APEX Hour at SUU

1/27/22: Bob Kittell on memory and focus

Episode Summary

In this week’s show, speaker and author of En-lighten Up Bob Kittell joins host Lynn Vartan to talk about the power of memory in our lives and its ability to develop focus and to manage stress!! He shares his path to quiet the mind to allow for deeper engagement by exercising memory techniques and eliminating distractions.

Episode Notes

APEX Website

Episode Transcription

Dr. Lynn Vartan  00:02

Hey everyone, this is Lynn Vartan and you're listening to the apex our on K SUU thunder 91.1. In this show, you get more personal time with the guests who visit Southern Utah University from all over, learning more about their stories and opinions beyond their presentations on stage. We will also give you some new music to listen to, and hope to turn you on to some new sounds and new genres. You can find this here every Thursday at 3pm or on the web at sau.edu/apex. But for now, welcome to this week's show here on thunder 91.1. All right, well, welcome in everyone. It is a Thursday afternoon here at the apex hour. And I am so excited to continue the conversation that we've been having on campus. Today, we are joined on campus with speaker and memory expert, Bob Kittell. Welcome involve Well, thank you for being welcomed. That's a perfect way to start. We're welcoming you and enjoying you. You've been just so generous with your time, and your service, and just what you're sharing with the university. And I'm so excited to talk to you this hour. So let's get going. You have spoken all over the world in so many places. And I wonder if you could just give us a little snapshot of, you know, some of the things that you've done so our audience can get to know you a little bit more. 


Bob Kittell  01:37

Well, what I did was, you know, I missed a couple feld goals against Arizona State, but I guess we'll skip that part. Anyway, when I was in college, my senior year, I heard a tape by Zig Ziglar. Ah, and Zig Ziglar at the time was one of the greatest motivational speakers on the planet. And it resonated like you will do this one day. Wow. And one of the things he talked about is I will get prepared perhaps by chance will come for So for whatever reason, I just started preparing. And I started memorizing quotes and reading books. The TV went off, I didn't see TV for 10 years, but I listened to every motivational speaker I could find. I listened to hundreds of tapes. I practice talking every single time I could get in front of somebody. And then one day I found this book on memory how to memorize. My GPA goes from 3.0 to 3.8. And I go, how come everybody doesn't know how to do this. I had this idea. I was getting my master's degree. And I said, if if I were to teach 200 students how to have a better memory, would that be worth three credit hours? And the professor said, Well, absolutely. So I walked into an anatomy class on campus. And I said, Can I have five minutes with your class because I teach memory skills? He said sure. All 200 of his kids came including the professor. He called me two weeks later, he says you've created a problem. I said what the class you taught, just blew the curve on my other two classes of 200 students each. And they're begging me to have you come speak to them to I remembered something else. Ziglar said if you want to get experienced go do it for free. So for over the next year and a half, I taught 3000 kids for free how to have a better memory. And I graduated and I thought I wonder if people would pay for this. So I actually started by selling door to door. I went to a junior college door to door selling memory and I'm going, I'm making more money in an hour than I do. Anyway, I ended up taking it to universities all over the country, over 100 universities, which opened up doors which opened up doors which opened up doors. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  03:41

That's amazing. Well, I have two follow up questions. First, when you felt that first sort of zing about motivational speaking, what was it? Was it to being on stage and sharing? Was it that what was it that really turned you on? Do you remember?


Bob Kittell  03:59

That, it was just one of those things that resonated, it just resonated like you will do this one day. And I had no idea what that meant. It's just when I get those little zings I just go follow them. And then one of two things happen. Something happens or something doesn't I had a zing to two years ago is really funny. I know a gal owns a talent agency. She said you should do commercials. So I went to a guy who teaches how to act in front of a camera. And after two weeks, I said hey, on a scale of one to 10 I'm about a two when it comes up in front of acting in front of a camera goes yeah, that's about right. I said I'm about a nine when it comes to speaking because yeah, that's about right. I said so what am I doing? He goes, I don't know. I said well, do you think I could be an actor in front of a camera? He goes no. But at least I knew the door was closed but I felt the zing to move forward. And at least I knew. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  04:53

Tell me some of the highlight events of your speaking career. I know you have worked a lot with different politicians and you've worked a ton at schools, do you have any times or locations or certain times that really stand out to you?


