What’s it about?

Limitless (2020) is an empowering how-to guide for making full use of your brain’s incredible capabilities. It goes out to anyone who’s ever felt too dumb, too slow, or too unskilled to succeed. Learn how to unlimit your brain – and gain the power to achieve anything at all.

About the author:

Jim Kwik is a world-renowned expert on meta-learning – the process of learning how to learn. A childhood accident left Kwik with a learning disability. For years, he struggled at school, but then Kwik began to uncover the secrets of learning itself. His findings laid the groundwork for Kwik Learning, an educational program used by individuals and corporations in more than 100 countries. 

What’s in it for me? Unlimit your mind to learn and accomplish anything.

When he was a child, the author, Jim Kwik, endured traumatic brain damage. It left him with a knowledge inability, which meant that, in class, he had to make more effort than all of his classmates. As well as that, some kids bullied him continuously. Even a professor once named him “the boy with the broken brain.”

For ages, the author believed that he had to put a lot of hard work into education because of his injury. But in university, Kwik apprehended that there was another way. He didn’t need to work harder – he needed to learn better. The tips he opened enabled him to improve his focus, improve his memory, and start to absorb information faster than ever before.

Technology eases our lives, but it may be hindering our learning abilities.

Is digital technology good or bad? The problem may be simple, but the solution is far from easy. 

Contrastingly, smartphones and tablets can seem liberating. After all, they allow us to “outsource” some of our brain’s more specific functions. Sounds great. 

Well, actually, no. Some researchers believe that this digital addiction is becoming an obstacle. They think it embarrasses our cognitive capabilities. Think about how we all continuously switch tasks now and then. One neuroscientist, Daniel J. Levitin, assumes that this method causes the brain to instantly burn up its fuel, leaving us emphasized and weakened.

It is more convenient to use technology, but it may be limiting our education abilities.

We have permanent access to a property of knowledge directly at our fingertips. It’s no wonder then that studies show that the ordinary person spends three times more information today than in the 1960s!

But pounding ourselves with all this knowledge isn’t indeed a great thing. That’s because being capable of looking up facts whenever you need them affects your memory to atrophy. It withers away like a non-used muscle. On the flip side, pushing yourself to recollect knowledge forms and encourages memories.

Overusing technology is more likely to reduce your ability to think critically. After all, there’s no lack of mind on the internet. Some would say that it’s a gr thing: it allows us to see many eat different points of view.

Most of us don’t go looking for varied perspectives. Instead, we identify a few references we already buy with and use them to strengthen our expectations, thus accepting other people’s conventional views. It suggests that our reasoning and problem-solving capacity begins to fail, and we lose the capability to think critically.

Each of us has the energy to change our brains.

How many times have you thought, “I’m too dumb to learn a second language,” “I have a terrible memory,” or “I’m just not good at this subject”? 

Spending all our time comparing ourselves with our peers will often lead us into the trap of thinking that we’re somehow not as good as they are. But this can prevent us from reaching our full potential.

You may not be pleased with your achievements today – but that certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t shine tomorrow. Your brain is – as scientists put it – highly neuroplasticIt merely means that, throughout your life, it changes—a lot.

The key message here is: Each of us has the power to change our brain.

Lots of people think that our brains reach their total capacity sometime around adolescence. After that, it is, allegedly, all downhill. Fortunately, there’s lots of evidence to the contrary. 

Let’s look at London cab drivers. To get a license, they have to do a lot of learning, and they also have to pass a challenging exam. A prospective London cabbie spends three to four years memorizing each of the 25,000 streets in just one 10-kilometer area of London. All this learning has a profound effect on their brains. Researches compared London cabbies with ordinary people and found that drivers had more gray matter in their memory centers. 

The process of learning thousands of streets seems to force their brains to create new neural pathways. It deforms their brains and even makes them more prominent. 

