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Dr. Anthony Metivier & Jonathan Levi on Memory, Learning, Life, and Happiness

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“Memory techniques, super learning, and speed reading do not go together with perfectionism… You can't even be perfect at perfectionism.”
— Dr. Anthony Metivier

Part 1:

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Download the entire transcript here!

Greetings, superfriends! As many of you may know, in mid-July, I had the great pleasure of hosting Dr. Anthony Metivier in beautiful Tel Aviv, Israel, as we worked on our new course on personal branding. While Anthony was here, we took the opportunity to record a live Q&A on the video broadcasting platform Meerkat (follow me here for future broadcasts), where we took hundreds of questions from people all over the world.

We also managed to polish off two bottles of wine in two hours, and stuff our faces with tons of sushi, had tons of interruptions, and just generally made a great effort to embarrass ourselves. Nonetheless, this interview is WAY more raw (and, I think, way more entertaining) than our typical formal interview style. To be honest, I kind of like it that way.

In it, we cover a ton of questions from our followers, ranging from memory and super learning techniques all the way to more serious topics such as depression, anxiety, and more. We even get in to health, biohacking, the meaning of life, and what it takes to be happy. I hope you guys will excuse the very raw and unpolished (read: drunken) format, because it has SO much value to offer. Also, you'll be pleased to know that I've given up alcohol since this interview was recorded (you'll realize why about an hour in).

If you enjoy it, please send a tweet on twitter to let us know (@gosuperhuman) or subscribe on Meerkat.

This episode is brought to you by Neurogum, the smart way to chew gum.

This episode is brought to you by Neurogum, the smart way to chew gum.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Does alcohol negatively affect learning and memory?
  •  The link between creativity and visual memory techniques
  • Nootropics: which ones are better, and why?
  • The idea of “virtual memory palaces”
  • How long does it take to make a quality memory palace, and does accuracy matter?
  • How do the Magnetic Memory Method and speed reading work together?
  • Maintaining long term memory over things we've speed read
  • How memorizing a deck of cards can help you with memory and creativity overall
  • What are some of the foods that support memory?
  • How can you memorize faces with ease?
  • How to use spaced repetition software correctly
  • The relationship between memory palaces, mind maps, and the “flow” state
  • Test taking tips for students
  • How to use these techniques to teach children multiplication tables
  • Why rote memorization is terrible and ruins learning for people
  • How you can learn more effectively by teaching
  • How evolutionary psychology plays into learning and memory
  • Do memory games and the like actually work?
  • Can you re-use memory palaces?
  • How can you superlearner lectures or videos?
  • Tips on how to speak more eloquently and intelligently
  • Sleep habits, polyphasic sleep, napping, and the brain
  • Dealing with depression and anxiety
  • Meditation, presence, and acceptance
  • How stress affects your memory – and how to avoid it!
  • Dealing with ADHD, prescription medication, and how to think about depending on chemicals
  • How to apply memory techniques to the craft of acting
  • Applying superlearning techniques to physical skills
  • The challenges of learning languages (particularly grammar)
  • The idea of doing exactly what it is you don't want to do or fear as an exercise

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Dr. Anthony Metivier & Jonathan Levi:

“The brain remembers things that are ridiculous or poignant.”
“Don't ask supplements or diet or exercise to be the thing that improves your memory. Use memory techniques to improve your memory. And use all those other things to give your mind that extra supercharged basis to operate those memory techniques.”
“It does nothing for nobody to put on a show. You've just got to be yourself.”
“Your memory palace is like a stage. The images that you create are the actors.”
“I've actually read about 40 dissertations in speed reading and accelerated learning.”
“Why waste memory space on something you can write down?”
“Memory champions are not the people to follow for the mass consumption of information. They're memorizing something to forget it 20 seconds after they've won the competition.”
“If you want to have absolute total recall of anything, whatever you have speed read, memorize slow.”
“Dig your wells before you're thirsty.”
“Motion creates motion.”
“Exercise is one of the best antidepressants I've encountered.”
“I haven't been stressed in years. And I'll tell you why. Because… I realized that nothing is that important. At all. Ever. Period…It's all a matter of choosing to be happy, and choosing to be calm, and choosing not to be stressed.”
“If you think your brain is evolved to sit at a desk from 9-5 or long, you're delusional!”
“Apple the method the way that it works for you. There's no rigidity here.”


Anthony Metivier: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host. Jonathan Levi.

Jonathan Levi: This episode is brought to you guys by Neuro Gum. An all-new nootropic Gummer that enhances focus and boost your metabolism and attention all naturally. Back there Indiegogo campaign today

Greeting SuperFriends this week, I'm really excited to bring you guys a very special two-part episode.

 In mid-July, I had the great pleasure of hosting memory expert, Dr. Anthony Metivier here in Tel Aviv. While we worked on our course on Personal Branding while Dr. Metivier was here, we took the opportunity to record a live Q and A on the live video platform, Meerkat. Where we took hundreds of questions from people all over the world, from his memory students to my accelerated learning students and beyond. We also managed to polish off two bottles of wine and two hours scarf down some sushi. Had tons of interruptions and just generally made a great effort to embarrass ourselves.

Nonetheless, this interview is way more raw and I think way more entertaining than you're probably used to from the show. And to be honest, I kind of like it. In it, we're going to cover a ton of amazing questions from our listeners and followers.

And they range from everything from memory techniques and super learning and speed reading to more serious topics like depression and anxiety. We even getting to health biohacking, the meaning of life, what it takes to be happy. I hope you guys are going to excuse the very raw and unpolished read drunken format of this episode.

Because it has so much value to offer. If you guys enjoy it, please send a tweet on Twitter @gosuperhuman or find me on Meerkat and subscribe to more live broadcasts like this one. Anyways, without further ado, let me present to you. My live two-hour, two-part Q and A with Dr. Anthony Metivier.

Welcome, welcome, welcome everybody. I'm here with Dr. Anthony Metivier. We have opened a lovely bottle of wine from the Golan Heights where we have 70, 80 people live on Meerkat, five people live on Periscope. The Twitter machine is blowing up. And we are ready to answer your questions.

Anthony Metivier: And their sushi on the way there is sushi on the way we'll put some in an envelope for you.

Jonathan Levi: We will put some in an envelope and we apologize for the interruption. FedEx and the inebriation. Let me tell this he's a number eight. I am not a big drinker. So when I do drink magic happens.

Anthony Metivier: I'm not a big person but

Jonathan Levi:  Four on Periscope, six on Periscope, 92 people on Meerkat.

Anthony Metivier: Okay. So what's the whole thing that we're doing here for all these people who have joined us.

Jonathan Levi: We, in what capacity? Hopefully, we're doing amazing things.

Anthony Metivier: Well, amazing things, but where do you want to start?

Jonathan Levi: I figured people will send in their questions. Yeah. Good evening from India, India, and also good evening in Tel Aviv. Oh, why is there something happening on our screen? What is happening?

