The Ultra Human Protocol

So you're about to invest in a 30, 60 or 90 day supply of a high quality Nootropic, like TAO by Ultra Human, to maximize the ROI on that investment I suggest that you plan a simultaneous productivity sprint of equal duration.

Hopefully you're reading this just prior to (or just after) splurging a not insignificant chunk of change on some high quality Nootropics.
If you're going to spend your hard earned money on Nootropics there's an important question you should be asking...

How can I make more permanent the mindset and enhanced powers of cognition that this Nootropic imbues?

You should be pondering what you can do in the short term so that using a not insignificant dosage of potent smart drugs for 30, 60 or 90 days not only enhances your performance in the medium term but also benefits you in the long term.
You should be thinking about how you can use a medium term pharmacologically enabled boost in motivation, memory and cognition to build escape velocity momentum towards your goals.

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The American oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is famous for saying something to the effect of...
Your first million dollars is the hardest to make.

 

In a humorous exchange across a wide generational gap, in a Twitter exchange with the rapper Drake he added a zero to the amount in his original axiom.

Drake tweeted: The first million is the hardest.
To which T. Boone Pickens respondedThe first billion is a helluva lot harder

The point that T. Boone is making (in a very hip hop fashion) is that momentum really matters.

If you don't have momentum life sucks! You keep repeating your mistakes and sordid history. Your laborious efforts barely pay off. You're unlucky. You keep getting screwed over and betrayed. The system keeps holding you down. You feel like you are just bashing your head against the wall.
If you do have momentum life is good (and gets better!) The more money, resources and notoriety you accumulate the easier it becomes to accumulate even more. Your time and opinions are respected. Investors, banks and strategic partners beg for the opportunity to invest in you. You are desired, both in the bedroom and boardroom. Even when you make mistakes and screw things up people forgive you and you continue to profit.

In my life I've had brilliant momentum and I've also been utterly stuck like a broke down old locomotive sitting in the middle of nowhere with it's iron wheels rusted to the tracks. Unless you're ok with living a life of quiet desperation you must be prepared to kill, steal or do whatever the hell it takes to attain and maintain momentum.

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Luckily we live in civilized times...

Where you don't actually need to kill anyone or steal anything to get ahead but I use this language to evoke the degree of visceral, mental intensity that you need to bring to bear to build momentum (especially if you're wholly or partially lacking in momentum!)

In the past men amassed vast fortunes primarily using violence, it honestly did not take much smarts or brains.Nearly every male member of the mongol Khan dynasty who didn't die on the battlefield or by the assassin's blade killed themselves with alcoholism. These guys were intoxicated nearly all the time, yet they managed to conquer and rule nearly half the known world.

Today the primary tool of the successful is a mindset of vigorous, focused ambition.

It's very in vogue to bemoan wealth inequality and complain about economic mobility. Yet had you been born in any other epoch of human history, your economic destiny was, with almost total certainty, predetermined from the moment of your sweaty, smelly, inglorious inception.
Furthermore, in the past true free will and agency was only fully taken advantage of by a small proportion of any given society. Only the top 5%, 10% or (maybe as much as) 20% of the most intelligent people got to accumulate any resources and freedom to chart one's own course in life.
Yet today, if you're reading this, chances are that you're residing in a country where virtually everyone gets to determine if they end up in the poor house or in a big house.

But it's not as simple as saying...
If you work hard, you'll get ahead! You just need to work hard, take responsibility and you'll achieve the American dream (or whatever kind of dream you have...)

Technology has radically transformed the landscape of our society and culture and success is not the predictable linear thing as it used to be:
Go to school, get good grades, go to college, graduate, get a job, work hard, get a raise, get married, buy a house, have kids... Success.

In today's economy and the economy of the near future success is still predictable (even almost guaranteed!) if you have two things

1. Intelligence
2. Focus

These two things matter more than where you're from, what you studied in college, what kinds of grades you got or if your dad is a politician. Today's economy rewards you primarily for your intellectual labor and inventiveness.

Intelligence (or generalized intelligence or G) is a factor mostly determined by genetics. It's mostly predetermined by factors outside your control. Although, there's some things you can do to optimize and cultivate your innate intelligence.

