Obligatory disclaimer – I am not a doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. This article exists to document what I’m doing and is not meant to advocate consuming any drug or supplement without the consultation of a medical professional.

Ten years ago, the scientific journal Nature ran an online survey taken by 1,400 people in 60 countries around their use of three cognitive enhancers, or so-called “smart drugs”:

  1. Adderall / Ritalin (often prescribed to patients with ADD or ADHD to aid with focus)
  2. Provigil (also known as modafinil and often prescribed to fight fatigue or jet lag)
  3. beta blockers (a general category of drugs that reduce anxiety by blocking the effects of epinephrine, ie adrenaline)

The study found that about 20% of respondents reported having consumed at least one of the three with the goal of improving concentration and mental performance. I have to imagine if we ran that same survey today, the number would be higher. Continue reading

If you’re a regular reader, you know I believe that training makes it possible. No one is good at everything, and everyone can improve with sustained effort.

I’m working on some new projects that can be loosely categorized as “helping people be more excellent at things they care about”. I know that readers of this blog are involved in tech, entrepreneurship, fitness, and management from my last readership survey, but I’d like to go a little further on what you’re working to improve right now.

For instance, in the past, I’ve focused on improving my dating life (I even hired a dating coach at one point), taking my fitness to new levels with monthly fitness challenges and marathon training, and improving as a product manager. Continue reading

It’s sort of a tradition at this point for me to do a post around my birthday (see: 30, 29, 28, 27, 26). This year, I decided to write down 31 lessons I’ve learned in the past few years. Anything older than that tends to become a “known fact of life” and stands out a lot less.

These were initially written with modifiers like “most”, “often”, or “tend to”, but since that makes the points less pithy, I’ve taken them out. However, know that I don’t mean these lessons literally to be true in all circumstances and situations. The universe is messy and the right answer is always: “it depends”.

So without further ado: Continue reading

I recently had a conversation with therapist who was interested in findings from The Asian American Man Study because many of the people she works with come from that demographic. She observed that her clients often feel like they aren’t fairly recognized in the workplace or have a difficult time with dating but they also aren’t willing to admit that there’s something about them (their attitude, their demeanor, their appearance, or their cultural values) that might be contributing to this issue. Continue reading

I’ve always felt the new year was a powerful time to reflect.

Years ago, I read a book by the legendary educator Howard Gardner called Extraordinary Minds. It studied the patterns of four types of extraordinary figures, what he called Masters (e.g. Mozart), Makers (e.g. Freud), Introspector (e.g. Woolf) and Influencer (e.g. Gandhi). He tried to understand what made them so great and what practices could be applied to help each of us become better. Continue reading