What does it mean for us? It is good news that we can all do the same thing. But first, we need to purge our minds of what the author calls LIEs. It is an abstraction that stands for Limited Ideas Entertained. 

The most significant lie others told us is that our IQ determines our future for life. It’s not that simple. Yes, your IQ test scores do tend to remain stable over time. But IQ doesn’t measure your ability to learn. Nor does it show your actual intelligence level, which can change and grow over time. 

This LIE – this idea of a fixed IQ – is both limiting and harmful. Everyone has the potential to be a genius – we often choose not to believe it. So perhaps it’s time to start divesting yourself of these LIEs and start thinking positively.

“You can learn to unlimit and expand your mindset, your motivation, and your methods to create a limitless life.”

Jim Kwik

Think positively and not negatively.

Every day, each of us thinks tens of thousands of thoughts. A lot of them are questions. And many are repeating. From among these, we all have so-called dominant questions, which come up more often than others.

For instance, the author got invited to spend some time with the actor Will Smith on a Toronto film set. The cast and crew were working outside, in the dead of winter, overnight, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. 

During a break, Smith and the author figured out that one of the actors’ dominant questions was: How do I make this experience more magical?

Smith repeatedly acted on his dominant question. Rather than rest, he used his downtime to bring everyone hot chocolate and crack jokes, which created a more positive experience.

The key message here is: Free your mind of negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

So, what do you think your current dominant questions are? And are they helpful to you? 

Unfortunately, they can be harmful or disempowering for many of us – things like “How can I get people to like me?” or “How can I become invisible?” Questions like these are not productive. All they do is mask your authentic self. Instead, you can try to ask new questions, ones that empower you. 

For each of us, they will probably be different. For the author, these questions are: “How do I make this better?” And “How does my mind work so I can work my mind?”

These dominant questions are positive. And they can do an essential job: they can shift your mindset to a positive, limitless one. This new mindset can be beneficial to your health. For instance, studies show that optimistic people are 13 percent less likely to experience heart attacks or depression.

So, next time you find yourself using phrases like “I can’t,” “I’m not,” or “I don’t,” flip that around. Instead, tell yourself: “I haven’t always been good at this, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be great at it now.” Recall times when you did succeed – even if only in part.

These are all great ways to start beating your inner self-critic. You might even give it a ridiculous persona, complete with kooky physical features and a silly name. Mock it whenever it tries to bring you down and get good at telling the difference between that self-critic and the real you. 

Learn to be positive, open up your mind to the joy of life and all the possibilities it offers.

Get yourself motivated to change your behavior by defining yourself and your purpose.

“Passion” and “purpose” are two words in the meaning of interchangeably. We use them to talk about something that ignites a fire in us, something we love doing more than anything else. 

But passion and purpose are entirely different. Love is something internal. It lies in your inner core; it doesn’t appear for other people’s expectations or assumptions about you. Purpose, on the other hand, is aimed at what’s around you. It is something you can share or contribute to the world. 

For example, you might have a passion for basket-weaving. But, perhaps, your purpose is to teach basket-weaving to others. 

It may all sound not very easy, but if you want to achieve limitless motivation and energy, it’s essential to identify your passion and then use it to find your purpose.

Get yourself motivated to change your behavior by defining yourself and your purpose.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine a healthy 70-year-old. Every morning, a boy gets up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym. Why? Is he passionate about early mornings or lifting weights? No. He does it because he feels there’s a purpose to it. And that purpose is to keep up with his grandchildren.

What does it mean for you? Well, think about how often you find yourself struggling for motivation to complete tasks. Maybe you need to think about why you want to complete those tasks in the first place. If the answer is related to your purpose, you’ll be more motivated to act. 

And there’s another trick to becoming motivated. Think about what defines you and who you are. Answers to these questions can be great drivers of behavioral change.

The author gives the example of a study conducted at Stanford University. Psychologists divided participants into two groups. They asked one group, “How important is it for you to vote?” The question put to the other group was subtly different: “How important is it for you to be a voter?” People who face the problems of being a voter turned out to be 13 percent more likely to participate in elections.

