most widely prescribed drugs, increases amyloid production in the brain.

Amyloid is the substance in an Alzheimer’s brain that creates the damage.

Stop depriving yourself of sleep.

The glymphatic system of the brain clears out all the debris at night, which is why you wake up feeling refreshed.

Sleep deprivation affects your brain function just as much as alcohol does.

In a study of military soldiers, sharpshooters who slept over 7 hours shot with 98{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} accuracy. If they slept about 6 – 7 hours, they shot with 50{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} accuracy.  If they slept 5 hours, they shot with 23{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} accuracy. If they slept less than 5 hours, they shot with 13{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} accuracy.

Over a third of us sleep less than 7 hours a night.

Avoid stress.

Stress shrinks the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory center.

Stress impacts the blood-brain barrier and leads to inflammatory processes in the brain.

Cortisol (the stress hormone) can literally shrink your brain.

Get enough exercise.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a compound that helps stimulate brain growth.

When you don’t exercise, BDNF doesn’t work.

What did you learn from this episode? Share your takewways on social media with me (@jimkwik) and Dr. Hyman (@markhymanmd)!

Want more from Dr. Mark Hyman? Watch his FREE docuseries on how to optimize your brain function and reclaim your health, energy, and mental clarity.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 051: Fix A Broken Brain with Dr. Hyman (Part 1)

How do you fix a broken brain? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the formula is simple: just take out the bad stuff and put in the good stuff. Discover what “the good stuff” is in Part 1 of this 2-part episode with the 10-time New York Times bestselling author.

Show Notes

How do you fix a broken brain?

Dr. Mark Hyman is a 10-time New York Times bestselling author and head of functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

1.1 billion people worldwide are affected by conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and brain fog. But there are ways you can fight them – many of which Dr. Hyman discusses in his brand-new free docuseries, available here.

While there is a mind-body connection, there’s also a body-mind connection.

Oftentimes, your brain issues might actually stem from your body – and you need to treat the whole system to get better.

Most of us do things that damage our brain every day, but the good news is that our brain is very resilient and recovers dramatically if you put in the right information.

The basic formula is to take out the bad stuff and put in the good stuff.

This is an exclusive training Dr. Hyman did for my clients. In Part 1, we’ll discuss what to put in your body. Stay tuned for Part 2, and learn more about Dr. Hyman’s docuseries here.

Disclaimer: The content of this episode is for informational purposes only. For medical questions, please seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

What to Add to Fix Your Brain.

Eat the right foods.

You can change your biology with food because food isn’t just calories; it’s information and instructions that upgrade or downgrade your biological software.

Leave the food that man made. Eat the food that God made.

By volume, most of your vegetables should be plant-based.

Eat vegetables and fruit.

By calories, most of your diet should be fat.

Eat good fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut butter and oil, and omega-3 fats.

DHA, found in fish, is one of the most powerful brain-healing compounds.

Many memory and mood issues are connected to deficiencies in omega-3 fats.

MCT oil is a powerful upregulator of brain function because it increases mitochondrial function, which are the energy factories you need to produce energy.

Make sure you have good protein for muscle synthesis.

Have the right nutrients in your diet.

Consider a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

You may also want to take some methylating support and probiotics.

Balance your hormones.

Get out the sugar and eat more fat to reduce insulin resistance.

The bigger your belly, the smaller your brain.

Balance your thyroid, your adrenals, and your sex hormones.

Your hormones are related to what your diet is.

Optimize your gut function.

Look at the major triggers of inflammation (gluten and dairy) and see if they might be driving brain fog and brain dysfunction.

Optimize your mitochondria.

Nutrients you can use include Coq10, niacinamide, nicotinamid ribocide, lipoic acid, and B vitamins.

Exercise.

Your diet is important, but you also need to keep your muscle mass high with high-intensity interval training.

Sleep.

Sleep is essential for your brain.

For more on this topic, review my episodes with sleep experts Shawn Stevenson and Dr. Michael Breus.

Meditate.