Bob Kittell  05:09

Actually, the times that really stand out, I mean, I have spoken in front of 30,000 people and the Georgia Dome. I went up after Lou Holtz and Laura Bush was there and Colin Powell and Giuliani and that is nothing compared to what it's like talking to 400 8th graders. And watching these kids eyes light up. And I'm also amazed that they listen to this old guy. They asked me like 11 years ago, or 12 years ago, could you speak to our 400 8th graders and going okay, I'll give it a shot. And then they asked me year after year after year, and I stopped and what? This is my favorite talk of the whole year. Wow, not the big groups, not the famous groups, not the big arenas, the kids. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  05:52

And why is that? Is it just kind of the fresh light turning on or the joy that they may be exuberant?


Bob Kittell  06:01

It's, it's watching a light go off in their heads going? I never thought of that. Yeah, I, when I put my first speech together for these kids, I thought, what is it I wish I would have known when I was their age. And that's how the talk came together. In fact, as a professional speaker, you're supposed to tell them what you're going to tell them. Then tell them and then tell him what you told him. I didn't do that. I just I'm like a shotgun. I go. Yeah, take the part that is best for you. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  06:29

Well, let's talk about the message. And and before we get to that, I want to make sure that we tell everybody about where they can find you, your website, the book, Instagram, tell us all about where we can find you. 


Bob Kittell  06:41

I think the easiest I used to have people go to BobKittell.com but nobody could spell my last name. So I went to expertbob.com. Okay, so that takes you to my website, has my TEDx talk on it. How I went from panic to peace. It has a bunch of testimonials on there has all my contact information, a phone number, you can actually call me. So and I tell people if there's a door, you can open, open it. I had a guy from Iowa, call me and say how many schools can you do in a day? I said probably two because I like to hang around and talk to the kids. He set up 20 schools for me in rural Iowa. He says how much are you going to charge? I said, I don't charge schools. I do schools pro bono. He goes, Well, why would you do that? I said, well, one I don't need the money. And to the schools can't afford me. Yeah. And these, they're they're always so grateful that I go and so yeah, expertbob.com. The other thing that's really helpful. I was at a school one time that kid goes, You're nobody, you're not on Instagram. So now I've got about 10,000 11,000 people following me on Instagram, but it helps me get into the schools. Right. And that's bobmemory on Instagram. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  07:53

Okay, the bobmemory on Instagram and expertbob.com. Great. Well, thank you for that. Let's talk about the message. And I mean, you you delve into so many different areas. And I want to get into the memory aspect of it also. But what is the core of your message right now? 


Bob Kittell  08:14

You know, what's really funny is it it's evolved? It evolves, it started with motivation, because I read all these motivational books, then it was memory because it was memory. And then it was selling my memory stuff. So it was sales and memory. And then it went to motivation again, then I went to inspiration, then it went to mental health. And so I think the biggest contribution I have right now is mental health, because I had the absolute total breakdown. And then I found out about 30 to 40% of the population of our country, especially after COVID is dealing with the same kind of stuff. And I want them to know that they're not the only ones.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  08:56

Right, well, you are speaking from experience, which so many of us are experienced, as you said, so tell us about some of the things that we can do. And we can think about one of the things from the book that was really powerful for me in reading it is this idea of how to get more in the moment. So I wonder if you could share with our audience some of those concepts and ways to develop that staying in the moment. 


Bob Kittell  09:26

Well, what is interesting is, we as human beings are spending most of our time in the future and in the past, right? Somebody once said 99% of our thoughts are a total waste of time, and they do nothing but freak us out. Because we're living in a future that hasn't happened or reliving a past that's already over. I remember this one girl was really angry and I said Why you mad? You know, my sister said to me two days ago and then she started laughing. I go Why are you laughing? She goes, it's over. The only way for me to get mad is to play a movie in my head that happened two days ago, that's ridiculous. Or one time I was talking to my son, dad, how's your day going? It's not going so great. Dad, did you have a bad day? Or did you have a bad five minutes? And you've been milking it all day? 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  10:13

Oh, that's amazing. That's brilliant. 


