Use It or Lose It

Mehreen Masud

I am often inspired by the astonishing inventions people made and left me an impression that they must have been a very gifted brain or are probably born genius until I came across this finding of Jim Kwik, a brain coach and an author of a book Limitless, who openly challenges all of us that we have a brain like a genius.  This discovery embarked me to get aware of the science behind its functioning and came to know that brain acts like a muscle akin to other body muscles, which get strengthened by exercising on a regular basis to builds more energy for longevity. This is now possible due to our brain capacity we are able to fly like a bird, pull heavy weights like an elephant or even dive deep down oceans like a fish. Recent studies regarding brain activity revealed that our brain is 100 percent at work even it doesn’t halt while we sleep. This piece of information has paved a way by narrowing down the odds that only restricted to the word genius, and opened up an avenue to muse over about amazing brain functioning what our brain can really do if we use the most of it. But often times, we get distracted and procrastinate while doing important things in our life whether learning new skills or achieving goals we truly have passion for. So then, why can’t we use most of our brain to reach its maximum level of functioning? Out of many, one main reason is being overloaded with stream of information through technology, as Jim pointed out, that in fact impeded our brain functioning as a result of 4Ds that are: digital deluge, digital distraction, Digital dementia, and digital deduction.

Many of us get bored many time while performing tasks we even have passion for, or, probably have this thought that this is not right time to do such activity, hence, making it even harder to complete in a long run. Like, sometimes, we find ourselves drifting away while reading a book even if we love to get knowledge by learning through others experiences and historical events. Incidentally, How many of us can read the book till its end every single time? Well, not me always. The reason might be a handsome excuse of not being a right time or could be brain fatigue that ends up letting that book be more like shelf help rather than self help”.

Now I have come to believe that knowing how to read a book to pass on its information into long term memory is an art that not only helps to get good focus but also optimizes its retention in the brain at its maximum. Here I am going to share some useful Jim Kwik’s Strategies which he shared in his book  for unlocking  brain capacity and learn faster by following FASTER acronym:

F is to forget: It means, whenever we are either reading a book or getting information through other mediums, we can be more focused on the topic by forgetting any other prior learning related to that piece of information we are going to read. You may have noticed kids learn faster than adults, because they are approaching with their beginner’s mind with no prior learning on that.

A is to act: Mostly, we are trained to learn passively in a traditional classroom by consuming the information rather than acting on it. By putting action you add some creativity to the new ideas you just have learned and applied on you in the best way possible, like, by asking yourself how you can include this new piece of information into your day to day life.

S stands for state of mind: Jim in his book claimed that learning is sate- dependant and by consciously choosing to be in the state of joy, excited about learning new information, and curiosity can make information more a part of your implicit memory. If you remember your back school days, you may notice that knowledge you have learned out of curiosity and showed excitement over it, is still remained the part of your long term memory as opposed to the classes you barely managed to pass time in.

T is to teach: This is what I am doing now at this moment to consolidate this new information by teaching you about. The idea behind is that make intention to teach what you learn so that you will be more focused in getting this piece of knowledge you are going to get. Think about if you are going to give a presentation on a topic you’re learning of that particular subject would be more focused and it will have more retention in your brain.

E is for enter: Like other ongoing commitments we do whether it’s a doctor appointment or parent teacher meetings, we should also enter a time in our calendar for our personal growth and development. it is evident that to learn new skills you need to develop a habit for it by designating a time on your schedule on constant basis which increases the likelihood of this new habit permeates into your brain to become part of implicit memory.

R is for Review: Lastly, the best way of retaining information is to reviewing it. Our brain responds quite well to primacy and recency which means what we read in first few minutes and what information we ended on have more chances to be remembered. The best way to review what you are reading is by taking a 5 minute break after 25 minutes reading to reassess what you have learned and how it is going to help you or others around you.

As I mentioned earlier, brain acts like a muscle so it is up to us to use it to make the most of its full potential by fighting against the 4Ds before we lose it.

Kwik, J. (2020). Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, And Unlock Your Exceptional Life. Hay House, Inc.

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