5 Reasons to Ditch the Booze and Have a Sober September – Porto Part 5

Sober September Challenge – Porto Part 5

My life lately is like a working heart rate monitor. Today I received some really good news, and some really bad news.
I feel like Sasha Baron Cohen just informed me that I am HIV Aladeen( which means positive and negative).
After stressing out a bit to much yesterday, I feel like I ran out of f*cks, so I am more ok with being not ok than usual.
Also it helps a lot that I am working in front of a pool with a stunning mountain view. I love my office today. In the background I see my friend is dancing without a worry in the world in his way to short to be 100% hetero bermuda shorts.
Traveling has taught me however that a true vagabond needs very little. So in theory, if you decide for minimalism, you also have less to lose in a sense. Less to fear.
Liberation through stoicism is real, what you still can lose however is your mind and your health.
Lately my nutritional philosophy reminds me more and more of the movie super size me. So I decided to make some changes in my lifestyle, starting as of now.
Less Charles Bukowski more Dave Asprey.
So while contemplating the best ideas to create a plan that allows me to survive the rest of my 20s I had to think of a day that I had on this journey.

Cascata Tahiti

Earlier this week my crew and I decided to check out some national parks in the Braga district, and we ended up at Cascada de Tahiti, a beautiful waterfall in the mountains of Portugal.
We casually ignored the warnings on trip advisor that the rock formations are super slippy and that a tourist is still in coma after hitting his head there.
And it did not take long till some of us fell on his behind. So extra caution was needed.
We climbed along the waterfall and the small river that winds itself like a snake through the giant rock formations.  The endless mountains were covered by thick forest of pine trees.
While jumping inelegantly from rock to rock I feel free and liberated. Liberated because while climbing you need to focus so you don’t fall of the rock and dash your head in.
There is something meditative about focusing on a single task. You are focused on surving, worrying about your problems at the other side of the world is not the highest priority for your brain. So you are 100% in the now.
It was a bitter needed break for my brain from all the sh*t that I have going on in my life right now.
The combination of sports and nature is really the strongest antidepressant there is.
After jumping off a cliff into a fresh sweet water lake I felt like all my problems got washed away with it.
Since I am a giant goof ball I am terrible slow at climbing, so I lost my friends for a while. So I had some time to think.

The Duality Of Things

I wondered if modern hedonism is a form of self-hate. On the one site, I am a health and biohacking fanatic and I love the idea of getting better every day a little bit.
But I also like beer and Kinder Pingui.
I think we all have incompatible motivating forces and competing behaviors.
We all like the idea of having a six pack. But we also like chocolate cake.
Since I have the habit of going all the way into the rabbit hole and living on the edge, moderation for me is really hard. Or at least this is what I am telling myself.
So I am evaluating taking better care of myself and lay off booze for a while. This is why I decided to start a new experiment: Sober September. And I invite all of you to participate.
It is really simple, so only one rule, no booze of any kind in the entirety of September.
On the way back from the Cascada de Tahiti, I talked about my friend about the importance of deconstructing problems. So I thought about the common demeanors of my latest struggles.
I feel that booze is great food for my monkey mind and that it is playing a role in triggering mild crisis from time to time. And with mild crisis, I mean me casually contemplating doing a sexy backflip of a very high bridge.
So in the spirit of bad science, let’s see what happens if we take out a variable out.
You don’t feel like joining the Sober September Challenge ?. Here are some reasons to try this.

5 Reasons For Sober September

 

Money

The first reasons for a Sober September is that you will safe a ton of money. We all know the unpleasant feeling of looking at the receipts in your purse on Sunday morning  realizing that you in your drunk rage broke your iPhone screen again.
As a digital nomad one of the hardest challenges is to deal with the fact that in theory it is friday for the rest of your life. So you have to be mature enough to handle your freedom. Something I really suck at.
Your wallet, however, will be grateful. So instead of night out in a club, invest the money otherwise in something that is equally or even more fun. The idea is that you don’t feel like you are sacrificing in sober September, but that you are actually gaining quality in your life.

