Limitless Book Summary: Unlock Your Exceptional Life
If you are anything like me, you have probably spent at least some of your life feeling limited in some way. Whether it is your personal, financial, or professional goals, something always just seems to get in the way, doesn’t it? If this describes you (come on, we all feel like this!), then this Limitless book summary is just for you!
Jim Kwik’s work on his best seller Limitless is the perfect guide for anyone looking to unlock an exceptional life by learning to do anything you want in a life full of dreams and goals chasing. This book is especially helpful if you have never once considered that you might be able to do more with your life.
As I mentioned, up until a few years ago, I had spent much of my life limited. My life was a series of minimal effort attempts to just get by. I didn’t even realize that I could do more with my life, or that there was a better way to live my life.
I would have endless excuses as to why things were too hard, or too much work for me to reach my full potential. Looking back, my personal favorite is the famous “I don’t have time for that”.
If this is your current reality, Limitless is a book that truly has the power to transform the way you think about yourself, your life, and what you are capable of doing.
In this book review, I will provide you with a Limitless book summary that covers each key message from this powerful personal development book. I will also share a few personal highlights from this book using my own story as a former teacher who left my limiting beliefs behind to create a life of passion and purpose.
What is Limitless About?
After a childhood accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, author Jim Kwik was labelled as the ‘boy with the broken brain’ by one of his teachers. Despite these circumstances, Kwik learned to progress beyond the limits of his condition to become the ‘world’s #1 brain coach’.
How is this possible!?
In Limitless, Kwik provides hands on strategies that you can use in your every day life to unlock your the potential of your brain so that you can learn and do anything. The book also provides a specific focus for personal growth and self-improvement that emphasizes the importance of mindset, memory techniques, and lifelong learning in order to create a rewarding and fulfilling life.
Over the course of the book, Kwik explains the “limitless model” and its three-part framework to show you the best ways to break free from the limits that are holding you back in your life.
My goal in this Limitless book summary is to outline the limitless model and highlight its key features so that you can apply it in your own life.
How Do You Become Limitless?
One of the key misconceptions is that many people think limitless means perfect or without flaw. It is important that you understand that being limitless is not the same things as being perfect. Instead, being limitless means that you are not held back, or limited, by the obstacles that you face in your life.
Becoming limitless means that you have reached peak human potential, regardless of the circumstances in your life that may be working hard to hold you back.
Jim Kwik says “you can learn to be, do, have and share with no constraints.” He explains that the key to becoming limitless is releasing and replacing a limit in one of three areas of the limitless model. These ares are:
- Mindset limits. This is when you have limiting beliefs about yourself and what you are capable of doing or deserving in your life in the first place.
- Motivation limits. This is what happens when your drive or purpose in life has limits. People with motivation limits tend to struggle with taking action.
- Method limits. These limits happen when the manner in which you are going after your results is flawed or ineffective in some way.
Let’s take a closer look at how to overcome each of these limits in more detail!
The belief systems that we grow up with shape our limiting beliefs and are so powerful that they can dictate what we think we deserve in life. In order to develop a limitless mindset, you have to be able to learn to reject your own limiting beliefs. Remember that limiting beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves about what we can and can’t do with our lives.
Identifying Your Limiting Beliefs
Whether you realize it or not, we all have examples of limiting beliefs in our own lives. In my own personal experience, I have always told myself that I don’t have enough time for anything. This has kept me from pursuing my passions, goals, and dreams in the past. If an opportunity presented itself, I was always too busy to pursue it.
Our limiting beliefs show up literally everywhere. And they are so powerful that they can hold us back from pursuing new jobs, making new friends, or taking the first step toward an exciting goal.
Your limiting beliefs can be identified quite easily by just listening to the negative self-talk that you use inside your head. This type of talk tends to focus on what you can’t do, don’t have time for, aren’t good enough to do, etc.
Pay attention to your thoughts when you face an exciting challenge or opportunity. How often do you think about what you are already doing right, or how amazing it will be to take a chance on something exciting? Is there a single word that stands out that is preventing you from pursuing this opportunity?
Reframing Your Limiting Beliefs
The good news is that you can take control of your limiting beliefs and replace or reframe them into something much more empowering. Jim Kwik argues that there are three keys to taking control of your limiting beliefs:
1. Name Them. Get comfortable addressing your limiting beliefs by name. The great thing about saying your limiting beliefs out loud is that it helps you become more aware of them when they show up to block you from something amazing. Dig deep and see if you can get to the root cause of where your belief systems are coming from.