What does this tell us? Well, it seems that if you identify yourself with a goal you want to achieve or a habit you want to develop, your motivation goes up.

That answer may be encouraging, but it’s incomplete. If your motivation is missing, there could be other reasons for that. Some of them will become clearer in the successive blinks.

Sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercising will help you achieve furthermore.

So you have a vital purpose, and you also have the drive to act. But there’s still something that can hold you back. That barrier? It can only be – a lack of energy caused by eating the wrong type of food or not getting enough sleep. 

Sleep deprivation is related to a long list of physical and mental issues. This list includes depression, irritability, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s. In short: don’t sacrifice sleep! Sleeping, eating, and exercising are all essential if you want your brain to function at its best.

Sleeping, eating healthy foods, and exercising will support your brain.

At first sight, sleep and exercise don’t seem to have much in common. But these are, in fact, closely connected. Regular exercise can help you sleep better. After one 16-week study on how aerobic exercise affects sleep, for instance, participants who hit the gym found they were sleeping more each night. One and a quarter hours more, to be precise. 

The fact that exercise is important is, perhaps, old news. So why don’t we act on it? Well, we all have endless excuses. Pumping weights is boring; we don’t have the time, gym memberships are expensive. 

The truth is, though, that the benefits of exercise far outweigh all of these concerns. And these benefits are not just limited to building muscle or losing weight: they affect your brain, too. Daily aerobic exercise can increase the size of your hippocampus – your brain’s memory and learning hub. 

So, your brain needs enough sleep and good exercise. What else? Well, there’s another critical requirement: high-quality food. According to neuroscientist and nutritionist Dr. Lisa Mosconi, there are 45 distinct sources of brain nutrients. The top ten are avocados, blueberries, broccoli, dark chocolate, eggs, leafy greens, salmon, turmeric, walnuts, and water.

Sleep, exercise, and good food. How do you make sure that getting enough of these habits becomes a ritual? 

It would help if you worked on it. It takes 18 to 254 days to achieve a habit– but, however long it takes, you can do it! Start with making just one small change at a time, and slowly but surely, the new habit will become a significant part of your life.

Getting into a position of flow and using the energy of small steps will increase your productivity.

Remember the last time you were so focused on an activity that you lost all track of time? You were probably in a state of what psychologists call flow. 

When we’re in this state, we feel like the task we’re completing is almost effortless. We think that we’re in a challenge – but the challenge is not overwhelming. And we tend to get a sense of comfort and reward from what we’re doing. 

Perhaps the best part of the flow is that it dramatically increases our productivity, sometimes by as much as 500 percent! 

Getting into a position of flow and using the energy of small steps will increase your productivity.

How do you get into flow? It all starts by eliminating distractions. You can’t possibly kickstart flow if you’re checking social media every few minutes. Research suggests that, after an interruption, it can take up to 20 minutes to reconnect with a task! 

So you need to ensure that you have enough time to complete the task. Plan for at least 90 minutes, though two hours is ideal. And don’t give in to the attraction to multitask. Scientists have found that multitasking makes you less productive.

Being in flow often feels great. But, unfortunately, there are some tasks which some tasks can’t do in this state. More often than not, they are either challenging or only not enjoyable. So how would you approach them? Well, you can use a different technique: baby steps. 

Difficult or tedious tasks can make us procrastinate. But procrastination takes a huge psychological toll. An uncompleted job creates tension in your brain. Simply put, you stop thinking about the job only after you’ve completed it. And there’s more: procrastination often makes us feel guilt and shame. Guess what people do to avoid these feelings? They procrastinate even more! 

But you can crush your tendency to procrastinate by taking small, simple steps to complete a task. 

Say you’re dreading writing a big speech. Well, you could tell yourself that you don’t need to open the whole thing at once. You’ll create the keynote. 

