You’re really not alone, this has got to be one of the most common things that people tell me and I hear it from increasingly young people. It kind of makes sense that the elderly are naturally going experience cognitive decline after living a long life but alarmingly I seem to talk with just as many people in their third and fourth decades of life who report a marked decline.
About a decade ago it was real tin-foil hat conspiracy territory to claim that there’s a bunch of toxic chemicals and engineered environmental forces assaulting our biology causing premature aging and dumbing down the population, increasingly now this conspiracy theory is being validated by science.
I’ve certainly experienced this myself around my mid-twenties, like many young men in my early 20’s I was extremely energetic, sharp and ambitious along with, of course, being a bit cocky and reckless. I worked at nightclubs at this time so I tended to do a lot of drinking, smoking cigarettes and had a pretty awful diet. By around age 26 or 27, I noticed that I just was not as sharp cognitively. I’d forget little things so consistently that it annoyed my roommates. I remember thinking how strange it was that at such a young age I was already experiencing cognitive decline. Then I got into biohacking, I started using Nootropics and changed my diet drastically. Now at age 33, I’m mentally sharper than I’ve ever been.
If you feel like you’ve lost your edge cognitively smart drugs are probably the first biohacking strategy that you should implement. There are a bunch other things that help (diet, exercise, sleep hacking, mindfulness, etc) BUT they all require a lot of discipline which is the one thing you probably don’t have an excess of if you’re experiencing mild cognitive decline. Smart drugs are quite literally the gateway drug to true personal development.
If you’ve google searched smart drugs or Nootropics you’ve probably found a confusing abundance of information. There are a lot of Nootropics out there, it’s a wide category of drugs BUT there’s just a few that I think are really worth your attention to address this issue of unexpected cognitive decline.
Piracetam — The quintessential smart drug that instills a pleasantly intense focus. This is probably the first thing I’d recommend because it falls at the intersection of being very safe, affordable, effective and scientifically proven to improve the mind. It imbues a cognitive edge both in the short and the long term; usually, it has an energizing effect that peps you up 40–60 minutes after dosing and improves verbal intelligence, it opens up your vocabulary. After several weeks or months of dosing, it has a more profound effect on your long term memory — it’s frequently reported that people remember obscure little things from their distant past. You’ll find yourself remembering the foreign language that you learned in high school as opposed to forgetting where you left your keys this morning.
Piracetam Capsules & Powder
Studies over the past three decades have shown piracetam benefits in three major areas. First, piracetam enhances…
While none-prescription and very safe, Piracetam is a hardcore drug which has an invasive effect on the neurobiology. If you’re going to use it in the long term to upgrade your mind you’ll want to combine it with a few cofactors in a specific protocol, the Piracetam Protocol to maximize the cognitive bang for your buck.
There are other smart drugs in the Racetam family that are certainly interesting and there’s a lot of ways to use them BUT Piracetam is probably the safest, cheapest and most consistently effective for the most people so it’s what you should start with. Order Piracetam
Rhodiola — The next notable Nootropic is a powerful Adaptogenic nutraceutical herb that modulates your autonomic nervous system for peak performance. Your health and mental sharpness depend so completely on your nervous system that if it’s not operating in peak condition you’re going to experience general cognitive decline and suffer from several ambiguous health issues. Rhodiola has a very pleasant energizing effect when several hundred milligrams are consumed in hot tea.
Rhodiola Rosea Extract
Rhodiola rosea the Primary Adaptogen of Russian Research and Sacred Root of Tibet
This one works very differently from Piracetam or a lot of Nootropics as it is an herb that comes out of the ground as opposed to a molecule that is produced in a lab or factory. When it comes to herbs that come from the natural order you want to be very selective; bad herbs (often from China) can be contaminated with toxins and heavy metals or often they are just old and have gone bad. You want to order from a source that provides a certificate of analysis and a spectroscopy report showing over 97% purity — here’s a source that meets those standards.
Nicotine — Is a smart drug. Actually a quite unique smart drug in that it’s so fast-acting and potent. If you’ve tried a bunch of things to get you back your focus and they haven’t worked great, try Nicotine, it’s powerful stuff. Especially, if your work demands creativity supplementing Nicotine is worth considering, it’s my favorite creativity drug. It powerfully stimulates the default network of the mind, your unconscious creative capacity. Unlike Ayn Rand, Tolstoy or Mark Twain I don’t smoke, I consume pharmaceutical grade Nicotine directly.
Nicotine USP Solution
My review of Nicotine USP Solution. Yet another Biohacking video where I'm promoting something addictive. I'll…
Modafinil — Finally, Modafinil is work considering it’s a hardcore vigilance agent used by militaries and Air Forces. It’s a hardcore promoter of focus and wakefulness. For 8–10 hours it will put you deep in the focus zone and you’ll be very awake.
