"Information alone cannot create transformation. It's information and application that create transformation."
If you’ve listened to the podcast for a while, you’ve probably heard me say that it’s not what you learn that really matters – it’s what you live that ultimately impacts your life.
Why? It’s simple: if you don’t apply what you’ve learned, it doesn’t do you much good.
However, the irony is that how you live begins with what you learn. We can only live a better life to the degree that we learn what exactly that looks like, and what it takes to live it.
Few people know this better than Jonathan Levi, author of the new book, The Only Skill That Matters, which explores the reasons and methods surrounding learning and memory – and will teach you how to learn anything three times faster.
Jonathan is a serial entrepreneur, author, and podcaster. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he’s the face of SuperHuman Academy and the author of Become a SuperLearner.
Jonathan and I have known each other for over 20 years, and we recently reconnected when he had me on his SuperHuman Academy Podcast. Today, he joins the podcast to discuss the learning struggles he faced in his youth and the life-changing breakthrough he experienced, why improving your ability to learn is about much more than being able to impress people at parties, and actionable steps and processes you can take to live your learning.
- Why learning is the first step to everything we do in life – and how information and application lead to transformation.
- The reason anyone can learn and make use of Jonathan’s learning skills – and why “super learning” is not science fiction.
- How self-talk and changing your mindset can improve performance, memory, and aptitude.
- Why failing to learn something is rarely on you – and how to fill in your knowledge gaps by learning from many different angles.
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Hal Elrod: And we are live, goal achievers. Hey, it’s Hal Elrod and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. I think you’ve heard me say this before. There’s something that I often say. I think I wrote it in a book or two of mine but in life, it’s not what you learn that matters. It’s what you live that matters, right, the idea that you could learn all you want. If you don’t apply it, well, then you’re not living it, it doesn’t do you really that much good. However, I’m going to offer a very important distinction to that quote that it’s not what you learn, but what you live that matters. What you live begins with what you learn. Think about that, right? So, what I am saying is that in order to live better, you’ve got to learn better. We can only elevate our own consciousness to the degree that we have knowledge of what level of consciousness is available to us. And so, we can only live a better life to the degree that we learn what a better life looks like and what it takes to live it.
And that is why I am very excited for my guest today, Jonathan Levi, and Jonathan, we’ve known each other for 10, 15, 20 years, long, long time, from way back in the day and we reconnected here in the last year when he had me on his podcast. And if you’re not familiar with Jonathan Levi, when it comes to learning you’ll understand here in a minute why he is an expert in this area, but he is a serial entrepreneur, a published author and a podcaster that was born and raised in Silicon Valley. Jonathan is the face of such products and brands as the award-winning SuperHuman Academy Podcast, the best-selling Become A Super Learner series. Man, I’m stuttering today. Maybe Jonathan can help me with that. But most recently, his new venture SuperHuman Academy, Jonathan’s media products have been enjoyed by over 250,000 people. That’s right, a quarter of a million people in 205 countries and territories and just last month, Lioncrest Publishing published Jonathan’s much anticipated third book, The Only Skill That Matters and in his all-new, engaging and easy to read book, Jonathan explores the reasons and the methods behind accelerating, learning, and improving memory.
And in case you don’t know, I’ve got some serious brain damage from my car accident so I’m excited to dive into the memory piece today. But Jonathan explains why learning is literally the number one most important skill an individual can possess today, and how to learn anything three times faster. So today, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to my good friend and the brilliant Jonathan Levi.
Hal Elrod: Hey, brother, how you doing?
Jonathan Levi: Fantastic, man. Always a pleasure to chat with you. Thanks for having me.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I’m stuttering today. I don’t know if your super-learning skills can help me with that, but…
Jonathan Levi: You’re totally fine.
