How To Become Limitless Right Now, with Jim Kwik

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In the final episode of a series with Jim Kwik, he and the Amens discuss some of the biggest tips from Jim’s new book “Limitless”. Jim discusses a surprising reason your memory is bad, why knowledge isn’t really power, and how the 3 S’s will give you what you need to accomplish any goal.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Welcome back. We are still here with Jim Kwik, and we're just learning so much. I thought that was so fascinating your tips in the last episode, Jim. I'm really excited actually to read your book, Limitless. I know it's your new book out, and it's a New York Times bestseller. These tips are just so helpful. So continue with us on motivation and just [crosstalk 00:01:09] well.
Jim Kwik: Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I want everybody listening to go back to the question I asked in the first podcast. If you could implement these strategies, how would your life be different? Now, in the middle of a pandemic, the opportunity really is to rethink your life and what you do and what you want to do. It's a historic opportunity for many people, if they get their mindset, right? If they have the right motivation and they have the method, just like Jim's talking about. So before you get to motivation, maybe two more tips on how to use this method to learn faster.
Jim Kwik: Absolutely. For when it comes to memory, I always talk about three areas of memory. I tell people, I always remember mom, M-O-M. The first M, let's say somebody has a trouble remembering names. Something common, right? Most people would say they have trouble remembering names. But if I said, if I had a suitcase here of a million dollars cash, if you just remember the name of the next stranger that you met, who's going to remember that person's name? Tax-free. Everybody.
Tana Amen: And I have trouble with names.
Jim Kwik: Yeah, exactly. All of a sudden everybody who's listening is a memory expert. So it's not absolutely true that you have a horrible memory or it's you're bad at remembering names. The M stands for motivation. That's what we're going to talk about here. A hint that what we can do is that the human brain really needs that incentive. It needs reasons, because reasons reap results. A simple thing you can do to improve your memory is ask yourself, why do I want to remember this person's name? For instance, maybe it's to show the person respect. Maybe to make a new friend. Maybe it's to do some business. Maybe it's to practice these things that I learned on Brain Warrior, on the podcast. If you can't come up with one reason, though, you probably won't remember.
The O in MOM stands for observation. Observation. And my quick tip for a lot of people is they come to me all the time. They say, "Jim, I have a horrible memory." At first, I say, "Stop." I say, "If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them. If you'd fight for your limits, they're yours."
Tana Amen: I like that.
Jim Kwik: So people come to me, "I'm too old. I have horrible memory." And your brain is like a supercomputer, and your self-talk is the program it will run. So if you tell yourself you're not good at remembering names, you won't remember the name of the next person you meet. You just programmed your supercomputer not to. The O stands for observation, meaning a lot of people come to us and they say, "Oh, I have retention problems." I'm, "No. Your memory challenge is not your retention. It's your attention. It's not your retention. It's your attention." And the O stands for observation. One of the best things, very simple, like all of the things are, is just to listen. A lot of people, they're not really listening. They're thinking about how they're going to respond. If they're having a conversation, they're thinking. They're waiting for their turn to speak, but they're not truly listening. I really do believe that people have great memory in this powerful presence. Their great memory and their powerful presence comes from being powerfully present with people.
Tana Amen: That's so interesting, because when you say that, I always wondered why can I retain all of the information? If it's medically related, nursing, science, bam, I'm on it. I can remember stuff from 30 years ago. But if it has to do with names, I'm, why did I just forget that name? It doesn't make sense to me. That's so interesting.
Jim Kwik: There's simple techniques, but here's the thing that keeps us from mastery, is saying I know that already. Oh, that's common sense. Because a lot of people who hear this stuff, but they want to apply it, I feel like we don't know it unless we actually could do it. One of the lies I talk about in mindset ... Lies, again, is a limited idea entertained. Is that knowledge alone is power. Knowledge is not power alone. At best it's potential power. All the podcasts, courses, books out there, they won't work unless we work it. And so the O stands for observation.
Finally, the last M stands for methods. Those are two big parts of the Limitless model. It's mindset, motivation, and methods. So how do you tap your motivation? Now, this is for people who feel like they're not doing what they need to be doing. They're procrastinating. They're putting things off. I want you to think about an area where you're in that box where you're not making progress, and you're putting things off. Things that you know you should do. Now, I believe the treasure most people are seeking is hidden in the work they're avoiding. The treasure you're seeking is hidden in the work that you're avoiding, that you're putting off. What is the formula for human motivation? Well, I did this thought experiment. I was, okay, after three decades of teaching this and researching this and just field testing it with children with learning challenges to seniors that are losing, they feel like they're losing their memory and everyone in between, I said, let me do this thought experiment. If we're going to build the ultimate motivated human being, their motivation never falters. The evidence that someone's motivated is they're continually acting. It's not what they say or feel, but they're acting. Your kids aren't motivated unless they're doing that thing. Your team's not motivated unless they're doing that thing. You're not motivated unless you're doing that thing.
Here's the formula for sustainable motivation, limitless motivation. P times E times S three. P times E times S three. Now again, we're building the ultimate motivated human being. The first thing you need is that P, which is purpose. You did it really great. In the beginning you were, think about if you could learn any subject or skill in today's economy where your jobs are being disrupted, how would you benefit from that? That's exactly what purpose is. I'm not saying your life purpose. Although, I do talk about that in the book. I say, having a reason, just like to remember someone's name, you need a purpose to remember their name. Otherwise, if you can't come up with a reason, maybe you don't have to do these activities. So it's a nice test.