Modafinil by AfinilExpress
Modafinil is comprised of an R-isomer and an S-isomer whereas Armodafinil is just the R-isomer. This would suggest that…
But Modafinil is NOT cheap and there are some downsides to it as a Nootropic. It’d encourage you to watch my videos in full about it before ingesting or ordering Modafinil.
There’s plenty of other smart drugs out there that might give you your mental edge back BUT if you’re considering using drugs to address your undeniable cognitive decline you want drugs that have a consistent noticeable effect. That’s why I’d recommend starting with these four.
Working Memory Rehab Protocol
The internet is really bad for our brains. Chronic (which is to say normal, in this day of age) internet and technology usage has a long term effect on our minds similar to moderate heroin addiction.
From my review of the book The Shallows
Our civilizational apocalypse may not result from an errant asteroid, destruction of the environment, unfriendly AI or nuclear war — it maybe from extremely potent distraction technology.
The Web provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal memory , but when we start using the Web as a substitute for personal memory , bypassing the inner processes of consolidation , we risk emptying our minds of their riches .
The “ frenziedness of technology , ” Heidegger wrote , threatens to “ entrench itself everywhere . ” It may be that we are now entering the final stage of that entrenchment . We are welcoming the frenziedness into our souls .
Perhaps you remember this ridiculous movie Swordfish that came out some time ago, you’ll remember at the beginning of the movie when the criminal boss recruits the hacker he tests his skills by having a girl give him a blowjob while he hacks into a mainframe. It’s a pretty silly scene but it’s a quite apt metaphor for what this distraction technology is doing to our brains while we are trying to get meaningful work done on the Internet.
You don't need to read this book because the title says it all — your suspicions are correct, the Internet is NOT…
If years of excessive Internet use has robbed you of the capacity to think and concentrate deeply this is the protocol to follow.
- Start taking focus promoting smart drugs, they’ll have an almost instantaneous effect on your ability to stay focused and productive.
- Download Dual N-Back Pro, it’s not very fun like a video game but it is stimulating and challenging. Do your Dual N-Back training for 10–20 minutes daily while on the smart drugs.
- Pick a task you need to do that should take about 30 minutes or an hour to complete, go visit Brain.FM and listen to the cool music while doing that digital task.
- Make Brain.FM your browser homepage that loads first thing when you turn your computer on. Try to spend the first 30 minutes of the day on the computer listening to a Brain.FM track while focusing on getting the important things done!
- Download Headspace (or another meditation training app) AFTER 20 sessions of Dual N-Back training. Start by doing 10-minute meditation sessions, do at least ten of them.
- After a week or two Increase your meditation sessions to 15–20 minutes. It makes a substantial difference in the benefits to mood and focus that you get out of the meditation. Do your meditation while you’re dosed on smart drugs, it’s pretty cool!
- Buy a book that you think you’d like to read. Commit to reading 30–60 minutes daily. Don’t try to read it in the evening. Read it in the middle of the day, while you’re alert and awake. Read it while listening to Brain.FM or some other relaxing music (classical, electronica, etc).
- Start writing daily for 1 hour after you’ve finished the book. Perhaps you want to write about the book you just read. If your writing sucks it’s ok. If it takes you forever just to write a little bit it’s ok. You don’t have to publish it. Don’t worry about researching and citing in your writing just focus get your thoughts and feelings out. You’re not writing for an audience, you’re writing for yourself. Depending upon your personality the best time to write is either first thing in the morning or late in the evening, try both and see what works best for you. Of course, doing your writing on smart drugs while listening to Brain.FM. Try writing on a computer and the old fashioned way with a pen and notebook.
Ideally, your working memory exercise routine would go like this
10 minutes Dual N-Back training
20 minutes meditating
30 minutes reading
60 minutes writing
Maybe you’re thinking; I don’t have 2 hours a day to spend doing these working memory exercises!
The first three (Dual N-Back, meditation & reading) are the most important and I’m not suggesting that you do this everyday forever. I suggest doing them for an intensive period like 5–6 days a week for a month or two. This is will reinvigorate your working memory that has atrophied. The research on Dual N-Back indicates that it creates long term changes in your brain structure after just a month of consistent usage.
A mindfulness or meditation practice is crucial to maintaining your ability to focus productively (or profitably). Meditation is (honestly) a long term biohacking strategy for a stronger mind — it will make you a better person in about 2 years. Next week or next month it will make very little difference to your state of mind or quality of life but it’s well worth habituating. There’s several cool meditation apps and devices worth trying.
I kept hearing that the best tool for learning meditation was Headspace; this is a guided meditation practice, so…
I like using the Blue Sky Protocol.