Hal Elrod: Good. So, let me just start with what we opened up, with what I opened up with talking about you and the title of your book, really, which is The Only Skill That Matters. Why is learning the only skill that matters? And I know it’s made an impact in your life. You know, how has it done that?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Well, I know that there are a lot of skills that matter, personal skills, very important. Academic Skills, very important. Social skills, life skills, financial skills, there are a million different things you need to be able to do as a modern human just to exist in this world that we’ve created, much less to thrive. The fact of the matter is, though, is learning is kind of the gateway to all of those things. So, whether what you need to do to succeed is get that next degree or pick up the habit of meditation or learn how to take better care of your body, your physical body, learning is really the barrier and if you’re not able to learn, it’s kind of like Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can’t read and write, but those who can’t learn, unlearn, and relearn.” And my life experience has taught me that growing up I struggled a lot academically, which led me to struggle a lot socially. I wasn’t able to learn the social skills that other kids were learning, I wasn’t able to learn the athletic skills, I wasn’t able to learn the academic skills, and I ended up being this suicidal 13-year-old kid who had really nothing to be proud of. And when I say nothing, I mean, I wasn’t good at anything except goofing off in class.
And over the period of many, many years, I learned my way out of it and I learned how to be the kind of person that I wanted to be. I’ve been so influenced by you and your work as well, Hal, that actually changed the way that I answered this question because you really impressed upon me this idea of be, do, have. So, in the past, they used to say, “Look, the difference between where you are now and where you want to go is knowledge,” but that’s not actually true because, first, you have to be the right person, that’s the knowledge. And then you have to do the right things, that’s application of knowledge as you were saying when we opened. And then you will have the results that other people have. And so, it really is this process of not just taking in the information but learning how to use that information and leverage that information. Information alone cannot create transformation. It’s information and application create transformation.
Hal Elrod: Absolutely. I think that for anybody listening, well, for me, I’ll just start with one person. I’m curious. This topic of learning is something that most of us don’t really learn how to learn. I remember I think it was, gosh, close to 20 years ago. My good friend, Jon Berghoff, shared with me after he went through it, his Brian Tracy Accelerated Learning Techniques audio. It was literally audiobooks or I mean like audio cassettes. I don’t know where I got a tape player to listen to those. But I want to know, personally, why are you so passionate about spreading this particular message.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Well, first, I’ve seen what it’s been able to do in my life and I’ve seen what it’s been able to do in my students’ lives. We get people who come to us from every walk of life that you can imagine whether they’re struggling in high school to they’re not able to pass the bar exam, med school, their kids have learning disabilities, they want to pick up a new language, I mean, every possible challenge you can see and just unlocking this capability is such a massive leg up for them. And I want to touch on what you said because you’re so right. You know, in the process of writing this most recent book, I was trying to think of fun and interesting ways to point out some of the thoughts and ideas that I’ve shared for years and years and years. One thing I realized is we have from pretty much first grade until the end of high school, right? So, from let’s say, six or seven years old to 18 years old, that’s 11 or 12 years of physical education on how to use your body.
Now, we can talk all day about the fact that physical education isn’t actually oftentimes teaching you how to take care of your joints and muscles and stuff like that but whatever. You had at a class almost every single day in school on how to use your body. You had a couple of very awkward years, probably in middle school where you were taught how to use those other parts of your body but there was no point in school where we were taught how to use our brains. And that’s ridiculous because the human brain is actually the most complex object in the known universe. Most people don’t realize that. And so, and it’s not complex to use it. It’s actually very simple to use it, but it’s an incredibly powerful instrument. And if you’re not using it correctly and I would argue most of us are not in terms of how our memory is evolved to be used in terms of how we’re evolved to process and retain and review information, nobody ever says simple things, “Hey, if you don’t come back and review this periodically, it doesn’t matter how well you learn it. You’ll forget it.” Nobody ever sits down and tells you, “Hey, did you know we all naturally have a visual memory and you can develop that visual memory and you’ll be able to do incredible superhuman feats of memory.”
