THE ARTICLE IN SHORT
The general movement of Biohacking often collides with the concept of Minimalism. More devices, more supplements, more positive habits, getting more done and becoming MORE. On the one hand we want to give our body everything it needs while at the same time we expect it to become stronger and more resistant even in times of abstinence. .
So how does getting along with less fit into the approach of pursuing maximum performance? How can we reduce our impact in terms of footprint and the resources we use, while still reaping the benefits of optimized performance? Should we focus on ourselves or spend the time and energy on improving our environment so we don’t have to be as resilient? Which approach is more feasible on a large scale?
As often, the answer probably lies somewhere in between and begins with a question: What are the most minimalistic biohacks with the highest ROI and which can be performed by anybody?
THE COMMON GOAL – OPTIMIZED PERFORMANCE
The common goal of biohacking is the optimization of performance. Biohacking is about improving health as well as increasing brain power, strength, resilience, energy and even lifespan. Like with everything in life, you will get out what you are willing to put in. Biohacking might give you a shortcut or boost in some areas but in the end, you have to give something in return. The currencies I’m talking about here are
Instead of working out for one hour you could buy a new AI-based stationary bikes which gives you a HIIT training in around 4 minutes. You will save time by trading money for the bike. You trade comfort by working out but will gain better health, improved mood and probably a longer lifespan. You can also go to a health lab and get cryotherapy or a NAD+ injection. It will cost you money maybe get you closer to a goal like higher energy levels. The questions it all comes down to at the end of the day are:
- What are your goals and to where do you want get?
- How much resources you are willing to give (money, time, comfort)?
If you run out of money you might not be able to afford other things which are important to you. If you run out of time you might get stressed out. Same goes for comfort.
Assuming you have a standard life, you will sleep for 8 hours and work for 8 hours. Still 8 hours left to do what you want to do, right? But then there is family, friends, hobbies and many more things that fill up the rest. If biohacking also takes up 2 hours of the day, there is less time for other activities. So the question I'm asking myself is "how can I improve my performance while still living life to its fullest and enjoy the journey?". That’s where the concept of minimalistic biohacking comes in.
We figured that the goal is improved performance. That is the WHY. We want to be healthy and live a long life with freedom of movement, being able to enjoy the world. We want to have energy to pursue our dreams and visions. We want to be strong and resilient to feel save and protect the ones we love. The goal is clear. Now we just have to decided HOW we want to get there.
THE CONCEPT OF MINIMALISTIC BIOHACKING
In order to achieve a certain goal in a world of limited resources we have to trade and exchange one thing for another. Every output requires a certain input. That is equally true for your private goals, a company or even a country. to break it down to common wisdom: “There is no such thing as a free lunch” or “you have to put wood into the oven before you get the warmth of a fire”.
But HOW we get to that goal is up to us, or our circumstances. The two concepts taught in business education are:
- Certain Input to reach the maximum goal
- Minimum input to reach a certain goal
(Why not Maximum Input for Maximum goal? Remember that resources are limited? Of course you can spend 24 hours a day on hacking yourself, but what’s the point?)
You can aim for a lifespan of 180 years, winning the Ironman, lifting the heaviest weight on the planet and many more superlatives. You might well achieve that goal if you have the resources available to make it happen. For example you can be the wealthiest man on earth but if the technique to cure your illness has not yet been discovered, there is no chance you can reach your goal. Also there might be ways to reach a goal quickly, which have a high impact on our environment. Just think in the scale of a country. In order to become wealthy a country might exploit its natural resources in a very effective way, by cutting down trees and opening up the soil. The goal will be reached and wealth will be created, but at what price?
Stick with me for a bit longer. The minimalistic approach to biohacking is NOT against development and progress. Quite the opposite.
If the resources you need are available to YOU, you can get to any goal within reach of those resources. The dilemma of having more options. Now it comes down to your choice. Just because you can, should you?