Bob Kittell  10:15

So I learned to be more in the moment, which was a process of, what would you experience right now without that movie that you're playing in your head that's not even real? Like, what? What if she never calls me again? What if I don't get the job? What if I don't have enough money when I retire? Why are you worrying about retiring at 64 when you're 24? But what do advertisers do? Let's get you worried about all kinds of stuff. And that's how a lot of money is made. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  10:44

So what do you do now? When those feelings because I mean, that conversation, those things still creep in? Well, maybe you've surpassed that. But for me, I, you know, those things still creep in from time to time. So when you feel that feeling, or that movie stopped playing, how do you stop it? Do you just tell yourself I'm alright. Is there a tactic?


Bob Kittell  11:08

It's, it's kind of like a process. It's like, how do you become a great basketball player? Right? tomorrow? Okay. I mean, there's little pieces you could talk about. But one is just awareness, thinking about your thinking going, Oh, I'm in the future. Oh, wait a second. It's not tomorrow. Oh, it's not next week? It's not retirement. It's not, did I die of cancer? It's not what if the plane goes down. So it's one I think the first step is awareness, knowing that we catch ourselves thinking about our thinking.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  11:42

Yeah. And one more question about that, you know, one of the things that I encountered quite a bit is, is worrying about self value, you know, well, I'm worrying about this. It's not so much a movie, but maybe it is, but I'm worrying about this because what if I'm not good enough? You know, and so how do you what what advice do you have for those thinkers?


Bob Kittell  12:06

Well, once again, that was a process. He had me have a discussion with somebody who I thought was way better than me. And the guy was the president of a company. And then he had me have a discussion with guy who was homeless. And I talked to him and I looked him in the eye. And it's an awareness. It's, I like the way my white coach said, I can just try to tell you this, but that's not how it works. It's more like, I'm going to keep pointing till you see it. It's like math. I don't get it. I don't get it. Oh, I get it. You have this epiphany and you see something that you never saw before. And once you see it, you can't unsee it. So it's, it's kind of like, I mean, you were not born going. I'm an idiot. Right? Right. Somebody said that. And the way a neural pathway forms is we have an emotion and we tie it to a thought, right? And then we play it. And these tapes play in our head now. Like, I like the way Michael Singer talks about it. You know, that little talking going on in your head? You know, the little talking that's arguing with the talking, I should get a pizza. No, I'm trying to lose weight. Now I really should go get a pizza. He goes, which one are you? And I found out that I was neither I was listening to a bunch of tapes that were playing in my head. He goes by the way, is it an English or Vietnamese? And it's the you know, it's when people kind of argue with me a little bit on that. I go, Well, can you hear music playing in your head sometimes? And I go, Are you the music? Well, no. Can you hear your husband's or your wife's voice in your head? Uh huh. Are you them? No. You're hearing recordings. So what he teaches in his book, The Untethered Soul. Great book to read the Untethered Soul. He talks about it's got a great, I think it's on YouTube, or you just you Google, Michael Singer, Mindfulness 2016. Basically, when you this stuff starts happening, you fall behind it and you observe. Look at all that chattering going on in my head. It's like having this neurotic roommate who follows you around, right? You're not good enough. Well, who told me I'm not good enough? 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  14:20

Right? Yeah. Thank you for that. That's amazing. That's a perfect point for us to ruminate on while I play my first song. Well, I know that you are a memory expert. So I was looking for titles of songs and artists that sort of tie into that a little bit. So the first song I have is by Emily Wells. And the song is called Remind Me to Remember, you're listening to KSU you thunder 91.1 Alright, everyone. Well, welcome back. That song was remind me to remember by Emily wells, this is Lynn Vartan, you're listening to the apex hour, I am joined in the studio with Bob Kittell. And we are talking about just really way ways to empower your own thinking, to to be more present and tools to really achieve your your best life. Welcome back, Bob. 


Bob Kittell  20:56

Well, thank you. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  20:59

So one of the things we wanted to get into was was a super powerful part of your book. And that is the concept of the power of pause. And I wondered if you might tell us, what is the power of pause? 


