The Cognitive Enhancement Puzzle
Written by the Axon Labs Team | try our Combo Pack today
If you’re looking to improve your memory, concentration, or energy levels, this is one of the most important articles you can read.
That’s because it will pull back the curtain on the nootropics industry, and reveal the truth about when - and when not - to use cognitive enhancing technology.
And while some members of the brain-enhancement industry will hate this article’s honesty - it’s going to make it harder for them to peddle myths with sexy marketing campaigns — they won’t be able to argue with the facts.
So if you’re ready to enhance your memory, concentration, or energy levels, read on.
We’re about to show you exactly how to enhance your cognitive potential...from the ground up.
Understanding Cognitive Performance
Despite the claims littered around the internet, true cognitive enhancement isn’t achieved by simply activating a single area of the brain.
Instead, it’s the result of multiple layers of work coming together.
That’s why optimal cognitive performance is more like solving a 1000-piece puzzle than flicking a light switch.
You see, when you solve a puzzle, it’s not just about snapping pieces together. There’s actually five different phases at work.
(You’ll see how this applies to cognitive enhancement in a second.)
Those five phases are:
- Separating border pieces from non-border pieces
- Organizing pieces by color and pattern (matching like with like) in both groups
- Building out the border
- Building out puzzle areas using your trait-grouped pieces
- Snapping the final pieces in place to complete the picture
Every puzzle you’ve ever completed has been finished following this five phase process. It’s the most efficient and effective process.
If you tried to do the phases in any other order, you’d either fail to make progress, or you’d spend ten times longer than needed.
Cognitive enhancement works in much the same way.
The Five Phases of Cognitive Optimization
Before you get to snapping in the final pieces that bring the big picture to completion, you need to address the fundamentals.
Now, if you’re reading this article, I’ll assume you’re not either of the following:
- A cybernetic organism with living tissue over a metal endoskeleton
- A Boston Dynamics robot blended with advanced AI capable of beating the world’s top Go players
And if I'm right, that means that you'll need to address the same five phases of cognitive optimization as every other reader.
Those five phases are:
1. Consistent, high quality sleep, so that your body and brain are well rested. (Even moderate sleep deprivation impairs cognitive performance.) [a]
2. Proper hydration. This means drinking water until your pee is clear. Even mild dehydration is shown to reduce cognitive performance. [b] (And if you don’t like the taste, you can add fruit to your water, but that’s it - more on why in the next step.)
3. Maintaining an optimal weight level. If you are overweight, reducing your weight through a sensible protocol like the Ketogenic diet with a caloric deficit. (Studies have shown that the more overweight someone is, the more impaired the cognition becomes.) [c] This healthy approach to eating should be sustained in an ongoing way for optimal cognitive performance.
4. Following a regular exercise program with a minimum of three workouts per week. Exercise has been shown to enhance memory, concentration, and accuracy in thinking. [d]
5. Adding cognitive enhancement technologies. Only after you've laid a solid foundation should you begin adding cognitive enhancing technology like nootropics for focus
Why wait until the final stage to add the sexy stuff?
Because, just like a puzzle, you get the foundations in place before you try and lay the final piece.
Or, phrased another way…
You Want To Build Your Cognitive Capabilities On A Foundation Of Rock, Not Sand.
This is best explained by looking at two different (fake) people.
First, let’s look at John:
John is your average American.
He sleeps six hours per night, normally getting into bed around midnight after binging another Netflix series.
Exhausted in the morning, he pounds his first, then second, cup of coffee. He grabs a donut on his way to the office, and eats a big greasy meal at lunch.
After a long day in the office (most of it spent in his chair), he heads home to flop on the couch… and start another binge.
If his cognitive baseline is at even 50/100 each day, getting a 10% boost from nootropics will only take him to 55/100. Nothing to write home about.
Now, let’s look at Tim.
Tim’s taken the time to address the first four phases of the cognitive enhancement puzzle.
He sleeps 8 hours per night in a cool, dark room with a high quality, firm mattress.
He carries a nalgene water bottle with him everywhere he goes, ensuring he’s hydrated throughout the day. When he drinks his coffee, he ensures he drinks extra water to make up for the diuretic factor.
Tim’s meals follow the Ketogenic protocol. He eats low carb, high fat at every meal, and has eliminated grains and sugar from his meals. As a result, his energy is consistently high (and he never gets brain fog). This enables him to be a star performer at work.
Finally, Tim takes the time to train 3-4x per week. He’s hired an online fitness coach to help him improve his strength and endurance, and follows their program each week.
This puts his cognitive baseline at a solid 90/100. When it comes to taking nootropics, a 10% gain will push him to 99/100.
Now yes — both John and Tim get the same percentage increase from nootropics and other brain enhancing technologies.
But because of the foundations that Tim has put in place, his 10% gain will take him much further. And here’s why…
It’s A Compounding Effect, Not A Linear One
To make the comparison easy to see, we wanted to keep it simple by looking at a “day in the life”.
But when you look at the impact of these lifestyle choices over time, there’s a big difference.
Look at how their cognitive performance trajectories work out over time:
It’s not a linear effect. Tim doesn’t just slightly outpace John.
He outright demolishes him.
This is why nootropics and brain-enhancing technologies come last, not first.
Unless you’ve got a solid foundation, any money you spend on nootropics and brain enhancement is basically being wasted.
The returns are insignificant compared to what you could get if you had the complete system up and running.
First, you start dialing in your sleep.
Then, you start dialing in your hydration.
Then, you start dialing in your nutrition.
Then, you start dialing in your exercise.
And then, finally, you start using nootropics and other brain enhancing technology.
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