Meditation can help you create better brain function as well as be more connected, compassionate, and loving.

Use accelerated learning techniques.

The techniques I teach will work better on a brain that’s working.

Fixing your body will make fixing your brain so much easier.

Remember: your brain is an organ – and by fixing your body, you can fix your brain.

What did you learn from this episode? Share your takewways on social media with me (@jimkwik) and Dr. Hyman (@markhymanmd)!

Want more from Dr. Mark Hyman? Watch his FREE docuseries on how to optimize your brain function and reclaim your health, energy, and mental clarity.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 050: Master Your Mind…And Anything Else!

In our 50th episode, we discuss the 6 Cs to mastery and the MASTER list of reasons why you should join a mastermind.

Show Notes

We’re at our 50th episode! Congratulations on making it to lesson 50, and thank you for joining us on our Kwik Brain journey.

In the spirit of our 50th episode, I want to talk about mastery.

Mastery is the possession of great skill and technique that allows you to do, use, and understand something extremely well.

What did you learn this past year? Where would you be right now if you had mastered 1 – 5 new subjects? And what would you like to master in the coming year?

While there is no magic mastery pill, there is a magic mastery process.

We all have the potential to be a master.

I believe that there is always another level, but I also believe that there is a level of expertise.

As a Kwik Brain student, I know that you are on this path to mastery. You show up for success, for service, and for self-growth.

If you are new, I recommend that you start at the beginning to take full advantage of our learning academy.

6 Cs to Master Anything You Choose

Each of these Cs is correlated to the 6 main questions because questions are the answer.

1. Clarity.

This answers the question: what?

If you want to master something, you need to start with clarity because clarity is powerful.

If a genie could grant you one wish, what would it be? What is your goal? How will you know specifically when you’ve achieved it? What are the smaller goals along the way?

You can’t hit a target you can’t see.

Make sure your goal is clear and measurable. If it’s not measurable, you can’t manage it. You can’t magnify it. And you can’t master it.

Let’s say you want to be a master at speed-reading. The average person reads 200 words per minute at 60{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} concentration. Your goal could be to read 800 words per minute at 80{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} comprehension.

For more on goal-setting and goal-getting, listen to our episodes with Dr. Jeff Spencer here and here.

2. Capability.

This answers the question: how?

Mastery requires you to develop behaviors, skills, habits, and competencies.

If you want to master speed-reading, you might take our online speed-reading course.

If you want to master salsa, how do you get training? What classes do you take?

Developing capabilities is all about routines.

For more on routines, listen to our episodes with Dr. B.J. Fogg on creating good habits and breaking bad habits.

3. Consistency.

This answers the question: when?

Mastery requires you to be consistent.

You can’t transform your health by working out once or getting one good night’s sleep.

It’s not just about what you do or how you do it – it’s about when you do it.

For more, listen to our episode with Dr. Michael Breus on the power of when.

4. Challenge.

This answers the question: why?

When you get consistent, you get comfortable.

With challenge comes change, and that’s how you grow.

Most people quit when it gets difficult. So when it gets difficult, you need to connect with your why.

Just like your physical muscles grow via stress, your intellect grows when you put your knowledge to the test.

For more on challenge, listen to our episodes on beating procrastination and the 4 keys to genius.

5. Coach.

This answers the question: who?

The best of the best have coaches, such as personal trainers.

The fastest path to mastery is to find a mentor – someone who’s achieved what you want and can help you do the same.

Coaches save you time and money because genius leaves clues.

Learning from someone who knows what they’re doing can dramatically accelerate your success.

6. Context.

If content is king, then context is the kingdom.

Your environment is one of the most neglected and understated keys to mastery.

The right environment is a place where you can access the other 5 cs. It sharpens your clarity, it teaches you capabilities, it keeps you consistent, it challenges you to grow up, and it has coaches.

The best context in which to master your mind is to create or join a mastermind.

A mastermind is a group of peer-to-peer mentoring where members solve problems with input and advice from each other.