Anthony Metivier: Oh, well, I don't know, but I don't know, mobbing. Okay. Getting lots of little comments here.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, indeed. So the principle behind this. Is I just realized this is going to be a very interesting podcast? If it becomes one principle here is you guys ask questions. You have one of the world's foremost experts in memory palaces and memory. I'm already unable to speak.

And a guy myself who knows a little bit about learning and published a book about learning and speed reading. So actually knows a lot about brain.

Anthony Metivier: I'm watching him learn for the last couple of days here. And it's been actually pretty extraordinary the rate at which he absorbs things. And I have to say the rate at which he teaches things that I have discovered as well.

So I need to actually learn more about the absorption because we're quite frankly, we are involved in some pretty high-level production of a new course, and there are a lot of components that he is a master of automating and making happen with streamlined technological facility. That is so beyond me. I do a lot of stuff in my head, but he has so many buttons just configured on this, that he doesn't use a mouse.

He doesn't use the trackpad at all, or I'm flattered. It's just like this. Now that to me is like Glenn Gould on piano. He's just sort of, you know, if you ever see Glenn Gould on video, on piano, like some of the musicians, do he hums along with the music as he's playing it? He knows it that well. And he's guiding his performance and this is what Jonathan is doing.

Jonathan Levi: Well, thank you.

Anthony Metivier: No mouse, just keys.

Jonathan Levi: Okay. I've been annoying him for the last three days with my OCD tendencies. And yet he still has nice things to say about myself and my work. So I'm very honored.

Anthony Metivier: So what I'd like to see though, is you do that, learn that use some sort of memory technique in Dvorak.

Jonathan Levi: Dvorak has gone to the peanut gallery. So I tried to learn Dvorak and the problem was the learning curve. Dvorak, for those of you guys who don't know the original keyboard on a computer, is actually designed to slow you down. So it's designed for typewriters so that you cannot type so fast that you'll jam the typewriter and Dvorak or duh-vor-zhaak is designed then to fix that, to put the most used keys in the middle, and a lot of people use it and your Mac already has it. You can switch your keyboard. It's like very easy. Your iPhone. You can get it for a keyboard. I found that the learning curve would be about a week to two weeks for me to get over it in the sense that when I learned the Russian keyboard when I learned the Hebrew keyboard when I learned Spanish keyboard, you're looking at about two weeks before you're comfortable.

And thank you for your kind words. Mark Hayward English essentially is such a mission-critical thing, which for me, that those two weeks are just not worth it to switch should Dvorak. So I ended up finding myself going, screw it. I'm just going to write this one email is going to be in Qwerty keyboard and did not.

Although the intention is not to talk about Dvorak keyboards. So hopefully people will chime in and yeah, they're on Periscope or on, Oh my. 140 people will chime in and we'll ask questions about memory learning. Well, we're learning memory.

Anthony Metivier: Whatever, if you need some personal advice, this is not exactly the psychic hotline.

No, I'm kidding. We want to talk to you about the, where deodorant. No, wait, sorry. Wear sunscreen. Wear sunscreen. Is he commenting on my laundry issues? Um,

Jonathan Levi: Okay. Does alcohol diminish your ability to learn, retain, or recall long and short term?

Anthony Metivier:  Great question. Great question. Willing one. Great question. Short answer. Well, here's the thing. It impairs your short-term memory or your working memory to a great degree. But not necessarily in that particular moment. And so you may have had this experience arguing with a drunk who will be absolutely certain that everything that you said five minutes ago was what you said and can repeat it with great clarity and they'll even go and say, get the damn recording machine.

And they'll still have a great retention of memory, but your working memory is impaired the next day.

Jonathan Levi: But I remembered to refill the glasses. So clearly my memory is working.

Anthony Metivier: He doesn't even wait till they get empty, but there's a good deal on my podcast. That Luca from

He was telling me about how that, you know, he has two or three at the time he was working as a translator with the government and all these kinds of things. We have to translate life. And he said that it's just simply not possible with a hangover because of the effects of alcohol on your working memory.

So if you hear a sentence in one language and you need to be translating it while you're hearing the next sentence, and remember the next sentence while you're translating it, you just can't do it because of the effects of alcohol.

Jonathan Levi: I'll also comment that alcohol kills brain cells. This is a non-factor, there are certain kinds of alcohol that have ton of health benefits.

There's a reason we're drinking red wine, and that is it's loaded with resveratrol, which is super good for you. It also has a restorative and kind of calming properties, but, uh, you should probably drink less is the short.

 There's a question that came up.

Anthony Metivier: Let's talk about this one here, which one? Both of you talk about visualizing the word in an image, but it always is hard for me to search an image to represent work.

So to rephrase that question, when you're memorizing a phrase or a word you want to come up with some kind of imagery in order to encode the word and place it somewhere in your memory, like in a memory palace. And then when you come back, you decode it. So it's a question I get a lot is how do you create these images?

And a lot of people struggle with that. Do you have something for that?

Jonathan Levi: Well, let me reread the question and we talk about visualizing the word in an image, but it's always hard. I also want to read the questions because there are people who will tune in just to the audio, but we talk about creating the word and an image, but it's always hard to search for an image to represent a word.

How can I improve that? So we give a lot of creativity exercises because ultimately coming up with a word. To match a given concept or image is a matter of creativity. And so we give the how many uses exercise. If you can practice your creativity, how many uses are there for this wine glass? Well, it could be a wine glass, it could be an ashtray.

It could be a piece of artwork. You'll find that you're kind of exercising the creativity muscle, and then you'll be able to come up with images faster. Someone asked, which I really liked. Hi Anthony, how could you combine speed reading with the magnetic memory method?

Anthony Metivier: Well, let me get back to that first thing, the reason why I want to jump in on that first thing is because.

In addition to what Jonathan said, which is very good. You know, imagine the multiple things that you can do with this, a memory exercise that you can do right now today is look out your window and see a person and try to put into your memory for things about that person. So the color of their pants, the color of their shoes, whether they're wearing glasses or not, what kind of bags they're carrying, and just start doing that as a regular activity in your life.

That's going to make it easier for you to select images because you're selecting images from the environment around you as a regular practice. The other thing that you can do is actually. Create a pool of images in advance. So if you make an Excel file or just a grid on some paper and you put down actors, politicians, cartoon characters, and so forth, and you fill those in, then you're going to give yourself a better idea of the kinds of figures that you're familiar with.

And then if you want to really get good, because it's not just about coming up with images of actors and stuff, you want to create actions. So here's your grade. You got actors, you've got politicians. Let's say, then you have another column that says action and then reaction. So let's say you've got Obama, Brad Pitt.

Then in the action section, you have. Obama kicks Brad Pitt in the nose. Then the reaction is Brad Pitt hits Obama over the face with a toaster oven. And you just go through that and you create as many combinations as you can. And so then when the time comes to, uh, memorize a word, you're just, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Because you've done these creativity drills. I've seen. Images in action. So Anthony Metivier is my hero from truth Ling 898. Your art here. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. No, yeah. Anything to add to that?

Jonathan Levi: Yes. So there's an important point there, which is that animated images and images with action that the image of Obama getting kicked or kicking these things are more interesting to the brain.