In my opinion biohacking should help and support you to reach your goals and lead a better life. If you want to spend more time with your family, biohacking will help you to get up earlier and get that project work done before your kinds wake up. If you want to become stronger, biohacking will help you with your recovery so you can train harder the next time. If you want to make your business a success, it will help you increase your mental energy and focus.
"Biohacking is a means to an end. It should never become the goal itself."
So back to the standard life. You have your family, friends, work and hobbies in place and it’s actually great that these areas are eating up your time. If you now want to ADD additional things into your life (like habits which will make you perform better), wouldn’t it be wise to first choose the ones offering the highest ROI? The ones that provide the biggest results with the lowest amount of money, time and energy invested?
That’s why for me, I have determined that biohacking should take the least amount of time in order to get me towards my goals. I want to use the 20% of habits, technical gadgets and supplements which give me 80% of the output. I don’t want anything superfluous or with low ROI taking away my precious time. I want to live life to the fullest, enjoying many different things before I have to pass on. And while I’m doing that, I don’t want to further strain our planet earth with excess pollution. I want to keep it balanced. My performance should increase without creating too much negative impact in other areas of my life or the society around me.
NATURAL LIFESTYLE VS. BIOHACKING
I once said “Biohacking is necessary only because we have removed ourselves too far from a natural way of life.” The first thing that comes to mind is that we have removed from the natural way of life in order to evolve. To grow stronger and more powerful as a species. And we are, as @thespaceexploration put it on Instagram: “Do not underestimate the power of human intelligence.”
When asked if we should go back to a natural way of life, my personal answer would be that I’m quite comfortable with the luxuries I have. We need to look into the future, always forward. Human intelligence identified a problem with the removed lifestyle though. We experience health issues, lack of energy and resilience due to our new way of life.
Our bodies are still primed for a lifestyle close to nature. We require sunlight to produce certain hormones,in order to sleep well and recover. We require certain nutrients in order to thrive. We need fresh air and clean water. All of that was found everywhere a long time ago but our drive towards *insert your greater purpose of humanity here* has changed the environment.
Our soil is depleted, the air and water is polluted and nature is under enormous pressure.
That’s the reason blue light blocking glasses, red light devices and supplements are becoming a necessity in order to perform at the highest level. In order to feel like our natural, powerful self. Often when humans try to fix something by outsmarting nature, the first approach is too simple and we have to re-adjust. For example Vitamin D. What a great invention to have Vitamin D in the form of drops at your fingertips. Only that if taken without Vitamin K2, it might lead to calcification inside the body. Oops. And we will stumble across many more of these slight imperfections while trying to biohack ourselves.
That’s why the Minimalist Biohacker approach is looking into reduction and a more natural way of solving performance issues first. You lack a certain nutrient (e.g. Magnesium)? Can you fix it by eating wholesome foods which naturally contain Magnesium? You experience a lot of stress and anxiety? Are you able to meditate instead of taking medicine to solve the problem? Can you spend more time in nature? If you can’t, THEN we’ll go into technical support and supplementation, always with the highest ROI in mind.
AND it always has to fit into YOUR life, YOUR values, YOUR believe system, YOUR resources.
Looking for the highest ROI also helps us to avoid flooding the world with cheap plastic products which add little to no value to neither your journey nor the society in general. We wouldn’t need B-Vitamin supplements if we’d take better care of our soils and stopped spraying them with pesticides. We wouldn’t need collagen if we’d use the whole animal instead of only the filets. Of course: Large shifts in the behavior of a society takes time, while we live NOW. But we should spend a part of our time- and energy thinking about the bigh picture as well. We should think of the generations to follow instead of singlemindedly optimizing only ourselves.
THE SEARCH FOR THE MAGIC BULLET
Reducing the methods, habits and equipment is not the same as searching for a magic bullet. Let’s get that off the table right away: There is no such thing as a one-for-all fix like the magic pill. The sooner you come to that conclusion yourself, the better. High performance is the result of several aligned areas. Each of those areas in turn might well provide a boost in the other areas.
