Something that you’ll always hear me stress is the importance of learning. It’s important to constantly seek out opportunities to engage the brain, and for a number of reasons (sprinkled throughout this article).
For me, learning is critical to my well-being: I do it to learn about health – for my health – so I can enjoy a long, active life.
But it’s also critical to my purpose: I am committed to changing lives with the top wealth and health research. So any chance that I get to learn the latest science, I jump on – like Jim Kwik’s Superhero Brain conference last weekend.
The conference wowed with a incredible lineup of highly-accomplished speakers from various industries and backgrounds. I was so impressed by the people that I met, and I’m looking forward to doing more research for future WealthyWellthy events.
But out of all the super talks, these were the lessons that empowered me the most:
How to ask good questions to build deeper connections
Cal Fussman is an accomplished journalist and author who has written for major publications like Esquire, GQ, and ESPN. In his career, he has had interviewed icons such as Muhammad Ali, Robert DeNiro, and Mikhail Gorbachev, which he ascribes to a talent for asking really, really good questions.
Here are his top five question-crafting techniques:
- Change your questions. Don’t make them about i, i, i. Engage the other person with questions that make them want to open up to you.
- Arrange your questions in order of: head, heart, soul. First, ask the simple questions (“What do you do?”). Second, ask questions that tap into what they care about (“Tell me about your family?”). Last, try to ask questions that tap into their soul.
- Question everything! Great questions impact every aspect of life. Ask questions of the people you care about, and empathize with their responses.
- Ask “why?” The way to peel back the proverbial layers to someone’s soul is to ask, “Why?” and keep questioning.
- Pique the other person’s curiosity. The best questions make the other person want to learn as much as you do. When you ask soul questions that are unexpected questions, the person really has to dig deeply to discover what their own answer to that question is.
How to introduce yourself in six words
At conferences, events, and everyday situations, entrepreneurs struggle to put into simple terms who they are and what they do. Clay Hebert, founder and CEO of CrowdfundingHacks, encounters this routinely. He says that the best introductions are short and sweet – and can be narrowed down into six words.
Here are his top three myths about introductions:
- It’s about me. It’s about who you help and why.
- It should be 100% complete. It may be incomplete; it just needs to be interesting.
- It should be accurate. Accurate is boring. Present how you help in a way that’s interesting.
The Formula: i, help, who, achieve a result.
Rules: No buzzwords. Use as few words as possible. Change the word ‘help’ to other verbs (connect, teach, show).
Example: “I help entrepreneurs fund their dreams.”
How to prime your brain for a lifetime of power
Alzheimer’s is quadrupling. Depression has increased 400% in the past 20 years. Mainstream lifestyle habits are killing our brains, and the Amens are declaring war. Together, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen, accomplished neuroscientist and health expert, are challenging us to do the same.
The Brain Warrior’s Way:
- Mindset: Pay attention to how you feel about your health and body.
- Actions: Evaluate your actions and behaviors. Cut out the behaviors that are breaking down your body and health.
- Food: Consider the impact that the foods you eat have on your body.
- Training: Engage your brain in active exercise.
- Essence: Find your purpose.
- Responsibility: Accept responsibility for your health. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim.
- Sheep or Sheep Dog?: Sheep never think about why – they just follow the herd, even to their own demise. A sheep dog is trained, methodical, responsible, intentional and takes care of the sheep, even when the sheep don’t like it. Make a choice: which one are you?
How to study like a scholar
The world’s most successful people never stop learning, and they do this by mastering great study skills. Dr. David Larson, expert psychiatrist, affirms that if we’re going to stay vibrant and keep growing, we need to learn how to study well.
Here are his three most effective techniques for developing good study skills:
- Elaborative coding. Attach new information to old information. Example: the name Herman Ebbinghaus. Picture Pee-wee Herman. Then think Eb + Flow + House. Then imagine: Pee-wee herman sitting on a house that’s ebbing and flowing. The new information, coupled with the old, will wire together.
- Active recall. Make the brain draw out a memory on demand. Actively quiz and test yourself on content. As you practice, the connections you make will wire over and over until the information gets embedded (truly coded).
- Spaced repetition. Don’t cram! Space out your studies. Then check, test, and repeat. Example: Revisit a new vocabulary word a few times per day. Then a few times per week. Then a few times per month. Eventually it will become embedded.
How to create white space
Juliet Funt is on a mission to defeat what she calls the “False God of Busyness.” As the CEO of WhiteSpace at Work, Juliet helps high performers embrace and create WhiteSpace, the free time between our must-dos.
Here are the top thieves of productivity and their consequences:
- Drive leads to Overdrive.
- Excellence leads to Perfectionism.
- Information leads to Information Overload.
- Activity leads to Overactivity.
Methods for creating whitespace:
- Get into the practice of asking, “Is there anything I can let go of?”
- Where is “good enough” good enough?
- What do I truly need to know?
- What deserves my attention?
How to win
Of all the speakers, Montel Williams moved me the most. I have to admit, prior to this event, I had written him off as a Jerry Springer-type, due to his television background. But Montel is a highly accomplished, well-intentioned man, who is hugely successful at everything he’s ever done — despite his several brushes with death.
Montel was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1999, and out of destitution, tried to kill himself several times because of it. But each time he lived – and he believes for a reason. Since his diagnosis, Montel has worked actively to seek a cure for MS, and he thinks he’s landed it. It is now his mission to share it.
What really struck me about him was that, despite his hardships, and his lifetime of wins, he didn’t present an ego. To be honest, several of the speakers at the conference seemed to hold back and maintain a holier than thou attitude, but Montel put himself right with the audience. He talked to people. He was present at his book signing table. He was open to photos and answering questions. And he was happy about it.
He was so excited about knowledge, and so passionate about his mission, that there and there was so much love about him. He was there 100% and equal with everyone else, even though he was a celebrity among the crowd.
Although his talk concerned forward thinking, Montel inadvertently demonstrated the way to win: be gracious, connect, and exhibit love.