There's a reason we talk about Moonwalking with Einstein is a great book that we've both read by Joshua Foer. There's a reason that that's so memorable because it's poignant and it's ridiculous. And the brain remembers things that are ridiculous or poignant. So these humdrum, like the Brown Fox jumps over the dog, well, that's not really particularly memorable or unique.

So these markers should be strange and bizarre. Someone asked. Well, I want to come back to, how do you apply the magnetic memory method to speed reading? But first two people have asked about nootropics and brain stimulants. I've been experimenting for years and I've been experimenting all weekend on Anthony.

And so brain stimulants are a wide topic that I'm very passionate about. And I think the first thing is to discover that there's so much more out there than caffeine. Caffeine is I call it a poor man's stimulant because all it does is reduce fatigue. Okay. It blocks the receptors that tells your brain I'm tired.

There are so many other stimulants that do so many other things, even in the class of chemicals that caffeine is in, which is called the Xanthines there's Theobromine and Theophylline caffeine. Theobromine, theophylline are all in something called Yerba Mate. Which I drink pretty religiously. We've been drinking it.

I have photos of Anthony hunched over the computer. Like this just like humming away. There are different classes of chemicals that will relax your heart rate, give you more focus, improved blood flow, all these things. Then you have things like race attempts, Piracetam and Aniracetam. Those are completely side effects, free proven things to improve the brain's function.

And then of course you have all the ADD medications, your Adderall, and stuff like that. Stay away unless you actually need this stuff and you actually have ADD, some people actually have ADD and that's your deal. And then you have all the herbal stuff, which is really great. Ginkgo Biloba, ginseng, really good for the brain citrus fruit, great for the brain. Vitamin B6, B12, perfect stimulants, wonderful stimulants. So experiment, but experiment safely. Try these things Piracetam, you can try safely Modafinil, less so, and realized that there's a ton of different chemicals. Personally, if you look in my bedroom drawer right now, I have 10 different substances, almost all of them natural.

Some of them, not that I choose based on what I need. So if I need creativity, I'm going to go with Piracetam. If I need just focus, energy, and tenacity to slog through something. I'm going to go with something like Forskolin or artichoke heart extract, things like that. Um, or Forskolin gonna, it's not for skin it's Forskolin.

Anthony Metivier: You know, when he says it experiment with these things, what he means is consult with your doctor before you, their doctor.

Jonathan Levi: I mean, if someone's going to take a healthy dose of B6 B12, I will take that liability to say, it's okay to take a daily dose of B12 fuel, take that. I will take that liability check with your doctor. In any case.

Anthony Metivier: You actually go into your doctor. Anyway, I went to my doctor before I went here. I was totally freaked out because he said, it's time for you to get all these shots and stuff.

And I said, okay, I'll take my shots, tendonitis, whatever they give you. And I said, is it gonna affect my memory?

This is going to affect my memory in any way. And he said your memory, man. It's magnetic and it's true because my doctor, I sent him copies of August and he knows that I'm not just any patient, I'm his magnetic patient.

And it's true in Germany. He always says professor Dr. Metivier. It's very German of him, which is very, yeah, very nice. And of course, I look like the dude and the dude, everybody else, everybody else wonders. Why does he get such a dude referential tides anyway? Yeah. The thing with. You know, my opinion is I've been enjoying all the, uh, experiments Jonathan's been making with me on the chemicals.

And I certainly have felt some effects, but if you're a person who's just going throughout everyday life and you aren't interested in that, or it's just not something you're going to do, or you don't have access to all these resources and so forth. The one thing that you always have recourse to no matter what you're eating or any of that.

Or the technology, the actual architectural techniques of creating a memory palace, for example, the fattest, most twist-eating Cheeto, suffocated human being on earth, who does nothing other than watching the Simpsons can still use memory techniques and so that's the ground basis of mental performance. Now, all of those other health things, are you going to do, you do one pushup?

You're going to have more advantage over someone who doesn't, but those techniques are there for you. So the primary thing that I would say is don't ask supplements or diet or exercise. To be the thing that improves your memory, use the memory techniques to improve your memory and use all those other things to give your mind that extra supercharged basis to operate those memory techniques.

You know what I'm saying? So it's a chicken and the egg thing, except for the fact is, is that here, we know what comes first and that's the memory techniques at the end of the day, but you need the body in order to have the memory training so that you know what I'm getting at.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. We're falling super behind on questions.

I just want to throw in. Don't be the Cheeto, eating Twizzler, guzzling, do your exercise because honestly you take all these drugs that we just talked about and I'll post a list for you guys. I'll be happy to post it. Someone asked if I can post it in Facebook, whatever. Yeah. You take all those and you compare them to the natural adrenaline and serotonin that your brain produces when you exercise.

And when you have a healthy diet and there's no comparison, you want to have a healthy brain. Get on the exercise bike, get out there like lift heavy stuff, run, be healthy, do all that stuff. Let's dig back a little bit. And I think we'd probably have to get a little bit more shorter form or we're just gonna go buried here.

Anthony Metivier: So that's about virtual memory palaces.

Jonathan Levi: Let's dig into that. And so they asked you talk about virtual memory palaces, which I'm not familiar with and they wanted it on my opinion. So maybe you explain what that is and I'll tell you what I think.

Anthony Metivier: Well, virtual memory palace is something that. Is not based on real location.

So, so give a simple example of a virtual memory palace. It would be I'm in Jonathan's apartment. I use it as a memory palace. It's not virtual because I've been here. It's not invented. I've seen it with my very own eyes. Sure. However, if I imagine that I'm in the next building and I create this memory palace based on a place I've never been, or a video game or Homer Simpson's house or Walter White house on breaking bad.

That's a virtual memory palace because I have no tangential connection to it. I've never been there. So in my opinion, the elementary school that I went to. It's a stronger memory palace because I've been there than anything that I would see on TV or anything that I would imagine being like the hotel across the street, this is just to me, absolutely clear because of that.

Relationship to being there that said, some people have some success with that, but now that you know what it is.

Jonathan Levi: So actually Dr. Lev does this as well, because, at the speed that he reads, he reads like 2000 words a minute, which I did not, but at the speed that he reads and essentially he runs. I don't want to say he doesn't get out much, but you know, he has three kids.

He's not walking around cities. Like you are like, you walked around London last week and you probably created how many new memory palaces. Yeah. And he's not doing that. And so he developed this method where he has like a memory landscape. And so he does this for me. I don't rely that heavily on the memory palace technique because really.

But what I teach is accelerated learning and accelerated reading. And it's not so much about memorizing facts. When I do use a memory palace, I always use, I have three or four there, my childhood home, my elementary school, my middle school, and my townhouse in the US so I always use a physical location, but that's probably because I've not maximized all the locations that I could.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. Well, one thing that I just want to pick up on Jonathan mentioned that I was walking around London last week. A lot of people ask me about how I'm so productive and so forth. And the reality is, is that I'm walking around all the time. I do something that I call in my mind road work, and that is that I get up.

