Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life
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We’re scratching the surface in this Limitless book summary and illustration. If you don’t already have the book, order it here or get the audiobook for free to learn the juicy details and support Jim Kwik.
About Jim Kwik
Jim Kwik is a world-renowned expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning. After a childhood brain injury, Kwik created strategies to dramatically improve his mental performance to overcome the impacts of his brain injury. Now he teaches others how to improve their mental performance. His clients range from students to world-leading CEOs and celebrities. He also provides training for top organizations like Google, Virgin, SpaceX and Harvard University.
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Limitless covers the story of how Jim Kwik taught himself to learn again after he hit his head and suffered a brain injury. Following in his classmates’ footsteps, 5-year-old Kwik had stood on a chair to get a better view of fire engines that were parked outside his school when someone began pulling on his chair. This caused him to fall and land head-first on a radiator. After this injury, he found it hard to memorize basic facts. It took him three years longer to learn to read than his peers. But today, Kwik can recall the names of fifty or more people in an audience that he’s just met. He can also recite a string of one hundred random numbers, forward and back, while onstage. Kwik has gone from never reading a book before the age of 16 to reading a book every week for the last thirty years. At the heart of Kwik’s mental transformation is a simple truth: We all can mold our brains and continuously improve our mental abilities. If you’re struggling to learn, it’s not due to an innate brain limitation. Your struggles with learning are due to either a limited mindset, limited motivation, or a lousy learning method.
StoryShot #1: The Fundamentals
Jim Kwik starts Limitless by providing fundamental skills. He also encourages readers to use these techniques while reading his book. The method is called the FASTER method.
- F- Forget – The key to focusing on a task is to remove or forget the potential distractions surrounding you.
- A- Act – Traditional education has taught most people that it is okay for learning to be passive. That said, your brain does not learn as much by consumption as it does by creation.
- S- State – Your learning will always be dependent on the state you are in at that time. This includes both your psychological state (including your thoughts) and your physiological state (including the condition of your body).
- T- Teach – Learn with the intention of teaching this information to someone else. If you act as if you will have to give a presentation, you will learn with the intention of mastering it.
- E- Enter – Many people enter important tasks in their schedule but forget to enter opportunities for personal growth and development.
- R- Review – The “forgetting curve” refers to our tendency to forget information in a short amount of time if we don’t actively try to remember it. To limit the impact of the forgetting curve, you should actively recall what you’ve learned by using spaced repetition. Spaced repetition requires you to practice new and difficult information more frequently than older and less difficult information. You should increase the time interval between each time you review information.
StoryShot #2: The 3 Ms
The 3Ms also form the foundation of limitless learning. The 3Ms are:
The unlimiting process supports these points. This process is about removing the limitations you have in each of these three areas because they are critical to your potential capabilities. Your Mindset and Motivation intersect to create your inspiration to learn. This inspiration influences your thoughts, leading to a limitless Mindset of ideation. To then move past the ideation stage, your Motivation and Methods must combine to create implementation. You will have a limitless state if your inspiration, ideation and implementation are all healthy and intersecting.
Kwik shows us the three self-imposed limits that prevent us from excelling.
- Your Mindset (the What) – Your mindset consists of your beliefs, assumptions and attitudes. None of these are preinstalled at birth, which means you pick them up from your environment and those around you. Kwik explains that it is possible to adopt a limitless mindset. This approach allows you to verify that any limitations are self-imposed and that your true potential is within your control. If you can apply this point, your potential grows substantially.
- Your Motivation (the Why) – Kwik outlines that your personal motivation is not fixed. Instead, you can generate your motivation every day. That’s because motivation is the result of a repeatable process you can control. Kwik explains that your motivation is a combination of your purpose, energy, and three small and simple steps.
- Your Methods (the How) – As well as approaching every day with a productive mindset, you also need to understand how to learn. So, you need methods. These methods should teach you how to focus, study, memorize critical facts, undertake speed-reading and think clearly. If you can become an expert in these five areas, you will genuinely become limitless.
StoryShot #3: The 4,3,2,1 Method
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” If you insist you can’t read quickly, you’re all but guaranteed to never improve your reading speed. The key to improving any mental ability is to suspend any limiting beliefs and temporarily act as though your mental abilities are limitless. By merely entertaining the idea that your reading speed potential is limitless, you can noticeably increase your reading speed.
To prove this, consider following the ten-minute exercise called the 4, 3, 2, 1 method. Set a timer for four minutes and open an easy-to-read book. Start reading at a comfortable pace while using your finger to underline the words as you read them. When the four-minute timer expires, mark the point at which you stopped. Now go back to where you started and set a timer for three minutes. Try to get to that same point you reached after four minutes. Don’t worry if your comprehension isn’t perfect. Instead, just make sure you underline and see every word. When the three-minute timer expires, do the same for two minutes, and then one minute. After this 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise, resume reading the rest of the book at a comfortable speed for four minutes. If you compare the number of lines you read now, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much faster you can read. By merely pretending you can read faster, you’ve upgraded your reading speed.
StoryShot #4: Effective Questions and Acronyms
Before engaging with any learning or task, Jim Kwik encourages readers to ask themselves the following questions:
What do I believe I am capable of?
What have I accomplished in the past?
What is possible for me?
Kwik sums up a negative mindset with the acronym LIE, or Limited Idea Entertained. In essence, most people entertain ideas of themselves that are less than their true potential. Kwik believes these ideas are almost always BS (Belief Systems) that can be challenged.
StoryShot #5: Effective Reading
Consider a book you were forced to read in English class. Then imagine a book recommended by your mentor. This is someone you greatly admire who tells you that this book contains the secret that transformed their life. Which are you more likely to read effectively? After hearing that statement, it’s hard to not wonder what the secret is. If you pick up a book in a peak state of curiosity, wonder and excitement, you are bound to learn quicker and retain more.
Jim Kwik says all learning is state-dependent. A valid reason why you may not have learned much in school is that you found school boring. So, before you start reading anything, put yourself in a peak state of curiosity. You can do this by asking the following three questions: What great insight will I get from this book? How will this insight forever change my life? And, when will I get to use this insight? Assume that every book you read contains a profound insight. For example, imagine that someone else has just paid ten million dollars for the information you are about to read. With that mental framing, you will become extremely curious and motivated to absorb the information. After you’ve generated ample motivation, it’s time to upgrade your reading methods.
You can apply this method for reading to all learning. We must produce sustainable motivation.
StoryShot #6: Effective Questions and Equations
As a way of considering your motivation levels, Kwik encourages you to ask yourself the following questions:
- How connected do I feel to my purpose?
- How are my day-to-day energy levels?
- What am I allowing to drain my energy that I no longer should?
Based on these points, Kwik devised a simple equation for what motivation consists of:
Motivation = Purpose x Energy x Small Simple Steps
We rate this remarkable book 4.5/5.
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