So, to me, I’m really passionate about sharing this because when I discovered this, Hal, the whole world opened up. It’s like imagine if you lived your whole life and people were saying, “Look, telepathy is not possible and telekinesis and flying is not possible,” and then all of a sudden, I met someone about eight years ago who could do all those things. I mean, he could memorize 100 digits backwards and forwards and he could read a book in a few hours. And I just thought it was like superhuman and then I realized that anyone can do this stuff.
Hal Elrod: It reminds me of The Matrix, right? The movie, The Matrix, with Keanu Reeves, which is one of my favorite movies ever. And did you see they just announced they’re coming out with a fourth one?
Jonathan Levi: Amazing.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I’m pretty cool with that. And Keanu has signed on for the role so that’s exciting.
Jonathan Levi: Perfect.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. But anyway, The Matrix, one of the elements of it is if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a science fiction movie from 10 years ago or so where he basically realizes they’re all plugged into this matrix like this giant mainframe computer system. It’s a metaphor for how our society kind of operates, where we all watch the media and do what we’re told and we’re fed the messages that program our subconscious and so on and so forth. Without going too far down that rabbit hole, the point is that he goes, “I need to learn Kung Fu,” and they just plug him into the matrix and upload a computer program and now he knows kung fu. He’s like, “I need to learn to speak a foreign language,” and he just upload it and what I love is that what you’re saying reminds me of where most people would think of that super learning ability as science fiction. You do it, right? You do it. You teach it like you’ve actually mastered that if you will. And so, that’s what I love about it. I think that if you look at the value of that, like you said, anything we want to improve, we’re just a little bit of knowledge away from it, right?
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely.
Hal Elrod: You want to improve your marriage? Here’s a book for that, right? You know, the faster you can read it…
Jonathan Levi: It’s funny you say that. That’s so funny you say that because at every point in my life, when I’ve had a challenge, for the most part, I slowly but surely have realized that I can learn my way out of it. So, like I had problems in my business, I wanted to grow my business, I wanted to grow my brand, I wanted to work less like 100 different little problems. I had issues with my shoulders. I remember you telling me a story of when you were diagnosed, and you’re like, “You know what, I can just read the research and find out.” I would argue you did The Miracle Equation and The Miracle Equation brought you to learning your way out of it and you found ways to seek treatment. So, all of those things I applied and there was this one thing that I had convinced myself I couldn’t learn my way out of. I was single for nine years and I couldn’t get into a healthy, loving relationship. I’ve had a prior relationship which was not healthy and I just couldn’t figure it out. I talked to counselors, coaches, and eventually I was like, “What if I just treated this like a learning challenge?” and I read books about it and I went to lectures and I took coaches and I did journaling. I did all the things that I teach in my programs. It’s just I applied it to something that most people think is not a learning challenge.
Six months later, I met my wife and as I mentioned earlier, I just got back from my honeymoon so it worked. And what it took actually, ultimately, was literally learning the skills that I had been missing that help someone get into a healthy relationship, things like learning how to communicate better, learning how to evaluate a healthy partnership. It was literally at the end of the day and I have a whole journal about it that I’ve kept. It was literally learning how to be in a healthy and happy relationship.
Hal Elrod: I love it. So, literally, I mean, obviously, all of your business accolades, you know, I mentioned not all of them. I mentioned some of them in the introduction in your intro for the podcast but I love that you’re going, yeah, not only can you achieve great business success, financial success, make an impact in the world through learning. You can lock down your soulmate, right? It’s not a very romantic way to say it but you can become the person because that’s it. You got to become the person that can attract the people you want into your life. And I’m a big, you know, I think you and I would both agree with this that I’m a product of the books I’ve read and the learning I’ve done and as well as I would say I’m a product of it really comes down to the learning event. So, we’re going to say I’m a product of the books I’ve read and the people that I’ve spent time with but really, what does that really boil down to? I learn from the books I read and I learned from the people I spent time with.
