The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 481 · 1 year ago

Dave Farrow: Hack Your Brain For Ultimate Performance


Dave Farrow is a two-time Canadian Guinness World Record holder for most decks of playing cards memorized in a single sighting. His trademarked "Farrow Method" is helping business teams perform at turbo-charged levels and was even the subject of a double-blind study at McGill University.

The retail auto industry tends to get caught up in the hype of breaking news and what's happening today. From big data to Web 3.0, the true winners are those who improve themselves so that they are better equipped to leverage what's happening in the world. From providing better customer experiences to building sales relationships that increase lifetime value, that's the true crux of what we discuss with Dave in this episode.

What we discuss in this episode:

  • Dave did not have a good memory when he first started. He trained himself to have a good memory, it's a skill that can be learned.
  • You can have a superhuman memory, you just have to learn how YOUR brain works.
  • There is a whole realm of mental training that skips academia altogether.
  • Your brain believes what it thinks will actually happen — this is what athletes and performers like to visualize before they perform.
  • Think of the impact on your car sales career by visualizing and training your mind to see the best outcomes day in and day out.
  • You have the most powerful computer sitting between your ears. The brain is the most complex thing we know of. The challenge is that it has an awful battery.
  • How is the hustle affecting performance? Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of "hustle" but quickly forget that resting is as crucial to achieving something as is the hustle.  

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Thanks, Dave Farrow!

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...the car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow. This is the dealer playbook. Mhm mm hmm. Dave Farrow is a two time Canadian Guinness world record holder for most decks of playing cards. Memorized in a single sighting. He's an entrepreneur, keynote speaker and memory coach. His trademarked pharaoh method was proven in a neuroscience double blind study conducted by McGill University and is helping turbocharge business teams to perform at new heights. He has said that quote, there is nothing more empowering or motivational than discovering the ability for superhuman memory has been inside you all along close quote Dave thanks so much for joining me on the dealer Playbook podcast. Oh, thanks very much for having me. This is uh, this is fun. I love doing interviews like this. I can't help but notice a lot of the, the uh photos on your walls? I'm anticipating probably from tv appearances and stuff. We'll talk about that in a minute minute, but I'm curious how does one, how did you come to the realization that you had a really good memory? Yeah, I didn't mean to trip over any names that I dropped, but you know, it's important to get the, let's get the word out. Um, I love that line. Um, I did not actually, that's actually the first question everybody asks and I have to say that um I did not have a good memory when I started, this is a trained memory, this is something you can learn uh and train yourself in like like martial arts of the mind. Um I actually uh I had an okay hey memory but I was diagnosed with A. D. H. D. And dyslexia when I was 14. Um And uh the in those in those days also I'm a little older than people diagnosed today. Um It was it was just a crazy train wreck of trying to treat and I was essentially kind of written off by the system. I literally had a teacher who told me that you know I would never accomplish my goals that I have to like you know um be more realistic and my goals were fairly realistic. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, run my own business, have employees you know and travel and things like that. And uh yeah he was he was he was pretty mean. So I actually decided to figure out my brain, I went on an auto didactic quest because I found that the institutions used uh you know learning method and teaching methods that we're not really uh based on data and science, they were kind of based on credentials, you know some educator wrote a book and then you know they would use that as as their as their tool. Um you know which is fine if if the data is there, but I was...