The concept was coined by author Napoleon Hill. In his book The Magic Ladder of Success, he says:

“The process of mind-blending, here described as a Master Mind, may be likened to the act of one who connects many electric batteries to a single transmission wire, thereby ‘stepping up’ the power…passing over that line by the amount of energy the battery carries. Each mind, through the principle of mind chemistry, stimulates all the other minds in the group.”

In his personal development classic Think and Grow Rich, Hill describes a mastermind group as:

“A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”

And in The Master-Key to Riches, Hill says:

“Every mind needs friendly contact with other minds, for food of expansion and growth.”

Mastermind groups are established to help create an environment that nurtures and supports your growth.

Joining or creating a mastermind is one of the laws of success Hill learned by studying geniuses such as Herny Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, and more.

In a mastermind, a group of people meet regularly, perhaps weekly or monthly, to tackle the big challenges they have in life and business together. They lean on each other, share connections, do business together, and mentor each other. If you are a part of a mastermind, you will see marked changes in yourself and your business.

Why You Should Join A MASTERmind

1. Members.

A mastermind is full of people who will inspire you and challenge you.

Everyone in a mastermind has unique skills and connections so you can offer solutions to and learn from each other.

Remember TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.

2. Accountability.

When you are going through difficult times, it’s easy to quit.

When a group of people is invested in your success, you’re more likely to follow through.

3. Structure.

Some people have goals but are too flippant.

Remember that discipline equals freedom.

Make sure your mastermind is structured.

Ours includes 2 days of personal intensive training with me in Los Angeles, 2 group video calls each month, a private Facebook group, VIP access to our conference, and online programs.

4. Teaching.

If you are creating a mastermind, ask yourself: what is the curriculum you’re teaching?

This is where you will develop the competency you need.

5. Envision.

You can’t help but think bigger and stretch your limitations when you surround yourself with amazing people doing amazing things.

Those without vision perish.

6. Resources

In our mastermind, we provide brain-friendly recipes. We talk about supplements and technology that accelerate learning. We have a book list.

It’s not just about your internal resourcefulness but the external resources you need to master your game.

One of the biggest influences on your personality is your peer group. Hill says:

“Now here are some interesting facts about the mastermind which give you an idea of how important it is and how necessary that you embrace this principle and make use of it in attaining success in your chosen occupation. First of all, it is the principle through which you may borrow and use the education, the experience, the influence, and perhaps the capital of other people in carrying out your own plans in life. It is the principle through which you can accomplish in one year more than you could accomplish without it in a lifetime if you depended entirely on your own efforts for success.”

Start by creating a mastermind. It can start as a study group or a Kwik Brain meet up.

I look for people who are kind, growth-oriented, and willing to invest in their own success.

What kind of mastermind can you join or create?

Our mastermind is a small group of people I coach personally and is the best option for working directly with me. If you’d like to learn about our mastermind, you can learn here.

In October 1927, several scientists – including Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Marie Curie – attended the fifth Solvay Conference. 17 of the 29 attendees became Nobel Prize winners…and most received the award after the conference.

As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Make sure the people you spend time with are good for your mind because when you master your mind, you master life.

Want to join Kwik Mastermind? Learn more here.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

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Kwik Brain 049: Fast Focus & Flow (Q&A with Steven Kotler)

In our latest episode with flow expert Steven Kotler, I ask him all your burning questions about how to maintain a state of peak performance.

Show Notes

In our latest episode with flow expert Steven Kotler, I ask him all your burning questions about how to maintain a state of peak performance.

If you haven’t listened to our previous episodes with Steven, you can find them here and here.

Can you live in a flow state?

It is impossible to live in a flow state. Even the best flow hackers in the world plateau. However, you can shorten the amount of time between flow states. As you get better at it, you’ll move through cycle more cleanly.

People love the flow high so they stay in it as long as they can. But doing so exhausts the dopamine supplies in the brain, making it much harder to rebound.

One of the best way to fight writer’s block is to stop when you’re most excited – in the middle of a sentence or even a word.