2. Tell Yourself the Truth. Your limiting beliefs are usually flat out not true. They are a construction of your mind to make it less likely that you will experience failure. Failure is painful for our minds when we don’t have the right tools to mold it into a growth opportunity. So start looking for evidence of your limiting beliefs, and see if your mind is misinterpreting it. When you realize there isn’t any evidence to suggest your limiting beliefs are true, the only remaining possibility is that they are not true!
3. Develop a New (and True!) Belief. Tell yourself a different story, and make it one that focuses on what you know about yourself. In the past, I have conquered some serious limiting beliefs using the power of affirmations. Repeating true and empowering statements about myself has helped me rewire my brain into separating the truths from the lies.
Mindset is Everything
My wife and I have always had different mindsets. I have always battled a fixed mindset, and struggled with setbacks and failure, whereas she has what I consider to be the ultimate superpower: a growth mindset. She is able to take any setback, struggle, challenge, or obstacle and completely reframe it into an opportunity for growth.
As it turns out, Jim Kwik’s work on Limitless focuses on the importance of using a growth mindset to believe in your ability to learn and improve. Doing this means challenging any self-limiting beliefs that hinder your potential, and being willing to grow past them.
Kwik describes the 7 lies of learning that have shaped the way we perceive what we are and are not capable of learning. During my time as a teacher, I was able to witness many of these lies in action first hand. Many of these can be proven false just by looking at the through the lens of a growth mindset.
1. Intelligence is fixed at birth. This is the lie that people tell themselves to explain how they will “never be good at math” (a common one in my classroom!).
2. We only use 10% of our brains. This is a lie that has been spread through various TV shows and movies (Limitless starring Bradley Cooper for example). The reality is we all have the full power of our brains available to us. It is just a matter of finding ways to use it more efficiently.
3. Mistakes are failures. I can’t tell you the number of students I had who identified themselves as a failure after their first poor result. There’s that quote that says “mistakes are proof that you are trying“. Trying multiple times and learning from failure is the key to success!
4. Knowledge is power. While knowledge has been valuable in the past, technology has decreased its value over time. It is now much more important to be able to use knowledge in some way. That is true power!
5. Learning new things is difficult. I got this one a lot as a math teacher. Learning by itself isn’t always difficult if you know how to learn. Understanding the learning styles that work best for you as a learner will make you a much more effective learner. It’s like learning how to change a tire by reading a book about the theory of tire changing vs. getting your hands dirty and changing a tire with the help of a mentor. Which one would you rather do?
6. The criticism of other people matters. Brené Brown’s excellent book Rising Strong does a great job explaining why this lie isn’t true. Criticism from people who aren’t in the arena fighting the battles that you are fighting has no value. Don’t allow the opinions of others to influence the decisions that you do or do not make.
7. Genius is born, not made. In Carol Dweck’s Mindset she explains that every superstar professional athlete, musician, or any other master of their craft was not born that way. Instead, they are the product of deep practice and commitment to their craft. The idea that people are born “genius” is one of the most damaging limiting beliefs that can hold us back from aspiring to be more than we are at birth.
The next of Jim Kwik’s limitless methods is developing limitless motivation. Having motivation is important for taking action in your life. The right motivation can act as a source of energy that can help us reach our wildest dreams and goals.
In order to unlock limitless motivation, Kwik argues that we need to look at our purpose, energy, and the small simple steps we take.
What is your “why“? What is the reason that you do what you do?
I have written a lot about how I found my ikigai and now live in a way that is directly aligned with what I believe my purpose to be. I have a very clear why that I can talk your ear off about!
When you find your ikigai (or your reason for being), it becomes easier to live your life with a clear purpose that allows you to engage in your passions regularly. Motivation feels natural and limitless because the things you are doing are meaningful and just downright fun! This allows you to find a natural state of flow, where nothing feels like work and you can just do without having to work up any sort of motivation.
Even with a clear purpose, motivation is nothing without some sort of energy to make it happen. You can wake up and feel an immediate sense of passion and purpose, but if you have no energy, you will find getting out of bed and doing something awesome very hard to do!
In the limitless motivation section of this book, Jim Kwik provides 10 tips for limitless brain energy to kickstart your energy levels for endless motivation!
- A good brain diet. Being mindful of your diet and incorporating “brain foods” (such as green leafy vegetables and dark chocolate) into your routine is important for your energy levels and your motivation!
- Brain nutrients. Do some research to find ways to include any nutrients you may be missing from your diet.
- Regular exercise. We hear this one all the time. But have you ever noticed just how much more productive you are after taking a quick exercise break?
- Take control of your ANTs. If you have a hard time controlling automatic negative thoughts, you may find them taking up a good portion of your energy.
- A neat and tidy environment. Messes are distracting and a drain on your brain energy! Having a clean environment provides a surprising boost of focus and motivation!