Self Efficacy Boost

No one believes you can do it. Not even yourself. And you and your friends have very good evidence to back it up.
We all have been that guy who told everyone that they are going to stop drinking forever on a Sunday morning, only to break our sworn vows the next weekend. This is why decided to post this today. Maybe there are some of you fckfaces who feel the weekend in their bones.
Sober September will not only prove your friends wrong, you will actually boost your self-efficacy. Meaning the belief in your own abilities.
We all have the ability to change in an instant. And there are very few adjustments that are as strong as to stop to poison yourself. Instead of focusing on finding the next nutritional philosophy  try for a while to just stop with the obvious stuff that makes you weak.
So sit down for a few seconds and create a strategy that will be successful. Do not rely on your willpower! Make preparations while you are motivated. Write down reasons for yourself why your body deserves a brake from drinking and what you will actually gain by stopping for a while.
A key principle of behavior psychology is that if there is competing behavior, the easier behavior wins. So make drinking in September hard for you.
No booze in your house. If you don’t feel strong enough to go to a bar, don’t go.
Create a system of accountability.
Make a small video on social media that you upload or give your friend 100 bucks that they can keep if you slip.

Happiness

If there would be a recipe for depression, alcohol, and financial problems would be on top of the list. In my pursuit of deconstructing unhappiness and learning more about mood disorders, I interviewed hundreds of case studies. A significant amount of them had some form of alcohol problem or even addictive tendencies.
Happiness is as much physical as it is psychological. Stopping consuming poison regularly will not only boost your health but also your mood.
After sober September you can still decide if it is worth it for you to miss out on some craziness in order to invest in your health.

You will look better

Pete Dority’s heroin look is out. As I realized on this journey that the combination of port wine and Natas really made me gain some weight. Or to be more honest, I got a little fat here.
So after a solid dose of self-shaming, I thought why not use Sober September to swap bad habits with some nice ones. And actually get back in shape.
My basketball season is going to start in two weeks, and today I realized that my zipper required a little extra pull in order to get my trousers closed. Sober September will change your pretty quick, and you will be surprised by how much people will notice.

You will have more willpower

No drinking in September will not only boost your looks, your financial situation but you will have actually more will power. You will prove to yourself that you are in charge, that you can stop any time, with anything. And since you are more energetic you have more will power to say no to other things. So if your friend asks you the next time if you want to come to an all you can eat Chinese restaurant you will be more likely to say no.
So why not use sober September in order to invest an entire month into yourself.
So as always thank you guys for and I wish you a happy sober september!

How To Use Pain As Fuel — The Deck of Cards Workout

I Write Mostly about Psychological topics, Why Write About a Workout Method?

I believe in order to improve our state and wellbeing we need to improve holistically. This means that we need to become the best versions of ourselves in mind, body, and spirit.
When I was researching the clinical depressed in psychiatric facilities I noticed that it was mandatory for the patients to take long walks and participate in sports classes, because sports boosts serotonin and mitochondrial function for example.
One of the commonalities among patients was that they all had either no gym routine at all or a bad one. On the other hand, I found that successful people all had some kind of exercise regiment.
If you want to improve your brain, you also need to improve your body. Think of your brain as the driver, your body is the vehicle. If you are motivated and you have goals in your life you do not want the ford fiesta, you want the fucking Ferrari.

 

Who is Ray Lewis?

Ray Lewis is a former American football player who played 17 years for the Baltimore Ravens in the Nfl. He is arguably the best and most feared linebacker of all time. When I was researching the habits and routines of successful people, I looked at Ray Lewis workout routines and tried to emulate them. 
I was particularly interested in Ray Lewis because he had a very troubled childhood. I always look for people who seem to be self-made. I believe you can steal more habits and routines from them than for example from someone who was born with all the resources in the world.
I look for people who succeed despite their circumstances and not because of circumstances. Ray Lewis developed the deck of cards workout when he was a child. His mother was constantly abused by other men. In order to protect his mother from the brutal beatings of his stepdad, he started working out as a child. I was particularly interested and fascinated by athletes who used sports as an escape. To use the pain that they had in their life as fuel.
They somehow find a way to tap into pain and trauma and use transform it into drive. Click here to read my article on how you can you can turn your Trauma into a superpower.
There is this upper echelon of pro athletes and high achievers with troubled backgrounds who all seemingly have something dark in common when it comes to their relentless drive.
They do not only seem motivated by external gain, but also by an inner escape forwards. A fight inside that is invisible to the outside world. When Ray Lewis took his deck of cards as a child and worked out it was to get stronger in order to protect his mother from his abusive stepfather. He worked out so he was strong enough to save his beloved mother.

