Hack learning: become a superlearner

In searching for the right mentor(s) I introduced you to living legends such as Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss and Derek Sivers. Their passion to learn is not only enviable but it’s downright contagious and I am infected with a learning obsession. I used to read 2-3 books a year. In 2015, I read 25 books. This year I set a goal to read 40+ books.

I also told you how I got scared of my new found obsession and how a little voice of doubt was messing with my mind:

’40 books this year… I thought 25 was hard…
‘That’s almost 3-4 books a month…’
‘How would I pull this off…
‘But I am so busy…
‘I will be reading all day, every day …
‘Maybe I should consider 30 books instead, that’s still 5 more…’
‘Why am I even doing this?’

Tony and Tim have taught me many things and one of them is to not let that whisper take over. Instead I asked a better question.

‘How do Tony, Tim and Derek hack learning?’ These giants surely have more balls to juggle than I!

By posing this question I learnt Tony and Tim are avid speed readers and both Tim and Derek apply memorisation techniques. I became intrigued because I also want to understand more in less time. Life is short and I don’t want to waste it reading at 179 words per minute.

Become a superlearner
Thanks to a colleague I took an outstanding course called Become a SuperLearner and it changed everything.

The combination of learning how to speed read and applying memorisation techniques is genius. Jonathan tackled my biggest doubt. I kept thinking ‘OK fine you can read fast but I bet you don’t understand the paragraph, article or book in depth’. I was wrong!

Jonathan teaches concepts and techniques such as:

  • Pre-reading
  • Linking
  • Chunking
  • Saccades
  • Silence your inner voice
  • Visualisation techniques
  • Memory techniques

When I started become a superlearner I read with a speed of 179 words per minute and remembered about 60%. I finished the Masterclass with 550+ words per minute and a retention rate of almost 90%.

I finish a book 3 times faster and remember more, not less!

Incredible ROI but how does it work
During the course Jonathan gives lectures and assignments for you to complete. After a few lecture videos and exercises I trusted Jonathan’s ability to teach me how to speed read but also to recall what I read with maximum retention.

Learning how to chunk numbers and form words was a breakthrough exercise because I didn’t know I could remember something so easily after learning it in a non-conventional way.

View or download for free my two favourite exercises. I’ve added how I tackled the assignment myself.

More doubts
Reading 3x faster is still a strenuous task. I followed economics and I kept coming back to the concept of ‘Opportunity Cost’. Again silencing those doubts I asked a better question: How could I spend my time reading without giving up too many other activities?

I figured my commute to and from work could be spent more efficiently. I surrendered listening to the radio broadcast and replaced it with Podcasts and Audible. It’s been a huge success because now I get to practice speed reading (or listening), visualisation techniques and linking while stuck in traffic. Listening at twice the speed is difficult at first but Jonathan manages to keep you motivated and pushes you through the pain of overloading your brain until it feels natural. The only drawback I experience is being frustrated when listening to something at a regular speed and not being able to speed things up.

I know how easy it can be to start a course but how difficult it is to finish. Do you know that feeling when you pay for a course but along the way you get bummed out and feel obligated to continue? I hate that feeling and I didn’t experience it with Become a Superlearner. It is one of the few courses that motivated me to learn more.

I am not only going to reach my goal of 40 books this year but I will shatter it.

Jonathan says
After writing this blogpost I reached out to Jonathan asking if he had any objections regarding this post and the worksheet. His response

“This is really stellar work, and a huge honor to see how much you’ve progressed.
I’m a little iffy about the “story” aspect of the worksheets, but all in all, I think you did an exceptional job. “

I didn’t understand what Jonathan meant about being iffiness so I asked him to elaborate

“Re: iffiness. Stories are slower and less ideal than mental images – though they still work. Elements of a story are easier to forget (especially when it comes to order of details) than details on an image.”

Even now he continues to give feedback and it’s safe to say Jonathan has earned his status as a mentor.

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