Focus is an increasing rarity in our digitally distracted age. We have extraordinarily, astoundingly distracting technology within arm's reach nearly every waking moment that many of us are engrossed with nearly every waking moment! This technology blunts our working memory's capacity to problem solve, our ability to think deeply and cuts down our attention span along with hurting our capacity to instill long term memory and skills. I've argued that chronic Internet and technology use has an effect on our minds similar to a chronic heroin addiction
And focus really matters, nobody achieves success without focus. Unfocused people are chronically unhappy and frustrated.

Professor Jerry Muller, author of The Mind and the Market, articulated it best:

“…a period of growing equality of access to education and increasing stratification of marketplace rewards, both of which have increased the importance of human capital. One element of human capital is cognitive ability: quickness of mind, the ability to infer and apply patterns drawn from experience, and the ability to deal with mental complexity. Another is character and social skills: self-discipline, persistence, responsibility. And a third is actual knowledge. All of these are becoming increasingly crucial for success in the post-industrial marketplace.” (March 2013, Foreign Affairs)

You might be saying: Making money isn't everything. I rather be happy than rich.

Well, you might not have your sights set on being an executive in a corner office but the same types of personality traits and mindset that make you economically valuable are absolutely the same things that also make you a good friend, parent, leader of your community or entrepreneur. If you want to contribute meaningfully to society intelligence and focus really matter.

So what does this have to do with Nootropics and Biohacking?
Nootropics and biohacking give you a significant unfair advantage in
Intelligence
Focus

In the remainder of this article I'll describe the tools, habits and strategies for making more permanent high performance...
Intelligence
Focus
And I'll prescribe a usage protocol for them.

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The Sprint

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So you're about to invest in a 30, 60 or 90 day supply of a high quality Nootropic...

Like TAO by Ultra Human, to maximize the ROI on that investment I suggest that you plan a simultaneous productivity sprint of equal duration.

I suggest that you commit to a month or two or three of discipline; doing all the the things you know you should be doing and none of the self defeating, indulgent, silly things.

How long should you sprint? If this is a new idea to you but you're ambitious and confident, I'll suggest 2 months. If already have really solid discipline and habits I'll suggest you go for 3 months. If you have poor discipline just aim for 30 days. The smart drugs coursing in your veins and seeping across your blood-brain barrier will improve your baseline discipline.

After the sprint is over you can indulge some of your old vices or habits of dubious value. 
And trust me, you will really enjoy them after this short season of living a more spartan lifestyle.
Sin is never sweeter than when savored after a season of stark stoicism. 

So, yes, for the short term I'm suggesting...

Abstinence

Commit to abstaining during the sprint from all the things that make you weak, unhappy and waste your time...

  • Junk food - Instead go stock up on healthy snacks and nourishing, satiating meals.
  •  Junk entertainment - Turn off the shallow TV shows, suspend your Netflix membership, block the stupid internet comedy and turn off your Facebook newsfeed.
  •  Junk people - Maybe you have net negative people in your life that kind of waste your time and really don't add anything. Just do everything you can to avoid or minimize contact with these people.
  •  Social media - I'm not saying you need to delete your Facebook profile. Just commit to not using social media impulsively and excessively. Delete all those apps from your smart phone.
  •  Video games
  •  Porn - See The Journey from No Fap to Tantra | Documentary for men
  •  Smoking - Quit smoking whatever you may like to smoke.
  •  Sobriety - Pass on booze or recreational drug use.

 And whatever other bad habits you might have; make a commitment to yourself to abstain from these things. If you fail and cheat a little it's not the end of the world, just recommit for the duration of the sprint. If abstaining from all these things simultaneously seems like a herculean challenge to you, you should know that self control generalizes, discipline begets more discipline. In my own experience, it's a lot easier to be universally disciplined than it is to just be disciplined in one or two areas.
And again, the Nootropics will make it easier to be disciplined.

Download Coach.me

If you fail to track your habits during the sprint you will almost certainly fail or have a mediocre sprint. The best free (also ad free) tool I've found for quantifying habits and lifestyle is the app Coach.me.

If you join Coach.me follow me! I've got some wacky and seriously self improving habits!

