The x Rule: Faster than Normal (#143)

(Pronounced: the times rule)

A simple rule I follow allows me to learn (and essentially live) up to 2x faster than one would normally do. Here’s how one can employ it to do the same.

I listen to all my audiobooks and podcasts at 1.25x speed. And I watch the videos of online courses I take (and other YouTube videos) at anywhere between 1.5 – 2x the normal speed (captions really help here). Also, I like to think I probably walk 1.25 – 1.5x faster than the average person on the street.

The immediate reaction from some may be how thoroughly I can grasp the information I receive from audiobooks, podcasts or courses (or how exhausted I get myself in the last case) by tuning life to this 1.5x normal pace. The answer is simple. I grasp the information as thoroughly as I would have if I’d watched/listened to the content at their normal speed (and I don’t really tire myself by walking a little faster).

One barely notices the increase from the normal speed to 1.25x after a while. In fact, it takes a very short while to get adapted to listening to higher speeds. Minutes, not a couple of days, a week or so, but literally in minutes you can get adapted to those multiplied playback speeds. Also, audiobook narrators are usually quite slow at speaking; which is reasonable but not efficient if one wants to learn faster (and thus get the opportunity to learn more).

You see, a 10 hour audiobook reduces to 8 when listened to at 1.25x speed. Think of what you can learn in two hours of reserve time! A 40 hour video course becomes 26 hours and 40 minutes at 1.5x speed. You can do another relatively shorter course with that spare time. Look at the time you’re redeeming! Or from a different perspective, look at all the things you’re learning so fast.

I hope you give thought to the playback speed feature the next time you do anything that allows you to use it. It will not hamper your comprehension of the subject at hand and will give you more time to learn more. Just force yourself to watch/listen to gibberish for 5 minutes (at a higher speed) and I’m certain your human brain will adapt to that speed and you’ll understand the content as you normally would have.

This is an amazing rule to imply. As you get comfortable with higher speeds and listen routinely, you can add this x rule to other areas of life too. Like I do while commuting on foot.

I’m also planning on watching Netflix from now on at 1.25x speed. Should be a great experiment.

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