Dopamine and norepinephrine (your focus-enhancing chemicals) only last 20 minutes. By the time you notice you’re excited, you’re already deep into a flow state, so the chemicals will only last for 5 more minutes – which means you’re not giving up that much.

This is why TED talks are 20 minutes long.

This is also why you get exhausted when watching a James Bond movie, because they exhaust your dopamine and norepinephrine levels are exhausted.

Quitting while you’re at your peak means you don’t have the memory of failure or ending and it makes it easier to return.

The easiest way to hack motivation is to stack motivation.

What technology can I use to improve my flow state?

There has been an explosion in transformative technology, and it works amazingly for some people.

Steven uses technology but tries not to depend on it because he wants to be able to focus intensely whenever, wherever he wants.

When you experience fear, your abilities drop to your level of training. This is why Navy SEALS say: Fight how you train. Train how you fight.

Steven uses breathing techniques to get into flow because you can use that anytime.

How can I use music to improve my flow state?

Steven makes 1 – 2 playlists for each book he’s writing that mimic the way he wants his book to feel, and he listens to them over and over.

When he was writing Stealing Fire, Steven listened to a lot of Sun Kil Moon and Radiohead.

What is Steven’s morning routine?

Steven drinks coffee, then gets from his bed to his desk as fast as possible to start writing.

Your brain wakes up in alpha, so Steven wants to preserve that.

Steven writes for 4 hours, then writes a gratitude list.

Steven lists 10 things he’s grateful for and writes a paragraph about one.

Focusing on the positive lowers your anxiety and cortisol levels, and anxiety can limit creativity.

Steven takes an hour-long hike with his dogs to refresh and has breakfast.

It’s hardest to transition back into work after breakfast, so Steven does box breathing for about 5 minutes.

What can I do regularly to access flow states more regularly?

1. Have the conversations that will allow you to have 90 – 120 minutes of uninterrupted concentration.

Talk to your colleagues and loved ones.

If you don’t have the conversation, the guilt will steal energy you could be using to focus.

2. Train your focus on a daily basis.

Start by focusing for 9 minutes. The next day, do 10.

You need to do this slowly. The goal isn’t to get there overnight.

Long-time horizons for change are very helpful.

3. Train risk.

Do something every day that scares you a little. If you’re shy, talk to strangers.

You want to cultivate the habit of ferocity. When faced with any scary situation, you automatically lean in – you don’t have time to think about it.

Want more from Steven? Find him on Twitter, his website, or at the Flow Genome Project. I also recommend you read The Rise of Superman and Stealing Fire.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 048: Get Into Your Creative Flow with Steven Kotler

How can you hack and boost your creativity? The key is to access your flow states – which flow expert Steven Kotler teaches you how to do in this latest Kwik Brain episode.

Show Notes

How can you hack and boost your creativity? The key is to access your flow states.

Flow has been referred to as the optimal state of consciousness.

In this episode, we discuss this topic with Steven Kotler, bestselling author, flow expert, and director of the Flow Genome Project.

If you haven’t listened to our previous episode, Kwik Brain 046: How To Train Focus & Flow with Steven Kotler, do that first.

We’ll start by discussing what gets in the way of flow – because sometimes it’s not about adding things but getting out of your own way.

Subtraction equals multiplication. When you subtract things out of your life, it multiplies your life.

Factors That Hamper Flow.

1. An Inability to Train Focus.

Focus is plastic, so you need to train it.

If you can’t or are unwilling to train it, you won’t be able to access it.

2. Not Having the Right Balance Between Boredom and Anxiety.

Emotionally, flow exists near (not on) the channel between boredom and anxiety.

We focus best on tasks where the challenge is 4{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} greater than our skill set, so you’re a little outside your comfort zone.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that 4{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} is the average gradient difference between challenge and skill.

Neurobiologically, you need a little bit of cortisol and norepinephrine (anxiety) to help you concentrate.

Too much anxiety or fear blocks flow.

3. Not Knowing How to Manage Your Anxiety.

Low-grade anxiety makes it harder for you to get into flow.