Bob Kittell  21:15

Well, first of all, I like asking audiences, can somebody make you mad? And everybody thinks somebody can make you mad and nobody makes you mad. You're triggered, right? It's like the little boy who says, mommy, we're all the idiot stupid drivers today, they only come out when your father's driving right to people see the same thing once triggered ones not. But too many people are trying to blame something outside of them for what's going on inside. And that was one of the biggest life changers for me that I stopped blaming others for what was going on inside of me.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  21:49

How do you do that? 


Bob Kittell  21:50

Well, first of all, just being aware of that, okay, so if I feel triggered, I go, Oh, the blood just left my frontal lobe I'm now going to do and say things I normally wouldn't do or say. So I pause. Okay, and I don't know if this is true or not. But somebody says is called the 358. Second rule, I go, What do you mean, somebody cuts you off in traffic, you got three seconds to go, oh, and just pause. Because if you sit there and start going, that idiot, that jerk that at five seconds, your brain goes, Oh, you want to be angry? No problem. We can help you with that. And it releases adrenaline and cortisol. At eight seconds, your blood pressure is up, your heart rate is up. And now it's going to take you some time to calm down. So I learned that every time I got triggered, at the very beginning of all this, I would pause until I healed that rage that came from my childhood repressed problems. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  22:42

Wow. And so just that awareness to notice the second you start to get angry. And to stop. 


Bob Kittell  22:49

Yeah. When the emotion hits, pause. And and if the other person's angry, pause, right. Don't say anything. I have a real good friend, he teaches conflict resolution. He said there's two things you can never win. One is tic tac toe, if you both know how to play. The other is you will never win an argument with somebody who's upset. Because even if you're right, you're wrong. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  23:13

That's very true. I've definitely been in those situations and, and they just they hurt. I mean, that's the thing, too. So you're really teaching how to heal yourself, not only in the moment, but hopefully long term because then you're not creating new scars inside. 


Bob Kittell  23:30

It's good start and let actually, when I was married, I always had a rule after six o'clock at night, we don't talk about anything. Because you've used up a lot of glucose or whatever it is in your brain. Fact, you shouldn't make any big financial decisions after six o'clock at night. And what's really interesting is when you think you have a problem after six o'clock at night, in the morning, the problem either went away or that that mountain became a molehill. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  23:56

So that's kind of the same thing as when you a lot of people I know struggle with insomnia, or especially in the last few years, I've heard people talk about it more and more, I'm certainly victim of it. You wake up in the middle of the night and you're worried. And so these kinds of same principles would apply in those circumstances. I think, is that true?


Bob Kittell  24:18

I don't know enough about insomnia to speak intelligently to that, right. There's a lot of things that don't speak very intelligently to well, just ask my kids. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  24:28

Well, I think that it makes sense. I mean, when you wake up worried that it's kind of the same kind of thing, you'd you probably want to just stop and recognize it pause that kind of thing. But in conflict with other people, the the power of pause is amazing. And that's also tied to active and deep listening. You talk about that quite a bit in the book as well. Can you talk about your learning about active and deep listening? 


Bob Kittell  24:52

Yeah. Well, first of all, I like the questions when somebody is talking. Are you already thinking about what you're going to say next? Human connections already been broken, right? Or somebody is talking in your you can tell them how to fit, you can fix them soon as they shut up, I can't wait to you be quiet because I got a better story than you do. Or I'm gonna one up you, right? Or I'm gonna judge you like, if you were to say something and I go, Well, that's stupid, I judge you, you're not gonna tell me anything after that. So deep listening is being there for the other person, just to be there. And that human connection and be able to look into each other's eyes, physiologically is powerful. I read in a book somewhere, that the baby's greatest development, his brain develops the most by looking into his mother's eyes. Wow. And now what's going on, mothers are feeding their babies looking at their smartphones. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  25:47

Well, that's a perfect segue to the next conversation, which is about one of the things and and I want to make sure to get the title of the book, right, because I, I really enjoyed it. And I want everybody to know about it. But the book is Enlighten Up, enlighten up, enhance your mind enhance your human connections enhance your life by Bob Kittell. And the last name is spelled k i t t e l l and the tagline is stress less to success, which oh my gosh, we all need. But one of the things you talk about is the importance of eliminating distractions, again, so that you can be more present in the moment. And one of the biggest distractions that we have is our phones. So can you talk a little bit about what your journey has been like with learning about that, and also how you speak to that? 


