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Can the Lifehacking Concept Help You Live Until the Singularity?

Can the Lifehacking Concept Help You Live Until the Singularity?

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    Most geeks know who Ray Kurzweil is. Most musicians do too, and so do many blind people. Kurzweil has invented so many things in so many different fields, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Perhaps one of the things he’s most famous for, aside from inventing the first reading machine and some awesome keyboards (the kind a musician plays), is his support—or, really, evangelism—for the concept of the Singularity.

    The Singularity, in case you didn’t know, is the theorized point in time characterized by the development of a smarter-than-human intelligence that is capable of improving itself. From this point on, we’re supposed to see a rapid advance in technological progress, because the artificial intelligences are constantly creating intelligences that are smarter than themselves, and hence able to tackle many other problems in technology and science that we haven’t even begun to touch on.

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    One of the concepts that comes hand-in-hand with the Singularity is transhumanism—which is, more or less, the improvement of the human nervous system and body through technology. It’s through transhumanism that we approach Ray Kurzweil’s extreme lifehacking. Though 60 years old, Kurzweil is determined to stay alive until the Singularity occurs and he can upload his consciousness and essentially live forever using (again, theorized) mind transfer technology.

    Well, everyone’s motives for lifehacking varies, and if the Singularity does arrive I bet a lot of us will regret not taking extra measures to stay alive (if we could have regret in death, anyway). But there’s a heck of a lot to learn from guys like Ray who take lifehacking to an extreme level.

    Have a Strong Motivation

    The extreme measures that Kurzweil adopts to live longer—as we’ll discuss in a moment—are all inspired by a strong motivation. At the root of that motivation is a desire to live forever. That’s a pretty strong motivation, and to stick to such extreme measures it needs to be.

    If you’re going to adopt an extreme lifehacking system to achieve a goal— it could be for anything, from losing weight, giving up smoking to learning an instrument—you need to find a way to keep motivated consistently. It’s got to be so good that even the strongest urge to give in doesn’t shake you. For instance, I know many singers who, when they realized that smoking damaged lung cells irreparably and it was impossible to ever gain back their full lung capacity, quit immediately and permanently.

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    Before you set out to conquer a heck of a mountain, what’s going to get you to the top?

    Take No Risks

    Sometimes the best things in life happen because we take risks, but if you’re going to do this right, you’ve got to eliminate all of your potential downfalls. Kurzweil drives slowly and carefully; if you live in his neighborhood, you’ve probably beeped your horn at him a few times! He realizes that driving is a huge risk to longevity and eliminates as much of the risk as he possibly can.

    If you’re trying to quit smoking, a risk would be going to a club or party where there is nothing but smoke in the air, or heading out to eat in that little corner where the smokers go during their lunch break. There’s one of those everywhere.

    Eliminating risks means you don’t have to work as hard to keep motivated, since there’s less resistance to it. It means you’re more likely to succeed.

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    Don’t Go Half-Assed

    Go here and scroll down a bit. That’s a picture of Kurzweil’s daily vitamins, and he even has to hire someone to sort and separate them into bags for him. This isn’t a person who one day decided he’d just eat less chips and go for more walks when he finds the time.

    If you want to lose weight, then forget the fad diets. Cut out all (there are no alternate interpretations to the world all) the crap in your diet, and don’t put a time limit on it either. Don’t decide to do it for a few weeks or “until I lose the weight”—do it from now until the day you die. Exercise as much as you need to each day so you can burn more calories than you take in. There is utterly no point in going half-assed, other than to make it more difficult next time you try.

    I hate reality television, but I’ve seen an episode or two of the Australian version of The Biggest Loser. To me, that’s extreme lifehacking; they’ve done everything they can to bring about the change they desire. They spend almost all day, every day, with their mind focused on solving the problem.

    Kurzweil and his partner Terry Grossman routinely look for new ways to improve their health and extend their lives, such as producing alkaline water to scavenge free radicals in their systems. Part of lifehacking is looking for new ideas and trying them out to see if they work; it’s experimentation. While one should bear in mind the take no risks policy while doing this—going to a party full of smoke is not an experiment that will help you quit—it’s perhaps the most useful, and most enjoyable, part of the process.

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    What is Lifehacking?

    Some people will inevitably tell me that this is not lifehacking. Lifehacking is about making small changes to your day-to-day life to make it more efficient, they’ll say. I’ve heard it a hundred times before. And what they say is true, but I believe that’s only part of it. The underlying concept has great potential to improve your life. By limiting what it can be, you limit yourself.

    You can adopt a little lifehack that’ll help you sort your email faster. That’s all good. But can you implement extreme lifehacking to bring about massive change in your life? Give it a shot, put it on trial, and see how many areas of your life you can improve before the year is up.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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