If you try meditation and you find it impossible to sit still for 20 minutes and clear your mind you’ll want to use Dual N-Back brain training software.
Dual N-Back Pro
I’ve done brain training for 3 years now and this app is significantly more challenging than anything I’ve tried…
Or heart rate variability training hardware, like the emWave.
By Jonathan Roseland Connect emWave® technology is based on 20 years of research on the mindset state of “coherence”…
No Fap (For Men)
No Fap means no masturbating to porn. I list this here because it’s something that most men do and it’s incredibly costly to our mental and physical health. If you masturbate to porn as little as once a week you’re retarding your testosterone levels which hurts your health in the long term and costs you in mental sharpness. Not masturbating to porn for an extended period of time has an undeniable effect on a man’s mental sharpness, natural male aggressiveness, and zest for life. I’m not suggesting that looking at porn is a mortal sin that you should swear off forever BUT just try going for 30 or 60 days and I think you’ll experience a real positive uptick your mood and energy levels. What do you have to lose?
Sleep quality has everything to do with your quality of life and mind. Bad sleep is costly but perhaps mediocre sleep is a worse problem because it’s less noticeable and it insidiously robs you of energy and zest for life. I’ve got good news for you, quality matters more than quantity; disciplined application of these sleep hacks will allow you to sleep less but awake MORE reinvigorated a ready to own the day.
Optimize Your Mitochondria
Almost weekly I’ll have these rather distressed people email me privately who are frustrated and sick of being sick and tired who have tried some Nootropics and biohacking stuff to little avail.
They complain of…
- Terrible sleep
- Crippling fatigue
- Bouts of depression
- Weight gain
- Erectile dysfunction
- Severe social anxiety
- Or a goldfish attention span
So to these people, I recommend a three pronged approach.
1. Disciplined habituation of lifestyle biohacks
2. Mitochondrial Nootropics
3. Testing and Self Quantification
I recently finished this fairly dense book by Dr. Lee Know summarizing the state of the art of Mitochondria science and research. The major takeaway from the book is that Mitochondrial dysfunction is (likely) the underlying cause of the nasty health conditions and mental illnesses that deprive us of aging gracefully and living life fully.
What to do when biohacking isn’t working — Limitless Mindset
I’ll have these rather distressed people email me privately who are frustrated and sick of being sick and tired who…
Head Strong by Dave Asprey — Your quality of life fundamentally relies on the health and proper functioning of your mitochondria; the base level energy generation system of the body. This book is chuck full of biohacks for living the bulletproof life.
This book makes the case that optimizing your Mitochondria is the ultimate performance enhancing Biohack because your…
The Memory Book — If you’ve noticed that your memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be you’ll want to consider using the memory systems in this short, fun, easy to read book.
The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play
This short book will teach you memory systems to attain a savant-like memory faculty for acquiring new skill sets…
Perhaps all on your own you just don’t have the discipline to overcome cognitive decline. There’s all these motivational mechanism and tools but sometimes what outperforms all of them is just someone else’s expectations of you. A lot of people ask their friends, family or significant other to be their accountability partner BUT there’s a lot of downsides to this — it introduces some tension and pressure to the relationship and rob harmony from the relationships that should be the most reinvigorating and comforting — many have ruined their marriages and friendships this way. I suggest coaching — hire a life coach or expert consultant — but this can expensive and time-consuming, which is why we offer a very lean biohacking consulting/life coaching program. Here’s how this would work…
- The Biohacking Consultation is 1 hour and 45 minutes total — which is two consulting calls.
- First Call 1 hour — Discovery & Strategizing call, I need to ask you some questions, we’ll discuss your history and outline a biohacking strategy and action plan to overcome your issues.
- Second Call 45 minutes — Follow up call in 30 or 60 days to see how you’re doing with the plan we outlined; how you’ve improved, what you’re struggling with, etc
There are a few important reasons we split the time up into two calls
- It’s a significant motivation hack for you to follow through on the biohacking habits and plan we’ll outline because you’re accountable to me in 30 or 60 days.
- I’m incentivized to come up with an effective biohacking strategy for you because I have to talk to you after you’ve been following it for a month or two.
- It timeboxes us with a deadline in 30 or 60 days for you to make improvements and accomplish your goals.
Your Skin in the game here that you’re paying good money for this and you’re accountable to me on another call in 30 or 60 days. You’ll have to explain your lack of action if you fail to follow through.
My Skin in the game here is that I’ll offer a 60-day money-back guarantee on this life coaching. If my coaching and action plan fails you can have your money back. For this reason, I don’t accept everyone as a client.
PLEASE fill out this form
Take a few minutes to answer a few questions, if your issues are far outside my areas of expertise I’ll decline the consultation. My time is finite and very valuable so I only want to spend it consulting the people I can help. Thanks in advance for your understanding!
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