I learned what are the values that makes sense to me that served me? What are the guiding principles these people live by that I admire, that I see works for them and gets them the types of results, outcomes, and experiences that I want? And then I learn it and often unintentionally, and of course, more intentionally learn about anything more effectively. Are you going to say something?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. No, I completely, completely agree with you and we’re essentially the summation of all the different things that we’ve learned. Actually, a really interesting quote that I happened upon today was essentially to that effect. Sam Harris says in Waking Up, “It’s your mind rather than circumstances themselves that determines the quality of your life. Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and of every contribution you make to the lives of others.” So, given this fact, it makes sense to train it, and he’s saying that in the context of meditation, but I love that quote because it is in the context of like what kind of software are you installing in this incredible piece of hardware that you have?
Hal Elrod: Now, speaking of that, so just the installing the software, the hardware you have, I mentioned in your introduction about memory, right? That’s one of the things that you have really mastered. It’s arguably my weakest area and I hate to even say that because I struggle with affirming that and also acknowledging the reality of, well, my brain’s been damaged, right? So, I really struggle with memory and I’ve actually really recently realized the implications it has in my life. One is not being fully present. I don’t trust myself to remember anything anyone says unless I write it down. So, when I’m having a conversation with somebody and they say something of value, rather than me being able to just absorb it and experience it and respond to it, I go, “I apologize. I got to write,” and I pull up my phone and I feel rude but I’m like, “It’s because…” So, memory affects me in so many ways, that’s just one of them, is would you say memory is still an important skill to have in the era of smartphones and constant access to Google?
Jonathan Levi: 100%, for so many different reasons. I do want to respond though to what you mentioned because I call that the memory golem effect. So, you have Pygmalion named golem effect and it’s for people who don’t know, it’s this Rosenthal-Jacobson study where they found that if your manager, teacher, parent, if someone around you of authority believes deep down without even showing it that you are a poor performer or you’re dumb, you will actually be dumber, like we can affect people with our thoughts. And I find that that is doubly true of ourselves and our self-talk. I mean, Hal will tell you, you know more about this than I do, the importance of self-talk and beliefs. And we had students go through the course and the first week of our course it’s really just setting your goals, foundations, scheduling, stuff like that, and people would reply on the surveys like I can’t believe my memory is already getting better like that’s not possible. You haven’t learned anything yet. What we realized is they changed their self-talk from, “I have a lousy memory,” to, “I’m in a memory course and my memory is getting better.” So, you’re right to be wary of acknowledging that.
And, yeah, I think I think memory is just as important as ever, if not more so and here’s why. First off, we can talk about how it’s inefficient to have to look things up and have to check things and make mistakes and all that kind of stuff. That’s the obvious answer. The not so obvious answer is creativity. We are moving to an economy of knowledge workers were the only thing humans are really going to need to do is creative work. It may not happen today. It may not happen tomorrow, but in the next 10 years, you’re going to see that really the only jobs opening up are creative work. Now, creativity at its core is really just combining and creating new ideas, taking existing ideas, and recombining them in all kinds of different and unique ways. I think if you look up the definition of creativity, it’s actually pretty close to that. It’s like novel in unique ways of doing things based on preexisting pieces assembled in a new way. And how can you do that? How can you preassemble pieces if you don’t have a strong enough library of knowledge to draw upon? For example, let’s say, let’s take an extreme example. You’re a military strategist.
Well, you better know off the top of your head because you can’t sit there and Google. You need your neurons and synapses to connect together and come up with that uniquely human thing, which is creation. And human beings are one of the only species that create, period, and we’re certainly the only species that can create at the level of symphonies. How do we do that? We think about all the different things, the millions of data points, if not billions, right? Our brains have 100 billion neurons. That’s more than there are stars in the observable universe, hundred billion neurons. We think about all the millions of different experiences we’ve ever had and we connect them and we do brilliant things. So, to use the belabored example, “What made Steve Jobs and Apple so creative?” is they took ideas from the world of industrial engineering, from art, from the world of calligraphy and typography, from the worlds of ergonomics, and they put them into these devices where no one ever thought before that a computer should take from the worlds of art and color composition, and aesthetic beauty.