We are constantly being bombarded by negative stimuli.

Our brain takes in 6 – 9 negatives for every 1 positive.

Of the 400 billion inputs of data we gather each second, most of that goes to our amygdala (the brain’s danger detector) first.

To decrease your anxiety,  restrict your news sources to something with the least amount of bias, and limit the amount you get.

Steven gets news only from The Economist and New Scientist.

Recognize what might scare you and ignore it so your emotions don’t hijack you out of flow.

Too much anxiety can decrease your creativity.

Creativity requires the brain to make very far-flung connections.

The more norepinephrine in your system, the more local the neuronal connections.

Chronic anxiety and OCD look the same in the brain under fMRI.

OCD occurs when your thoughts move in a circle; anxiety does the same thing.

The greater your anxiety, the smaller the database searched by your pattern recognition systems.

3 Reasons You Might Be Stuck When You’re Writing.

1. You haven’t done enough research.

If you don’t know enough, your brain can’t make the necessary connections.

2. You don’t know your limits.

Your brain can fill in the middle if it has the start and the ending because it is a storytelling machine.

Limits are useful for creativity.

The goal isn’t to think outside the box; it’s to be as excellent as you can be within the box.

3. You haven’t found your voice.

Whenever Steven is writing a book, he uses another outside writer whose book feels like his book.

When Steven was writing West of Jesus, he read a lot of Joan Didion.

Read this book in the morning to prime your brain to get to the emotional spot.

Ask yourself: how do I want to make my reader feel? What is the thematic address of this piece? What is the style that conveys it best?

The 4 Stages of Flow.

Stage 1 is a struggle phase.

This is when you load your brain with the information you need.

Stage 2 is the release phase.

You need to take your mind off the information.

For daily flow, low-grade physical exercise like a long hike is great and can help you beat a few days’ worth of writer’s block.

If you’ve been stuck for a long time or need a rapid intervention, you need to physically force an intervention.

Try skydiving.

Creativity isn’t a skill but a state of mind – so to maximize it, you need to shift your state.

There are no skills you can learn to help creativity unless you can learn to shift your consciousness a little.

Stage 3 is the flow state.

Stage 4 is the back-end recovery phase.

Flow is energy-expensive, taking food, rest, sunlight, and various vitamins and minerals.

To maximize flow, you need to incorporate a recovery phase.

At the end of every day, Steven sits in the infrared sauna in his house and does 20 minutes of breathwork.

Steven does box breathing for 12 minutes, a 3-minute Breath of Fire, and then a 5-minute vipassana meditation.

Vipassana meditation is better for creativity than focus meditation.

Steven’s focus training is tucked into his recovery.

Breath of Fire is a breathing technique where you exhale very quickly and are almost hyperventilating.

Box breathing is named as such because there are four sides to it.

Inhale for 5 seconds, then hold your breath for 5 seconds, then exhale for 5 seconds, then hold for 5 seconds.

Steven goes for 3 rounds of 5 seconds, then goes up by 1 second to 12.

The built-in game that you’re playing with yourself is “don’t panic.”

Box breathing is very effective when training focus because when you go above 7 seconds, you automatically trigger the fight-or-flight response.

It’s great to take this panic energy and use it to focus and go right into flow.

Action-adventure athletes get really good at taking their fear and adrenaline rush and going immediately into hyperfocus.

Do you have more questions about creativity and flow? Post your questions and big a-has on social media. Don’t forget to tag me @jimkwik and Steven @steven_kotler!

Do you want to go deeper into creativity? Our Kwik Thinking program is the ultimate program on focus, decision-making, problem-solving and creativity. Click here to access your exclusive rate as a thank you for being part of our Kwik Brain community.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes, and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 047: How Gratitude Rewires Your Brain

Gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve your brain and your life. In this episode, I discuss the benefits of gratitude and how you can harness the superpower of thankfulness in your daily life.

Show Notes

What are you grateful for in this moment?

