Do you believe geniuses are made or born? Do we all have a fixed “smartness score” that we’re cursed (or blessed with) for life?
Or can we train our brains to be brilliant… even limitless?
Scientists used to believe that the brain you were born with was the brain you were stuck with. But most have long ago traded that idea for a new key concept: Neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It turns out that even after severe injury, the brain has a remarkable ability to adapt and learn. But, like any other muscle, the brain requires exercise.
Brain Coach Jim Kwik, who was once labeled the “boy with the broken brain” after a severe accident, taught himself how to maximize his learning and re-train his brain. Now, he coaches Hollywood superstars, Fortune 500 organizations, and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, and Richard Branson the cutting edge techniques to optimize brain performance, accelerate learning, and improve memory.
He’s even taught thousands of people in more than 150 countries… All because he’s dedicated his life to helping people tap into their brains’ superpowers for more learning, productivity, and purpose in their life.
Below are some of his secrets on how to turn on your superhero brain.
1. Understand the programming for the mind-machine.
“We need to understand how our minds work so we can work our minds better.”
If you want to use a machine properly, you’d read the instruction manual first. Just like a machine, your brain is programmed a certain way — and if you don’t know how it works, you can’t make it work for you.
Luckily, there are techniques and habits backed by science that can help you optimize your mind-machine for the best performance imaginable.
2. Your brain is a muscle.
“It’s not about mental intelligence, it’s about mental fitness.”
One of the most persistent myths about success is the idea that some people are born with the capabilities to attain it and others aren’t.
The truth about your brain is that it’s a muscle. And like any other muscle, you can increase your brain’s power through hydration, nutrition, and exercise. If you want a fitter brain, then you have to become a life-long learner, willing to exercise and flex that incredible muscle regularly.
3. Remember to use your superpower.
“If knowledge is power, learning is your superpower.”
The insight that knowledge is power, formed by Francis Bacon is the 1500s, remains popular today for a good reason. We know that knowledge improves self-esteem, empowers people to make the best decisions, see more opportunities, and helps us create a successful and fulfilling life.
But if knowledge is power, then our ability to learn and grow is the ultimate superpower — and we should be using it on a daily basis.
4. We all have a genius.
“It’s not how smart you are, but how are you smart.”
Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that its stupid.” Sadly, many of us grow up learning a very narrow definition of intelligence. We believe that if we don’t do well academically or get something instantly, we’re somehow defective.
If this is you — if you think you’re a bad learner or that you’re not intelligent enough to understand — then I challenge you to adopt a new mentality: Everyone is a genius in some way. You just haven’t found how to cultivate your genius yet.
And the best way to do this? Become a life-long learner, willing to learn and fail and try and experiment again and again.
5. Fix your beliefs.
“All behavior is belief driven.”
You think an estimated 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s 70,000 opportunities to program positive beliefs about yourself. Or 70,000 opportunities to reinforce your same old self-doubts and limiting beliefs.
And just like we said earlier, the mind responds to its programming just like a machine. But the difference between you and a machine is that you have the consciousness to choose what source code you want to input.
So when you fall into the trap of repeating the same lines about yourself (“I’m bad at remembering names”), ask yourself: Do I want to be stuck in the same cycle? Or do I want to adopt a new way of thinking that is
more aligned with who I want to be?
6. Feast like a superhero.
“Feedback is the breakfast of superheroes.”
Feedback is the only way we learn what works for us in the real world. Both internal and external feedback are necessary if you want to tap into your powers and purpose. You can enjoy figuring out what activities you enjoy or support the life you want by experimenting and observing. But sometimes what you need for that extra boost of learning is to find out what doesn’t work through someone else or some outside event.
Yet many take feedback personally. We think that if we flunk a test or don’t get a job, it means that we’re a failure. But negative feedback doesn’t have to hurt so deeply or be seen as a setback. It can be your
opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed.
7. Most likely, you can do better.
“If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.”
If you believe you can’t do something, then you won’t be able to. Let’s say that you believe you’re inherently forgetful, unfocused, and that your memory will never improve. Even if that’s objectively the case (though we know the mind has the remarkable ability to regenerate and grow), why would you want to believe that?
That identity doesn’t allow you to become the best version of yourself. If you want to grow, then you’ll have to shed that self-belief and replace it with more empowering beliefs.
8. How not to learn…
“Learning is not a spectator sport.”
You probably don’t remember a lot of what you learned in your 1st grade classroom and college lecture hall because learning doesn’t happen best in that environment. Learning is not a passive process. You can’t just sit still in your seat, waiting to receive the information from the teacher, if you truly want to have a deep understanding of the subject.
Research shows that students remember and apply concepts better when they discover, explore, and collaborate.
9. Create, don’t consume.
“The brain doesn’t learn through consumption, it learns through creation.”
Another active learning method is creating. If you want to master any field, then you absolutely need to move from consumption to creation.
One of the best ways to do this is through teaching and helping someone else understand a subject. You can also use mind maps to come up with new connections or questions.
10. Get up and move.
“As your body moves, your brain grooves.”
Your brain loves activity. And the best way to get active? Movement. In fact, exercise is so good for the brain that it can act as a “first aid kid” after brain damage. Regular exercise improves memory, thinking skills, and focus.
Why does your brain like exercise? For a couple of reasons. Firstly, the brain needs a lot of oxygen to function properly, and exercising makes your heart race, which in turn helps pump oxygen to the brain. Secondly, exercise releases uplifting endorphins and provides an outlet for stress hormones.
And if you don’t have much time, don’t worry: There’s a quick “genius exercise” you can do before you need to focus, ideate, create, or get to work.
11. Practice, practice, practice.
“What you practice in private, you’re rewarded for in public.”
Last but not least, if you want to have a successful and fulfilling life, if you want to think like a genius, then you need to practice being a genius.
That means learning and practicing the common habits of masters every day when you’re alone, so that when you go out into the world, you’re able to operate and be received as the genius you are.