This is a guest contribution by William Cantrell.
A book about an intellectually disabled man who temporarily becomes a genius through an experimental treatment.
By the time I was sixteen, I was a huge bum. I was expelled for repeatedly skipping Spanish class. My academic performance was substandard. It’s an understatement to say that I was socially maladjusted.
But I did turn my life around, go to college, and find something to work toward – something that mattered to me.
My calling turned out to be medicine. Discovering smart drugs (or nootropics) was the catalyst. If you’re unfamiliar, smart drugs are drugs or supplements that are purported to enhance cognitive function.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read Flowers for Algernon, but if not, I highly recommend it. It’s about an intellectually disabled man, Charlie Gordon, who triples his IQ with an experimental surgery. The narrative gets dark quickly, because the intelligence increase is only temporary, and Charlie eventually reverts to his original state.
Smart drugs aren’t going to triple your IQ. I would be surprised if they even modestly increased your IQ.
But they can unlock latent potential. Smart drugs increased my drive, desire for accomplishment, and verbal fluency. More importantly, they made it possible to start applying myself to important life goals that remained unrealized until that point.
Success is Fungible!
I don’t know if anyone has told you this – but success is inter-convertible. It’s fungible. What the hell am I talking about? I’m assuming that most of you know what fungible means, but just in case:
Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution. That is, it is the property of essences or goods which are “capable of being substituted in place of one another.” For example, since one ounce of pure gold is equivalent to any other ounce of pure gold, gold is fungible.
What I mean is that success in one aspect of life makes it easier to be successful in other aspects. If you excel at the gym, it will be easier to excel academically. If you make a few close friends, that social support system will help you flourish.
I don’t care if your passion is backgammon, beat-boxing, or belly dancing. Simply getting excited about something, and getting your shit together enough to actually get good at it, will enrich other aspects of your life. If that’s what your into, hooking up with lots of girls (or guys) can give you the confidence to invest in yourself academically and occupationally. Success is fungible.
At 16, I was living in a little trailer parked in my parents driveway. I’d dropped out of high school, voluntarily. At least, that’s what I’d told myself (and my parents) – the truth is I was expelled.
You have to understand something about my family. I’ve got two brothers and one sister (I’m the youngest) and they all went to Yale. I definitely felt like a black sheep.
I naturally discovered nootropics (smart drugs) online, since all reclusive teenagers are internet addicts. Actually, it was more because I was interested in neuroscience.
From ages 17-24 I trialed a lot of nootropics. I want to discourage you from doing that. For those who take 20+ nootropics simultaneously. Please for the love of God only put a few things in your body at a time.
Let’s talk smart drugs
There are only a few things that work, and a lot of hype to cut through. These are the best nootropics; they will give you the highest return on investment (ROI). Note that all of them (except nicotine) were the highest rated nootropics in SlateStarCodex’s survey of nootropics users. They are:
- Modafinil (or related compounds like adrafinil or armodafinil)
- Caffeine (coffee bitches)
- Nicotine* (not recommended if you’re still an adolescent)
Survey of nootropics users conducted by SlateStarCodex