I take my little iPhone and, uh, I haven't been here. And I write just about everything that I write in this app while I'm walking from cafe to cafe to cafe throughout really dictated, or do you write? No, I write on this little app, that's called plain text app that shocks and I thumb, I won't show it now, but I'll show him later.

I have written at leaks like 20 entire books, probably 20 books I've written and I just break them into chapters. And, uh, I do this roadwork. One of the reasons why I have so many damn memory palaces is because I do road work. I'm always constantly moving from cafe to cafe, to cafe, and I don't want to grocery off.

Sure. My rule of thumb is, is that I work until I have to pee. And then I go to the next cafe and I walk and then I listened to an audiobook or I write I type while I'm walking. And this is a great actual. Way to be more creative is to work while you're walking.

Jonathan Levi: It's something about the movement. I mean, Steve jobs always did it. He had walking meetings and Tim Ferriss is a big advocate. Do you want to go through your Anki deck and key being software for memorization? Do your Anki deck while you're on the exercise bike. We've got actually a lot of really good questions. Okay.

Someone wants to thank Anthony for his honesty and transparency and for sharing his very personal experiences.

Indeed, you are the best.

Anthony Metivier: Cheers. And there's a reason why I do that. And that's because it's so important to just cut the BS out of a lot of stuff. I mean, I studied just about everybody in my area of interest, in other areas of interest and. It does nothing for nobody to put on a show. You just gotta be yourself.

It helps more people at grade, whatever.

Jonathan Levi: How soon after being somewhere, does it qualify as a good material for a memory palace or is it just based on how familiar we think we are?

Anthony Metivier: I tell you something. If you get it in your head that you are going to study a place to be America pass. Yeah. We're looking at a minute or less.

Don't go into a restaurant without having in your mind that it's going to be a memory palace. And what I do is I have a old school, old school, my friend. But when I go into a new restaurant, cafe, bookstore, whatever, I often just take a little sketch that connects my brain with my hand with this. And it becomes a memory person.

Then I go in and I'll be memorizing some phrases from a language that I'm studying and I'll test myself actually. And I'll have a book of phrases from a book and then memorize them, put the book in my backpack. So I can't look at it. Test them using that memory palace, but I draw it out so that it's visualized.

So basically let's put it this way. Within it and it's already worked out.

Jonathan Levi: I want to say this. The purpose of the memory palace and correct me if I'm wrong, it doesn't actually matter at all. If my memory of my middle school is actually correct, as long as it's consistent, every time I call it up, it doesn't matter at all because it's just about having a consistent set of Loci.

And if in fact, that classroom was 103 and classroom 105, was it doesn't matter. The point is like having this physical location.

Anthony Metivier: It's actually the consistency that matters. Exactly. And that's why writing it out and create an Excel file that also sees it in a linear top-down order helps you calcify it.

Can I say cement it into your mind so that you're always using it the same way as we were talking about earlier? It's not a movie that you're replaying in your head. It's a stage play. So your memory palace is like a stage. The images that you create are actors, and as you move from station to station, the way that they move is.

Producing or decoding the information in the way that they act, but you are the director who is staging their behaviors to get them to work the dialogue, which is the information that you're looking for.

Jonathan Levi: I want to take this question. Is it even possible to make a memory palace with speed reading? I'm going to let you attack it, but that I think I know what I would say. We covered it a little bit in our course.

Anthony Metivier: Okay. Well, I don't want to be someone just said how they're grateful that I'm transparent and all of that. I'm going to be totally transparent with you. I don't do speed reading. I actually have talked extensively in my courses about slow reading and it's just, it's not my thing.

Jonathan Levi: So, so you have a Ph.D. in like poetry and language. Yeah. So seeing is enjoying the language and the pros.

Anthony Metivier: I mean, I feel like I'm getting old. Let me tell you this. I've done my research and speed reading. I know about the validity about it. And, uh, Thank you. No, no, I do. I've actually read about that 40 dissertations in a speed reading and accelerated learning and all these techniques.

I like dissertations. I highly recommend that you go to your local library and ask for access to things like Eric and, uh, different, uh, services that we look at dissertations, but I'm actually working on a podcast about speed reading. I'm going to do some experiments with it, but I actually don't do it myself.

Jonathan Levi: Call me, maybe.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. Yeah, but he also don't want to just do your friend's research. I mean, obviously, you want to do independent stuff, but that's the point aside is I talk a lot about slow reading and I talk about how to memorize a textbook realistically, and that involves actually reading the damn thing for particular purposes.

So for example, just very quickly. What I would do is I look at a book and there is a speed reading element here. I look at a book, I see there's 10 chapters. I decided in my mind, I'm going to take three points from each chapter. I make a memory palace that encompasses that possibility. And then I read the book and I look for the things that pop up.

Jonathan Levi: Oh, so you make the memory palace and then you fill it as you read it. Oh, that's interesting.

Anthony Metivier: And typically what I'll do is actually have index scores. So let's say I'm going to take three points from a 10 chapter book. I got 30 index cards out, right? If I don't want to build a Memory Palace advanced, I get 30 index cards out.

Jot down what that is. Page numbers, whatever you're going to need because I was a university student. You needed to have citations. You need to have page numbers. You need to have the name of the book and all that sort of stuff. Why waste memory space on what you can write down? Okay. Say that. So 30 pieces of information I'm reading for what pops, what I think is going to be valuable.

And I either memorize it in memory class I've built before or have it on the index card. And then I memorize it later from the index card, matching it to the memory palace. And so that's actually a very, very rapid way to get a book down the hatch and get the most essential elements. And I call this the rhizomatic method because what ends up happening is that let's say you got 30 pieces of information that you've memorized from a book.

Your mind has the natural ability to fill in the details. So as long as you've got pillars, You're going to find, and it's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be video recorded, but you're going to find this weird effect happening where it just, this is why I call it. The magnetic memory method is because it just seems to magnetically attract the stuff that you apparently didn't pay attention to, not everything but enough.

And so someone, the other day was asking me about this and I said, you know what? If you really want to, I will tell you everything I've memorized about Aerosols and the comeback in ethics, if you want. And I got started and he said, okay, I believe you. I get it. And this was back between 2006 and 2009. So it's still there and I'm still like, Oh, and that connects to Agustine and blah, blah, blah because it's just. So I like to read slow, sorry. Yeah.

Jonathan Levi: So I would say in my course, I kind of teach that speed reading and memory palaces are kind of two different worlds and that's because speed reading is about getting an understanding of the reading as quickly as possible. If you then determine that you want to remember things, look, the memory palace method is good for remembering something with a hundred percent accuracy.

You want to take 52 cards. You want to know the exact order they're in forwards and backward. You use a memory palace. You want to memorize six different credit cards, yours and your wife's with a hundred percent accuracy. Obviously, you use a memory palace. You want to know exactly. The words and the Russian language and exactly how they're pronounced.

You use the memory palace. You want to remember concepts, vague concepts. A book I often recommend is Peter Thiel's Zero To One. I only needed to remember the vague concepts. So I don't put them into a memory palace. Honestly, I think the point you made, why waste memory space on something you can write down?