Brag AFTER 3 Weeks

Studies have shown quite conclusively that if you are kicking a bad habit (or picking up a good one) and you tell your friend and family about it (or worse, brag on social media about it) right away the positive feedback you get actually demotivates you from making progress and sticking with it.
You see this every year in the beginning of January, everyone starts bragging on Facebook about how they are going to finally start eating right or going to the gym and an digital orgy of likeshearts, self help memes and encouraging comments ensues. These same people consistently fail to habituate good habits and are back to their jaded, cynical self loathing selves by springtime.
Instead, practice discipline in silence and track your habits, after at least 3 weeks feel free to brag about your good behavior.

In the beginning abstinence and discipline will not be very fun. It will be boring, uncomfortable, tedious and maybe even arduous but as you build momentum and the good decision making compounds over the duration of the sprint you'll realize that you're remarkably more happy and productive.
Remember that discipline is the ultimate lifehack because if you have discipline you get to have any other thing that you desire.

Working Memory Regimen

Working memory is different from your memory of your past or what you studied in school. Your working memory is your memory that deals with the present, it's your problem solving capacity. It's the RAM of your mind, you can have a really fancy computer or phone with all sorts of great apps but if you don't have enough RAM it's not going to accomplish much.
Your success in school or the workplace is fundamentally under lied by your working memory, I would go as far as saying that it's MORE important than your long term memory.
Unfortunately the Facebook terms of service and the employee at the cell phone store declined to inform you that impulsive technology usage is quite bad for your working memory. If you've ever thought all this "smart" technology is making people stupid you're mostly correct!

Luckily for you science has found that there's several effective ways to improve working memory in the long term.

Dual N-Back Brain Training

This is a challenging brain game that you play on your smartphone or computer that powerfully exercises you working memory by giving you sets of auditory and visual information that you need to remember. As you get better and better at it, the game increases the number of sets that you need to remember. In as little as a few weeks it increases your working memory capacity, upgrading the RAM of your mind.

You maybe skeptical of brain training games and apps, a lot are of dubious value, however compounding scientific evidence year after year is indicating that...

  • Dual N-Back really does improve working memory.
  • Dual N-Back improves general intelligence that makes you better at tasks in the real world outside of playing the brain game.
  • Dual N-Back is more effective than placebo.

To quote from a 2015 meta analysis paper published by researchers at the University of California

Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis focusing on one specific training program, n-back. We searched PubMed and Google Scholar for all n-back training studies with [fluid intelligence] outcome measures, a control group, and healthy participants between 18 and 50 years of age. In total, we included 20 studies in our analyses that met our criteria and found a small but significant positive effect of n-back training on improving [fluid intelligence]. Several factors that moderate this transfer are identified and discussed. We conclude that short-term cognitive training on the order of weeks can result in beneficial effects in important cognitive functions as measured by laboratory tests.

Dual N-Back is free and it's definitely worthwhile to download it on your AndroidiPhone or computer and try it.

Meditation

A mindfulness practice benefits your mind in a different way increasing density of grey matter and stimulating neuroplasticity. It's most notable effect though is on mindset and mood; if your internal dialog is often a cacophony of self criticism meditation transforms your thoughts from a squadron of bickering chickens into a roman phalanx of legionnaires pushing forward together towards victory!

Download the Headspace app and get started with their 10 minute guided meditations, as little as 10 minutes a day is definitely beneficial but most people find there's a marked improvement in their mindset and general mood by increasing it to 20 minutes daily.

Maybe you've tried meditation before and your mind was just too overactive, you got angry with yourself sitting there trying to think about not thinking...

I had a similar experience when I first tried to meditate, so I switched to doing the Dual N-Back training for about a month which markedly improved my attentional control to the point where meditation wasn't such a frustrating exercise in mental self flagellation. Now I meditate quiet consistently.

Reading Books

Sadly many have given up reading books in lieu of attention grabbing internet articles and salaciously thumb-nailed Youtube videos. Reading books exercises our capacity to think deeply, slowly and wholly, to reach true comprehension of a topic or story.

When you read try to focus 100% of your attention on the words on the page in front of you, imagine yourself in the mind of the author, try to think what they must have been thinking as they wrote. It's truly a sublime pleasure waiting to be rediscovered by you!
As a working memory exercise there's not much of a difference between reading fiction and none-fiction. 
Personally, I like to read two books at any given time, usually a fiction and none-fiction title on alternating days.