And that’s creativity, right? What’s creativity when it comes to marketing? It’s like Gary Halbert was an incredible copywriter because he knew how to use theatrics and punctuation and grammar and diction and emotion and all these different fields that come from all these different places and put it into a new discipline which is copywriting. So, I think about that a lot and I always tell people I really don’t care what you use my techniques to learn. I care what you then do with that learning. What do you go out and create? Okay, cool. You pass the bar exam because I taught you how to build memory palaces and that’s great. Now, where are you going to go out and create of your own because of that knowledge you are able to accumulate?
Hal Elrod: Got it. It goes back to not what you learned but what you live so I appreciate that you’re looking at what are you going to do with this stuff? Not just you learned it great. Now you can impress your friends. Yeah, exactly. Well, let’s get into some actionables for anybody listening and myself included. How can people listening at home or in their car, wherever they’re at, instantly increase their learning capability? Are there like here’s a quick win or quick fix?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So many quick fixes. So, first thing is I want people to really think about goals and preparation and going into your learning in a very deliberate way. Here’s one thing many people don’t realize. If I’m learning a language to travel for a couple weeks in Japan, that’s going to look very, very different than if I’m learning a language to lecture at a university in Tokyo or if I’m learning a language to be able to interact with my Japanese in-laws. So, sitting down and thinking before you learn, not just what do I want to learn but how much of it do I want to learn? To what level? How am I going to plan and structure those study sessions? How am I going to get myself back on track if I venture off, when I venture off? What am I going to do in that situation? And what’s my plan of attack? So, that’s one really, really quick win is sit down and make a learning plan. And then ask yourself because later down the line when you get into more advanced techniques, things like memory palaces, well, I’ll give you an example. If you are studying the law and you need to be able for some ungodly reason that I don’t know, you need to be able to recite the laws backwards and forwards, literally in order, I can teach you how to do that but that’s a very, very different way of building your memory palaces and structuring your learning than if you just wanted to pass the bar exam, and someone’s going to ask you at random the questions.
So, if you were a law historian, for example, and you wanted to memorize the laws in order of when they were written, that’s also a different method and a different way of doing it so doing that thinking ahead and in advance. Another thing I want to share with people is this idea and, again, just on the quick wins, we can go deep into memory, I’m more than happy to, this idea of brute force learning, which I actually learned from Mattan Griffel, who was one of the first people I took an online course from. I took a programming course from him. And he showed this beautiful idea like when a hacker tries to break into a software system or a computer or whatever, they apply this technique called brute force, which is basically point as many computers as you can, and hit it from as many different angles and try a million different things to crack the password. But brute force learning what I love about it is learning in that way. So, many people, let’s say they enroll in a language class at the local community college or they hire a dance tutor and then they learn from that one singular source but no one source is perfect, no one source is complete, and what are the odds that that teacher or that book or that college course or that podcaster, that YouTube video is going to teach in exactly the same way that you learn? Right?
They may use metaphors that aren’t clear to you and nowhere was this more clear to me than in business school. I was at one of the best business schools in the world, listening to a lecture on advanced corporate finance from the professor who wrote the book. I’m talking millions of copies of this book, sold at business schools all over the world, and he’s teaching the lecture and I didn’t get it. I just did not get it. I asked the question, didn’t understand the answer. Read the book, which he wrote, did not understand the way he was explaining it. Went online on Khan Academy, free website, opened up a 10-minute video. It was explained in a slightly different way and all of a sudden, it clicked. So, brute force learning says, “Grab that bull by the horns, plan to learn from different sources, get a couple of different textbooks, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, go to lectures, practice your speaking with locals. And this is great for two reasons. One, it allows you to complete – three reasons, in fact. It allows you to complete your learning and round out any holes that are left in particular resources. Two, it allows you to practice what’s called spaced repetition. So, every time you learn something, it becomes more reinforced and lasts longer in your mind.