...going to seek the reality and I was very open. I went all the way into, you know, looking into mental ism and hypnosis and everything. I learned how to, you know, read lips and, and a bunch of other stuff in the process. And what I came upon was nowhere near what I eventually developed and started, you know, coming up with my own memory techniques. Um, but the result was fantastic. Once I started using this in classes, I um, I went from, you know, bottom of the class to, well, well at first I did really well on tests and I was accused of cheating. So I did almost a year where I was constantly in the detention doing my tests over and over while they would like literally search me or one time they took my shoes off because they were certain that the doodles I had on my shoes were secrets to the test because because nobody could really, you know, realize that you can have a superhuman memory. You just have to know how your brain works. Mm hmm. This is really interesting. I had a conversation recently with um, Scott Flansburgh Ak the human calculator. Yeah, he's a good what you just said reminded me of something. He didn't really say it this way, but it kind of triggered a conversation around the fact that when you're utilizing the appropriate part of your brain for the task at hand. And almost to your point, it feels super human and it feels natural and a testament to that was with, with scott's math, you know, lessons and whatnot. One of my sons Who is definitely afraid of math just does not enjoy, it doesn't enjoy any of that kind of stuff. When he started doing some of the exercises that Scott talks about using, I think he calls it area 44 or something like that. All of a sudden, Here's my 12 year old going, why don't they teach us this in school? Yeah. And I had the same sort of feeling, there's a whole realm of, of mental training that, um, it's kind of skipped by academia for a long time. In fact, it actually dates back to ancient Greece. The very first, um, academy, the very first academic institution made by Aristotle. One of the course is one of the eight fields of study was memory. These techniques due date back that far. But at some point it became more of a, you know, master and apprentice style teaching method rather than anything sort of formal. And I think it's because you use your imagination and there was a big push at one point that anybody who uses their imagination that's not real learning, that's horrible and you've got to be all serious and everything and no, they took a lot of the joy out of it. Not to mention all the creative, you know, people in this world who are creators, rebels. I mean, just as any, as anybody that steve jobs would refer to an apple ad, you know, or change in the world. Um, so I think we've kind of come around to it now and we understand that there are tools and tactics that we can use. And I would actually correct a little bit of what you said. I would say that that the result seems superhuman. You know, like people who take my course, they can memorize thousands of digits of numbers in a row. Um, I did a demonstration where I memorized 1400 the words of Cantonese in in just a weekend. Uh, you know, and...

...and that was fun because I could understand what people in chinatown were actually saying about. Um, and uh, and and like it goes on on, you can do all these things, they seem superhuman. But when you actually get into it, you realize that it's actually natural. Your brain has the ability to remember all of this stuff with about as much effort as it takes to remember, say the plot to Star Wars, like, you know, probably been a long time since you saw that movie. But if you really sat down trying to write it out, try to do a test on it, you probably do the movie puts information into your brain the way the brain wants to absorb that information. It's as simple as that. We just haven't uh, you know, taught a lot of people how to do that in academics, we do it in entertainment, we do it in games. Gamification of education is coming someday. It's not quite here yet, but it's on the way. Um, but I think that's really that's really where we're headed is just understanding how our brain works in that way. Does what you teach, tie in or at all closely related to them, the ability to form new habits or build new healthier habits? Yeah, actually, I have a I have a book coming out called Brain Hacker and and in my in my online course at pharaoh memory dot com, we go, well beyond memory. Memory is basically just a connection in the brain. That's that's all it is. So, uh, the ability to form new connections allows you to have good long term memory, but also your ability to understand connections, creates your beliefs, your habits, your attitudes. There's a whole section have on the mental thermostat about how we all have a certain level and a brain of success that we feel we deserve. And we've essentially connected that to us, that's our identity, but that can also be responsible for a lot of self sabotage, let's say you don't feel like you deserve to be loved, you can sabotage a relationship, you don't deserve the promotion, you've got, you can get imposter syndrome, All of this stuff is where kind of, the real world doesn't match the connections you made in the brain and when you have the the ability to just edit those connections like you know like uh slicer does two D. N. A. You know you can just edit it and re put it back together. You can you can dramatically change your outlook on life and change your your life. I mean I'll give you one simple hack. Here's here's a here's a brain hack that we cover that that's not a memory one but it's super simple. Um is just counting the counting hack is so powerful. So um I use an example of how I used to grind my teeth a lot. It was a nervous habit. I have A. D. D. So I like to tap them and everything and after a while they were starting to get sore and I was really worried that I was like damaging my teeth. So one of the simplest things you can do is just carry around a little piece of paper and put a tick every time you do that bad habit whether it's you know biting your nails or smoking or whatever it is or having a craving for a bad food, something like that and just start keeping track and you'll find you know day number one maybe you don't notice a whole lot. Day number two you'll see a lot of them because now you'll be aware of them. And then it will slowly decrease after a few days you'll, you'll catch yourself even before you do it. And...

