How to increase your reading speed

While scrolling through my feeds the other day I discovered this masterclass by world-renowned memory expert, Jim Kiwk, on YouTube. I’d put it in the “watch it later” playlist and had forgotten all about it (more the reason why I should be watching “memory” enhancing videos) until yesterday. And let me tell you, this is 40 minutes of pure gold!

The talk isn’t just about increasing your reading speed but about accelerated learning and how it impacts everything you do, especially how you learn things. Here’s the video.

Jim Kwik — How to Double Your Learning Speed

If you prefer to read, here are some of the insights I gained from watching this masterclass:

  1. Don’t let knowledge get in the way of your mastery. Thinking, “oh, I know that already” or “it’s too basic,” maybe your biggest obstacle to attaining mastery. Remember that one’s expertise always comes down to their mastery of fundamentals.
  2. You need to get in the “state” to learn effectively. Can’t expect to slouch and read or learn actively. Can you guess why it’s so darn easier to write in a notebook when on a desk than a recliner? Ergonomics matter, particularly if you care about learning and effectiveness.
  3. Ask more questions to increase reading comprehension. Why? Questions give you reasons to learn. And reasons reap results. The three key questions to maximize your learnings:
    A) How can I use this?
    B) Why must I use this?
    C) When will I use this?
  4. The biggest lie of the self-help industry is this: Knowledge is power. It’s only potential power than gets realized when you take action.
  5. If you’re feeling tired it’s not because you’re busy but you’re not doing enough to nourish yourself. This may include eating what Jim calls “brain food” or even getting good enough sleep. Most people don’t do either and expect their bodies to perform at a 100%. Just can’t be done.
  6. Your greatest teachers is your last mistake. This struck a chord in me because it has been one of the fastest way I learn — I’m a chronic experimenter, remember? And the best feedback I get is the blunders I make. It allows me to step back, analyze, readjust, and get back it it.
  7. If failure is not an option, neither is success. You know how I feel about success, don’t you? It’s overrated. And from a practical standpoint, you can’t learn if you’re not willing to fail. Even if you end up paying experts to “shortcut your success” remember that the first time you implement something that you don’t know (based on someone else’s experience), there’s a high likelihood it won’t go as anticipated. That’s life. And believe me, it’s okay. That’s how we all learn.
  8. Learn with the intention of teaching. I’ve been doing this for years now and it has served me well. In fact, this is what I tell my kids to do. Learn and teach it to each other. It’s a great way to bond with your family, friends, and even your audience. Intentional learning is designed to last forever.
  9. Reading faster can increase your focus and comprehension. I know this flies in the face of purists and how most people think of reading but reading faster does not means skimming but pacing yourself well. It’s a more effective way to comprehend and learn. Think of it like driving as usual when you’re multitasking (checking your messages, thinking about your to-do list, doing your make-up, listening to a podcast, talking to someone or even reading a text!) versus racing when your focus is only on what’s ahead. Believe me, when it comes to reading, racing is better.
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