I go into Evernote. I jot down the five top points that I learned from that book. Now, a lot of our students are doing reading. For example, someone just asked the question about medical students. It could be that you're doing reading that you need to remember with a hundred percent accuracy. And we get that and we teach that in our course.

The point is, at least for me, and I know some of these memory champions, they're using the memory palace method to memorize a deck of cards in 26 seconds. But that's the same memory palace and they're so exercise. And so practice. The normal mere humans can get to that level. Sure. But you're going to spend years getting your memory palace technique up to that speed.

Anthony Metivier: I don't know about that, but you're going to spend a lot of time and I didn't even know about that. I mean, That's not the point though. The point about how fast or how slowly you can come to proficiency to memorize a deck of cards in 26 seconds is not the point. The point is, is that people have a pain in getting the information that they want into their memory.

And if it comes down to medical terminology and speed reading, I don't really know. I'm not a medical student. I've never studied that sort of thing. I come from a different world, but I think what we're trying to say together is that. Memory champions are not the people to follow for the mass consumption of information.

They're memorizing to forget 20 seconds after they've won the competition or lost it. So those techniques are built and designed for speed, memorization, and speed forgetting, or at least forgetting, or at least say speed decay of whatever's memorize. Now, I don't know to the extent to which you can.

Speed read a medical textbook or a legal textbook, or even the stuff that I did. Maybe you could speed read Aristotle and still extract the same sort of thing. I think it's worth your time to explore both and figure out what it is that's going to work for you. But at the end of the day, I go with Jonathan a hundred percent.

If you want to have absolute total recall of anything, whatever you have speed read. Memorize slow.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. That's what I was going to say is actually we advocate at the end of each paragraph, review your markers, your visual markers because it ultimately comes down to space repetition, right? There's no way around the fact that if you don't repeat something in your memory, it's not staying right.

These memory palaces that you remember from 10 years ago, you repeated them over and over because they were part of your Ph.D. Mm. Okay. So there's no two ways around that. There's no method that I've ever seen under the sun to read something once and remember it forever. But with that said, you have to be judicious and you have to say, look, this book that I happen to be reading right now is going to be so critical that I'm going to put in the effort.

To do the review at the end of the chapter, that's a given, but at the end of the chapter review, what are the points you made then when you finished reading the book, you go back, you play back your markers. Most likely your brain, your hippocampus will already have determined what the most important things in that book were.

It's going to boil down to 5 to 10 points. You decide if you want to put that in a memory palace for storing it forever. You can have a memory palace entitled business books. It can be your first office and then you can store visual memories for every single one of those points. Me personally, I don't do that.

I take a note in Evernote. I highlight things when I read it, I'm not ashamed to admit. And I put the exact quotes that I found interesting because I'd rather personally read it directly. Now, do I have informal markers around different concepts? Like the Pareto principle? Totally. But that's because it's become a natural process for me to create these visual markers.

I don't store them in a memory palace. Personally speaking, I use memory palaces. Like I said, I reserve it for. Things that I need a hundred percent accuracy on.

Anthony Metivier: We were talking earlier today about memorizing cards. And do you need a memory palace or do you not? And I gave us a reason why that I use memory palaces and it has to do, as I've talked about in everything that I talk about with having to do with card memorization is A, it's a mental exercise.

I think it's one of the most powerful mental exercises there is. So we were asked earlier about creating images and so forth. Well, if you want to get good at creating images really fast, in addition to the exercise I gave you learn to memorize cards and use memory palace to position those images along the way are, they're not exactly abstract, but they're not exactly concrete either.

The thing of it is, is that they're also to memorize a deck of cards for me and why it needs a memory palace different than some other people is because I'm going to do certain card tricks with it. So, yeah, sure.

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Anthony Metivier: So Lucas has a lot of questions coming up with mental images.

What can I do? Thank you. You are awesome. We talked about this a little bit, but just to rehearse. When you want to come up with mental images, you got to practice the actual art of coming up with images. And it's super easy to do. Just get out a piece of paper and start listing all of the celebrities that you can think of.

All the politicians, all the musicians, all the actors, and start seeing images of them in your mind. And when we talk about seeing images, you don't have to have high-definition television in front of your eyes. You need to just. Have whatever it is that comes to your mind and focus on it, think about it, and think about how that you see it, what seeing means to you.

Because when I see things in my mind, it's often just a ghostly kind of image. It's almost just the outline of something. It's not this clear, again, high definition, television image, it's something else. And then you amplify it. You totally make it large and bright and colorful based on whatever it is. And then another thing that you can do to become better at creating images is to go inside a memory palace in your mind and take an object, like for instance, a glass of wine and see that glass of wine in a room in your memory palace, and just imagine floating it up, floating it down, floating it this way.

Floating it that way, this way, that way, and take an object, take a list of those politicians and see them in your memory palaces. You don't just do these mental exercises in random. See them in your memory, palaces, wherever you happen to be wherever you're going, and do it on the bus. And like I said before, see people on the street observed them try and memorize four or five different features about them.

And then later write them down. So we've got another here. There's a lot.

Jonathan Levi:  Someone asked by the way about foods that the curse of having a memory, as you remember everything, someone to them, we didn't acknowledge. What are the foods that improve memory? Fish? Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

That's why we've ordered exactly our diet. Uh, our Western diet is high in Omega 6. You want to counter. The Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acid ratio.

Anthony Metivier: This is cool. We got a magician here and a he's a brother go, sorry. I'm a street performer. And in my show, I use multiple audience members, even though their names while I'm using them.

By the end of the show, I cannot remember their names to thank them publicly. Any ideas, how to improve this? Absolutely. Okay. Here's just the basic stuff. When you ask someone's name, pay attention to what they're saying, bingo. Say it back in your mind and then say it to them. So if someone says, Hey, my name is Revit.

Then you say, repeat in your mind, you say Revit, it's very, very nice to meet you. And then I would get a picture of like ramen noodles or something. Well, I don't know, raw, right?

Jonathan Levi: Like you hit a ravine. A ravine. Well, okay. I picture a ravine is like a river. Yeah. So ravine is drowning in the river. Revit is drowning in the ravine.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. Whatever, or, I mean, you come up with stuff, but here's the thing about memorizing faces. And I think there are names, sorry, this is the thing that ruins it for a lot of people. They go, they read the common techniques and they say, Oh, that doesn't work for me. And it's because they're told to see that image on the person's face.

Let me ask you what could be more disrespectful than seeing an image on someone's face that you want to memorize their name, put it on their shoulder, or put it behind their back, where you met them or anything, put their face so that when you're looking at them, you're looking at them as a human being.

And also the time to practice memorizing names is not during a street performance. When you're a magician. The time to practice names is when you're in private. And get a list of names and practice them. And then in a low-stress environment, recall the list of names. To your dog and, uh, record the audio or write it out on paper without being able to cheat and then go check your list.