What you want to do is repeat and review, say one day, three days, seven days, ten days until you get to a point where you won’t forget that information ever. And then the third thing is this teaches you that it’s okay to not understand the first time. When you’re reading one book or going to one lecture and that’s it and it’s time to move on next semester comes, we’re taught that it’s not okay if you don’t understand it the first time, but it is totally okay if you don’t understand the first time, and it’s not your fault either. You just may need to be accessing a different resource. So, those are two really quick tips that anyone can use to improve their learning dramatically.
Hal Elrod: Well, I love both of those. The idea of being really intentional with the learning plan but on the second one, the idea of brute force learning, I think everybody can relate to that where you’ve heard something multiple times, right. In fact, so much so that when you hear it, sometimes you roll your eyes like, “Oh, he’s talking about goal setting, like I’m not into goal setting. I’ve heard goal-setting forever,” right? But then you hear it from the right person in the right way or often it’s the right time, you’re in the right mindset, right? And you go, “Oh,” maybe even realize I’ve been rolling my eyes because I’ve heard this so many times, but I’m not living it, I’m not doing it. So, I love that you’ve got to keep learning, learning in different ways. And for me, I’ll do that where when I’m on a topic, I will go like right now I’m really deep into the very broad topic, which are what are the issues facing humanity? You and I were talking about that before we started recording, right? How many people are dying of starvation every day? You know, climate change, is that a real issue that we need to address and how do we address it? Is it manmade?
So, it’s a very broad. It’s actually very overwhelming right now. I’m trying to figure out what’s every problem that humanity is facing and how can I help solve every problem? So, it’s causing a lot of stress and anxiety for me. I’m trying to manage it here but anyway, the point is I’m watching documentary after documentary after documentary and listen like I’m just learning in all these different ways from different people and a lot of these documentaries that are very overlapping, right? And also, I’d actually love to hear your thoughts on this. This was a realization I had the other day. I posted something about climate change and there’s always there’s people on both sides, like, “Oh, my gosh, this is horrible issue, and we need to take it on,” and there’s other people that say, “This isn’t man-made,” and, “It’s not real,” or, “There’s nothing we can do about it,” or, “It’s going to happen with or without us,” or whatever. And I was leaning toward the issue of like, “Man, we need to care about our planet,” which I think we do. Like, I think we can all agree whether or not you believe climate change is man-made, I think you can agree, we’re not really treating the planet with the love and care, we would want to treat our own body.
You know, we’re kind of sacrificing the health of the planet for profits. Anyway, that’s another topic but the point is as I started to get other people talking about they were kind of it’s like all these hundreds of comments arguing and debating the issue, I went, “You know what, my realization was as human beings when we develop a belief whether it’s around religion or politics or any belief, I find that we tend to just look for information to reinforce that belief. And I realized that’s what I’m doing. That’s human nature and I thought I’m not going to do that anymore. From now on, any belief that I have, I’m going to go learn just as much about the opposite belief, the opposite viewpoint, the opposite perspective, because only then do I really understand the issue.” And I think most of us do. So, I wonder what your thoughts are on if there’s any, you know, and it’s kind of out of left field but if there’s any application around like if you’re going like learning and the idea of learning two different viewpoints on a single issue. I know it’s kind of…
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. I love it. I mean, that’s brute force learning is how many different angles can I learn this from. So, there is that confirmation bias, right, that and I talk about this a lot. The human brain loves to be right. They love information that confirms that it’s right. And so, we’ve developed a technique that actually leverages that bias and this is probably a left-field answer to a left-field question but the idea is, we call it pre-reading. So, before you read and this has actually been pre-reading itself, not exactly the way that we do it. We’ve kind of upgraded it but it’s been proven to enhance people’s comprehension and dramatically improve their focus and their ability to create accurate summaries of a text that they’ve read. The basic idea I’m going somewhere with this, is you skim the text before you read it, note anything that stands out to you, such as titles, headings, numbers, proper nouns, then you generate questions and curiosity based on that. Now, what you’re doing is exactly what you just said.