...simply by being aware and paying attention counting them, they start to disappear. It's actually really powerful and it's the simplest little habit hack you can do. Um It reminds me of when I signed up for weight watchers And they allocated me I think 31 of their points per day And then I went and checked on my beloved coke slurpee and realized that it was like 47 points and it immediately reframed my brain, but I like I no longer desired the slurpee and I haven't had one for, you know, the space of two years and that's what I'm reminded of as you're saying that if I can see how horrendous this habit is and how often it occurs. Maybe it reshapes my brain. Well, here's a neat hack actually for um for a food craving. Um I had the same thing with, with Wendy's Wendy's frosty. I was, I was addicted to those things, man, I gained like £20 crazy. Um and it was, it was always, it was because it was on my drive home and I was very stressed when I got home and like, hey, this is my reward for working so hard, right? We justify all these things. Right? So um a simple way to do it actually is use visualization on some level your brain thinks whatever you visualize actually happens, that's why olympic athletes visualize themselves doing a successful run time and time again before they do the run, it dramatically improves your results, things like that. Um, they do things with astronauts as well, like all sorts of people. Event rehearsal is a very well established science. It's not, you know, woo at all. Um, so take that one step further. If you visualize something going terribly, it's gonna ruin that experience for you. So I imagine, um, every day for about a week I imagined a couple of times a day that I would be eating a Wendy's frosty and it was like something disgusting, like there was mold growing on it or ants or crawling into my mouth or it was like somebody replaced it with motor oil or something. And by the end of that week I couldn't even look at a frosty and to this day, I haven't even had one and I haven't even craved one. Now, I want to be clear though, it'll ruin that food for you. So be careful when you do, you won't, you won't want it ever again. But it will only ruin that food though. Like I still eat ice cream. I still eat things that are similar. So that, that's like for a specific addiction, there are other, you know, hacks for, for other situations. That's fascinating. Talk to me about your pharaoh method. You, you explained a little bit about how you arrived at creating this method. But then you also said that you've got people who have taken your training, who have attended, perhaps some of your events who are now able to remember thousands of digits and numbers in a row or things that make sure to the point of your Guinness record holder. Most decks of playing cards memorized in a single sighting. So, talk to me about what is the feral method and where does one get started in this whole journey of increasing their their memory? Well, you know, any google search, you can actually find memory techniques, you look on with Wikipedia, go down a little rabbit hole and find some of the basic memory techniques. Um I learned them as well, but I found them wanting um I found...

...that when you actually try to apply them to a real world situation, you know, I can memorize a few words of vocabulary, try to learn a whole language all of a sudden, I've got a whole bunch of situations that my techniques, you know, we're weren't doing things for, and the biggest one for me was focus. Um I can use a great memory technique, but if I can't get myself to actually pay attention long enough to do it, then I I I would fail. Um and that was actually my secret weapon for my Guinness record. Uh the Guinness record that I have is a bit more than just most decks of cards memorized. It's all the cards are all shuffled together and it has one of the lowest uh It has the lowest actually error rate allowed in the Guinness book of records from memory in hindsight I should have chosen any other memory record other than that one. It's like the toughest one. So you're only allowed 10.5% wrong like so out of the 3068 cards in my Guinness record, the 59 decks Um you know that's something like 24 like it's a very small amount. I only got one error out of the 3,068 cards. And and the way I did that was I developed a focus technique to overcome my A. D. H. D. And this is where my system, you know I use traditional memory techniques and I teach everybody what what exists and I teach it in a really good way. But then also in the course I have my proprietary techniques that I developed that that add on to it that take it to the next level. The focus technique is a good example of that basically. Um you have the most powerful computer ever conceived of in existence. And one way to think of it is the brain is the most complex thing that the brain is aware of. You know that we are even aware of the entire universe. So the problem is that it has a terrible battery. Uh The fact is that we cannot pay attention to something for long periods of time without losing focus, making mistakes, that sort of thing. We're not robots. The reason has to do with brain chemistry just thinking, doing tasks builds up serotonin. It changes our brain chemistry makes us tired, It makes us make mistakes. Um so what I did was I turned tasks into a kind of interval training where I did work for very short periods of time. We're not talking the Pomodoro thing where it's like 45 minutes at a time. We're talking, you know, 5-8 minutes and I call them focused bursts and then a short break and then a burst again, there's certain rules on how you do it so that you maximize your focus during that time and you can actually have perfect recall. But the cool thing is by giving yourself that break in between your brain chemistry returns back acting normal and you can just keep on going. And I've had students do focus bursts for 8, 10, 18 1 even did it for 36 hours to see if he could uh And and at the end of it, the problem is that you're not really tired, so he couldn't, he was kind of wired, so he couldn't go to sleep. But the encounter that to um you know, compare that to to studying in general where you study for like three or four hours, you're exhausted and that's because your brain chemistry has gone so far into that...