I know in a previous episode, we talked about the five Cs to do while you're cocooning, and one of them is clarity and getting clarity on your values. But maybe your actions aren't aligned with your values. Maybe you shouldn't be doing it if there's no purpose. A lot of students, they don't learn very well. They don't remember things, because they can't remember. They don't know the purpose of learning the quadratic equation or something like that. They don't have the reason, so they won't get the reward. So going back, and you might hear some ... I'm in New York City right now of all places. This trains your focus muscles by focusing right now in this conversation. So going back to motivation, purpose. Here's the thing. You can't just intellectually know the reasons to workout, because we're not intellectual. We're not logical. We're Biological. When you think about dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, we are this chemical feeling soup. So it's not just we know intellectually why we should workout and why we should meditate, why we should prioritize sleep?
You have to allow yourself to feel it, because the success formula is three Hs, head, heart, hands. You can have a goal in your head, but if you're not acting with your hands, check in with the second H, which is your heart. So feel the rewards that come from doing this behavior, and I would challenge everyone to feel the consequences of not doing the behavior. So feel the consequences. Some people are motivated more about who they are going to disappoint and everything else, so feel that. The second element to assist limitless motivation. My question is, if we're going to build the ultimate motivated human being, if they just have purpose, will they always follow through? I was, no.
I could think of another thing that's missing. The E. The E is energy. The two of you are experts at brain energy. But some people, they know they should exercise, but maybe if they have a newborn, they haven't slept in three nights, they're not going to be very motivated because they lack the energy. You know leaders are readers. To get through a book a week, the average reader, it takes about 45 minutes a day. The average book has about 64,000 words. The average person reads about 200 words a minute. That's 320 minutes to get through one book. Seven days in a week, 45 minutes a day. They're, okay, I know intellectually I have purpose for reading. I want to be more successful. I'm going to have more income. I'll be able to have impact greater impact. They might have ate a big processed food, meal, and they're in a food coma. They lack energy. They're not going to be very motivated to read or study or do the things they need to do.
And then my mind went, okay, somebody just has purpose and they have abundance of energy. Will they always be motivated? I was, no. What's missing? The last thing, S three. Three Ss. Small, simple steps. Small, simple steps, because it's what keeps people who have purpose, and even if they have an energy, maybe they're not taking action because this thing is too big.
Tana Amen: Too big.
Jim Kwik: This is so intimidating. I want to get a million followers. I want to build this big business. I want to have the perfect body. I want to meet my soulmate and live happily ... Whatever that is, a confused mind doesn't do anything. How you get your small, simple step is asking your question. What is the tiniest action I can take to make progress towards this goal? So tiny, I can't fail. What is the tiniest action I could take that will give me progress towards this goal where I can't fail? So what would that be if it's working out?Working out for an hour a day is so intimidating. That's too big for people who've never worked out. Small, simple step. Putting on your running shoes. Reading 45 minutes a day for somebody who hasn't read a book in the whole year can be very challenging. So a small, simple step, opening up the book or reading one line in a book. I believe small, simple steps is the key, because inch by inch is a cinch. Yard by yard, it's way too hard. That's the thing. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. And then you start having these wins and you tap into the science of momentum. That really keeps people going and will keep people motivated in challenging times.
Tana Amen: So great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, that's how you have a limitless life. The self limiting beliefs are so rampant. We call them the ants that people are just [incested 00:00:11:03]. So much wisdom, Jim. Thank you so much.
Tana Amen: Yeah, just completely resonates.
Dr. Daniel Amen: How can people learn more about the book? I know, but you, your work. How can they engage?
Jim Kwik: Well, engage, I would recommend a small, simple step right now, since that was a theme of today. One of the fastest ways of learning something is to learn with the intention of teaching somebody else and paying it forward. So I would challenge everyone to take a screenshot of this episode right now, tag the three of us in it on social media so we see it, and share one idea that you got from these episodes with your friends, with your family. So screenshot this, or take a picture of your notes, post it, tag the three of us on social media, so we see it, and share your big aha. One thing you're going to do from these conversations that's a small, simple step. And when you post it, I'll actually repost some of my favorites as well. I'll actually send a copy of Limitless to one random person just for playing along with it.
You can get the book out You get a 10-day program as my gift, Speed Reading Memory Program. Because I want this not to be the most bought book, that'd be wonderful, but I want it to be the most read book. It's free gifts. We do a four-week book club. The book actually is The Hero's Journey. We walk people the four stages of Joseph Campbell's work, Hero's Journey, and do-
Tana Amen: Love that.
Jim Kwik: ... one week book club on each section of the book. I show you how to read it, how to remember what you read, how to apply it. It's all on Thank you both, and I can't wait to have you both on my podcast. If you love to listen to podcasts, you just search my name, Jim Kwik in your podcast app. We have a show about memory and focus and all these good things.
Tana Amen: That's awesome.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Tana Amen: It was so fun.
Jim Kwik: [inaudible 00:12:51].
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