Capturing “Limitless” by Jim Kwik
I must confess that I am obsessed with reading self-help books. I have read quite a few but as Jim raises in this book, I don’t remember most of them.
After reading Limitless, I am inspired to create notes for key takeaways that I gather after reading. Why not start with this book itself?
In the introduction, Jim captures why he wrote this book. Jim didn’t have an ideal past as a child and by normal conventions, Jim was considered a below-average person.
There are several things taught at school but one important thing that is missed out on is learning how to learn.
In today’s world we face 4 major hindrances to learning:
- Digital Deluge: We have too much information floating around us but too little time to process. Also, the amount of time between information being accurate and that information being replaced by newer facts is decreasing.
- Digital Distraction: Because of our devices, we are always-on. It is hard to spend an hour without looking for new notifications.
- Digital Dementia: Too much reliance on technology has impacted our cognitive abilities like remembering a close friend’s phone number, navigating to a place, and even building up long term memories.
Technologies are getting smarter while we are getting dumber
4. Digital Deduction: We can easily access other’s opinions or views on any subject and so, our minds are losing the power of thinking critically and affecting our decision-making abilities.
Techniques / Facts
- Pomodoro technique: This technique is based on the fact that our natural ability to concentrate fully is limited between 10 to 40 minutes. Pomodoro technique suggests you should do a task in 25-minute chunks followed by a 5 min break.
Pomodoro is based on how our memory works concerning primacy and recency. The effect of primacy is that you’re more likely to remember what happened or what you learned in the beginning and the effect of recency is that you’re more likely to remember what happened or what you learned at the end.
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre has said that “Life is the C between B and D, meaning that the life we live is the choices we make between the “B”, birth and “D”, death.”
2. Change your beliefs: If your inner critic is telling you I am a failure, I am an idiot, I am good at nothing — don’t think it is harmless. The inner critic is stopping you from pursuing what you want out of your life. Consider yourself a Genius. It is just a matter of identifying what type of Genius you are.
3. 7 Lies of learning — (i) Intelligence is fixed (ii) We only use 10% of our brain (iii) Mistakes are failures (iv) Knowledge is power — Knowledge x Action = Power (v) Learning new things is very difficult (vi) The criticism of other people matters (vii) Genius is born
4. Small Simple Steps: Tiniest actions you take that get you closer to your goals. One of the most significant reasons why people fail is that they feel overwhelmed by what they need to achieve. The best way to deal with a humongous task is to break it down into baby steps.
5. Creating a new habit: A study for University College London showed that it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become a habit. It is also widely assumed that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new good one.
6. Getting into a flow: Flow is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.
Finding flow involves doing 5 things:
(i) Eliminate Distractions
(ii) Give yourself enough time — 90 minutes to 2 hours
(iii) Do what you love
(iv) Have clear goals
(v) Challenge yourself — a little: If a task is too easy, you will get bored and if the task is too hard, you will get frustrated.
4 things that can go against getting into a flow:
(c) Fear of failure
(d) Lack of conviction — If you don’t believe you are going to achieve anything, that will definitely be the outcome.
7. Studying better
Cramming is known as an ineffective method for studying. One of the studies indicates that cramming leads to many unwanted side effects that affect our mental abilities.
Techniques to study better:
(i) Employ Active Recall: Active recall is a process that involves reading your material and then immediately recalling what you read to check how much you have remembered.
(ii) Spaced repetition: Space out the review of your material focussing more heavily on the information you could not recall.
(iii) Manage the state you’re in: The more positive and resourceful your state is, the greater results you will produce.
(iv) Use your sense of smell: if you are studying for a big test, put a scent on your wrist while you are studying and then apply the same scent while you are giving the test.
(v) Music for the mind: Baroque music tends to create an atmosphere of focus that leads students into deep concentration.
(vi) Listen with your whole brain: Listening is critical to learning.
(vii) Take notes: Notes taking is an art. Taking too many notes defeats its purpose as you will be too focused on noting down the information rather than absorbing it. TIP: Before you begin Think about what you want to retain the most out of the session. Listen carefully to the session and Identify what is most important in the context of your goal. Prioritize the information that is most valuable to you, perhaps adding additional information to your notes.
8. Improving Memory
Improving Memory is essential as memorization helps to keep the mind sharp, you cannot always “google it”, information that is in your memory can be processed fastest, and the more you remember the more you learn.
If you want to process too much information e.g., a list of random words, associate them with a story.
Delivering a presentation without notes: Loci method — align the things that you want to remember with specific locations that you know well. E.g., a path on your street, let’s say first you see your house — associate that with the introduction then as you move along you may see a plant with beautiful roses, associate that with the next topic and keep moving along the path associating each significant thing that you observe with the topic that you want to present.
Improving vocabulary or learning a new language: If you see a new word, substitute it with the word you know, and create a story around it. E.g., Facile (French) — this means easy. It sounds like “face eel”. Someone challenges to hold an eel close to your face and you say That’s easy.
Desventaja (Spanish) — Sounds like “disadvantage” — this word means handicap.
Dinero (Spanish) — Sounds like dinar which is a currency — this word means money.
9. Speed Reading
- Reading is like exercising — the more your practice reading faster, the better you will get at it.
- Expand your peripheral vision — Try to read more than one word at a time.