In the 2011 movie “Limitless,” actor Bradley Cooper’s main character takes a drug that hacks his brain like nothing else, giving him supernatural focus abilities.
If we’re doing a poor job of explaining it, just check out the trailer here…
Apparently, there’s more to it than just fiction. Turns out the shit’s actually real.
ABC did a report last year on a secret pill supposedly super-charging young entrepreneurs used to stay ultra-productive. Known as “Nootropics,” a hybrid group of supplements that allegedly make you “smarter” without any side-effects.
Nootropics supposedly increase dopamine flow within the brain and fights excessive daytime sleepiness. And—allegedly—will have you all like…
According to Erin Finnegan, a then-30-year-old entrepreneur, the drug gives her the boost to keep up with her hectic schedule.
“I would not give them up willingly,” she told ABC. “The additional focus that I can have with them, yes, it does sustain the speed I am going at now and the many things, I would have to take a couple things off my plate if I wanted to keep going without them.”
Per Wikipedia, Nootropics—or smart pills or “cognitive enhancers”—are loosely defined as “drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.”
But taking it a step further beyond an umbrella term for focus pills. According to a 2015 Thrillist report, there’s an actual pill known a “Nuvigil” that the movie’s based on.
Beginning with one 150 mg pill in the morning, happiness and alertness waves washed over me. Quickly. But I wasn’t as jittery as I expected. Prozac is a familiar reference to Nuvigil, and I have plenty of experience with the former, but it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. My brain waves—usually jumbled, misfiring, and inconsistent—felt untangled and clean, like a futuristic room full of glowing servers from Dubai, if you will.
NBC covered this a few years ago, as well. “I would get to work and I would be on fire,”Jonathan Reilly, an LA-based biomedical engineer said. “I was able to see more possibilities.”
“These drugs are being used in industries where there’s less room for failure and immediate results are expected,” NYC career coach and author Roy Cohen said in the report used in the NBC video. “These people thrive on accomplishment—it’s in their DNA. It’s incredibly seductive to have this potential for guaranteed peak performance.”
(Yes, it’s a few years old, but definitely worth a read.)
But there’s more to it than peak performance. Unlike the more general, almost white label Nootropics category, Nuvigil doesn’t come without side effects (you’re technically supposed to have a subscription). Ranging from nausea to diarrhea, dry mouth and even suicidal thoughts.
Glass didn’t get that, though. “No, I didn’t,” he wrote. “Not once.” However he did say he had trouble sleeping along with feelings of lethargy.
The outside of my body felt like what the inside of my brain usually feels like: exhausted. I was mentally alert with a tired outer shell; I was lethargic and my muscles wanted to remain idle … It was a constant…“blah” feeling. Nothing is bad but nothing is good, all at once. Call it a muted euphoria.
But did it do its job? Glass says yes. And no caffeine crash, either.
My overall focus? Relentless. Writing, I found, became a superhuman trait…I felt words and their synonyms flow from my fingers like lightning and I was typing verbatim what I was thinking. I felt articulate, concentrated. And I wasn’t the only one. My editors noticed too; all week I was complimented on my creativity and quality/volume of work.
In other words, on the pill and it’s #SharkSeason.
Outside of obscure websites, there’s still little legitimate info available on cognitive enhancers. There’s limited coverage from mainstream media. Just go ahead and Google “Nootropics” and see what you find.
(You’ll find a lot of junk websites, making all sorts of claims.)
Which begs the obvious million dollar question—is it safe?
NYC neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson told ABC, yes, but also added by saying it’s hard to generalize. “They may interact with other things … so that’s why we always recommend discussion of approval by a treating physician.”
Even though the use still occurs on a very hush-hush level, the use is definitely happening. And it looks like it’s here to stay. The global Nootropics market is expected to hit $6B by 2024, according to a research report distributed on Business Insider’s Markets Insider platform.
Eric Matzner, founder of Nootroo, the self-stylized “Gold Standard In Nootropics,” told ABC it’s the future. “We’re talking about … a new type of biology where we’re taking these things into our own hands but also to try and proactively go from baseline to above,” Matzner said.
Geoffrey Woo, CEO of Nootrobox—another Nootropic—echoed Matzner’s futuristic sentiment in a 2016 Bloomberg report.
“What we want to unlock is the next-level thinking that makes us human,” Woo said in the hilariously titled These Bro Scientists Want to Sell You Mind-Hacking Pills. “In a way, it’s almost arming humanity against artificial intelligence and robots.”
Humans vs. AI. Alrighty then. We’re wrapping this one up. Up and at ’em, #WealthGANG.
INTERVIEW: Founder of $310M Clothing Line Bonobos On The Best Way To Raise Money (And No, It’s Not VC)
When Andy Dunn graduated from Stanford, the aspiring entrepreneur kickstarted a menswear company from his small apartment in New York. The clothing line, Bonobos, started off with a simple idea — selling chino pants.
Ten years later, the company was acquired by Walmart for $310M. According to Dunn, the key to raising funds does not always hinge on money. Here’s how he did it.
Here’s How Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Starts His Day (And What He Does Might Surprise You)
Apple has became a trillion-dollar company. Despite the tech giant’s great numbers, how does its CEO Tim Cook actually start his day?
In a recent Axios interview, Cook revealed he starts each day just before 4 a.m. with a strict morning routine.
What that consists of might surprise you: He reads user comments about Apple products.
“I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like this that sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,” Cook says.
In other words, he reads comments from fans, trolls and everything in between.
You’d think the CEO never bothers to read stuff like that; that he’d have an assistant ready to give him the rundown.
“And then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay.”
Workouts can be super critical. Billionaires and other successful entrepreneurs cite fitness as a key component to their success (and overall sanity).
“I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life),” Branson once wrote in a blog post. “If I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness.”
Investors Reveal: 3 Major Mistakes Aspiring Entrepreneurs Make
There’s an old saying about first time entrepreneurs—they don’t know what they don’t know.
No matter what field you are in, or what type of business you own, it is so important that you understand some of the mistakes that tend to plague so many entrepreneurs in today’s market.
There is one main mistake you can avoid from the jump. But it’s the same one many founders miss, investor Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin says.
“Most people come up with a solution first, without thinking through the problem,” Eckersley-Maslin told CNBC.
More often than not, aspiring entrepreneurs come up with a great idea…only to discover there’s no need.
This looks pretty obvious, at first, but you’d be amazed to know how many people overlook it. So what are the right moves to make?
Here are some common mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make.
1) Underestimate the amount of time it takes to learn a new industry
“One dumb mistake I made is to underestimate the barrier and knowhow when entering into a new industry,” says Zhifei Li, Founder & CEO of the Beijing-headquartered Mobvoi, the maker of the smartwatch called Ticwatch.
“Irrelevant experience can be a burden,” Zhifei Li, Founder & CEO of Mobvoi & Ticwatch. “Stay humble, stay hungry.”
2) Holding on to an under-performing employee for too long
Chris Myers, the CEO and co-founder of the Denver-based financial tracking and analytics tools for small businesses BodeTree, says he held on to an under-performing employee for too long.
“I hesitated to take action, instead holding out hope that somehow the individual would fix their behavior and get back on the right track,” says Myers.
3) Launching a company with no customer validation
Victor Chang’s first startup idea, LifeCrumbs, a social journaling app, seemed brilliant to him. But Chang never tested it with potential consumers and that was, he says, a “terrible mistake.” He spent five months building the app in stealth mode.
“This hurts a lot because when we finally launched the service, we realized this isn’t what the customers were looking for!” In hindsight, Chang says, LifeCrumbs wasn’t different enough from existing products to be successful.