...serotonin and you know pool. Um And a lot of people think they have terrible memories or they have terrible focus uh just because they're not using their brain chemistry in the right way, I need this and I need this because you know, it's funny my father in law who worked his entire career heavy labor road construction, he comes home exhausted. Here I am at a computer and a mouse wasted when I get home just completely obliterated. And and it's funny because you go well what do you do? You just sit at a computer and have meetings all day and blah blah blah blah. And it was hard for me to articulate and and until now I wish I would have talked to you two years ago when this conversation came up, I would have been like well actually. Um So so yeah pharaoh memory dot com. We have the whole program and it's originally that focus technique was developed for kids with A. D. D. Um But we found that just about everybody really benefits from it. And there it might be even a bit of advantage that A. D. D. People have because when you D. D. In the right way, you can activate hyper focus because most of the time people only do that for things like video games or something, you know where kids can't stop paying attention with without giving away the farm. Is there one little, so you talked about these little bursts? I'm curious now, What are you doing during the break? Yeah, listen, I'm happy to give away the farm. I want to help as many people as possible. Um I think anybody who's listening to this knows that this is complex stuff we're talking about. So me just describing how a technique is done, there's by going through the exercises and a step by step, you're going to be guaranteed the result here, you get kind of an idea of how it could work. So I'm happy to give you an answer. Anything I can. Um the the, the brakes. Uh one way to think of this as like a high, low intensity um you want to have your brakes be something that are low intensity. Now, I've done reading a novel, you know, for the low intensity things. But to be honest, I actually have reverted to just like watching a tv on netflix, watching a show on netflix, like on pause. And I'm literally well Watching it five minutes at a time. And the reason is that I'm so productive during the focused burst because of the strategies and the and the way that you like, you know, challenge yourself and and tackle something, you know, very challenging and you can break up your work into tiny modules. So you can take a basically a bite out of it each time you get so much done that even with those breaks you're getting, you're getting, you know, two or three times more things done in the same hour than if you just try to plow through and work the entire time, but you're miserable. So I use those brakes also as a as a reward. But um I have had people that have switched tasks and I tell them that they have to have a more passive tasks. So reading is fine, even reading for pleasure or something, you know, just as long as not too complex material, I've done some three D modeling, I do that. I do like him into three D. Printing and design and stuff. So I've done that. Um But then you go back to the difficult task which is something like memorizing or something intense. That will really burn, you...