Bob Kittell  26:39

Well, the first thing is, I found out one of the most important things to calming our minds down is connection, we need human connection. And human connection is being able to talk to people look each other in the eyes. And nobody's doing that anymore. They're looking at their phones. And by the way, multitasking, every time you change your focus, let's say I'm talking to you, you look down at your phone and talk to you look at your phone. Each time you look somewhere different. It releases cortisol, which is a stress hormone. So the more multitasking, the more cortisol. Every time you get an alert on your phone. You hear this? Yeah, I've got to pick up that phone. Where's that phone? Cortisol is released in your body, then you get hit with dopamine. Dopamine is one of the most addictive things in our brain. And so I get a like, or I see something I like I get with dopamine. So I heard one neuroscientists say we have 15th century brains with 21st century technology. Our brains are being overstimulated. And when our brains overstimulated, just like a hairdryer, it shuts down. And that's what depression looks like. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  27:46

Yeah. So we need to, you know, put ourselves on a stimulation diet, in a way, get rid of some of that extra stimulation. And you suggest in the book, you know, turning off notifications, which I think is amazing. What other things have you tried that have been helpful? 


Bob Kittell  28:04

Well, especially with kids on to get them off of it, put it in black and white, go to grayscale, it doesn't look as good anymore. So for especially for children with children, they've got to be weaned off it. It's a real addiction. It's like trying to take them off of Simon Sinek. I remember him saying, electronics, you handed your kid a smartphone, it's like handing him a bottle of liquor and say no control yourself. Kids cannot self regulate themselves before 25 years old. In most cases, they can't just say, Wow, this could be on my smartphone for 30 minutes. And that's it. Kids don't seem to have that ability to do that. So there's things that we can do to help them. But for ourselves, one of the things I did is I got my car, the the phone goes in the trunk, I put all of my alerts turned them all off. I look at my phone once an hour. In fact, a lot of times when I go out to dinner, I just leave my phone home, I just don't even bring it. And I let all my friends know, I don't look at my phone all the time. So if you really need me, leave a message. I'll call you back.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  29:10

Right. Right. That's great. And one of the things you were talking about is how similar to casinos our phones are, can you talk a little bit about that? Because I know you did a little bit of reading on how they're like slot machines in how they captivate our attention. 


Bob Kittell  29:29

Yeah. Intermediate variable rewards. So this is how it works. You have a slot machine. I lose, I lose, I lose. I lose. I went, Ah, I got hit with dopamine, which is very addictive. I lose I lose, I lose. I lose. I lose. I lose maybe 35 times I went even 50 cents dopamine. Okay. The first president of Facebook said we hacked into the human brain, get get to get them looking at those phones as much as we can. And if you do this when you're scrolling, they said that's one of the most addictive things they ever learned. What happens when you're scrolling? There's nothing. There's nothing. There's nothing, huh? Look at that. Yeah, dopamine, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Dopamine. Yeah, they did test with pigeons 1000 times. They had to be disappointed 1000 times before they finally gave up. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  30:20

Oh my gosh, wow. That's incredible. And when you started putting these practices in place, you know, it was definitely a process, right? I mean, it took some time because it's hard to put your phone away. 


Bob Kittell  30:34

Well, it's hard to overcome any addiction. Yeah. And that's why it's weaning yourself off of it not going cold turkey. Going cold turkey, I'll tell you this one little story. This this one little kid was sitting there three years old. And he's he's tied to his his little smartphone. His mother says come on down to the front row. And I knew her. So I said, Hey, can I tell you a little something I know about smartphones. She said, she said, Sure. And I showed her an article that said, smartphones are making children crazy lazy. And she goes, That's my son, and she takes the phone away from them. This kid has a fit, he starts screaming as it used to wean them off. Don't just do it. He screamed for 15 minutes, the father came off of the baseball field goes what's going on? She goes I took a smartphone away. He goes well, it's about time. And after about 20 minutes, luckily, he finally gave up and went and played with his friends. I looked over and I saw this lady with her two little girls. And they're all on their smartphones. And she looks over her shoulder at me and goes, I guess I'm just a bad mother. But the thing is, if you're addicted, it hampers your judgment. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  31:43

Right, and it starts with the parents, right? Because every generation is addicted. And so the parents also have that same addiction that they have to wean themselves off of. And then when the kids off of and everybody's busy. I mean, it's daunting, but so important for connection, don't you think? 


