Unlocking your potential is a common theme in many books designed to improve you as a person. Explaining the process, offering tools that manifest one’s own abilities, and providing an educational path to get there is the focus of Jim Kwik’s life. As a speaker, author, mentor, consultant, and educator, Kwik has positively affected the lives of celebrities, athletes, and business leaders around the world. His brain coaching techniques have demonstrated an improved ability to consume, digest, and recall information at a more rapid pace, allowing for greater cognition and faster processing.
In Limitless, he explains, “One of my core beliefs is that human potential is one of the only infinite resources we have in this world. Most everything else is finite, but the human mind is the ultimate superpower — there is no limit to our creativity, imagination, determination, or ability to think, reason, or learn. Yet this resource is also among the least tapped.”
The book describes Kwik’s story, beginning with a brain injury he suffered at 5 years old. While standing on a chair to get a better view of the fire engines outside of his school, someone pulled the chair and sent him falling head-first onto a radiator. After the fall, he found it hard to remember specific facts. It took him three years longer to learn to read than his peers. However, he overcame these disabilities and now possesses a mental capacity that is awe-inspiring. He has read a book a week for the past 30 years, and impresses audiences with his remarkable memorization and recall.
Kwik is foremost a teacher. He has the ability to share his methods in a clear and concise manner that allows the reader to not only understand, but also apply this knowledge quickly and effectively. Like any good teacher, he presents a process.
He begins with the “FASTER” method
- Forget — Forget or remove distractions.
- Act — Creation is a much more effective learning tool than passive assimilation.
- State — Deliberately determine both your mental and physical mindset.
- Teach — There is no better way to master a topic than by teaching it yourself. While learning, act as though you are preparing to teach the information to another.
- Enter — Don’t just enter tasks and meetings in your calendar, also enter learning and growth opportunities.
- Review — So much knowledge is forgotten due to a lack of repetition. Create a schedule to review important elements, processes, and facts that will result in them becoming part of your personal mental library.
The book also revolves around what Kwik calls, “The 3 Ms”:
Mindset — The What: These are your beliefs and assumptions. You aren’t born with these; they have come from your life experience. Most people find that their limitations reside here. They have predetermined how much they can accomplish and set mental barriers to success. Kwik posits that it is possible to create a limitless mindset that allows for a truly unfettered potential.
Motivation — The Why: Your personal motivation is not static. It is a dynamic and powerful ability you can choose to expand every day. You control this and can make it your most important tool. Properly motivated, you can apply a myriad of techniques and mental technologies to accomplish the most outrageous goals.
Methods — The How: In addition to a positive mindset and the proper motivation, the learning process can be enhanced to propel you forward. You need to know how to learn. These methods include how to focus, study, memorize, read faster, and think more clearly. Your expertise in these elements will determine the speed of your overall advancement.
Kwik is famous for his speed-reading process. It is a powerful tool that has changed the lives of its practitioners. This is a perfect chance for you to apply the other tools in the book. He asks, “When was the last time you took a reading class?” Probably fourth grade or so. Perhaps it’s time you re-examined your reading habits and determine if they are up to par. He mentions three bad habits you should unlearn.
Regression — This is a tendency to go back and re-read words we have already processed. We all do it to some degree. Solve this by using a pacer. Attention follows movement. Use a finger to underline the words and keep your eyes constantly moving forward.
Subvocalization — Those low mumblings as we sound out each word. This limits your reading speed to the pace of your inner narrator. Kwik suggests counting out loud as you read. It will disrupt the subvocalization and allow you to dramatically increase your pace.
Word-by-Word Reading — This is how you learned to read, but now you can recognize groups of words and read them together. Practice expanding your vision and allow the words to create mental images. Soon it will become more like a movie you are enjoying instead of a string of text.
The book goes on to explain memory enhancement, digital distraction, and many other methods to improve your mental efficiency. Imagine your mind going through a CPU upgrade in which your abilities now offer an entire new series of opportunities. The exciting thing is how these skills will enhance every learning experience regardless of the topic. It doesn’t matter if it’s business or gardening, devouring classic literature or learning to play a musical instrument. You can expand your mind in ways you never imagined.
Have fun; it’s all out there waiting for you.