Hal Elrod: Advanced pre-reading, man. I was going to say, “Yeah, I do that. I scan the table of contents.” Now, you’re talking to advanced pre-reading.
Jonathan Levi: Right. So, we want you actually leverage that cognitive bias and the questions you can ask can be harmless like why is 1940 in there? Why are they talking about Tanzania? What does that have to do with anything? Or they can be what I like to call cognitive bias questions, right? So, are they going to make the point that I think they’re going to make about climate change? Or, oh my gosh, I bet you my vegan friend is going to love this. So, really getting the brain to go in with conceptions, preconceptions because what’s then going to happen is your brain wants to know if you’re right or not. And we use this technique for people who have to read things that are not entertaining. We have a lot of people studying for the bar exam, reading scientific literature, and what this will do is if you go in and go, “Oh, they mentioned greenhouse gases. I bet they’re going to blame this thing or that other thing.” Whatever your bias is, go into it and say, “You know, where would I agree? Where would I disagree? Where am I open to being proven wrong?” What you’re doing is you’re just cranking up those cognitive biases. It’s just like, you know, when you argue with your spouse, and then…
Hal Elrod: I don’t argue with my wife.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, I know what that’s like. All right. And you’re like, “Well, no, I think we should go left,” and, “No, I think we should go right.” And then both of you are paying so much attention to the street signs to make sure that you’re the one who’s right. And of course, I’m being facetious. I hope you’re not that way with your spouse. But the point is the human brain loves to be right and if you can apply that in your own reading, especially when you’re reading about things where there is an opportunity, like you said, if you’re reading… I was giving a lecture at Shell in April, and they’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of getting ready for all the different changes that are happening and being a part of the solution and everything. And so, I was helping them work on reading these future projections of these models, like what are we going to do if governments resist change? What are we going to do if governments help us with change? And they’re a very, very forward-thinking company which is great. So, you can use exactly that like what are your cognitive biases? Where am I open to being persuaded? And do that in your pre-reading and you’re actually going to be able to read with more attention and focus and your comprehension will actually go up. So, I love it.
Hal Elrod: So, you put all this into a book.
Jonathan Levi: I did put all this in a book.
Hal Elrod: The Only Skill That Matters, right? And I’m looking at it on Amazon here, the proven method to read faster, remember more, and become a super learner. So, I have to ask you and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but why write another book about learning and memory?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. The honest God’s honest question, Hal, is I read books like yours and I was like, “Jesus, my first book was really not that good.” Honest truth. No, honest truth. I worked with Tucker Max and his publishing house, Scribe and Lioncrest, because what I love about Tucker is he writes books, whether it’s his books or the books that he’s helped write for best-selling authors. He writes books that people can’t put down and I wanted, you know, we have video courses that are 14 hours, we have hundreds of hours of YouTube videos, we have free podcasts that people can listen to, but we’re not reaching everybody if we’re not doing books. And our first book sold really, really well but I wasn’t as proud of it and I don’t think it made the impact it could make because it wasn’t an entertaining read. It was a video course in text format. This book, thanks, honestly, largely to Tucker and his team, they really, really know how to make a book that people cannot put down. And so, I went there to their office to learn that from them. And my father in law, so English is his second language and he told me today, “This is the only book in English that I’ve ever been able to make it through and in fact, I can’t put it down,” and part of that is because I’m his son-in-law.
Hal Elrod: I was going to say. Yeah.