Even in the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper the power of the wonder drug only unlocks the brain. The effect on habits like eating, sports and learnings come from the insight that those things are important and will elevate the character of movie to a new potential. Even in the movie, it is the SUM of different parts which creates the superhuman.
The minimalist approach means identifying the 20% of methods and products which will create 80% of the effect in any given segment. The unlocked power will then enable progress in other segments, leading to a total improvement. Any more achievement and specialization will require a much higher amount of effort and resources. This is the law of diminishing returns. Now imagine a world in which 1% of the population can hack themselves to incredible performance, while the rest stays at the same level. This is the “specialist” approach, focusing lots of resources on a small group or a specific area of interest. Inequality will lead to envy, will lead to hatred and a destructive environment.
On the other hand imagine 99% of the population hacking themselves to a 10% higher performance. Everyone will be clearer on what they want to do and how to do it. General health will improve, better solutions for global challenges will arise and humanity will be much better off.
That is the power of working on the things with the highest ROI first. Available to a large amount of people, biohacking has an enormous potential to improve the world we live in. Please excuse this detour into socio-economics. It resulted from a true FLOW state while writing.
ADDITION VS INTEGRATION
Coming back to the topic of resources. If you have limited resources available to you, the power lies in the word INTEGRATION. Instead of adding something which requires resources, you try to integrate it while reaping most of its benefits on the go.
"Remember: Even beneficial things will take up resources. It is important to measure the ROI."
As an example I would like to look at the topic of meditation, a field which I respect and love to practice. It has countless benefits which you can immediately feel. Especially when under pressure from your job, relationships, a loss, etc. After a few weeks of integrating a 20min meditation into my morning routine, I felt stress building up to finish faster. The meditation took away too much of my resource “time”, which I value very much. So I started searching for a way to reduce the amount of time used to achieve the same results, which lead to the quest for the Minimalist Biohacker Meditation.
Here some examples how you can use INTEGRATION:
Addition: In the morning sit still for 20 minutes and meditate.
Problem: Time is already limited and I feel stress when giving meditation too much time.
Integration: Can you do it in 10 minutes? If not, can you do it in the evening, after work? Can you do it during lunch break?
Addition: Driving to the gym for 20 minutes, working out for 60 minutes, driving back 20 minutes = total load of 100 minutes “added” to your day plus the cost of the monthly membership.
Problem: Other things will get less resources and attention (e.g. family, friends, other hobbies,…) and you spend more money.
Integration: Can you work out at home with your bodyweight to achieve 80% of the results from the gym?
Addition: Prepare healthy meals at home instead of eating out.
Problem: You will spend more time cooking and preparing (even though I think that’s great).
Integration: Order a salad or extra vegetables with your meals.
The healthy habits and biohacks have to fit YOUR life. What are willing to spend? Time? Money? Comfort?
Minimalistic Biohacking is taking the optimized human, dreamed of in science-fiction stories, back to reality. It’s a kind of reality check for beautiful ideas, technology and medical applications which will most likely have a huge impact in the future. It should make biohacking available to a broad spectrum of people. Minimalistic biohacking means focusing on the highest ROI improvements to achieve certain outputs. It means taking nature and the environment into account with the goal of reduction before addition.
What would be my first suggestions to live the Minimalist Biohacker lifestyle?
- Dive into the topic of biohacking and find out what works for YOU. There are lots of free hacks which will greatly improve your performance.
- Look at what you want to achieve and INTEGRATE those habits and methods into your life.
- Get a DNA Test or Nutrition Test in order to find out what is good for YOUR body, instead of throwing money out the window.
- Look for REDUCTION and a more NATURAL LIFESTYLE first. If that won’t work, get the highest ROI technical devices and supplements
- Take care of your society and environment by purchasing LOCAL and ORGANIC products and by reducing your carbon FOOTPRINT.
- Never stop being CURIOUS so you can learn and experiment for yourself. Don't take everything at face value.
- The improvement from nothing to a little is infinite. EVERY SMALL STEP TOWARDS IMPROVEMENT COUNTS.
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