Performance enhancement for the thinking man

April 11th, 2008 by k8gu Leave a reply »

Recently the popular news has picked up a story about a paper in the journal Nature from December 2007.  The article invokes a crude online survey of academics and scientists about their use of prescription medications like Ritalin as concentration aids.  One of the respondents thought that it was his duty to be as “productive” as possible during his lifetime of “humane service.”  My diagnosis is an acute case of self-importance.

Medication is often prescribed or taken as a substitute for lifestyle changes.  While lifestyle doesn’t always help, it deserves more credit than it gets.  For instance, a friend from college always used to wait until the last possible minute to complete his assignments.  Invariably, he did as well or better than the rest of us.  He spent most of his time doing whatever it was that interested him at the moment and then blitzed the homework.  Brilliant.  If what you’re doing isn’t important enough to capture your focus, you’re not doing the right thing.

Case in point: contesting with SO2R.  You need contact volume to win a contest.  But, pushing F1 isn’t that interesting after the rate slows.  You also need multipliers to win a contest.  This is hard work; but, it’s more engaging than running.  If you do both at the same time, it increases your overall productivity.  A fundamental shift in strategy produces a performance gain.

Improvement requires effort and creativity, not a pill.