Jonathan Levi: You know, I think in this book I’ve managed to capture not only all the content that I teach in a lot of the courses and a lot of new ideas that have come out since I developed all the online courses, but I’ve managed to do it in a way that’s fun and engaging, that shares my personal story in a way to empower people to see what’s possible and I really think people won’t be able to put it down is my hope.
Hal Elrod: That’s awesome. Yeah, when I wrote the Miracle Morning, that was one of my big thrust was how can I make this feel like a movie where you just keep wanting different pages? And I especially focused on chapter. I’m like, I want them to end the chapter and go, “Damn it, I was going to finish this chapter and stop, but I can’t.” You got to know where it goes, right?
Jonathan Levi: Exactly.
Hal Elrod: I love that you did that.
Jonathan Levi: And by the way, I took so much inspiration from the 10-minute talk that you did at Genius Network. I’ve watched it probably four or five times. I have notes on it and I actually went back and rewrote parts of my book, because of your wisdom and what you shared about how to actually get people not just to not put the book down, but actually put the book into practice. So, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude for that.
Hal Elrod: Awesome, man. Well, you just gave the debt of gratitude. I appreciate it and the fact that it’s going to help other people learn better as a result of you using it to enhance your work, man, that’s all the things that I need. So, the book is The Only Skill That Matters. Not the only skill you need, because you actually do need other skills.
Jonathan Levi: You do need some other skills.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. The only one that matters. So, where’s the best place for people to get the book?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, people can go to SuperHumanAcademy.com/book and that will help them find it wherever they want to buy books. We don’t discriminate.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. SuperHumanAcademy.com/book or books?
Jonathan Levi: Yes, sir, and you will see Hal Elrod right on there who was very, very kind to give us a blurb about the book.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, man. I’m a fan. So, cool, brother. Hey, you are a super learner, a super friend. I’m really grateful to know you and as I told you before, we started recording today that I feel called to form this kind of alliance of conscious messengers, people that are out there trying to elevate consciousness and you are on that list, my friend. So, I appreciate you very much.
Jonathan Levi: I appreciate that so much. And by the way, I want to next time you and I both have time and we’re not crazy with travel schedules, I am going to teach you how to memorize 50 digits backwards and forwards in less than two minutes. We didn’t get to talk to too much about memory today. People can check it out in the book on the website for YouTube videos, but we’re going to record a YouTube video of you cold memorizing 50 digits backwards and forwards. I’m going to teach you how to do it.
Hal Elrod: Dude, I can memorize like maybe four at this time. So, that’s going to be amazing.
Jonathan Levi: It’ll be fun and it won’t take long. Give me an hour.
Hal Elrod: I love it. Is there anywhere else for people to if they want to connect with you beyond the book?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. SuperHumanAcademy.com has like everything that we do. I’ll provide you with all the social links. I’m most active really on Instagram. I share things that inspire me, things that I see, when I meet students, when I learned something new, and I am an Entreprenewer, that’s N-E-W-E-R on Instagram, and yeah, and I also have a Facebook official page, Jonathan Levi.
Hal Elrod: Awesome, brother. Well, hey, man. Appreciate you, Jonathan, and I look forward to the next time we get to connect and talk and learn together.
Jonathan Levi: All right, brother. I’ll see you in November. Thanks for having me.
Hal Elrod: You got it, brother. Well, hey, goal achievers, thank you for tuning in to another episode of The Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This has been the only skill that matters with Jonathan Levi. Check out the book and, yeah, learn how to learn, learn how to learn in a way where you’re going to you can accelerate every area of your life by simply learning what it takes to accelerate, improve, transform that area. If you’re coming to the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience, I will see you in a couple of months in San Diego, California and if you have not yet secured your spot and we have a few left you can go to BestYearEverLive.com and check out the video. The video is amazing. You watch it, you’ll be so inspired, and hopefully, I will see you in San Diego. Take care, everybody.
"Human beings are one of the only species that create, period. And we’re certainly the only species that can create at the level of symphonies."
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