“My Step Father hit my mother so hard that she would bleed from her eyes, and I remember looking at him with this rage in my eyes. I could not help here because I was not strong enough. So I went to the next room and grabbed my deck of cards. I was training because I was sick and tired of what pain and powerlessness feels like”. Ray Lewis

So What is the Ray Lewis Deck of Cards Workout?

Ray Lewis workouts are intense, but not scientific. They are born out of necessity. They are as simplistic as they come.        
What you need: A Deck of Cards with 52 Cards. That’s it.
Manual :
Shuffle a deck of cards. Then pick a card. If you draw an 8, for example, you do eight pushups. Any face card was worth 10 pushups, an ace 25 and a joker 50. That’s it. Repeat until you have gone through the deck.
In Ray Lewis NFL Days he went through three decks of cards for each exercise. That’s a shit ton of pushups! You can do the Deck of Cards workout for sit ups, pull ups and whatever area you want to stress. If you are not strong enough yet, start with a personalized version of the workout. If you are a beginner than instead of doing 10 push-ups to 3 push-ups.
As a Digital Nomad, I love the Deck of Cards workout, because you can have an amazing workout anytime and anyplace and you do not need anything else but your body. For me, it motivates me a lot to know the history of the workout and visualize Ray Lewis doing the same workout that I do every morning. One of the main pillars of my philosophies is that if we start doing the things successful and strong people do we eventually will get the same results.
If you want to develop the habit of insane work ethic stay with me.
Why do I write this article
Caution Soulstriptease ahead: This dark escape forwards was something I did not need to emulate. I already possed the ability to use pain as fuel. It was already eternal in me. I grew up in a rather rough neighborhood under very simplistic conditions in a single parent household. Rich in spirit, but rather poor economically. In my neighborhood, you had a lot of tough, violent kids. I was rather soft at that time, and I was skinny as hell (about 40 pounds underweight). I was interested in poetry, arts, and basketball. As you can imagine being a bookworm when you grow up in an environment full of sharks wasn’t the cool thing to be. In consequence, I was laughed at, and they beat the living daylights out of me daily. It was bad. Sensing that something was off, my amazing mother bought me a basketball.
And with it an escape, a way of channeling all the accumulated pain and leave it all on the court.
Suddenly It was not only cool to be a skinny tall kid, but it was an advantage. I was hooked immediately. I began practicing every day, all day. I became known as a gym rat. Working out longer, and harder than others. In Basketball weight Training is kinda mandatory. Turns out that if your hobby is to push other 2 meter tall dudes around day, you get strong rather fast. The next time the school bullies picked on me I fought back. The bullying stopped.
There is a scene in the beautiful movie “moonlight”.
The movie is about a young gay kid who grows up in a ghetto who is constantly bullied and beaten. Until he loses it, fights back and becomes a bully himself and invents a completely new persona which he calls “black”. I don’t want to glamorize violence in any form but I believe we must make use of all of our resources. And if we have pain in our life we might as well use it to move forward to a more safe place.

Although I was completely safe afterward, the habit of working extra hard and using pain as fuel still resides in me to some extent.

What is the Psychology Behind Escaping Forwards?

I believe that the habit of escaping forwards is exactly that: a habit.
All automated behavior patterns work after the same principles. Click here to read my article on how habits work.  Let’s dissect Ray Lewis behavior.
There are 3 Rs that are important according to Charles Duhigg.

