How To Improve Brain Function to Learn & Read Faster!
I love to read so that I can learn and then share amazing information from super accomplished people.
So that’s why I love the work of Jim Kwik who I first heard speak at last years Bulletproof Conference on how to learn faster and master speed reading.
It’s amazing how many of the most successful people in the world are fast readers and fast learners.
When asked if he could have any superpower in the world Bill Gates responded that he would like the ability to read rapidly. Because he realizes the importance and the value of being able to read fast! Warren Buffet was once quoted saying that he believes he has wasted around 10 years by reading slow! So don’t waste any more time. Here are some key tips that I have learnt from Jim Kwik’s work on learning and reading faster!
How to improve brain function – 4 keys to learn anything faster
There are 4 main key points to learning anything faster, and once you start implementing these the potential for you to accelerate your performance is limitless.
Have you ever been to a seminar or conference on a topic that you are already an expert or knowledgeable on. How do you find that experience different from perhaps a seminar or a conference on a new topic you were interested in but not familiar with? Most people find that they learn a lot more from the latter but not because there was any more to learn but just because they were more open to learning. Sometimes you need to forget or at least open your mind to new ideas to actually hear and learn new information. Keeping your mind open is really important to learning new things and be aware of any negative self talk around learning or what you want to learn as these can totally be limitations. Your self-talk is unfortunately a program your brain starts to believe. So make sure you leave behind the negative self talk and open your mind to new information.
The traditional model of education uses rote learning to teach us information. The thing is though much of what we learn using this method we then forget and also it takes time! Lots of time. Learning doesn’t have to be a spectator sport and active learning can be a much faster way to master a new topic. So a technique for active learning is active note taking. A great suggestion by Jim Kwik is to use a piece of paper with a line down the middle. As you are listening to information write down notes you want to capture on the left side. On the right side write down your creation notes so things you are thinking, things that come up for you as you listen, actions etc. Because learning is actually a lot like exercise in the fact that if you up the intensity you can actually start to see results faster!
All learning is state dependent. Your mood while you are reading or learning material will effect how well you retain the information. Think about experiences you remember from the past. You rarely remember times in detail when you were bored and so information you try to learn while being bored will be equally hard to remember. And your state is under your control. Try moving your body to change your state. It can be as simple as getting up for a minute and doing some stretches or just move your hands around. Try taking a break and doing an activity that builds brainpower such as juggling which actually has been shown to improve brain function.
If you have to do a presentation on the information you are learning do you look at it differently? We all do. Teaching is the best form of learning and actually making that learnt material stick. So if you want to learn something super fast? Teach it!
No 1 Speed Reading Tip
Speed-reading is such a super awesome skill to have. You need to be able to master not only reading fast but improving your focus to the point where you can also remember and actually learn what you are reading.
So first I wanted to go over what some of the major obstacles to speed reading then followed by the one thing I want you to start implementing today to start reading faster!
- Lack of Education – when was last time you learnt to read? I’m guessing a long time ago! Speed reading is a skill you have to learn.
- Lack of Focus – it’s actually easier to focus the faster you read. Think about a really slow video or driving really slowly in a car. It’s easy to get distracted. But if you are watching a super intense fast video or racing a formula one car there are no distractions. Only focus!
- Sub-Vocalization – this is that voice in your head that you hear as you read. Which is ok except that then you are limited to the speed that the voice can keep up with. You don’t need to say every word in your head to understand the words and so this can really limit the velocity with which you can get through material.
- Regression – This is when you actually repeat sections of a book. You know when you finish a line and then have to go back because you have forgotten already what you just read? We need to eliminate regression as it’s a big reading time waster.
- Limiting Beliefs – This is HUGE one! If you believe you can or believe your can’t your right! All behavior is belief driven and so be aware of what you are telling yourself.
So one technique that really starts to combat the objections above is actually so simple that children do it all the time. Children are actually super fast learners and so a lot can actually be modeled from how children learn.
Read with a visual pacer.
When something moves in front of you it holds your focus and so using a pacer under each line as you read can really help with focus and the speed on your reading. Also sight and touch are super closely linked just like smell and taste are. It’s why blind people read with touch and why using a pacer can really help improve the speed of your reading.
The best pacer to use however is a finger on your left hand. You see you left hand is controlled by the right side of your brain, which is also the side of the brain that gets distracted and will pull you into the experience of reading the book and so you want to engage your right brain while reading. You will not only read faster but retain more of the information if you have both sides of the brain engaged.
For more detail on how this works check out Jim Kwiks video below!