And who knows, maybe while you’re putting it together, you may find that you’re on a roll, and you’ll end up doing more work than you had initially planned. 

By breaking tasks down in this way, you make it much more likely that you’ll get the job done.

Use your study time efficiently.

What do you think Bach has to do with studying? If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry – the connection is far from obvious. 

Many studies suggest that there’s an intimate relationship between music, mood, and learning. Some types of music can significantly increase our ability to learn. Here is where Bach comes in. Baroque music that has 50 to 80 beats per minute is particularly suitable for creating focus. Music is just one life hack that can help us use our brains’ lesser-known features to foster learning.

Use your study time efficiently.

Just like music, the smell can also help improve our study skills. We often relate smells to memories. Think about how the fragrance of a specific spice might take you back to your mother’s home. Remembering by scent is just one example of how excellent scent brings memories to the front of our minds. 

Now you know this, try using aromas the next time you’re studying for an exam or preparing for a performance. Rub some perfume on your wrist when you’re preparing for a quiz. Then, repeat right before your examination or presentation. You may find that recalled your thought!

The author, Jim Kwik, also suggests other tricks that can help you learn. For example, you may want to take advantage of so-called primacy and recencySomething you know right at the start of a lesson tends to stick in your mind for longer. So do things that come right at the end of a course. What does it mean to you? You might place the most significant things at the start and end of each lesson, leaving the middle part for less essential items. 

To make fair use of power and recency, employ the Pomodoro method. This tactic involves breaking up your work or studying into 25-minute chunks of productivity called Pomodoros. A 5-minute break follows each Pomodoro.

Pomodoros can work more excellent if you combine them with another tactic, known as dynamic review. It includes surveying some material and afterward promptly checking to guarantee that it has soaked in. To do this, essentially close your book or respite the video you’re gaining from and record everything you’ve adapted up until now.

So you’ve got to the end of the lesson. Are you now finished? Well, not quite. There’s another trick in the book: spaced repetition. It’s all about reviewing your material at regular intervals. Perhaps you could do some studying in the morning, before breakfast, and then again in the evening, before dinner. Following this method will help the information stick.

Next, let’s look at what else you can do to remember the new things you’ve learned even better.

Increase your memory and concentration by visualizing techniques.

Concentration is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. 

Here’s one way to pump it up: picture the object of your focus as a glowing ball of light. If you’re having a conversation, for instance, that conversation is the glowing ball. When your attention starts to drift, refocus on the bright light. Pretend nothing else exists.

This explanation is known as a visualization technique, and tricks like this help increase your concentration skills. They also work well when you need to memorize things. 

Increase your memory and concentration by visualizing techniques.

A lot think that they have either a “good memory” or a “bad memory.” But instead, you may want to believe that you have a trained memory or, perhaps, an untrained one. So how do you prepare your memory? The best reach is to learn to associate words, numbers, or anything else you have to memorize with visual imagery.

So, how does it work? Let’s take a model. 

Remember these words: fire hydrant, balloon, battery, barrel, board, and diamond. You are most likely to memorize a list of names by repeating over and over. But this method is ineffective. After a short while, you’ll surely forget about everything you received.

All things being equal, have a go at making an insane anecdote about the words. You may picture a fire hydrant that is being conveyed very high by inflatables. Be that as it may, you pop the inflatables with batteries, and those batteries sit inside huge barrels. The whole contraption – batteries inside of barrels aimed at balloons – is launched into the air by a giant board, like a seesaw. And, finally, that board is propped up by a huge diamond. See how much better the words are stuck in your mind? 

A similar trick can help you prepare for presentations. It’s called the loci method. To use it, first identify what you want to talk about by 10 points. Next, think of a spot or a room you know well, and think about a way through it. 

Presently, appoint every one of your arguments to an alternate article or spot in the room – your room light, for example, may address your featured discussion. At long last, practice your show, utilizing the walkthrough of your areas, or loci, as a guide. 

