Build Your Mental Muscle

Think again about how we learn as a group.

Do you think learning is a solitary process?

A lot of people do, because that’s the way we are taught to learn in school. We’re told to be silent at our desks as information is fed to us from a teacher or a book.

Here’s the truth: having a community is essential to good learning.

In the same way that you go to the gym to be faster and stronger, you can “work out” your brain to be faster, stronger and more focused. And, you can get your best results by being an active participant in your learning community.

That’s one reason why so many people remember what they learn at seminars or events — like the recent annual SuperheroYou Brain Conference. Three hundred people gathered in Los Angeles, and thousands of people joined us online for a two-day event dedicated to unleashing their inner mental superpowers. Here are a few tips I gave at our conference about how the power of community can accelerate your learning.

01 – Create a mastermind

You can’t learn at your best unless your brain is at its best. Surround yourself with a positive peer group, or a “mastermind.” They say that you are the average of the five people with whom you share the most time. So, look at those people. Are they challenging you? Educating you? Uplifting you? Do they encourage new learning and healthy habits? Do you feel better when you’re around them? If not, you might want to rethink your relationships. Remember: choose your peer group wisely.

02 – Get emotional

The psychological state you’re in when you learn something can dictate how you encode it — and thus how well you recall it. So if you learn in a bored, dull state, that lack of motivation transfers to your encoding process, meaning you’re far less likely to remember it. Combat this by tying the information to emotion, since information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. Become emotionally invested in the material and make it your own by connecting the information to something or someone you love. For example, say you learn that the population of Los Angeles is 3.8 million. You’re far more likely to remember that information if you relate it to how your favorite cousin has always wanted to live in Los Angeles.

03 – Teach

If I told you that you had to teach these tips to someone else, would you learn them differently? Would you focus more? Take better notes? Sit up straighter? There’s a reason teaching a subject is one of the fastest ways to learn. First, it cements the information in your brain. Second, it increases your motivation to learn it in the first place, so you don’t make someone else suffer because you forgot. Learning is not a spectator sport. If you want to learn something faster, learn it with the intention of teaching it to someone else.

04 – Find a learning buddy

As I mentioned earlier, a mastermind is a great way to set a healthy foundation for the ability to learn. But it’s even better when you have a buddy who’s learning the same thing you are. This ensures that you both remain emotionally invested and active as you bounce ideas and questions off each other. It’s like working out with a friend who pushes and encourages you! Just be sure to stay productive instead of getting distracted.

Want more tips on how to be a mental superhero? Watch more of my talks and get other brain tips from world-leading experts at Superhero Brain.

By Jim Kwik with Sasha Graffagna