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.

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% concentration. Your goal could be to read 800 words per minute at 80% comprehension.

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

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

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.

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.

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% greater than our skill set, so you’re a little outside your comfort zone.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that 4% 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!