Bob Kittell  32:02

Oh, yeah. And you know, one of the ways I always demonstrate that is I have one of the kids come out of the audience. And I said, pretend I'm your dad, and you want to tell me something. And I just keep blowing them off looking at my phone, look at my phone, look at my phone. And I asked the kid, how does that make you feel? And they go feels bad? Yeah, I said do it again. They walk up. Hey, Dad, hold on. I put the phone down. I turned around, look him right in the eye. And I listened to him. I said, How does that feel? And they go, it feels really, really nice. And I said, here's why the most important person on the planet is the one who's right in front of you. Yeah, I even remember reading about Tiger Woods. He said his father, when he asked his dad a question, his dad stopped everything turned around, got down on one knee, got at his eye level, and listened to his son's every single word till he was done talking. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  32:51

Yeah, that was a part of your talk today that really resonated with me, the person in front of you is the most important person on the planet. And I just think that that's so important. We've all been in those situations where you're at dinner and people are looking at their phones. How do you handle it now that you know these tactics and do them for yourself and have found peace in them? How do you handle it if you were in a group and others are doing that? does it trigger you? Do you get frustrated? How do you how do you manage that? 


Bob Kittell  33:21

Well, the first thing I learned is, it's not my job to change people. It's my job to just love them. I will I might bring something up, I might introduce the topic. And if somebody wants to go down that road, I'll talk more about it. They don't want to talk about it. I leave it alone. My son taught me this. He said, Dad, every time you gave me advice, it was like saying I'm stupid. And I don't know anything. I went three years, not giving him any advice. And then one day he says, Dad, I have a question. He was ready to hear it. So one of the things I've learned is, you know, you can open up the topic, if they want to talk about a great if not, it's not my job to change them. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  34:04

Do you think that's the same for educators as well? I mean, I think about that, in my own teaching, I think I'm probably guilty of wanting to share so much that I that I want to tell people how to do things and all that and and so maybe, do you think that's true also for teaching?


Bob Kittell  34:24

Not being in that situation, what I'd like doing and I, you know, I've substitute taught, right, I've had large audiences, I asked them the question, how many of you have heard that maybe smartphones aren't good for you? And a bunch of kids raise their hands. Can I tell you a little bit more about it? And they all shake their heads? Yes. Now, there might be six or seven kids who shake their heads? No. Okay, I lost six or seven of them. Right. But I see that the majority of them are ready to hear the message.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  34:52

Yeah, that's great. Ask the question. And of course that could be applied to anything too. I think I'm gonna think about that a little bit more rather than jumping to explore, you know, explain or perhaps over explain something, but instead ask a question. That's great. Thank you for that. 


Bob Kittell  35:08

I have one more thing with a teacher. Um, a really good friend of mine is a fourth grade teacher. And we learned a lot of this together. And one of the third grade teachers said, How are you doing with Charlie this year? She goes, What do you mean? Oh, he's a Hellion. How do you even handle him? She goes, he's one of my best students. She goes, what do you do? She goes well, when the kids walk in, I'm on one knee and I will look at each kid right in the eye and I call them by name and I welcome them to class. Because that might be the only connection they get all day. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  35:42

Wow. Okay, that's great advice. Thank you so much. Perfect time for one more song I have this song I guess memory I was thinking of sort of your past and living in this kind of thing. So the title of this song is each time and the artist is Tomino you're listening to the apex our on K SUU thunder 91.1 Alright Well welcome back everyone you're listening to the apex our that song was Each Time by Tomino. And as always, if you're interested in hearing the music that I play on the apex hour there is an open Spotify playlist called played on Apex hour. And if you want to check out our website, which is suu.edu/apex, you can go to the podcast tab, and the Spotify playlist will be there. I am here with speaker, author, inspiration Bob Kittell the book is Enlighten Up, enhance your mind enhance your human connections enhance your life. Welcome back, Bob. 