Every Thanksgiving, people reflect on what they’re most thankful for. This tradition can actually rewire your brain, and giving thanks year-round has tremendous benefits for your brain and body.

Gratitude is an appreciation of what is meaningful to you.

You can train yourself to constantly be thankful for the little things in life.

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. – Zig Ziglar

Your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates critical bodily functions like your appetite. A National Institutes of Health study found that when you express kindness or feel gratitude, your hypothalamus floods your brain with dopamine. This gives you a natural high, motivating you to do good and express gratitude even more.

UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center found that regularly expressing gratitude changes the molecular structure of your brain, keeps your gray matter functioning, and makes you healthier and happier.

Why Gratitude Is Good For You

Gratitude improves your physical health and energy levels.

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and are healthier.

According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves.

They exercise more often and are more likely to keep regular doctors’ appointments, which contributes to longevity.

Writing in a gratitude journal can reduce blood pressure by 10{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb}.

Gratitude improves your mental health.

Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, including envy, frustration, resentment, and regret.

Doctor Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has found that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

Gratitude improves your sleep.

Gratitude increases the quality of your sleep, decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, and lengthens the duration of your sleep.

Gratitude improves your mental strength.

Gratitude not only reduces stress but also plays a major role in overcoming trauma.

A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with high levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of PTSD.

Gratitude makes us more resilient to trauma and stressful events.

Gratitude improves your self-esteem.

Gratitude reduces social comparisons.

Grateful people are able to appreciate themselves as well as other people’s accomplishments rather than becoming resentful towards others who have more than they do.

Easy Ways to Increase Gratitude in Your Life.

1. Keep a daily gratitude journal.

Every morning and evening, list 3 things that you are grateful for.

Try counting all the things you have in your life that money cannot buy.

For a physical representation of all your blessings, create a gratitude jar. When you write down your gratitude for the day, put it in the jar – and read what you’ve written on days you’re feeling sad.

2. Practice telling others you appreciate them.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Try practicing gratitude with your family at the dinner table or starting meetings with a gratitude practice.

I start all of my mastermind meetings with a gratitude practice.

Write someone a note of thanks that they are in your life.

3. Look in the mirror.

Have a trigger behavior, like brushing your teeth, that reminds you to think of something you like about yourself.

Be grateful for something you accomplished or something about your character.

4. Practice mindfulness.

In order to have gratitude, you must be present – because you can’t appreciate the present if you’re always thinking about the next thing.

Sometimes, you need to slow down to speed up.

Spend time in nature, away from your digital devices and stress-causing distractions.

The more grateful you are, the more present you become.

5. Reduce judgment.

Your inner critic keeps you from feeling gratitude.

There’s an old parable that tells of a farmer’s horse who ran away. The neighbor said, “What a shame,” and the farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day, the horse returned with wild horses. The neighbor said, “How wonderful,” and the farmer said, “Maybe.”

The next day, the horse stepped on the father’s son’s arm, and it broke. The neighbor said, “How horrible,” and the farmer said, “Maybe.”

The next day, the government came to the farmer’s village to draft people for the war and passed over the farmer’s son. The neighbor said, “How wonderful,” and the farmer said, “Maybe.”

Remember that you determine what things mean because gratitude is a state of mind.

There were once 2 twin boys who resembled each other only in looks and were otherwise opposite in every way. One was an optimist, and one was a pessimist.

On the boys’ birthday, their father loaded the pessimist’s room with toys and games and the optimist’s room with horse manure just to see what would happen.

That evening, the father found the pessimist crying bitterly. The pessimist said that his friends would be jealous, he’d have to read all of these instructions, and the toys would soon be broken.

But the optimist was dancing for joy in his pile of manure. When the father asked why, the optimist replied, “With all this manure, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Nothing is positive. Nothing is negative. It is your thinking that makes it so.

The more you practice gratitude, the more aware you are of it, and the more you can enjoy its benefits.

What do you have to be grateful for today?

Make your gratitude post on social media today and tag me @jimkwik and #KwikBrain so we can re-post some of our favorites.