  1. Reminder
  2. Routine
  3. Reward/Punishment

Ray Lewis reminder was that his mother was beaten. His Routine was the deck of cards workout. His Reward was that he felt 1 % closer to protecting his mother. Now that is intense behavioral psychology. Pain can be an incredible motivator.
Working out was his coping mechanism. So through years, he automated his Routine of extreme work ethic.
After Ray Lewis stepped up and protected his mother from his piece of shit Stepfather what do you think happened to the habit?
That’s right it remains.

Did you ever ask yourself why successful people don’t stop after they made it? It is because of Habit.
After some Years Ray Lewis was a millionaire and his mother and his family were put. How come that he still continues to work like he hasn’t made it? It is because of habit. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Habits do not care whether you have made it or not. Ray Lewis installed by accident this relentless work ethic software in his brain.
If you break automated habits, you also take the automated reward away. After enough repetition, you are addicted to that reward. And eventually, we do things just because we do them. Breaking that habit would mean crazy discomfort for Ray Lewis. Because he has linked pleasure and the feeling of security to his crazy workouts. Also, we do things out of familiarity. And we feel discomfort towards behaviors that are non-routine. 
Also when it comes to habits, people are much motivated by pain than by pleasure.
If you have a negative, pain causing variable in your life you will pay almost any amount to get rid of it. This effect in my opinion far outweighs the psychology of gaining something positive.
Our brain is wired to protect us. Almost everything we do is in order to avoid pain.
Working out for Ray Lewis meant that the physical abuse of his mother would stop, this neural association was ridiculously powerful. To me, this somehow explains his insane intensity on the football field. While to us as observers he is only playing football, to him it was internal. A fight nobody knew about. What is your inner battle?
We all will have pain in our life, it is unavoidable. What we can choose is the way we can cope with it. We can use bad habits, such as drugs, avoidance, procrastination to deal with our pain. Or we can use pain as fuel. To use the bad things that are given for us as a resource and transform it into something beautiful, working out, dedicating ourselves to our craft, learning, traveling.
The habits that we choose will eventually determine what kind of person we become.
Are you going to use your pain? Or are you going to let your pain control you?
I made my choice.
 

Call to action

  1. Buy a deck of cards
  2. Do the Ray Lewis Deck of Cards workout.
  3. Write down 5 coping mechanisms that you have
  4. Circle the one that benefits you the most
  5. Circle the coping mechanism that is most destructive for you ( smoking, overeating etc)

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How To Use Electro Shocks To Get Rid Of Bad Habits

 
Do you struggle from time to time with bad habits? Do you want to quit smoking? Do you hit the snooze button when you wake up? Do you eat sugar? If you are the kind of person that wants to get in charge of his life and his habits, then the gadget that I am presenting in this article might be of value to you
We humans spent more than 50 % of our lives on autopilot. Or as I prefer to say inhabit. Whether we have good habits or bad ones determine what kind of person we are. Think about it. In my opinion, the difference between a millionaire and a broke person lies in their different habits.
 
I think of your brain as your iPhone. Habits are apps that you can download. If you have too many bad apps on your phone, your iPhone becomes slow and dysfunctional. If you have good apps on your iPhone your phone becomes an amazing device that is capable of helping you in major ways. A good habit could be for example the habit of learning languages daily, or an exercise regiment, or a meditation practice. This would be the equivalent of a good app such as Evernote or Duolingo
A bad habit could be for example the habit of smoking, or overeating, procrastination or doing drugs. This would be the equivalent of bad apps. It robes your iPhone of its precious memory, that you could use for something productive.
Therefore it is essential that you learn how to delete bad apps from your brain phone and replace them with better ones. I wrote an article about habits.

 We are what we REPEATEDLY DO. Succes is not an action but a Habit ” Aristotle

I am a bit geek when it comes to behavior-changing technology and biohacking devices. The following article shows you one gadget that helps you to get rid of bad habits. Humans are horrible when it comes to self-discipline. We all know that smoking is not good for us but we do it anyway. We know that snoozing is a bad habit to have but we do it anyway. We all know that procrastinating with social media robs us of precious time but we do it anyway. We all want to go to the gym daily but we dont do it.
As a behavior designer, it is now the focus point of my work on teaching people how to design against undesired behaviors. Relying on willpower and motivation is not enough, because if that would be the case we all would have 6 packs and would speak 8 languages. Somehow our lazy brain always goes the most comfortable way to immediate gratification. We must actively design our environment against behaviors and habits that we don’t want to have and we must change the very things that we link pain and pleasure to. Our brain will always want to get pleasure and avoid pain. If we hack this pain and pleasure system we can guide our behavior and become the person that we want to become. So what is pavlok!