- Surround yourself with the right people. Spending your time with people who build you up and encourage healthy habits will keep you energized, accountable, and motivated!
- Protect your brain. Wear a helmet when necessary, and take caution to avoid sport related accidents.
- Learn something new everyday. Your brain is a muscle, and learning something new everyday is like brain fitness! Stretch your brain to learn new things to help it create new neural pathways.
- Manage stress. Living a stressful life can actually rewrite your brain so that it struggles with more complex tasks.
- Prioritize sleep. In a time when sleep seems like a luxury, how do you make getting enough sleep a priority? By focusing on the benefits! Better focus, clearer thinking, better decision making, and a better memory? Sign me up!
Small Simple Steps
One of my favorite quotes is “do something today that your future self will thank you for“. I love this quote because it makes me think of just how powerful a single step is.
Imagine yourself in the future being able to look back at the exact moment you took the first step toward your dream life. Now imagine what would happen if you didn’t send that email, didn’t go for that 20 minute walk, or didn’t apply for that job.
Small simple steps are the smallest action that you can take right now to move you closer toward your goal. Often times these steps are so simple that its crazy to not take them. But many people really struggle to get started, even when they know there is a good thing awaiting them on the other side.
Before long, small steps in the right direction become good habits. And habits are important because they don’t require any sort of energy to engage in them!
The final area of the limitless model that Jim Kwik covers is limitless methods. The idea in this section of the book is that if we aren’t limited by our mindset or our motivation, it could be the actual way we go about completing tasks in our lives that is limiting us.
To explain how to develop limitless methods, Kwik offers tips to improve focus, studying, and memory.
The world seems busier than it has ever been. Social media, mobile devices, and other forms of digital distraction are constantly pulling for our attention, making it harder and harder to engage in what is happening around us.
And while it might seem that we are more engaged in the world around us because information is so readily available, constantly receiving input actually causes our brains stress. This in turn reduces our ability to focus.
A few months ago I dedicated myself to a firm social media hiatus. This meant that when I sat down to work, I started working right away instead of checking all the apps for the first 15 minutes of my work time. I noticed my focus and productivity levels skyrocket. It was the same experience that you might get if you didn’t just do 150 pushups before trying to pick up a sack of potatoes!
Try deleting any unnecessary apps from your phone, or at least silencing notifications during your designated productive time. It sounds obvious, but removing distractions from digital technology can truly revolutionize what your brain is capable of accomplishing!
Kwik offers seven simple habits to open up and unlimit yourself in the way you study and learn new things.
- Practice active recall. After you learn something new, test yourself to see how much of it you actually remember.
- Space out repetition. Rather than cramming the night before, learn something new, then spread out your study time between when you practice it next. This helps keep your brain active and strengthens new neural pathways.
- Take control of your state. Maintain a positive space and sit up straight. This will help you engage deeper in your studies.
- Smell the roses. Use your sense of smell as a powerful memory recall device.
- Use music. There are strong scientific links between music and learning and deepening focus and concentration. While science shows Baroque music to be the most effective, my personal preference is instrumental progressive rock music!
- Listen effectively. Stop what you are doing, put yourself in the shoes of the person speaking, try to anticipate what might happen next, and review what you heard. This process is key to listening effectively so that you learn and retain what you are hearing.
- Take notes. Putting information into your own words by taking notes helps customize the information in a way that makes it easier for you to remember!
As a math teacher, I’ve always found it easier to understand how things work rather than memorizing facts or dates. I prefer solving problems using what I know, rather than memorizing information. So for me, I found the key strategies for memory enhancement Kwik provides to be really helpful!
The most important takeaway for me was the focus on active memory. This means putting a stop to “passive learning”. When we learn things, we tend to sit back and let ourselves absorb the information. But being an active learner means finding ways to make yourself engage in the learning experience.
Visualization is the idea that actually seeing something makes it easier to remember, rather than just reading about it. Likewise, associating new learning with something that you already know about is a key step in building a good memory. And if you can attach an emotion to it, the odds are you aren’t forgetting any time soon!
So next time you find yourself struggling to remember something, try these strategies and see if it will help you recall this information the next time around!
Using this Limitless Book Summary
I hope that this Limitless book summary has helped you understand the key takeaways from this excellent book. My goal was to provide you with an outline of the key points and ideas that the book has to offer, while also sharing how it has helped me understand and overcome the limits that I battle in my own life!
I strongly recommend this book if you are someone who is new to the idea of overcoming your limiting beliefs. There was a time where I didn’t even realize that I was limited in my life in any way. If this sounds like you, this book will surprise and delight you as it helps you reach heights you never thought you would be capable of reaching in your life!
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who could use some help overcoming the limits that hold them back, this Limitless book summary could be just what they need!