Bob Kittell  41:49

Oh, it's good to be welcome three times. This is awesome. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  41:51

Well, I'm gonna welcome you more every time I we come back, I'm gonna welcome you because it's just fun, you know? Well, one of the questions I had for you is that, you know, in the top of the hour, I mentioned that your generosity with your time and with your knowledge and with your story. Um, you do so many events pro bono for free, you just donate and serve your message. So why do you do that?


Bob Kittell  42:25

I think it started when, after my freshman year kicking, I didn't do very well. And somehow I accidentally met the pro all pro kicker for the Buffalo Bills. And he picked me up every day for a week took me to Buffalo Bill stadium, and said you tell your coach who worked with me. And it opened up all these doors and I thought why did he do that? He asked for nothing in return. Hmm. Another reason is about 12 years ago, I found out that my doctor calls me and tells me this little tumor he took out of my chest. He said the lab said it's a metastatic adenocarcinoma, you have less than a year to live. Now he was wrong. But I didn't know that for 28 days, right? So I got practical by the way, I call the dentist and canceled my dentist appointment cuz I thought I'm not gonna go there anymore. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  43:13

Yeah, why would you do that? 


Bob Kittell  43:15

But my daughter was really funny. She sits me down down. I heard the news. Do you have life insurance? Oh, my goodness, she cracks me up. Anyway, 28 days later, I find out I'm fine. Right. So I got my dentist appointment back. Then I took my daughter shopping for clothes because I didn't want her to be sad I was going to die. But during that 28 days, it was hard. And I love this quote, When you're in a hard place you might be in the middle of your next inspirational story. There was this little girl this sweetheart 13 years old going through chemotherapy for a brain tumor, going through this horrible chemotherapy every week, when she heard about me and that 28 days, she showed up at my door that plate of cookies and she said, You call me anytime day or night. I know what you're going through. I think I can help. And in that moment, I thought, why can't I do what she just did for me. So because of her every day I wake up I ask, Who can I lift today? Who can I inspire today? And by the way she survived? She did? Yes. And I walked up to her. This was two years ago at an event she was there. And I said Jocelyn, over 1 million people have heard the message of the beautiful little girl who gave me the cookies who changed my life. There's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Each Act creates a ripple with no logical end. Yeah. And so I will run into kids at schools or people years later and they go you have no idea how much that helped. Yeah, so I guess that's why I do it. Nobody got where they are by themselves. They got there with the help of others. It's just I don't charge people for. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  44:56

And you don't feel that pressure, you know to be the financial success in that way from the speaking it's probably much more rich the rewards that you're getting this way.


Bob Kittell  45:09

Life seems like this is the way it should go. Yeah, if everybody could just give them their own talents freely. I mean, how much further ahead could we be? 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  45:19

Yeah, that's incredible. Beautiful. It has not been an easy road all the time, as as you said, you've had so many different things happen and you've had health scares and traumatic things. And this seems like all of this, this work has really changed your life.


Bob Kittell  45:40

My daughter Dolly back to her again. She called me one day, said, Dad, you've been divorced three times. You've had two life threatening cancers. You've been in a rollover, you saw car explode right in front of you. You almost died in a? She goes, Dad, what's your biggest regret? And I said, Dolly, you can answer that question for me. She said, Yeah, Dad, I can. You wouldn't change a thing because you couldn't be who you are today if you hadn't gone through what you went through. So it's given me empathy. Somebody has a panic attack. I know what they're going through. Someone has depression. I know what they're going through. Somebody is in pain. I know. Yeah. And it just gives you a better understanding of how life is. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  46:28

Right. And that question you ask yourself every morning, you really do you ask it out loud? Do you just think it is it now a habit? 


Bob Kittell  46:38

I ask it out loud. And and I tell people sometimes it was 30,000 people in an arena, or 1400 kids in high school assembly. But I promise more often than not, it's the lady behind the counter. Her name's Linda. And I make her smile every single day. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  46:54

No, that's amazing. And I guess we should say it sounds it sounds amazing. But it's probably still hard work also for you, right? We for those of us who are still struggling in the trenches, we we hear your story and say like, oh, this is where I want to be. But it seems like it's so easy for him. But it's probably still hard work some days. 