What is Pavlok?

Pavlok is a biohacking bracelet that you wear around your wrist that is designed to help you break bad habits. It does so by giving you mild electric shocks when you perform a behavior that is undesired.  First, you identify the habits that you want to break. This can be for example that you have the bad habit of smoking. Every time you succumb the temptation of a smoking you receive an electric shock from the wristband!

  1. First, you identify the bad behavior that you want to eradicate
  2. Then, Pavlok will monitor your behavior. It monitors your behavior with sophisticated sensors and algorithms.
  3. Now when you perform the bad habit, Pavlok will give an electric shock/ Or you give yourself a shock with pavlok.

Pavlok also has automated features where you combine for example a plugin for your browser with pavlok. And every time you go to facebook you get zapped.
 

If you want to buy the device click here 
If you want to know more about the product click here

Whats the theory behind Pavlok?

The device was named after a Russian physiologist who was mainly known for his work in classical conditioning of the most famous and important psychological contributions ever made. 

So what is classical conditioning?

You might have heard of Ivan Pavlov as the crazy scientist who trained his dog to produce spit overtime his dog heard a bell.

The idea is easy: to create an intended response, pair it with a trigger and repeat it until the stimuli alone creates the response.

In his experiment, Pavlov rang a bell and gave his dog some delicious dog food.

And the dog produced saliva. After some time the dog began to salivate when Pavlov entered the room. The Dog was anticipating the delicious dog food and produced salvia in advance. Amazing right?!

In order to test the theory, he created an easy experiment. To prove that the dog was producing salvia in anticipation of the food, he rang a bell every time he gave his dog some delicious dog food.

After a while, he rang the bell without giving his dog the food. 

And the dog produced salvia just as a result of hearing the ring!

Pavlov and his experiment with his cute salvia producing dog are way more than just a classical psychology lesson. Classical conditioning can be used as a tool to get rid of undesired behavior. 

Remember Operant conditioning is best suited for forming new habits. Meaning that our brain wants to repeat what is rewarded. 

Classical conditioning is there to get rid of bad habits. By pairing a behavior with a negative stimulus( pain or discomfort for example) you can weaken bad habits.

Do you have bad habits like eating junk food? Skipping workouts? Being depressive? Playing video games instead of following your dreams? You can weaken them all!

So whats the link between bet classical conditioning and getting rid of bad habits?

I mentioned earlier that in order to create a new habit it is best to add a reward at the end of the behavior.


If you want to get rid of a bad habit that alone, I found adding a reward is not enough. You have to add a negative stimulus to the bad habit. A tiny punishment.

In psychology, this is called aversion therapy. It means that you add a negative consequence to your behavior. 

It is a famous practice in the military. If you are interested in that you should read the book „ Living with a Seal: 31 Days with the toughest Man on the Planet from Jesse Itzler and Tony Goggins. Click here to buy the book

Think of your brain as your dog. And that you train him either by giving him food or punishing him a little bit. If your dog pees on your couch again and you immdiatly show him that you are not happy with his actions he will link discomfort to that behavior and will try to avoid it. Humans and animals learn very simular when it comes to behavior.

3 Takeaways from the Pavlok

It is fast

Pavlok promises that with their device that you can break a bad habit in 5 days, in only 5 minutes. It forces you to basically zap yourself everytime you want to have a cigarette. After only 5 days your brain does not link cigarettes to pleasure anymore. Your brain associates the cigarette with the electric shock. This may sound crazy and radical, but the speed is amazing.
Yes, training your brain by inflicting little trauma is extreme as well, but so is smoking for years. If you can stop a bad habit like smoking and you manage to substitute the emotional reward that you were getting in a healthy way you have won.