Then you increase the anxiety you go, and you say, look, I've memorized this list of the names I found on Wikipedia, random search or whatever to your family. And you say, I'm kind of nervous about this. It's totally new to me but just bear with me. I want to see if I get this correct in front of people and then you take it to the next level.

The next thing you know, you go to the next live performance, you get somebody up, they say their names, Gangador, Diane and or whatever. And you just have that. That's actually someone, the question is, where did you come up with Gangador? I met this guy named Gangador, Diane and, and I needed to remember his name.

And so. That's why I came up with him as an example. And he was a pretty rad dude.

Jonathan Levi: Anthony, our attempt to order a carb-free dinner has failed because there are rice noodles.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. Put rice noodles in it.

Jonathan Levi: Rice noodles, salad, unforgivable.

Anthony Metivier: Unforgivable. And yet you are eating them anyway.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. My judgment in his laps.

How long if possible, would it take to be able to read around 500 words per minute and be able to place something in a memory palace every five seconds? Well, first question. Why would you want to play something into memory palace every five seconds? We just ranted on and on and on about how you reserve the memory palace method or magnetic memory method, check both the broadcast replay, check out the replay, but we just talked about how you reserve it for things that you need a hundred percent recall on.

If you're reading stuff, probably don't need a hundred percent recall in terms of 500 words per minute, it's going to depend on how much you practice, but also where you're coming from. Bon appetit, by the way.

Anthony Metivier: Bon appetit. The thing too about this is that people set these completely, it's very respectable, but it's also has a bizarre element to it because it's not actually that useful? You know, you, you don't want to have this mind buzzing around like a bumblebee that would be autism. You want to have the ability to capture what you need so that you can use it when you need it. And, uh, that's quite different than 500 words a minute with memorizing something every five seconds.

You want to, you want something that's actually useful? And is that useful? I don't know. I mean, to what application, to what application can you actually apply those metrics? Basically, essentially.

Jonathan Levi: I think what we're coming to, if I can kind of summarize is that knowing when to use which skill is as important as knowing the skills. Knowing when to just use visual markers or use a memory palace, you need to judiciously choose.

Which technique you're going to use at which point and how much you want to invest in. I often think like basically to what level of clarity and reproducibility do I need this content? And if I'm reading some business book, I really don't need a hundred percent retention. I need to be able to outline the key concepts.

So I'll make a marker for each one, but. That's four or five concepts. They don't need to go into a memory palace. You know what I mean?

Anthony Metivier: Never going to forget the first time I ate sushi and drink wine on the internet at the same time. Someone asked about spaced repetition and, uh, yeah, I think that what I want to say about that is that as Jonathan mentioned earlier, there's always some form of repetition involved.

I mean, the great philosophers you to lose had a book called Repetition In Difference. And so, here's the thing for me, that's very, very important about the difference between using an SRS spaced repetition software and using your mind to repeat things with a mental house or some other memory technique is that as you said, repetition is different, but it's not different.

If you're using a spaced repetition software, it's just hammering the same thing at you again and again and again, with the wish and the hope and the prayer that it's eventually going to sink in. Why do this, when you have an amazing creative imagination that you can use in order to get things in there faster, knowing that repetition is different?

And that's that again, that metaphor of the memory palace as a stage, the imagery as actors, you as the director of that produces that, knowing that it's always different and the more different it is, the more you're going to remember it as you go through that again. And again and again. So if you're going to use spaced repetition software, Let's say you're learning Russian.

The last thing on earth that you should do is have the Russian word on one side and the English definition on the other, what you should have. If you're going to do this, I think you can give your thoughts in a second here, but you should have the Russian word and then you shouldn't have the crazy imagery in English that you use to memorize it on the other side.

Go so that you're giving your mind no other choice. Then to visit that stage in your mind, see the actors and get them to perform the sound and the meaning of that word. So that's my hardcore almost a hundred percent dantic and dogmatic take a hundred percent.

Jonathan Levi: You want to link into emotional, meaningful concepts, ideas, and visual imagery.

So my word I've talked about this on podcasts before, but it's just a really nice example. The Russian word for open is otkryto. Um, even sounds nice. Right. And, uh, I don't, I don't think that to the word open, I link it to an image of me with a stab wound standing in front of an emergency room, an emergency room, and gushing blood.

And I say the emergency room ought to be open because it's critical, otkryto, right? There's nowhere in that, is it linked to the word open? It's linked to the concept open and I mean that, isn't a memory palace in all my office, in my house in California. And it's sitting on the desk by the window.

Well, it's creating, I have a specific group of loci for, Oh.

Anthony Metivier:  Here's two questions that come in at the same time that actually go together and. So it'll Conti, as I would like to know how to effectively memorize mind maps. Is it possible to combine the memo techniques and mind maps and then Phillip clearing as how do you into a flow state?

Well, here's my thing, boy, about this, is that fine. Mind maps are a flow state. You're sitting there, you got your center point and you've got the squiggly line here and you got this word here, and duh, you doing all this stuff. Maybe you're getting some colors. Maybe you're drawing a cat. Maybe you're drawing a fish.

Maybe you're doing whatever you're in the flow state. That's what a mind map is, is a flow state. At the end, you've got this. Crazy thing that looks like you've been on LSD. Right. And, uh, maybe we don't know, we don't judge. No, no, but I mean, whatever, we don't get into it, but the whole thing is, is that I think that mind maps are a great way of getting into a flow state, but when it comes to combining memory palaces and mind maps, I think that if you want to do this, what you need to do is extract from that flow state.

From that mind map, a linear order in order to place it in America is one that produces knowledge through the rhizomatic techniques that we talked about before. Sure. So that's a great way. I think of combining those two questions.

Jonathan Levi: Well, it's also a great way of coming back to this idea of determining what methods suits, the level of comprehension you want for each piece of information you want to learn. Right.

Here's a really important question. Both for Jonathan and Anthony combined. Let's say you want to master a textbook for tomorrow's exam. Oh, first off, don't procrastinate now with speed reading techniques and memory palaces. What's the most efficient way I have a feeling he's sitting there and he has an exam tomorrow.

I think that's what it seems like.  He has an exam tomorrow that we need to help him prepare for.

Anthony Metivier: And here's what I want to tell you. And I think it's probably going to be the same answer for you potentially is I say this a lot and I'm going to say it again for the same reason they see the light. Dig your wells before you're thirsty.

Jonathan Levi: That's my answer. I mean, yeah. I mean, don't get into this situation.

But given that you are in this situation, First things first, I would be looking at Pareto principle. What is the 20% of information that's going to give me an 80% understanding? I don't know what the exam is in, but what is the 20% I'm going commission.

That's going to give me an ability to communicate that I have 80% of the knowledge that's being tested here. Right? I would first and foremost, figure that out. Okay. The second thing I would do. I would break that down into 5 to 10 points that will go in low loci in the most familiar memory palace. I possibly have something like my shower, something that I see every single day it's temporal.

I don't need it in the longterm.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. That's a great idea.

Jonathan Levi: And I would break those points down. I would invest so much energy into making the visual symbols complex. So probably we're talking about a mathematical exam. Each formula would get into, you know, a very complex, detailed visual image that I would play over and over and over for a few minutes.

