Elite men and women perform at a high level. Similar to a highly skilled computer expert, mind and body hackers are looking for programs to accelerate their life. They seek out ways to hack their brain and further separate themselves from everyone else.
In 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, the human race develops a brain enhancement device called the BrainCap. This cap is similar to the NZT pill in the hit movie Limitless, based on Alan Glynn’s best-selling novel The Dark Fields. Although these are fictional brain augmentations, I have no doubt they will one day become reality allowing us the ability to maximize the use of our brain.
With that said, we do have enhancements available similar to NZT. We have a superpower available through an internal spark in our brain, one that will literally increase our brain cells. This awesome superpower is neurogenesis. You can achieve a higher level of mind and body superiority, one that is similar to some of our greatest fictional novels. You can learn to become a brain engineer and hack your mind and body by using these five powerful hacks.
1. Use Nootropics to Hack Your Neurotransmitters
Cells that fire together, wire together. Simply put, our brain learns when new information connects to something it already knows. So the more you know, the more you are actually capable of knowing. Our brain cell includes a neuron (cell body), axon (transmits impulse), dendrites (carries impulse), and synapse (communication between neurons). Chemical substances known as neurotransmitters (voltage) are released and transported when neurons fire. Nootropics (smart drugs) are cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory, motivation, creativity, and performance. Originally designed to treat disorders such as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease – these potent drugs have demonstrated the capability to hack our mind and body. Use the following with caution.
- Dopamine: Increases motivation, concentration, and produces intense focus. Adrafinil is highly recommended. Adderall and Modafinil are effective for those with a diagnosis of ADHD or narcolepsy. Adderall should only be taken by those with ADHD and will greatly improve attention, focus, learning capacity, and motivation.
- Acetylcholine: Low levels have been linked to brain fog, difficulty in learning, and low memory retention. You can improve your memory by increasing acetylcholine levels in the body. I recommend Alpha-GPC and Huperzine for this.
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Linked to anxiety, sleep, and other relaxation functions in the body. It is important to improve levels of GABA in treatment for people suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD. Aniracetam is recommended as it will enhance the growth of neurons and synapses, improve memory, increase attention and focus, and improve learning capacity.
2. Hack Neurogenesis and Grow Your Brain Cells
There is one magical substance involved in mind and body hacking. This substance is a nerve growth factor that impacts the development, function, and growth of brain cells. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses through axon and dendrite sprouting. BDNF is the most powerful and active substance stimulating neurogenesis. Dr. John Ratey proclaimed in his best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain that BDNF is “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”
Use the following neurogenesis hacks.
- Exercise: Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of BDNF. Our brain produces BDNF during exercise, which leads to stimulation of new brain cells.
- Audiobooks: Since running increases BDNF production, which increases neuron growth, you must then use your brain in order to keep your wiring strong. Audiobooks are similar to plugging yourself into a computer and directly downloading information. I read over 100 books per year and listen to audiobooks while running.
3. Hack Learning and Become a Super Learner
I mentioned reading in the previous hack, however, I wanted to dive deeper into this one. I attribute exercise and reading to my success in life. Most people stop actively learning when they exit a formal education curriculum. Reading is the optimal approach to improving overall learning capacity. I recommend the following.
- Become a Ferocious Reader: The absolute best way to improve our intelligence is to read.
- YouTube: This is the future of learning, and for the most part is free. There are some great online lectures on YouTube and you can listen while exercising, while driving (just don’t try to watch the video!), and just about anywhere. I recommend ‘Khan Academy’ if you are interested in improving your math skills.
- Time Hacking. Roger Hamilton highlights the importance of time in his thought-provoking book Wink and Grow Rich. He remarked, “Show me how a man spends and invests his time, and I will show you his future.” There is nothing more important than managing your time wisely. As discussed by Hamilton, if we do not use our time wisely – once spent, that time is gone forever and will never come back.
4. Hack Your Senses and Become a Synesthete
I promise I am not on LSD and I highly recommend you stay clear of it (although it has been proven to increase neurogenesis). Definitely a crazy concept, but you can hack your senses in order to hear, taste, feel, and see colors. Synesthesia is a union of our senses to do just that. Synesthetes are people who use this ability to improve memory and cognition. This could be extremely beneficial when attempting to pick out a few numbers from a large set, as each number is associated with a specific color in your mind. Use the following hack.
- Ideasthesia: This is an experience where senses are brought about by perception, where colors can be malleably connected to words, letters, or numbers. The key here is to determine if any number or letter has a direct association with a color in your mind. If you can associate each letter and number to a color, then you might just be able to hack synesthesia. Use this hack every time you read and see if the association works.
5. Hack Your Memory
Think back to your days in school. What types of techniques did you use to remember lists of important historical figures or geographic areas? Just as in math, where we were forced to memorize the entire multiplication table, we tried to force everything into our brain by the insane approach of repetition. Do you remember anything you shoved into your brain using that technique? Building a memory palace is a far superior technique utilized by all memory champions. It is a mnemonic device used to remember words, cards, faces, numbers, and more. Use these three steps as a quick guide in constructing your palace.
- Determine your memory palace. Use a familiar setting (such as your childhood home).
- Determine your route in your palace and assign landmarks (an old furnace in a basement you may have feared as a child).
- Assign symbols and be creative. Use things you would never reveal to your mother (this will help it stick). Use people you despise, people you love, humiliating memories, and even nudity. One memory champion used an image of a nude model swimming in cottage cheese at a landmark in his childhood home.