The clear pill, NZT, from Neil Burger's "Limitless" has created a major commotion lately. The film is based on the premise that you can take a little clear pill called NZT and it will not only allow you to use 100% of your brain's potential, but it also practically hands you the determination to use that potential on a silver platter. Basically, it's the American dream, take one pill and it will solve all of your problems. Sadly, this dream is most likely the product of generations of "miracle cure" ad campaigns we've seen through the years. You can benefit from certain prescription medication but you still have learn to bring out your brains full potential.
In Limitless Bradly Coopers character "Eddie Moore" was able to tap into his minds unlimited potential just by swallowing a pill. In real life there is no magic pill that will drastically improve your memory, retention, learing ability, or basically anything else that is really worth having for that matter.
It's kind of funny that we can create drugs that cure diseases and save lives but not ones that make us smarter.
The drug most similar to NZT, that we know about anyway, would have to be some form of amphetamine. Products that contain amphetamines (adderall, vyvanse, etc.) act as dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors which increases dopaminergic and adrenergic neurotransmission levels in the brain. This, in turn, stimulates the central nervous system, increasing the users ability to focus. This however, is a poor substitute for a natural ability focus.
Most successful people in this world can attribute their good fortune to one thing, their ability to focus. The human brain has a lot of latent potential that can be brought out if you focus. Focusing, for the brain is like running for the body. If you run every day you'll get stronger and faster, the same thing goes for your brain. Your brain is constantly firing off its synapses sending neurotransmitters through your brain relaying your every thought. If you focus causing them to fire at a higher rate than normal they will actually fire more often and more efficiently on their own. This causes you to get smarter in terms of actual brain power Vs. just learning new material.
If you want to get better you have to put in more effort than you did the day before. The main reason people get stuck on plateaus in the first place is because "they aren't reaching for new heights."
If you want to be like Bradly Cooper's character and just get better at everything you need to have a strong mindset. To get to the top of the corporate ladder takes a lot of self-discipline. This means always putting your long-term goals above your short-term wants. If your constantly trying to set your self up for a better future, you'll leap bounds above your colleges who are barely preparing for today.
"Every great man knows what he is to do is to do for the day, for there is no greater sin than time wasted away," George Washington.
A positive attitude makes a big impact on everything you do. You hear this a lot and that's because it is good advice for everything. Positive thoughts have strong subconscious impacts on the amount of focus we can put toward a task. You can't limit yourself by thinking thoughts like "I can't" or "I suck at this."
Whenever you get a negative thought just push it out by reinforcing a positive counterpart. For example I quit smoking about 6 months ago cold turkey, and I did it by pushing out all my cravings with a counter-thought. Every time my mind thought of reasons to trick me into smoking (i.e. the negative thoughts) I would counter it by thinking of a cartoon spider with girl hair smoking a cigarette. The female hair represented my craving for cigarettes and the spider was what the cigarette really was. It's like if you see a pretty girl from afar and you get closer to take a look and you realize "Ah! Spider!"
Adderall and Vyvanse seem to be the closest thing to a real life focusing pill. These medications are available over a prescription to anyone suffering from ADD/ADHD. Adderall and Vyvanse increase focus, stimulation, drive, and will even weight loss.
Adderall is currently the number one medication in this field. Personally, I have been on and off of adderall since the 3rd grade. I have found It to completely focus me at whatever I am doing. I get a lot done when I take them but they tend to stress me out. Adderall is a combination of four different amphetamines, making it the most potent stimulant in its field.
Vyvanse is the most popular alternative to Adderall. Vyvanse can be better than adderall for most people. Vyvansee only contains one type of amphetamine and can only be ingested orally. Since you it can only be taken orally, it is not as easy to abuse; and using only one kind of amphetamine drastically reduces all of the side effects. Vyvanse can be compared Dexadrine, which is another ADD medication, the only difference being that Vyanse is time released.
If you don't take care of your health then you are going to run into the same problem "Eddie Morra" did in Limitless. If your body isn't healthy than chances are neither is your brain.
Your brain needs proper sleep to run at peak efficiency. What I mean by proper sleep is at least 6-8 hours a night staying constant in the time you wake up and go to sleep. The more consistent your circadian rhythm is, the better off your going to perform.
Diet is also an important factor in brain power. The body needs balanced amounts of fats, carbs, and proteins in its diet as well as vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 a nutrient found majorly in fish oil is also known to improve brain function. You should eat once every 2-3 hours to keep your nutrient levels up (also improves metabolism to eat more often.) Alcohol such as beer and wine can also be beneficial for health (1 glass a night for woman and 2 for men.)
Fitness is probably the most underrated factor in determining brain power. If your body is more fit it is going to be able to get more blood to the brain, as working out improves your heart and unclogs arteries. But, what most people are unaware of is that your brain is actually learing as you work out. It constantly has to adjust for form, physics, weight distribution and most importantly co-ordination. As long as you are constantly switching up your work outs, your brain will constantly be learning.