Book Review: Limitless by Jim Kwik

Limitless by Jim Kwik is one of the most helpful self-help books I've read in a while. The premise of the book is that we can transcend our perceived limitations by learning how to learn. Kwik provides a very practical model to help give you the tools to learn better and reach your goals. This model has three components: mindset, motivation, and methods. We need all three of these things to reach our potential. Any limitation that is hurting our progress stems from one of these three factors. Either our mindset (attitudes) is holding us back, our lack of motivation is holding us back, or the methods we use are holding us back. With the proper mindset, motivation, and methods, we can learn and accomplish almost anything!

The first factor of learning that Kwik writes about is mindset. Your mindset includes the attitudes and beliefs that you hold about yourself, others, and the world. Perhaps the most important attitude is your belief about what is possible or what you're capable of achieving. If you don't believe you can do something, you won't be able to do it. But if you believe you can do something, such as learn a new language, you'll be more motivated to learn because you know the effort will be worth it. Kwik says that most people don't realize how much they are capable of learning. To convince us that we are "limitless," Kwik points to the fact that our brains can grow and rewire themselves through a process called neuroplasticity. Kwik also says that many people don't want to believe they can improve themselves because they don't want to feel responsible to make changes to their lives. They'd rather have an excuse to justify their laziness. As you can see, your mindset greatly affects your life. Therefore, you should always be evaluating your attitudes and searching for better ones to help you succeed and be happy.

However, having a positive mindset and believing you can succeed means nothing if you don't have the motivation to work hard. In the motivation section of the book, Kwik gives a simple formula for motivation. He states that motivation = purpose + energy + small simple steps. We can cultivate motivation by thinking deeply about our purpose, passions, identity, and values, and how they relate to our goals. If done right, this should give you emotional energy that you can use to work hard. However, it's hard to maintain motivation if you're feeling sluggish or sleepy. This is why it's important to maintain physical energy by eating healthy and sleeping well. When you're feeling good physically, it's much easier to stay motivated and work hard. The last part of the equation, "simple small steps", refers to having attainable goals that help you build habits. These daily routines give you confidence, which prevents procrastination. If you work on all three of these factors (purpose, energy, and goal-setting), then you'll be able to cultivate sustainable motivation!

Lastly, Kwik gives many practical tips to improve your methods of learning. This is very important because no matter how good your mindset and motivation are, you can be limited by using ineffective, outdated methods of learning. Kwik teaches the science of accelerated learning in this section. He breaks down learning methods into five categories: focus, study, memory, speed reading, and thinking. By mastering these learning tools, we can become very efficient learners. Here are some my favorites tips that I learned from this book:

A big part of improving our focus is managing and eliminating distractions. Once we minimize distractions, it's much easier to focus on the task at hand. One great way to eliminate distractions is to resolve your issues before working on a task. Once you settle an issue, the tension in your mind will dissolve, making it easier to focus. If you aren't able to resolve an issue beforehand, you need to try your best to tuck it away in the back of your mind and worry about it later.

The best studying and memorization advice I learned from this book is the importance of actively engaging with your learning material. This means to think about it deeply, make associations, recall it, and teach it to others. This, opposed to rote memorization, is much more effective for retaining information.

I also liked the chapter on thinking, where Kwik gives great tips for being open-minded, thinking critically, and thinking outside-the-box. He encourages us to think from different angles and to focus more on the root-causes of problems rather than the symptoms.

My favorite advice from this book comes from the chapter on speed-reading. I've always been a slow reader, so this chapter has helped me a lot. I learned that speed reading is easier than is sounds. All you have to do is break some old habits such as vocalizing words in your head and rereading past sentences for no reason. With enough practice, you can become a faster reader while maintaining, and even improving your reading-comprehension. Speed-reading is truly a very important skills since learning and time are vital. Speed reading can help you learn a lot while saving a lot of time in the process!

After reading this book, you'll have the inspiration and tools needed to learn whatever you want and improve your productivity! The great thing about this book is that it doesn't try to sell you some crazy methodology. All the advice in this book are science-based. It's all about the fundamentals of learning. These fundamentals are not always easy, but they work! Lastly, since this book is literally about how to learn, it can be applied to any area of life. For these reasons, I would highly recommend this book to any athlete or coach!

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