 Pavlok uses aversion therapy

Pavlok uses proven psychological mechanisms out of Aversion therapy that was developed in the 6o-90ties. It sounds super harsh to use punishment as a form of changing your behavior. But the makers of Pavlok have found that even minimal punishment works. And it works ridiculously good. Due to social reasons, punishment and aversion therapy have a bad reputation. But I am quite the extreme guy. And I understand the concerns. It is basically training the dog by kicking him. But the pain that one receives from pavlok is so minimal that it does not cause any harm.

 It is expensive

170 dollars is a fucking lot. But in my opinion, it is a worthwhile investment. Think of the possibilities you have when you are in charge of your behavior. Let’s say you have the bad habit of Netflix binging. Think of the time you save if you could eradicate this habit in 5 days. Let’s say for example you want to stop smoking. With this device, you not only prevent yourself from getting lung cancer thing you save a whole lot of money because you don’t have to buy cigarettes.. 170 is a lot yes. But the possible return of being fully in charge of your life is a bargain in my opinion.

Lifehack: What do I do if I don’t have 170 dollars for buying Pavlok?

I totally get it, 170 dollars for Pavlok is a lot. And if you are not a psychology geek like me you will probably hesitate. If you want to condition yourself; starting today I would recommend that you use a rubber band and snap it every time you succumb to the bad habit.
 

What I don’t like about Pavlok

The idea that habits simply can be broken sounds almost too good to be true. And in my opinion, it is. Just using aversion therapy is not enough. Each and every behavior that we have has an emotional reward that we get from performing that behavior. If we take a bad habit away we must first analyze what the bad habit was giving us. What was the reward that this behavior was giving us, or what was the promise that this habit was making?
Identifying the reward can be a complicated process. But in order to really change our behavior, we must also look at the needs of humans. Let’s take for example the bad habit of smoking. We want to quit. And with pavlok we will be able to run the fun in smoking and we will stop eventually. But smoking was important for us because it was giving us relief, and company and coolness even maybe. Often we are not even aware of what a behavior is giving us. In order to completely get rid of a habit, we must find a habit that gives us the same kind of emotional reward. A habit that gives us what the previous habit was giving us but in a more healthy way.
If smoking was giving you a stress relief you can, for example, form a meditation practice. If drinking gives us self-esteem than maybe an exercise regiment can boost our self-esteem in a similar way. I think pavlok does not emphasize enough that there are reasons why we have bad habits and that we have to substitute in order to fight them.
If you break a bad habit but you don’t substitute for it the person will find a different behavior that is scratching the itch. It is essential that we face what our true needs are and what pleasure we are getting out of a bad habit.
Also, I think it is understated that in order to design against undesired habits we must change our environment.
We are all products of our environment and if we want to form positive habits it is essential that we don’t live in toxic environments.
Finding an environment of hungry, inspirational positive people is key. It sadly also works the other way around if you are surrounded by toxic people you will most likely learn their dysfunctional habits almost by accident.
Call to action
1. Get a rubber band that fits tightly around your wrist.
2. Now take a piece of paper and write down 10 habits that you want to get rid of.
3. Make a circle around the habit that you believe holds you back the most.
4. Now every time you perform the bad habit, snap your rubber band.
5. Write down daily how often you snap the rubber band. In order to see your progress.
6. Tell everyone you know that you have stopped with the bad behavior, this can be for example that you tell all your friends that you have quit smoking.
 

Read more about Pavlok

  1. https://pavlok.com/
  2. https://blog.bulletproof.com/heres-how-to-change-your-habits/

How I Managed To Read 30 Books In One Month — The Speed Reading Habit

One of my favorite Movies of all Time is The Matrix. And one scene, in particular, stands out for me. The scene where Neo fights Morpheus in a Test Program. In the Scene Prior to that epic fight, Neo gets plugged in with a wire and one of the Techies on Board of the Nebuchadnezzar uploads a kung fu data in Neos brain. Seconds later the upload is completed and Neo opens his eyes and is a master in Kung fu and says „ I know Kung Fu“.