Importantly, you'll want to do your working memory regimen while dosed on Nootropics for the same reason that body builders and athletes train while dosed on performance enhancing stimulants. It gives you the capacity to train your mind more intensely and make cognitive gains.

During the sprint, I'd recommend trying to do all three daily
10-20 minutes of Dual N-Back
10-20 minutes of meditation
30 minutes of reading

  • Ideally you're spending about an hour on this working memory regimen which may sound like a lot of time daily but you should be able to easily find an hour of free time if you actually cut all the time wasters mentioned above out of your life.
  •  A potent Nootropic will usually give you at least an extra hour of productive energy daily, if not more!
  •  To optimize the cognitive gains do them in the middle of the day when you are relatively alert and awake.
  •  If I had to choose just one to do it would be the Dual N-Back.

Intermittent Daily Fasting

5 days a week, try to practice what the world's leading anti-aging researchers and biohackers recommend enthusiastically, a daily fast of about 16 hours. Do all your eating and snacking within an 8 hour window; for most people this means eating a large, filling dinner around 9PM, going to bed, skipping breakfast and eating a substantial lunch with lots of healthy fats around 1PM. This puts your body into a ketogenic state; burning fat instead of glutamate.

  • At first it maybe excruciating to fast for 16 hours but quickly you get used to it and it doesn't really bother you.
  •  Skipping breakfast and snacks ends of saving you quite a bit of time and money.
  •  Avoid eating carbs, sugar or bread especially when you're fasting as your body will switch back over to glutamate.
  •  As long as you're feeding your brain lots of the healthy fats it needs, you'll have plenty of energy.

If you're really a performance enhancement junkie you'll want to consume some high quality MCTs while in a fasted state, many do this by starting their morning with a Bulletproof-style coffee mixed with butter and MCT oil.
But if you really want to experience all the cognitive and longevity benefits of Ketosis that you hear everyone online ranting and raving about you don't want to consume just any old MCTs, you're going to have to be very discriminating!

  • You're going to want to avoid the useless and harmful MCTs; lauric acidC6 and C12.
  •  Be wary of impure MCT products, a certified organic stamp is not enough, ideally you want to see the manufacturer's certificate of third party analysis with spectroscopy report evidencing above 97% purity, what's considered pharmaceutical grade.
  •  Of course you'll want to avoid anything containing artificial sweeteners, coloring or weird chemicals with names you can't pronounce!

Ultra Keto+MCT by Ultra Human meets my stringent standards, combining Patented Exogenous BHB Ketones and Pure C8 MCT along with selenium citrate, pink himalayan salt and malic acid that gives it a delicious, none artificially sweetened taste.
If you can't afford to or are unable to get your hands on high quality MCTs, try intermittent fasting anyway; it's still a smart lifehack for health and productivity!

If you’re really obsessive about really optimizing your morning you’ll want to dose some pharma grade Amino acids along with the MCTs and whatever else your morning keto stack entails.

Amino Code by Ultra Human, thier Amino Acid Matrix is designed for maximum NNU (net nitrogen utilization) for faster human muscle tissue recovery and optimized metabolism for/accelerated fat loss. It’s free of... Sugars, Dyes and Artificial Sweeteners have been associated with stomach discomfort, bloating, allergic reactions, insulin spikes... 
Aminos studied in human trials treating epilepsy demonstrated it as effective in optimizing ketosis:

Although our data are preliminary, we suggest that branched chain amino acids may increase the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet and the diet could be more easily tolerated by the patients because of the change in the ratio of fat to protein.

What I like about this morning ketosis cocktail is that these performance enhancers work on totally different neurobiological mechanisms than Racetams, Modafinil or other common smart drugs which is great news for long term Nootropics users who have built up a tolerance to cognitive enhancers that they have to take at increasing dosages for increasingly underwhelming results.

Auditory Optimization

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Raise your hand if you've been guilty of this...

You wake up with the good intention of having a kickass productive day but you just a take quick look Facebook and then you see a Youtube video or news report about some absurd thing happening somewhere in the world, you click the enticing thumbnail and get just a little pissed off about the idiocracy of the world, then you watch another video or news segment... Before you know it you've wasted an hour of your morning triggering (to use that very in vogue word) yourself. Finally you turn it off and get to work on your project but you're a bit unfocused and frenetic, a mediocre day ensues.

