Have you ever walked into a room just to forget why you’re there? Forget one of the things you went to the store to buy? What about forgetting the names of people you met some hours ago? If this has happened to you, you are not alone. Research suggests that technology is affecting our cognition, which includes memory.
A 2019 study concluded that “the ubiquitous and rapid access to online factual information outcompeting previous transactive systems, and potentially even internal memory processes”. This conclusion was obviously referring to the internet, which has completely changed how we live.
The importance of memory has been recognized for thousands of years, with many ancient civilizations personalizing it in deities like Mnemosyne (Greek), Mímir (Norse), and Rosmerta (Celtic). Sure, we no longer personify memory in such a way today… However, we still hold memory as one of the most important cognitive processes. Brain food, mnemotechnics, mind palaces, sleep hygiene, brain training, and visualization are just some of the methods many of us use to try to improve it.
While we have seen a push to change education’s focus from memory to critical thinking, memory remains just as relevant as ever. There is just something natural to it, which is why we find people with an eidetic memory to be fascinating and talented, usually associating them with the traditional definition of intelligence.
It is not a surprise that improving memory has become an increasingly popular obsession, especially in the world of entrepreneurship, tech, entertainment, and politics. Nike, GE, Zappos, SpaceX, and Virgin are some of the companies that have resorted to memory coaching as a means to improve their employees’ cognitive skills.
Jim Kwik, a New York Times bestselling author and brain coach, has been helping people around the world improve their cognition for almost 30 years now. Do you still remember those 5 companies we mentioned in the past paragraph? Well, Jim is the coach who has helped these companies teach their employees and executives how to get the most out of their work and life. Jim’s contributions have been recognized by names like Quincy Jones, Jim Gianopulos, Elon Musk, Sir Ken Robinson, Novak Djokovic, Maria Shriver, and Stan Lee.
Once identified by one of his teachers as “the boy with the broken brain” due to the learning challenges he faced as a result of a head injury, Jim is no stranger to adversity. With time, these experiences would help Jim reach a conclusion that would define the rest of his life: “It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you are smart.”
Eventually, mentors and determination would allow Jim to grow and become one of the best-known experts when it comes to memory improvement, accelerated learning, and speed-reading. Having always been a comic fan, he knew that by finding his superpower he now had a big responsibility: Helping others find theirs. Anousheh Ansari, XPRIZE Foundation CEO and former astronaut, says about Jim’s work:
“As a young girl, I dreamed of traveling to space. Dreaming big is something I’m passionate about teaching others, especially today’s youth. Jim shares that same vision that nothing can hold you back once you realize your limitless potential. Limitless will not only make you smarter but help you dream bigger.”
This work has taken Jim to the stage at some of the most important events in the world, including TED, SXSW, Worldz, and Bulletproof Conference. This year, Jim traveled to Austin to join Laurie Segall in this edition of Grit Daily House.
Laurie, Co-founder of Dot Dot Dot Media and former CNN Senior Technology Correspondent, has interviewed some of the most important names in the tech world, including titans like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook. One of Forbes “30 Under 30”, Laurie not only got Jim to share his “lobster moments” but also asked what Jim would call “great questions”, making for one of the most dynamic and insightful panels SXSW would see this year.
Top brain foods, personal anecdotes with celebrities like Stan Lee, brain exercises, and the importance of reading books, were only some of the topics that Jim talked about with Laurie. Attendees and those watching at home got to learn important insights from who many recognize as one of the best brain and executive coaches in the world.
If you missed the chance to join us at SXSW in person or virtually, worry not: You can watch it on Grit Daily News’ official YouTube Channel. Join Jim and Laurie to find out how to make your struggles your superpowers.