 

After watching that scene for the first me, I thought how badass and useful it would be if you could learn any skill that fast. To bad that it is impossible in real life. But is it really? What if we could 10 x or 100 x our reading speed? What would happen to our life if we could accelerate our learning exponentially? Isn’t the life that we are living right now a direct reflection of the things that we have learned up to this point. 

 

I always enjoyed learning. What I didn’t enjoy were the hours you had to put in to learn something complex.

Sometimes reading a book took me forever. Being the lazy bastard that I am I always look for shortcuts. Shortly after I found myself fascinated with accelerated learning and speed Reading in particular. If you have read my other articles than you know that I have the superpower to fail spectacularly. I got kicked out of multiple schools and I failed so many exams that at a certain point I began to question my very self. Maybe school just wasn’t for me. Maybe I was not smart enough. Luckily for me, I started studying psychology. I began to study the ways of how our brain processes information, how we store memory and how we learn. I also learned that our school system was founded like 100 years ago, and that during that time we know very little about how humans learn, and that the entire system sucks. 

This to me was a revelation and the lifting of a burden. It was not that my brain was not capable enough,  I was not too stupid, it was a combination of bad habits and a system that didnt understand really how our brain learns. We get taught basicly that and intelligence is a fixed entity. When I learned how our brain really works, I also learned that I didnt have to stay stupid. That I can get smart, and that I can get smarter fast.

In the following article, I describe an easy hack that allowed me to up my book total from 1-2 books a year to 200 plus. In my past, I had tons of learning disabilities and problems in general with my education. Eventually, I became tired of fucking up and started to really research what learning is about. I studied memory champions, speed readers and read tons of books about accelerated learning. Have you ever started a book and it took you forever to finish it? Then this article might be something for you.

 

The Px Project —How to improve your reading speed by 300% 

 
What is the Px Project?
The Px Project
is a cognitive speed reading experiment. It is based on the human visual system and works with mechanisms that eliminate eye movement inefficiencies that we have while reading. The improvement rate of this experiment is bananas.  In a 3- hour cognitive experiment the average increase in reading speed was 386%. I tried the method for myself, and within 20 minutes I doubled my reading speed. A 20-minute Investment and you read 100% faster for the rest of your life? Fuck Bitcoins, now this is what I call a return! Tim wrote an amazing article on the topic and highly recommend that you check his blog out. click here

Who is Tim Ferris

Tim Ferris is an American best selling author, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed“human guinea pig“. He is most famous for his self-help books. You might have heard of his book „The 4- Hour Workweek. But what he is most famous for is his Podcast the Tim Ferris show which has over 80 million downloads. In his Podcast, Tim Ferris interviews world experts and masters of any field imaginable. Guests like Peter Diamandis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Fox, Dave Asprey and other incredible high achievers.

How Do we read?

We do read in saccadic movements. That means we read in jumps. I always thought for example that we read in a straight line, but that’s wrong. Our eye jumps to a certain point and stays there for a millisecond. Imagine your eye like a camera rather than a video recorder. Your eye camera takes different, separated pictures and your brains binds them to a holistic picture together.
 

So what are the 3 Bulletpoints of Speed Reading?

We must minimize the number of jumps and the duration of the fixations per line.
We do not read in a straight line.
 

  1. We must eliminate jumping in the wrong direction.
  2. if we increase our vision ( think of it as getting a better and wider camera objective) we can increase the number of words in our focus.

So speedreading is not about skipping content, it is about implementing information of how our visual system actually works. Think of your eyes as your car, and the word lines in a book are your streets. So far you always took the long route. Implementing knowledge about how our eyes move is basically taking a shortcut or the most efficient way to your goal.

Call to action

1. Hold your hand in front of your left eye, and now read the last sentence again. Now you can see how your eyes jump from fixation point to fixation point.
So what is the technique to double my reading speed?!

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it — Oscar Wilde

 

3 Steps Of The Habit Of Speed Reading–Self-experiment!

Have you watched Tim Ferris video? No? Here a short summary.
First, take out a book a book that is fairly standardized. Meaning a book that has mostly text in it and not many bullet lists for example.
 

