While travelling back from an overseas holiday, on the plane I saw a movie ‘Limitless’ where a down at heel, blocked writer is given a drug that boosts his intelligence by allowing him to access more of his brain. He becomes quicker, more aware, smarter. He finishes his novel in a week and makes a couple of million on the stock market just as fast.
It made me think about whether it was intelligence he gained or rather a more heightened state of motivation and a loss of fear. He essentially took a series of actions and didn’t worry too much about the risk involved (sometimes stupidly but hey, that’s drugs for you!).
That sense of ‘cant fail’ is a powerful one and can get you doing things you have the capability to do but were too afraid to try. So i thought about the results he achieved and some of the actions he took and considered whether, by following those actions, anyone could get the benefits without the chemicals.
So. Here’s what he did:
1. Clean your house: he was living in squalor. No wonder he couldn’t write. Many people will tell you your external environment can reflect your internal state of being. If you’re living in a pigsty of confusion and mess, what is your brain doing? So consider cleaning up your apartment, house, office or desk before you set to work on your next big project. If nothing else, you’ll feel better when you continue to procrastinate. And hey, maybe you really will get inspired to work.
2. Focus on one thing: having multiple projects on the go is certainly how I go about things but if you really want to get something done, focus and concentrate on one thing at a time before moving on to the next thing. It’s the jumping from one thing to the next that prevents one from getting things done. I’ve found (and so did our hero) that it works to focus on achieving a goal. E.G. 1 page of your novel a day; one garden bed weeded; a first draft of that report. Focus and don’t stop til you achieve your goal no matter how small.
3. Look for opportunities where others see only the negatives: Our hero in Limitless looked for stock opportunities in a falling financial market. Ok he could watch three computer screens of data at once and absorb columns of numbers in a single glance but even without these powers, we could all do some work on identifying the gap in the market and the market in the gap. Read up, watch the papers, raise your awareness of what’s happening in your world.
4. Know thine enemy: Again, our hero knew what his competitors were doing and could respond before they acted. If you have a business or you work in a job you enjoy, spend some time investigating your competitors, researching the market (yes, Google is research) learn what the others are doing and see if you can use that information to help you grow your business or market or niche.
5. Get a haircut and a good suit: If you dress like a bag lady (and our hero did initially look like he last washed his hair in 1978), it is unlikely you will feel motivated to take any other action if you cant even be bothered to wear clean, well fitting clothes or have a decent hair cut. This is not about being salon perfect but about a sense of self respect. So get a haircut and a decent set of threads and look the part, whatever that part is for you. When you look in the mirror and see a set of clean white teeth and a well trimmed beard or clean, flowing locks, you’ll feel better, believe me.
6. Make friends and go out: When I’m feeling a bit depressed and unmotivated, I want to stay home, drink tea and watch old black and white movies. While this is okay for a bit, ultimately what cheers me up is to get out and see some friends or make some new ones by joining in – go to a festival, a book reading, hear a band. Get out and meet some people.
I reckon any of us can do a few of these things – who needs pharmaceuticals! Enjoy
PS: And I recommend seeing Limitless …that leading man is cute!