A new form of "cognitive enhancing" drugs called nootropics are sweeping through the business world. Said to increase productivity, creativity, and focus, these legal drug compounds are beginning to find a following across a variety of industries. Part of the larger biohacking movement, nootropics come in many forms, from prescription drugs like Adderall and Modafinil to over the counter brands such as Nootrobrain, TruBrain, and Nootroo.
These cognitive enhancers are all the rage, with programmers, salespeople, and even executives testing out drugs that claim to offer a mental edge.
But, when it comes to stimulating creativity, as opposed to increased mental focus proposed by proponents of nootropics, a Stanford University study offers a basic, alternate prescription - walking.
Yes, you read that right. The most basic form of movement, walking, is one of the most beneficial activities to stimulate creativity.
So, if you're looking for increased mental focus, you can purchase a variety of these so-called smart drugs, most of which contain some combination of caffeine, B vitamins, CDP Choline and L-Theanine. However, none of the nootropics brands are FDA approved, and thus far, reviews are mixed.
I've experimented with many of these "smart drugs" and from my experience, the negative side effects outweigh the short term benefits.
However, if creativity is what you're looking for, there seems to be a simpler medication. Stop staring at your computer screen, stand up from your desk, and walk outside.
In the long run, the latter option is cheaper, healthier and more impactful. Yes, outworking the competition is one route to success. But wouldn't you rather disrupt a market, or create an entirely new one, through a burst of creative genius.
And if you're someone that makes decisions based on results, the creative benefits of walking found in the Stanford University study should not be ignored.
Here's are the findings between creativity and walking:
Divergent thinking, one's ability to generate creative ideas through many possible solutions, significantly accelerates while walking.
100% of participants completed complex analogies while walking outdoors, compared to 50% of those seated inside.
Overall, creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking.
Apparently, you don't even have to be walking outdoors to receive the metal benefits of movement. The study found that even walking indoors on a treadmill led to creative jumps.
So next time you see that strange guy walking on a treadmill in the office space next to yours, don't hate. Sure, he might be sweating through his dress shirt at 10:30 AM, but he could be on the verge of a creative outpouring the likes of which the world has never seen.