Step 1 Determine your reading speed

First, we need to look how we can measure reading.

  1. Take out a book
  2. Now count all the words in 5 lines of your choice.
  3. Now divide this number by 5. This is your average number of words per line. In my case, I was reading a tony robbins book and I had 58 words/ 5 lines = my average number of words per line for this book is 11.6 ( round it up to 12)
  4. Next, count the number of the text lines on 5 pages and divide them also by 5. This is your average line per page.
  5. Now read with a timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute multiply the number of lines you have read by your average words- per- line. This is your reading speed. Your words-per-minute. Your wpm. Now write down your wpm!

 Step 2 — Pacers!

Awesome you have determined your reading speed. Now it is time for the second hack, and it couldn’t be more simple.
Now grab a pen. Take the pen and slide along the lines and focus your eyes on the tip.
The second enemy of reading fast is regression and back skipping. Have you ever caught yourself reading and then your mind wandered off and you had to read the line again? When you use a pen or your finger or a pacer you solve this issue.
It is super hard for our eyes to focus without a focus point. It is impossible for us to see words and not read them. By artificially creating a focus point with a pen we create the tempo of how fast we want to read and also we minimize back skipping, therefore saving tons of time. Imagine you are taking the bike to school and you have to write the way 3 times instead of one time only.
Speed Reading exercise 1 – Tracer 
You already know how to measure your reading speed. Now do it again but this time uses a pen. Underline each sentence with your pen, focusing your eyes on right above the tip. Take no longer than 1 second for each line! DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH COMPREHENSION AND RETENTION. This exercise is for your eyes to get used to reading faster. Do this for 2 minutes.
Speed Reading exercise 2 – MORE SPEED
Repeat the technique, but double the speed. Now you have half a second for one line. So 2 lines per second. Do not worry if you don’t comprehend anything, this is expected. You are training your eyes to become faster.
Our Eyes can be trained very quickly, and we want to focus our eyes to adapt and make our visual system more powerful
Focus on this exercise and try not to daydream while reading. Do this for 2 minutes.
 
 

Step 3 – Expand your vision  ( 9 mins )

The third step is about expanding your perceptual Expansion, meaning how big your focus point is. Focus on the middle of your computer screen, or smartphone, you can still see the sides of your screen right? You can train your eye to have a bigger focus point. Imagine that you are at the moment need 5 jumps with your eye to read a sentence. If you train your perceptual expansion you only need 3 jumps to read a sentence, hence you read faster.
Let´s illustrate this with a joke from Woody Allen:” I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes, it involves Russia”.
If you be able to start with your eyes at reading and end at minutes you would eliminate 7/17 Words. Almost doubling your reading speed. Combine this hack of starting at the 3rd word with using a pen for speed and you really accelerate your reading speed. Let’s put that to the test.

Speed Reading exercise 3 – Combine 
A) “Use the pen to track and pace at a consistent speed of one line per second. Begin 1 word in from the first word of each line, and end 1 word in from the last word.
DO NOT CONCERN YOURSELF WITH COMPREHENSION. Keep each line to a maximum of 1 second, and increase the speed with each subsequent page. Read, but under no circumstances should you take longer than 1 second per line.”
B) Begin at least 3 words in from the first word of each line, and end 3 words in from the last word. Repeat the technique, keeping each line to no more than ½ second (2 lines for a single “one-one-thousand”).1
C) Begin at least 3 words in from the first word of each line, and end 3 words in from the last word. Repeat the technique, keeping each line to no more than ½ second (2 lines for a single “one-one-thousand”). Some will comprehend nothing, which is to be expected. Maintain speed and technique-you are conditioning your perceptual reflexes, and this is a speed exercise designed to facilitate adaptations in your system. Do not decrease speed. ½ second per line for 3 minutes; focus above the pen and concentrate on technique with speed. Focus on the exercise, and do not daydream. 1

Now Calculate Your New Reading Speed!

Congratulations you have just found a gold nugget. If done correctly your reading speed has improved drastically, and all this without money or gadgets! All you need is a pen and a book.

Sources

1.https://tim.blog/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated-learning/

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