...know, it'll it'll burn your brain chemistry, it'll it'll build up that serotonin and dopamine your adrenaline will kick in, but that only lasts for like 6 to 8 minutes tops. Um You know, things like that. Uh And if you try to push yourself further than the adrenaline kind of tries to compensate for everything else. Uh and then you then your body produces cortisol, which that stress hormone which can essentially, if you try to push yourself too hard, what happens is you actually train yourself to be forgetful. Your your brain will essentially try to do what you what it thinks you want it to do, which is to keep on working and but it does that by releasing cortisol and adrenaline and other things. Um and you feel like you're accomplishing something because you're working right? But at the end of the day when you look back at that time they're incredibly unproductive, you're just not getting things done, you know? So it's a matter of like how much you actually want to get done versus how much you want to feel like you're you're working. It makes perfect sense. I mean when when we exercise we are like you you drew the analogy to hit training perhaps where you're going high intensity and then you rest high intensity, then you rest if our physical body benefits from that. Yeah. And I actually have a theory about that, that I think this is an evolutionary process that um it goes back to fight or flight, you know? And I mean think about our our ancestors would have spent most of the day relaxing until they saw a tiger. Then they're they're either like they're running or they're there with their spears or something. But I mean fast forward just like five minutes, that situation will be resolved. The tiger's gonna leave, the tiger's gonna eat them or they're gonna have tiger for breakfast, whatever it is. So my point is that these crises in the natural world, what are our brains are involved for in the crisis in the natural world lasts about 6 to 8 minutes tops. Have you ever seen a real fight? I mean you'd be lucky to go like, you know, three minute rounds even for boxing, so your brain is really good at being really smart for the short periods of time because that's what nature needed for what, you know, 250 to 500,000 years, depending on where your market. Um and now all of a sudden we're trying to uh keep that that same thing going for eight hours a day and it's failing, you know, so it makes, it makes a lot of sense. This is my adaptation. Um uh just just understanding this can help a lot of people, I think just understanding that it's not your fault, uh you know, you're not tired because you didn't get enough sleep or something. If anything, you're probably pushing yourself, you're you're getting your adrenal glands going and then that's making it tougher for you to sleep later on. So you think you have insomnia, but really you have a focused strategy issue. So I'm thinking about how the workplace needs to implement more breaks, like make it more okay for more breaks so that employees or team members can actually have a better shot at increasing performance. And I think sometimes we we fall in love with the idea of hustle, we forget that rest is as crucial to success as is the high intensity. Yeah, I mean it could could be, could be compared to uh, you know, a person chopping down wood, you know, at the time that you spend sharpening...

...the ax is just as important as the time you spend shopping, right? Um I uh I also run a company called pharaoh pharaoh communications. Uh it's a rather good sized pr and marketing firm. So I've got 10 employees and what I decided to do if anybody, you know, think thinking about this in their job or their place of business, especially because we've got mostly virtual were in the office maybe two days a week because I like my employees and I like to give them time. Um The way we've actually become more productive is by having a task based system. So everything is broken down into tasks and check marks and you got to do your stuff each day. Uh And as long as you get your stuff done then it doesn't really matter how many hours you spent doing it. You know, we don't clock in clock out. We give, you know, flex time and everything and and and and abilities and we got tremendously great feedback from all of our clients saying that that, you know, the work is fantastic. It's really good. Um and it's because I think when you're looking at, okay, I just have to write this one page right, just have to do this one bit of research when you're looking at a quantifiable some it's much easier for your mind to get around it. It's much easier to block out all the distractions and just do the thing and whether or not you're using like focus first or you just, you know, you're just focusing in on one thing at a time. I think that's the future of not only education, but maybe even work, like you said, like, like we're starting to get to that with the the gig economy and I think that that might be where we're all headed because it is the natural place. I hope, I hope they give me credit for the Guinness for the focus first thing. So I think I just I think I'm just like I'm I'm just I have a note in in the in the song that is our our focused strategy for humanity. Like I think we're naturally going to be going there. Yeah, I think this is amazing. I have so many more questions, Would definitely love to have you back on the show, but for now, how can those listening get in touch with you and learn more about your pharaoh method? Well, the best way is to go to pharaoh memory um I believe google is being nice to us and it should pop up if you if you put in Dave pharaoh or something pharaoh is is is uh f f with an arrow, right? And this is our logo, the f with the arrow coming out so there. Um and obviously, you know how to spell memory, so this pharaoh memory dot com if you can't find it in google and there's a great deal for your listeners as well. Uh and I stand behind every single one of these. Now this program, people, are we talking about this now? This is kind of a redo or re imagining because my original program is uh is a best seller, sold over 100,000 copies. Uh it went all around the world. Um you know, this was in the early 2000 to 2010. And then we took a little hiatus for a little while because the science was really, really cutting edge. And I got involved in some of the science and tech. Uh and and we did a double blind study and a bunch of other things. I've been writing books and stuff. And now this program is even more powerful than the program that I had in the past and it's more affordable. So I think that it's something that, you know, will help anybody out there and I stand behind it. Amazing, man, Thank you so much for joining me on the dealer Playbook podcast. It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks a lot. You're a great interview.

Yeah, mm hmm. I'm Michel Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer Playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening. Mm hmm. Mhm, mm hmm.

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