And it would go into one rack on my shower shelf. And from there at least I know, I mean, again, dig your wells before you're thirsty, but at least I would know that those key points that are going to comprise 80% of the comprehension and understanding. I have those down so I can at least communicate to whoever's grading my exam. And also this is a matter of getting into their psychology can say, okay. You know, they tried well.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. And speaking about that a lot depends on your subject, but when you talk about getting into the psychology of the person, doing the grading, and so forth, here's a little quick story. And it's totally subject-specific.

But when I was in the fourth year of my University, BA I had a course on romantic poetry. I was really ill that year. I, it was one of the first years where I had to take lithium and I was like this all the time. And what ended up happening is I studied some of the wrong stuff. So there was a question at the end, it was an essay question.

And I had to answer about Byron's Cain and I never got around to reading Byron's Cain to this day. I never have gotten around to reading Byron's Cain woops, and it was a huge, huge question. It was 30 points or something like this, and to not be able to answer it meant a certain failure. So what I did is I said, Honestly, I didn't get around to reading this, but I can tell you a whole lot about Wordsworth and Coleridge and their biblical references.

Now Cain is a biblical reference, right? And so I just went on and on and on and on and on. It was kind of like, Isn't it interesting how this connects with what Byron must've been talking about and Cain, and I said it was no BS, but I just kind of went around the subject. Anyway. I wound up with an a, in the course.

Okay. And so the whole thing is, is never leave a question blank under any circumstances whatsoever because nothing is automatically zero. Something has the potential to be more than zero. So I'm not saying BS, just show your knowledge from a different direction.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. I want to quickly answer in plain English.

Can you put define mind maps as compared to Mary pauses? I'm going to really quickly answer this because I really want to deal with this one. After mindmaps, visual, nodal, neural network-looking structure, it looks like a web where you dry out actual physical notes in the real world. Outlining all the points in the branches they break into, or we're happy with that. Memory palace, imaginary structure or real structure, which you've called into memory, which has nodes of memory and visual images stored along the way.

Cool with that?

Anthony Metivier: Fantasy that a memory palace is a mental construct based on a real place. Bingo. And that you've strategically subdivided into stations as I call them in order to map out information along a journey that you can revisit. Bingo.

Jonathan Levi:  So this one, which I really like Jamie says. How do you integrate all of this into your life quickly and effectively?

Well, you don't number one and also more specifically, especially incorporating the 20, 80 principles and giving up perfectionism.

Anthony Metivier: Okay, well, this is beautiful, right? Because memory palaces and perfectionism do not go together. Memory techniques and super learning and speed reading and professionalism do not go together.

I mean, I'm speaking on territory that I actually don't do here. I say speed. You're there. But here's the thing. Give up perfectionism period. You can't even be perfect at perfectionism. That's the thing that perfection is don't realize you can't even be perfect at that. And in terms of being quick and effective, look, you take our courses.

You can do them in a day. If you want to, and you take notes, you ask us questions, whatever it takes, but nothing's going to happen unless you start taking action. We were just shooting a video of course today, or we're preparing to shoot a video of course today. And one of the things that I quoted in preparation is John Cage begins in anywhere, dive in a lot of people.

Jonathan Levi: So true.

Anthony Metivier: A lot of people ask me all the time. If I make a mistake or how do I do this? And how did that they're asking for permission, you do not need permission to breathe. You just suck it in and then you push it out. And it's the same thing with anything in the world. You want to accomplish something, you figure out what it is you put in the time.

If it costs a bit of money, then you pay it. I mean, I just paid $4,000 to sit in a room with a guy for two hours, not 2000 hours, that would've been a good deal, but a bargain would have been a barrier. But I spent a lot of money to sit with a guy who knows a hell of a lot more than I did. And I paid him a lot of money for it because I want to be able to do stuff.

But at the end of the day, what he told me is really hard. It's going to take a lot of effort and all I have to do is begin anywhere, breathe in. Push it out. Right. And it's going to happen. And that's exactly that. So if you read our books, you take our courses, just start somewhere.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Great. I always say, and by the way, the gentlemen talking gentleman or lady talking about multiplication help for children, it is now in huge letters on my screen.

We're going to get to it. So don't tune out. I always say motion creates motion. Any motion will either give you negative feedback that you're doing something wrong and will then make you more efficient and effective and applying the next thing. Or we'll give you positive reinforcement and encourage you and give you that nice little dopamine release that says keep doing what you're doing. This is working. Yeah.

Fortunately, and to your credit with memory palaces, you jump in, you say like, I'm going to remember my girlfriend's birthday using a memory palace. Almost a hundred percent guarantee if you do it right. It's going to work. And immediately, I mean, the first time you explained to me how to memorize a word in a different language, in a memory palace, for those of you who don't know, I used to kind of say, these are memory, palaces, try them out.

They don't work for me. Then Anthony came along and he's like, actually, They work for everybody almost always. Anyway, the first time I experienced that and I was speaking to someone in Russia and I threw out this word that I'd struggled with. It's like magic. And that reinforcement the success principle here, that reinforcement, it will accelerate your progress.

But how do I implement this into my daily life? I use pragmatism. Do I use a memory palace to remember everything? Absolutely not. However, when someone tells me you need to take bus number 172, do I say, like, I have a pen that's falling off a cliff as is drawing a Swan, something like that. Or do I use the major method?

Yeah. Bus number 172. It's going to save me from pulling out my phone 10 times.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. Yeah. I'm always standing on the train tracks, like a national cross international train or plane or whatever. And I see all these people that are constantly pulling out their tickets. They're looking in the room,  just memorize it.

You can use the waiting room in the airport or on the train tracks is your memory palace. I do see that crazy bunny. You know, I have so many temporary mountain memory palaces. I call it an impromptu memory palace.

Jonathan Levi: Agreed. And also when you meet people, Generally two people will not be standing in the exact same physical location.

So as you're working your way around a conference or a cocktail party, literally where I meet the person becomes their loci, uh, low PSI.

Anthony Metivier: Do you go to a lot of cocktail parties?

Jonathan Levi: I tried to single anybody out there. I mean, I'm single, I'm trying to meet people. I'm trying to go single, ready to mingle. All right.

Let's talk, multiplication, help. And before I think we've actually polished off a bottle of wine, which should be somewhat explicatory as to the rambler. I nature.

Anthony Metivier: It's all done. It's getting there. I'm not rambling. I am. Okay.

Jonathan Levi: The multiplication help for the young people. Yeah. How would you teach someone multiplication tables if they were here?

Anthony Metivier: Okay. Well, I like to use rhyme a lot for this. So two times two is four is a door. Three times three is what? Nine, 12. I dunno. Three times three is nine. No, no, sorry. After a bad start. Um, no, but three times three is nine. I'm feeling fine. And you just go through all of these things and you help the child see a rhyme and you put that rhyme in a memory palace, right? So you're creating a rhyme with an image at the outcome. So at your door is two times two is four by the door. Three times three is nine and feeling fine. Oh, that's good by the clock with as time and you just make it around your house. And I remember coaching a person through this.