It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.

Thank you for listening!

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 046: How To Train Focus & Flow with Steven Kotler

How do you train focus for high performance? In this episode, I talk about focus and flow with New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler.

Show Notes

How do you train focus for high performance?

Steven Kotler is an expert in flow and the New York Times bestselling author of 8 books, including his latest: Stealing Fire.

What Flow Is and Why It Matters

Flow is technically defined as an optimal state of consciousness, where we feel our best and perform our best.

Synonyms include ‘runner’s high,’ ‘being in the zone,’ and more.

During flow, you’re so absorbed in the task that everything else disappears. Your sense of self vanishes, and time slows down or speeds up.

Flow has several benefits.

According to McKinsey, productivity spikes 500% in flow.

The Department of Defense found that learning accelerates 470% in flow.

Various studies have found that creativity spikes between 400 – 700% in flow.

How to Focus for Flow

In order to maximize flow, you need to concentrate for 90 – 120-minute chunks of time.

Outside of action sports, the highest-flow environment for flow is Montessori education, which is built around 90 – 120 minute periods of uninterrupted concentration.

You want to be able to stay hyper-focused for 120-minute blocks AND you need to find 120-minute blocks in your life.

First, you must train your brain. Then, you must train your life to fit your high-performance needs.

Organizations need to be built around flow principles. If your work environment doesn’t allow you to disappear for 120 minutes, you won’t be able to achieve flow.

Our focus and concentration is terrible – but it’s very elastic and easy to switch.

There is no such thing as multitasking. We are constantly task-switching, which has a cognitive cost.

The average goldfish can pay attention for 9 seconds. We can pay attention for 8 seconds.

Most people online now get bored if the content lasts more than 2 minutes and 37 seconds.

If you watch a movie after watching lots of shorter videos, the first 15 – 20 minutes is uncomfortable because you’re not used to focusing. However, once you give in and relax, you have a great time. This has to do with neuroplasticity.

Focs is very easy to train.

Just 4 daily 20-minute sessions of mantra meditation can improve cognitive performance.

To experience the emotional benefits of meditation, you need to practice for 2 weeks.

Stephen Dixon, one of the world’s most prolific writers, edits one page a day and writes one page a day. If you can do that for 365 days, you’ll have a book. Dixon trained himself to write that page in 20 minutes.

If you can’t focus for 90 minutes, try focusing for 7 minutes at a time.

Pick something you really love and want to do.

Passion matters as a motivation hack – it helps us train focus because we pay more attention to the things we believe in.

If you want really big creative periods, you need to focus for 4 hours.

One of the reasons Steven awakens at 4AM is because the world doesn’t wake up until 6:30AM, so nobody is trying to contact him.

You have to give yourself permission to take the time back from your life.

Maintaining Focus During Your Transitions

Successful people are good at focusing on one thing, but get distracted at the transitions.

When they transition, they check their email or make phone calls. This can cause an emotional reaction, which takes energy from your focus.

Figure out how many things you can do successfully during your average day.

Steven can do 8 things. He writes for 4 hours, and then fits the others into the rest of his workday.

How can you transition between tasks without coming out of that flow state?

It took Microsoft coders 15 minutes to return to a flow state when they were bounced out of it – if they were able to return to it at all.

Train yourself to transition directly without a break.

Use heavy short breathwork to reset your system.

Instead of trying to downregulate your nervous system by checking your email, do a minute of “breath of fire” or Wim Hof breathing followed by 3 minutes of box breathing.

Wim Hof breathing involves really fast inhales that clean out the system quickly so you can’t think of anything else.

For box breathing, do 10-second to 12-second sides around the box.

Steven uses this technique to refresh his system, especially if he’s had a bad writing session, so that he can keep focus.

Did you enjoy this episode? Share it with your friends! Don’t forget to tag me @jimkwik and Steven @steven_kotler.

Want to learn more about focus? Check out our 30-day focus program, the Kwik Focus Blueprint!

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!