The Missing Link to the Elite Mind

Many people wonder why they get bad grades, or why they aren’t smart. Others look for weak spots in their study and get advice on how to improve their knowledge. Some people curse their bad memory, while others ponder on ways to increase it.

Everyone marvels at the intelligence of someone they know at one point or another, but a only a select few develop a plan to emulate or surpass that individual.

This brings us to the topic of the link that causes drastic improvement of the mind; the bridge between the current state of your brain – and the elite mind it has the potential to be (think Einstein, Tesla, Da Vinci, etc.).

That link is memory. Well not just memory, but the exercising, improvement, and technique-developing strategies of the “Art of Memory”.

The Decline of Memory

‘Why is memory so important?’ someone asked me recently.
‘Why is it so underrated?’ I replied.

Memory has become an exceptionally undervalued tool in our modern culture. The reason for this can be blamed, at least partially,  on technology. The decline of the cultivation of memory began with the Gutenberg printing press. One of the most important functions of memory at the time was the preservation of tradition, history, and knowledge through memorization and oral regurgitation. The advent of written language, printing presses, typewriters, and then computers made it more efficient to simply record information on paper or digitally. This resulted in the demotion of memory from the most vital element of human intelligence to a convenient but nearly obsolete skill (perception in this case, is far from reality).

The ancients had deep sense of respect and awe for the skill of recall:

The Grecian poet and play writer Aeschylus, said “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator and statesmen wrote: “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

They viewed the learning, storing, and retention of information as an art, and employed many different techniques to hone this skill.

How Memory Supports Intelligence as a Foundation

What they understood, and we seem to have forgotten is this:

Memory is the foundation of all intelligence.

Here is a short list of examples to back that statement up:

  1. Short-term memory is critical to multitasking anything.
  2. Remembering names, events, and happenings in a friends life for instance – this is essential to maintaining relationships.
  3. Humor – one of the most enjoyable aspects of any relationship – relies completely on memory of jokes, stories, funny experiences, witty sayings, etc.
  4. Long-term memory serves in learning a task and completing it well over the course of time.
  5. Think about doctors – medical procedures, terminology, and many, many other things must be committed to memory.
  6. Lawyers have to memorize their deposition and hearings notes, and often the points they want to make during the trial.
  7. Psychologists and therapists rely on their memory of the human psyche to evaluate and treat their patients.

The Case Made Against Memory

This list can go on forever, but then again, the opposite end of the spectrum is convincing as well.

  1. Why memorize a tedious list of information when it takes 5 seconds to Google it?
  2. Funny commercials or moments on your favorite shows can be sent over e-mail, or found on YouTube – why waste brain cells remembering the whole story if you can just send a link?
  3. You don’t need to remember how to change your oil because you can find a DIY video or instructional in less than 30 seconds online. Housework is the same way – replace the gutters? Google here I come.
  4. How about cooking? Grandma’s favorite recipe is plagiarism like every other recipe in existence – and allrecipes has them all.
  5. Shopping list – smartphone app
  6. To do’s and weekly chores – i-calendar

The Verdict…

While it is true that technology has made some forms of memory nearly obsolete, it’s obvious from the first list that we still rely heavily on our memory, and that losing strength in this skill is detrimental to our intelligence. Consider your life without memory. Pretty bleak. And BORING. People practically lose their personality when they disregard their own memory, and here is an even more important thought:

Consider your life – your job, career, friendships, business relationships, etc. with a flawless memory:

  1. You remember everything that is going on in your relationships
  2. Your multitasking ability helps you in your job, hobbies, sports
  3. Your first impression skills are upgraded because you actually remember names, where and how you met, what they were wearing, and what you talked about

That sounds good – but is it possible? A flawless memory is pretty hard to come by, but if you do your research you will find that it is both possible and plausible to expect hard work and discipline in the art of memory to yield returns in the form of a photographic, and even eidetic memory.

…and a Story to Back it Up

 

Two neighbors decided to build a work shed (one suggested how great it would be to have a storage place for his tools and an additional place of refuge from his nagging wife, and the other followed suite). The first made a list for the materials he needed:

  •  Wood
  • Concrete
  • Paint
  • Shingles
  • Nails

After he had made his list, he spent one evening traveling to the hardware store for nails, the next evening buying paint, and the next finding deals on concrete and wood. Then he began to work. He looked over into his neighbor’s yard (expecting to see him starting or gathering materials as well) and was shocked to see a freshly painted shed in the yard, complete with tools and radio music blaring through the open door. “How the…”

Then he remembered – his neighbor had a habit of finding, collecting, and storing materials he thought he might need for the future. He had areas on his land and in his garage neatly organized into sections of materials: wood in one, hardware in another, paint, shingles, etc – he had everything he needed before he started!

So while his neighbor was busy gathering materials, he was utilizing the materials he already had to build his shed.

