Brain 2.0: How high performance individuals maintain peak cognitive function

You may have heard of them. Those people that seem to have more hours in the day than anyone else. They get so much done and work at such a high level but still manage to maintain a normal life without overworking. It seems as though you work just as much but they still accomplish so much more. What is their secret? Well chances are it isn’t just the way they were born, or just a natural ability to complete tasks with ease. The real truth is likely that they are tuning their brain to perform at a higher level. Overclocking it so they can become one step higher than everyone else and beat the competition. How do they do this? The answer is with nootropics.

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are drugs or nutritional supplements that alter cognitive function so that the brain performs better with learning and memory, sustained focus, and alertness. Although most people have not heard the term nootropic or even know that drugs exist to enhance mental performance, nootropics have been used for hundreds of years. In fact most of you readers are probably regular users of nootropics. This is because one of the earliest used nootropic drugs is caffeine, which also happens to be one of the most commonly used drugs in the world today. However, with advances in neuroscience and pharmacology, new drugs have been developed that improve cognition in different and better ways. These drugs are relatively unheard of compared with caffeine but an underground community has formed, dedicated to the research and experimentation of such drugs. It is members of this community that include such high performers.

Nootropics work by bypassing the road blocks produced by your brain and therefore optimises its natural performance. The brain naturally operates in survival mode. This means that it tries to minimise its output as much as possible to preserve its resources for when they are actually needed. However, in world where survival isn’t important and we have access to all the sustenance we need, the requirement for survival and preserving of resources isn’t necessary. Nootropics act to turn off these survival restrictions and allow your brain to more easily enter a state of high performance. So long as you are actively replenishing the resources being used, the brain will be capable of sustaining high performance.

The use of nootropics

The use of nootropic substances amongst high performers is not confined to just modern times. You’d be surprised how many of the greatest thinkers of the past hundred years used copious amounts of amphetamines, nicotine, caffeine or other stimulants in order to help get work done. The book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey illustrates this. I was surprised how many incorporated stimulants to sustain a high level of mental performance. This shows that although it may seem as though many high performance individuals seem to be naturally gifted at getting things done, many in fact supplement their own ability with cognitive enhancement.

That being said, nootropics on their own will not give you the same productive and creative power as these individuals. There is no magic formula to becoming a high achiever. Many of the individuals that supplement with nootropics are very productive and are capable of achieving great things without the use of them. They simply use them to take them that one step further. Nootropics don’t actually give you high mental performance, they just enhance the performance you already have. That means you already have to be capable of achievement in order for nootropics to have an effect. Nothing is free. You still have to put the effort in.

Furthermore, as I mentioned in a previous post, you won’t get anywhere without having the fundamentals down. If you want to improve mental performance you still have to make sure you are receiving a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and regular exercise FIRST before using nootropics. Trying to use nootropics as a shortcut to get around the fundamentals will not get you anywhere.

When it comes to taking nootropics just be smart. Don’t use them all the time and become dependent on them to get anything done. And don’t think that they can be used as a substitute for putting in any effort. Simply use them when you feel like you need that extra edge.

So are nootropics safe?

Fortunately, many of the nootropics available are very safe. They have been extensively researched and show very minimal to no side effects and no addictive qualities. This is what makes them so interesting; they are much better than some of the other more popular cognitive enhancers out there. As I mentioned before, amphetamines have been used by many great thinkers and are currently used by a high percentage of University students to boost their grades. I do not recommend the use of amphetamines at all for cognitive enhancement. Not only do they show unpleasant side effects, they are also quite addictive and don’t always have a positive effect on cognitive performance. For this reason, it’s best to look into the many alternatives out there that are not only more effective but much safer as well.


If you’ve always wondered how certain individuals are capable of achieving the things they do, chances are it’s not entirely natural ability. They purposely optimise their brain’s performance through the use of nootropic supplementation. In doing this, they take their own high natural ability and push it just that one step further to take them beyond their limits. Take a similar approach to these individuals by using nootropics to assist with achieving your own goals.

This post is part of a series. Next time I will give you a brief overview of pharmacology so you understand how nootropics actually affect your brain, and then I will get into describing specific nootropic supplements.

Posted in Mind

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