And she had absolutely fantastic results with her daughter who was struggling with the multiplication times table. Now it's up to you to figure out your own exact way you're going to do it. But if you can incorporate rhyme with image with space, then you can have your child walk through your house, picking up each and every single equation and the outcome of the equation.

Jonathan Levi: Actually, I'm going to tie it together like three questions at once. Do it. We talked early on about creativity and how creativity is so important and these memory techniques and how you can train your creativity because ultimately it comes down to using these techniques in creative ways. We also talked about lack of perfectionism and stuff like that in that there's no perfect way to apply these techniques, get creative, get messy.

It's sloppy. Right? And so what I would do because you can creatively apply these techniques is I would tell my son. Or daughter, hopefully, hopefully, both, hopefully one of each, but I would say three times three, that's two buts, right? Kids probably aren't going to mess around with a major method, but three times three is two butts.

Right. And if you accidentally back into somebody or imagine a symbol, you actually don't leap back into somebody and they're carrying a fish and they drop the fish. Well, three, three, nine. That's the visual symbol. So you now have a marker for that one equation three times three equals nine. Let's try another one and see if my random ideal works.

Two times two equals four, two swans sitting together. They cross their necks and make a heart and they're sitting on a chair. And you just have a symbol for every equation. How you feel about this? I'm a grown man. If I attack him, do it. Good. All right. Thank you, sir. So

Anthony Metivier: you got to listen back to what we both said and experiment with both with your trial and see what happens exactly.

Jonathan Levi: The bottom line though, that I do want to say, because we are saying, try this out experiment with this. It can almost sound like not advice, but it is advice because the advice is. A do what works for you, but B anything is better than repeating. Two times two X equals four, two times two equals four, two, that's called rope memorization and it doesn't work.

And that's why all of academia when you throw out the words, memorization, they cringe. Because it doesn't work. It does not work. Say two times two equals four, a hundred times until you get it.

Anthony Metivier: And when it does work, right, then people have a negative association to learning in general. And that's why they sit out and drunk in their cars, in the backyard, collecting dust while cats mess around on the shed, because they don't want to learn new stuff. They've been beaten over the head with all kinds of right stuff.

Jonathan Levi: I want to say, like, I forgot what I want to say. How telling, how telling the thing is alcohol. Someone asked alcohol and memory. Yep.

Anthony Metivier: No bueno. So will this be made available to people after the lecture? Well, we are recording it. It's going to be on a podcast and look, here's the thing.

If it's usable. No, we have to, because the thing is, we're talking about perfectionism and so on. We've both made mistakes. We both said things. I couldn't even have traffic. I couldn't even conjugate, uh, nine plus nine or whatever. It was three times, three half, no shame. But it's not important. The whole thing is, is you get in there and you do that.

You help people. And that's what I always tell people all the time is when you've learned a skill, teach it to somebody else. Because that's how you truly learn it.

Jonathan Levi: That's why I taught the SuperLearning course. I was like, I think I get this stuff, but just to make sure, let me spend 40 hours building a course on it.

Anthony Metivier: Yeah. And there's more than just making sure it's actually, you learn it for yourself at a much deeper level. And so if you actually want to claim that you've learned anything from either of us, you'd better have taught it to somebody else first and not just passed it on, but used it and then explained.

The source and how you used it so that it, I agree it multiplies and grows and essentially becomes, like I said before, rhizomatic.

Jonathan Levi:  Here we go with the remembering what I was going to say business. I spend a lot of time and inordinate amount of time thinking about what our brains and our bodies were evolved to do, it's kind of like a weird thing for me.

If anyone's curious about this, I read a book called Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Incredible. History of the entire history of humankind. So I think a lot about what is my digestive tract evolved to eat? What is my body evolved to do? You know, I should be moving around. I shouldn't be sitting in chairs. I should be using the foot, whatever.

That's not the subject of this, but what is my brain evolved to do? My brain is evolved to remember where the food source is to emotionally interpret. If other people are a threat to me, To seek out mates to try and reproduce. I mean, get down to the basics of what we, as animals are intended to do. And then you'll understand why these memory palaces work and they didn't all understand why visual memory works.

And you'll understand that we think that we're these evolved creatures, but we still are subject to biological needs and our brains work to serve those biological needs. So whenever I'm trying to learn something, I think how can I make this relevant from an evolutionary perspective?

Anthony Metivier: There's a quote here, Albert Einstein, if you can't teach it simply enough, you don't understand it enough.

Jonathan Levi: So true.

Anthony Metivier: I'd actually say that if it's understandable, it's not worth studying. Sorry, but it's understandable. Yeah. I mean, think about it like,

Jonathan Levi:  Oh, did you figure, I mean, you understand memory palaces very thoroughly.

Anthony Metivier:  Precisely the point. I'll never be done with them.

Jonathan Levi: So if it's mass trouble. But understandable is a different story.

Anthony Metivier: Well, what I'm trying to say is that. To me when I read that, I just kind of thought, wait a second. There's no infinite regress there. There's no labyrinths to be lost in. So I agree. Yeah. It's like music. I study music. I've been playing guitar for Jonathan all day. I don't know what he thought about it.

Jonathan Levi: Fantastical.

Anthony Metivier: I mean, I just, I'm playing is a Renaissance man. I'm playing guitar and music. Not because I want to get it to a point that's so simple that I can explain it to somebody. If you've ever taken a music lesson, you understand that it will never be taught simply ancestral. Uh, and it will never be interesting to study for the rest of your life.

If it could be simply expressed. So my point is we need to be careful with throwing out quotes from Albert Einstein and so on. Everybody has these quotes, I've even made some quotes today, myself, and you quote with caution as Al Pachino says, if I can throw out a quote in the devil's advocate, he says, advice is the worst advice.

So I'm kind of like throwing all these things together. I'm using a quote to tell you not to use quotes, which is advice, which is the worst vice quoting out Al Pachino associate regress, infinite regress, cool parlor trick. Did we got time for another question? Oh, it's another one.

Jonathan Levi: I mean, it's already eight, but I got all the time in the world.

Anthony Metivier: So you should know why man.

Jonathan Levi: Okay. So soon-ish.

Anthony Metivier: Hey there SuperHumans and all friends magnetic. This is Dr. Anthony meant to be here and I hope you're enjoying this Q and A episode between Jonathan and I. This is it for part one, but do not fear because we've released part two simultaneously. So make sure to cue it up next in your podcast, app of choice, and Hey, come on over to and

We've got lots of cool stuff for you. Subscribe to us and we'll send you some cool, cool stuff, and you'll be notified of more. Cool stuff in the future. And of course, show your love by pressing all those share buttons and spreading it around all over the place, wherever you happen to go. Okay. So we'll see you in part two of this very, very special and exclusive Q and A with the great Jonathan Levi and I, your magnetic friend, Anthony Metivier.

Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the Becoming Superhuman Podcast for more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit We'll see you next time.



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

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