We use information like the second neighbor used his material. Sometimes it is not efficient to spend time memorizing information you will rarely use, or information you can easily gather on the Internet, but there are many forms of information and knowledge that you will likely use on a daily basis, and some that is good to know even if you didn’t.

The Art of Memory

Most individuals in today’s society have forgotten or were never taught the importance of memory, and suffer a distinct disadvantage because of this. Don’t fall into the same downgrading mindset – your memory can be drastically improved using techniques that ancient scholars used – increasing in the art of memory heightens fluid intelligence and even physically increases the Hippo campus primarily, as well as other areas of the brain.

I’ll leave it at that for now, but I urge you – take up the hobby of memorization – The Art of Memory.

This is the missing link between the average mind and the elite mind. It can seem tedious, but using the right techniques, it’s really not. It’s rewarding, and in the long run it’s a critical investment that will pay intellectual dividends.

The Art of Obsession (continued)

Purpose. Obsession must have a purpose first of all. The purpose of a tree is simply to grow toward the sun. This purpose is essentially the rudder, the element providing direction for the individual’s passion. A boat without a rudder and destination will never achieve its goal, no matter how much wind is at its back, or how much fuel is provided.

A person’s purpose is typically more complex, but for a single obsession, it is best to keep it simple. A good example is Einstein’s developed purpose, which can easily be gleaned from this quote: “The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of man—though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least”. He also said “If you want to have a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things”. His purpose and goal was the search of truth and knowledge, specifically within the realm of science and physics.

Example: “My Purpose for developing this obsession is to become the number one chess player in the world”.

Implantation

If a farmer wants corn, he plants corn seed. If he wants wheat, he plants wheat. In developing an Obsession, the proper seed must be sown. If I desire for passion of art, I will pursue practice within the field of art. If I want to create an Obsession for business, my practices will be within a particular discipline of business. The seed that is sown is not a single event of decision, but a daily, habitual practice of sowing and implanting that will in time develop into a discipline within our mind and body.

Example

“My Obsession must be within the discipline of chess, therefore I will practice chess daily”.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere is the governable external factors of motivation. Why do captains avoid the Bermuda Triangle, or the Straits of Magellan? Because of their harsh and unsuccessful atmosphere. Why are there few plants growing in the desert? For the same reason of course!

The list of external motivational factors is extensive, but here are few to get you started:

  • Social standing
  • Respect
  • Physiological Needs
  • Esteem
  • Safety
  • Relationship
  • Money
  • Sense of belonging
  • Prestige
  • Honor
  • Power

Consider these external inputs and what type of atmosphere you desire to create or put yourself and your Obsession into.

Example

“My personality craves a sense of belonging, therefore I will surround myself with individuals who can contribute to an atmosphere of belonging. This will be achieved by joining my local chess club, as well as pursuing this hobby with friends that share this passion”.

Fuel

Every Obsession requires fuel to keep it going. In keeping consistent with our boat analogy, consider the steamboat without its steam, or a nuclear submarine without nuclear fuel. The tree as well, needs the sap it is able to produce through photosynthesis. In the same way our obsession must be fed; by converting external forms of fuel into energy.

There are many varieties of fuel that you can utilize in the feeding of your obsession, but choose carefully, in accordance to your personality. The fuel that is chosen is the controllable internal motivational factors; what we are able to generate within ourselves through the conversion of external variables. Love, Fear, and Hate are quite possibly the most effective variables in the feeding of obsession. The more effective of the three is hard to discern historically and statistically, but I would advise the use of love and hate over fear whenever possible.

Example

“My external Atmosphere of belonging will be converted into the Fuel of both Love and Hate, as my relationships develop. I will utilize Love in both my relationships with others and myself, by feeding my Obsession with it, and using the product developed by the Obsession to “re-sow” into my relationships.”

To sum it up, the seed of Obsession must be sown into the proper Atmosphere, and the fledgling Obsession that is created must be nurtured and propelled with Fuel. In order to efficiently manage the desired outcome, the Obsession must be guided by Purpose. Thus, the formula of Obsession is:

Purpose+Implantation+Atmosphere+Fuel = Obsession.

Feed your Brain with Spinach Dhal

Image Credit

You are What You Eat

If this saying were literally true, most of us would be walking fast food plates – french fries carrying on a conversation with a juicy burger and frosty milk shake.

But it’s not.

So what does it really mean, you are what you eat?

It’s simply an age old philosophy applied to nutrition – “you reap what you sow”. If you sow a field of wheat, you will reap wheat. If you sow corn, then you get corn. If you “sow” fat into your body, you will inevitably reap fat.

This is a concept that contributes heavily in our quest of brain enhancement. When a farmer sows manure and fertilizer into his garden or field, he will reap in a healthy, efficient, green, and productive crop. The brain technician that fertilizes the field of his mind with rich, healthy nutrients, will reap an efficient, healthy, productive mind.

What are you, and what do you want to be?