With an all-around prepared memory, you’ll be well en route to learning another dialect, giving great introductions, or only becoming a well-versed expert.

Reading is fundamental to education, and you can get better at it.

Let’s face it: reading isn’t everyone’s favorite pastime. To many people, the task seems difficult, tedious, time-consuming. Those people should finish their work in front of a TV or laptop.

Studies show that there is a connection relationship between reading ability and success in life. The better you are at reading, the more likely you will get higher-paying jobs; the greater your opportunities to succeed. 

And here’s something else: reading gives your brain a vigorous workout. It activates many different mental functions at once. It improves memory and increases concentration. If you’ve given up reading, you’ve essentially given up learning.

Reading is fundamental to learning, and you improve in it.

How fast do you think you can read? For most people, it’s about 200 words per minute. Shockingly, most adults read no quicker than elementary school kids. That’s because classes on how to read usually stop between second and fifth grade. 

Why are some people slow readers? The answer often lies in what’s known as subvocalizationIt merely means that, as people read, they pronounce each word in their heads. It limits their reading ability. On the off chance that you subvocalize, you can peruse as quickly as you talk.

If you sound like this, do not despair. Your mind is capable of going much faster. To reduce subvocalization, try counting out loud as you read. Just keep saying “one, two, three” and so on as you go down the page. 

You are counting while reading is challenging. But it will train your brain to subvocalize less. You’ll begin to see the words rather than saying them. The task will feel more like watching a movie than hearing a speech when you learn this skill.

Another great way to reduce subvocalization and read more “visually” is to use a pacemaker. There’s nothing complicated about it: you can start by simply sliding your finger down the page as you read! This technique is helpful because our eyes are hardwired to track moving objects. Using a visual pacer can increase your reading speed anywhere from 25 to 100 percent!

Of course, none of these techniques will help unless you commit time to read. So, schedule at least 30 minutes of reading each day.

Now that you can read faster, it’s time to crack the puzzle’s final piece: learn how to think better.

To get better at solving issues, try new and different ways of thinking.

When you hear the word “genius,” which immediately comes to mind? Perhaps Albert Einstein or Marie Curie? But the word “genius” isn’t just limited to people with high IQ or mathematical ability. There are many different types of intelligence. 

Think about Venus Williams, for example. In many ways, she, too, is a genius – somebody with extremely high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. That is to say, she’s very good at using her body. 

To get better at solving issues, try new and different tactics of thinking.

Learning what type of intelligence you possess is just the first step in thinking better and more efficiently. There are lots of other tricks, too. 

For example, you can try thinking differently; approach problems in a manner that’s entirely new for you; to break your thinking patterns. One method to do this is to use the “thinking hat” technique. Imagine you have a collection of colorful hats. Now, when you look at a problem, you can change hats every few minutes. Say you’re wearing a red hat. That means it’s time to look at the situation emotionally. Or a green hat may call for creativity. 

But sometimes, even an advanced technique like this may not be enough. To solve some problems, you need to think entirely differently: in an exponentialrather than linear, manner. When you believe exponentially, you are no longer solving crisis after crisis after crisis. Instead, you identify the root cause of the problem and attack that. 

One proponent of exponential thinking is Naveen Jain, innovator and winner of the Albert Einstein Technology Medal. Take his company Viome, for example. Jain formed it because he believes that chronic illness is the world’s most crucial underlying health crisis. 

So does his company work to find treatments for those diseases? No, Jain took a different approach. Instead of looking for piecemeal solutions, he understood that our immune systems are significantly impacted by how our gut microbes process food. So Jain created a tool for analyzing an individual’s gut microbiome. It allows people to optimize their health by eating the foods that are best suited to them.

Your goal might not be to solve significant challenges like the one Jain is tackling. But by exploring new ways of thinking, you will bring different perspectives to the table. And this is certain to increase your chances of accomplishing great things.