My audio biohack for avoiding this all together is focus promoting music. There's a couple of ways to do this...

  • Pick a long soothing track of classical or electronic music and listen to that.
  •  Pick a song or album you like and just listen to that on repeat, I like Drake's melodic hip hop album Nothing Was The Same.
  •  The website or app Brain.FM plays these endless algorithmic music tracks, I paid for a lifetime membership because their music is such an effective promoter of focus and creativity for me.

Importantly, start playing this music first thing when you sit down to work on your computer. Don't give yourself the importunity to get distracted!

Protocol

How to utilize the tools discussed in a 30 day sprint.

Pre-Sprint
It's going to take several days to a week for your package of Nootropics to arrive, in the interim...

  • Download the Dual N-Back app and try it a few times.
  •  Spend an hour outlining your medium term goals for the sprint. You may want to create a self-determination flowchart.
  •  Write down the things you are going to be abstaining from during the sprint. Resist the temptation from really abusing these things egregiously right before starting the sprint.
  •  Download Coach.me and add some habits to it.
  •  Delete all the useless, distracting social media apps from your smartphone. Install some software or apps on your computer that block websites you want to avoid.
  •  Find some focus promoting music.
  •  Go to the book store or Amazon and look for some books that you might like to read.
  •  Clear out your kitchen of junk food. Go to the grocery store and stock up on healthy foods and snacks.
  •  Try doing a 16 hour intermittent fast.
  •  Don't brag (yet!) to your friends and family about your sprint BUT you may need to let them know that you're going to need some space and time.

Week 1
When the Nootropics arrive commit to hitting it hard and starting the sprint strong.

  • You don't need to take an extreme or attack dosage of the Nootropics, just take the recommended dosage.
  •  At first you may not find the Nootropics all that stimulating. Often Nootropics have a cumulative effect. It may take a week or two for their effect on your mindset to become apparent.
  •  I would NOT take the Nootropics every day of the week. I advise taking them 5-6 days.
  •  Do at least 10 minutes of the Dual N-Back training daily.
  •  Try to meditate at least 5 times this week.
  •  Listen to the focus promoting music first thing in the morning or whenever you get started working.
  •  Do the intermittent fasting for 5 days.
  •  Try to read for at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days.
  •  Log your habits in Coach.me daily.
  •  Commit to NOT cheating on your diet this week.

Week 2

  • Continue with Nootropics and the working memory training regimen
  •  At least once this week try meditating for 20 minutes instead of 10.
  •  If you're doing well with the habits and goals you've outlined resist the temptation of getting really ambitious and adding a lot more things to do. Stay committed for the duration of the sprint just to the things you outlined initially.
  •  If you really want to cheat on your diet this week, allow yourself that.
  •  On Sunday or near the end of the second week spend an hour evaluating your progress and performance. Outline your to do's and priorities for the coming week.

Week 3

You may have the inclination to experiment; increasing or decreasing the dosage of Nootropics or adding in other supplements, you can do that this week and see how it changes your baseline mood and productivity.

  • Maintain your working memory training regimen.
  •  Meditate for 20 minutes 5 days.
  •  You maybe hitting a bit of a motivational dip; stay focused, discipline gets easier after a few weeks of consistency. You can try increasing your intake of Nootropics for motivation.
  •  Again near the end of the second week spend an hour evaluating your progress and performance. Outline your to do's and priorities for the coming week.

Week 4

The time has come to do some well deserved bragging!

  • Feel free to share your progress and accomplishments with those who will encourage you.
  •  If you really can't wait till the end of the sprint, allow yourself an indulgent cheat meal this week.
  •  Evaluate your performance and progress and consider if you want to maintain this sprint for another 30-60 days.

Finally...

I'll remind you once more that self control generalizes; it's easier to practice self control holistically than in one area of your life. If you implement at least some of the biohacks described here practicing discipline will be a lot easier.
When you finally indulge your hedonistic impulses after the sprint, it's all the more satisfying, personally I have a holiday scheduled in about 2 months to the black sea and I'm really looking forward to savoring an indulgent cigar while chillin by the seaside!

Ryan Magada

Brave Little Beast is a boutique design firm based in Columbus, Ohio. We help small businesses and startups build beautiful websites, logos, and everything in between.