Bob Kittell  47:15

Oh, I was just got through telling, you know, a class. I just went through a major trauma in the last six months. And I found another layer of yuck that was inside and another attachment problem inside. And I went oh, okay, well, I had a four year respite where I went, Oh, I have no panic. I have no pain. The absence of pain is really nice, right? Well, you know what, instead of working on trying to be happy, work on learning how to navigate life, there's the ups, there's the downs. That's what life is. It's like this big roller coaster. But if you're on the roller coaster, and you're at the bottom, the way you screw everything up, get out of the car and try to fix it just sit in the car, you're gonna go back up again. Right? 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  48:02

And that's that sort of just stay calm, let things unfold and and something will get better.


Bob Kittell  48:09

It you know, what have it so far in life? Have? I asked this question? What happens after every single storm?


Dr. Lynn Vartan  48:18

Well, clear skies.


Bob Kittell  48:20

Okay, or take a snow globe? Shake it up, right? If you shake it all up, can you think clearly can you see clearly through that snow globe? Not when you shake it, but after? What did you have to do to have it calm down? Let it sit there, power pause, let it sit there and eventually calm down. And then oh, now I get it. Now I know what to do. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  48:40

Right. Well, one of the last things that I wanted to ask you is actually about some resources. I know that you have just done extensive reading. Are there any other books and we should again mentioned the title of yours Enlightened Up, enhance your mind, enhance your human connections enhance your life? Bob Kittell. And are there any books that you really recommend that we talked about the Untethered Soul? Are there any other favorites that you have right now? 


Bob Kittell  49:13

Some of the most powerful ones are lost connections by Harry, came out in the last few years. Byron Katie, Loving What Is. Instead of? It's like, we're in heaven. I mean, we're in heaven right now. This is perfect, right? Yeah. Except for the thought that kicks us out of heaven. What if I don't make my flight tomorrow? What if I, what if the weather changes what? We're in heaven right now? And she teaches that another great book, the Inside Out Revolution by Michael Neal, and he talks about life happens from the inside out, not the outside in? Yeah. So those are some of the ones right off the top of my head. Or you know what? Send me an email. I'll give you a picture of all of my favorite books and how I got to where I got.


Dr. Lynn Vartan  49:56

Great. Remind us one more time of your website and your Instagram.


Bob Kittell  50:01

Expertbob.com e x p e r t b o b.com. That gets you to my website with all my information, my TEDx talk, actually on YouTube, you can watch my entire high school assembly, which talks a lot about the principles we're talking about here today in order. And you know what, if you can follow me on Instagram, bobmemory, it's just helpful to get me into the schools. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  50:26

Yeah. Well, I always have one last question for my guests. And it's really just a playful one. That is, you know, just sort of fun. And it's what's turning you on this week, it could be a book, or a movie, or a TV show, or a food that you had or just something fun for our listeners. So Bob Kittell, what's turning you on this week? 


Bob Kittell  50:47

My favorite thing in the whole world is doing what I'm doing today, standing in front of others, and watching the little lights go on in their heads and go, What did you learn today?


Dr. Lynn Vartan  50:57

Wow, that's beautiful. So you really are living the passion for what you do? Well, that's great. Thank you so much. Again, please check out the book. It's awesome. And we didn't even really get into the memory techniques. There's so many amazing things that you share in the book, and also are available on your website. So thank you so much for being here and for interacting with me today. 


Bob Kittell  51:20

Well, you're welcome. 


Dr. Lynn Vartan  51:22

All right. Well, that's it for us this week, everyone. We will see you very, very soon. Thanks. Thanks so much for listening to the apex hour here on KSUU Tunder 91.1. Come find us again next Thursday at 3pm for more conversations with the visiting guests at Southern Utah University, and new music to discover for your next playlist. And in the meantime, we would love to see you at our events on campus. To find out more, check out suu.edu/apex Until next week, this is Lynn Vartan saying goodbye from the apex hour here on thunder 91.1.