Feeding the Brain

This recipe has 6  brain-vital ingredients:

  1. Trout = Omega 3 fatty acids/Docosahexaenoic acid
  2. Spinach = Folate, Lutein, potassium, antioxidents
  3. Split peas = Folic Acid,
  4. Mustard seeds = Selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids
  5. Cumin seeds = Ayurveda (look up Jeera water – very interesting)
  6. Garlic = Diallyl Sulfide, allixium, selenium, antioxidants

And here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Ingredients

(Serves 4)
• 1 cup yellow split peas or split moong dal, soaked overnight in water
• 1 whole hot pepper
• 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
• 2 Tbsps vegetable or canola oil
• 1 tsp black mustard seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 2 large, thinly sliced cloves of garlic
• Salt (a pinch or two, to your taste)

Preparation

1. Rinse soaked peas and drain 2. Add to a 4 or 5 quart pot. Add 5 cups water and the hot pepper and stir.
3. Cover pot, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook to the consistency of pea soup, then add the spinach and seasoning. Set the heat to a low setting.
4. As the peas simmer, heat your oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the cumin and cook for a half a minute or so, then add the garlic and cook till it is yellow.
5. Remove the mixture from heat and pour the contents into the simmering dhal. Stir and let simmer for a minute – and you’re done! Serve with brown rice, bread, or similar side, or eat the mixture as a soup or stew.

Keep in mind that the farmer that fertilizes and sows will only benefit from the crop if he reaps – reaping in our case is putting our mind to work and reaping the benefits – what is the use of a fit mind that does nothing?

The Art of Obsession

What is Obsession?

I realize that this word has a negative association to many, so I have added the following words for those of us who would prefer the more positive twists of the word. Typically when we refer to an obsession in a positive way, we use the words “passion”, “preoccupation”, “fixation”, or something along those lines.

The fact is, no matter what word you use, the concept is the same: the most effective way to create an organized, disciplined practice in whatever ability you are attempting to refine, is by creating within yourself an unmitigated spring of incentive, an undying and habitual source of motivation, which is my definition of Obsession.

“Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.”

-Napoleon Hill

The single most effective trait present within every individual in history who is considered to be a success in their particular role or function, is Obsession. The textbook definition of obsession is this:

Noun

The state of being obsessed with someone or something : she cared for him with a devotion bordering on obsession.

• an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind : he was in the grip of an obsession he was powerless to resist. obsess |əbˈses|

verb [ trans. ] (usu. be obsessed)

preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent : he was obsessed with thoughts of suicide | [as adj. ] ( obsessed) he became completely obsessed about germs.

• [ intrans. ] (of a person) be preoccupied in this way : her husband, who is obsessing about the wrong she has done him.

How to Develop an Atmosphere of Obsession

So what did the great minds do to develop this undivided passion that drove them to unimaginable success? Weren’t they born with it, or attributed with the ability from an early age? The answer is no, and yes.

As far as we have researched, no one is simply born with a passion. Neil Armstrong did not pop out of the womb with a sudden hankering for weightless adventure and tube applesauce. Nor was UFC fighter George St. Pierre born in the mount position choking out his umbilical cord. What’s their secret then?

They all have a very obvious obsession for the work that they do, and it is obvious that this passion has been the cause of a hyper-developed aptitude for whatever their obsession is rooted in. But how did it get there in the first place? The answer to this question is simple, but the replication of the process is not.

The key is that the overwhelming passion and dedication of obsession is not inherit in an individual’s mind, but is implanted. Often, the seed of obsession is sown by the parent or parents, as we have seen in the cases studied in the first chapter. Many times the passion is implanted as the mind’s reaction to a lack of parental development, as is the case in the individual who has adopted a manic obsession with a particular function with the subconscious desire to please an absent father. The emotion of love very often plays a large role in the development of obsession (think Van Gogh and his missing ear for instance..).

What must be generated in order for us to replicate any form of passion or obsession in our lives, is the formula of Obsession. Read more about Obsession in The Art of Obsession (continued).

Anxiolytic Cocktail

Hack: The Anxiolytic Cocktail provides the user with the benefits of the Aniracetam base, and uniquely merges anxiety killing herbs and synthetic derivatives to improve the emotional state of mind.

Ingredients

Serves 1

  • 600 mg Aniracetam
  • 250 mg Bacopa
  • 200 mg L-Theanine
  • 500mg Choline Bitartrate

Preparation #1

  • Combine ingredients with orange juice or similar liquid to minimize the objective taste.

Preparation #2

  • Combine ingredients into size 0 or 00capsules.

I am currently in the process of evaluating the effectiveness of this recipe. So far I have experienced the typical nootropic benefits of increased memory capacity and speed, as well as a heightened sense of social acumen and awareness. The combination does have an emotional “boosting” effect, that is, mood enhancement, augmentation of the overall sense of well-being. Not entirely convinced that this combo does a whole lot better than a simple theanine/racetam compound, but i shouldn’t be too quick to conclude the study – I’ll write an update in a week or two with a final judgement.