'Limitless' by Jim Kwik - a book review for teachers
Jun 10, 2020
Jim Kwik’s new book ‘Limitless’ is a great book for any teacher to read, because it is primarily focusing on ‘learning how to learn’. Kwik believes that this is the most important skill that we should be developing within our students, because in order to succeed in the future workforce, our students will need to become self-regulated, life-long learners, capable of adapting and learning new skills when required. The fact is that we are trying to prepare our students for jobs that don’t even exist yet, so anything that is going to help them be able to navigate this uncertain future is going to be beneficial.
The main premise of the book is that everyone’s potential is limitless, with the right mindset, motivation and methods. He then goes on to focus on each of these three areas throughout the book.
First he delves into mindset and explains the important of mindset and how to develop a more beneficial mindset that is more conducive to learning, growing and developing. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
"ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) are everywhere, and there isn't enough ant spray in the world to get rid of all of them But eliminating them from your life is an essential part of unlimiting your brain. The reason for this is simple: if you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them."
This is so spot on, in my opinion. Limiting beliefs and negative thoughts are one of the biggest things holding us back from reaching our potential and fulfilling our true purpose in life. Often, we don’t even know that they exist or that affect our daily actions to such a large extent, as they are so automatic and operate on a largely sub-conscious level. Being able to identify our limiting beliefs is such a huge part of moving forward. Our students are also being affected by their own limiting beliefs - how often have you heard a student say ‘I’ve never been good at x’ or ‘what’s the point in trying, I’ll never get it!’, or ‘I’m just not the kind of person that likes to do…’. We all have them! We need to figure out how we can overcome them. Helping our students to develop a growth mindset is a big factor here.
Kwik goes on to explore the topic of motivation. He states that a key factor in becoming more motivated is finding your purpose. He says
‘Knowing your purpose in life helps you live with integrity. People who know their purpose in life know who they are, what they are, and why they are. And when you know yourself, it becomes easier to live a life that’s true to your core values.’
So how do we find our purpose? The first step is figuring out your passions, and the best way of doing this is to experiment with different things to see what ignites your joy. It’s about letting go of other’s expectations of you and discovering your ‘authentic, alive self’ and what lights you up. Once you have found your passion, you can then pursue your purpose, which is all about how you use your passion to help people.
Another important part of becoming more motivated is instilling habits that help to protect your energy. It is very hard to be motivated if you are low on energy, so things like sleep, a healthy diet and exercise are all important here, and he gives some tips on how to create new habits to help you achieve this.
The last factor of motivation is taking ’small, simple steps’ - if something feels too big or impossible, just tell yourself that you will make a small start - taking smalls actions on a consistent basis add up, and sometimes you will also find that by just starting, you are able to get into a ‘flow’ and actually achieve a lot more than what you originally set out to.
Finally, Kwik then details many different practical methods that we can use to increase our focus, memory and productivity. There is a lot of gold here, and I particularly liked his method for being able to remember talking points for a speech. He makes some very good points about setting intentions, the downsides of multi-tasking, and how we can avoid distractions, which is something that I really need to work on myself!
In short, Limitless is definitely worth a read and you will find a lot of practical information that you can implement straight away within your own life as well as in your classroom.
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