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Introduction: I frequently receive emails and Facebook messages asking me something to the effect of...
"What is the best Nootropic increasing social confidence?"
Near the top of my list of exotic molecules to achieve that is L-Theanine. in about 30 minutes it consistently brings me a measure of tranquility to manage social situations with grace and gravitas. As the active ingredient in green tea, it's an exceptionally safe nutraceutical, with virtually no downside. Finally, it's VERY cost effective, a year's supply of it runs about $25.
Fatjong of TheanineZone.com has an entire blog, with numerous articles devoted to explaining different L-theanine uses. Checkout this article he wrote on the neurobiology of confidence.
Take a look at these two guys and which of the two seems more competent, more intelligent and more leader-like?
You probably chose the guy on the left. These two guys ran for a senate seat in Wisconsin. On the right is Timothy Michels a Republican. On the left is Russell Feingold a Democrat, who actually won the seat!
This is crazy, because in one second you predicted the voting outcomes of a couple of millions people, those who had a lot more information than (pro gun? Pro abortion? More or less taxes?…) you did.
Want to try another time? Here you go, which of the two seems more competent, more intelligent, more leader-like?
The one on the left won the election.
What does this teach us?
- People put tags around you.
- If you don’t look like a millions dollars people are not going to see the positive things in you.
- We basically already knew this information, we have tags around our necks.
So how can we change the price people put on our tag? The answer is with charisma.
Charisma is symbolic influence coming from values and emotions. The personification of an ideal. Think of Martin Luther king (civil movement rights movement), the Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs. All these people have one thing in common; they had large amount of charisma, and people around them knew it.
They even did a research about this. What is the influence of charisma on the workplace? They gave 3 groups of workers a manager that would do three things. First gave a standard speech. The second group he promised bonuses and gave a standard speech and the third he gave a Charismatic speech.
The results speaks for itself in the chart below. The second and third group that both got incentives to work hard actually worked harder.
This is in economic terms astounding. Without giving any resources there was an increase in performance. Now think about what Apple does. Everyone on the market has the same amount of resources, yet Apple has always been the one pushing the boundaries. I tell you a little secret, Steve Jobs had a lot of charisma, resulting in that the workers at Apple were more creative than their competitors.
So what is charisma and how do I get it?
As said earlier charisma equals values and emotions being able to clearly send an image of what you are talking about. So to start it should come from what you stand for - what is your why? And if you never heard of the concept of why I urge you to watch 5 minutes of this video and Sinom Sinek explains the concept of start with why, why apple a computer company was able to sell mp3’s and Dell also a computer company also tried it with mp3’s but completely failed.
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who don’t mind matter - do this and you will master charisma. Easier said than done right? But this is still the best way to get charisma.
While we may know it or not many of us are doing only behaviors that are socially accepted. This is to fit in with the rest, not to stick out, or we simple are not aware of it. The problem here is that you are never going to fit in.
L-theanine is a substance that comes from green tea. It is available in pill or powder form. And many consider it a nootropic when combined with caffeine. Fun fact it is considered the beginner/ safest nootropic because of the lack of side effects.
The recommended dosage ranges from 100mg to 200mg. Going beyond 400mg will not give you any more benefits then 200/250 mg. So far as people know you cannot overdose on l-theanine nor are there any significant side effects. The side effect of going over 400mg in 1 dose is that you would waste your money.
On a biological level l-theanine does the following things in the human body it increases the levels of GABA, dopamine, serotonin and some even say oxytocin. But what are the results from all these chemicals increased in our body?
It results in a lot of things. The most known are: reducing anxiety, enhancing the user's sleep, mental clarity and relaxing. To see the relation between l-theanine and charisma we first must break down the happy chemicals in our body.
The Happy Chemicals
The human animal is like a machine, there are systems inside our body that are trying to get us to do things that are in the interest of our survival.
As said here most of the Nootropics will do two things for you in the brain. Boosting your serotonin and dopamine. These two neurotransmitters are the one of a couple of chemicals that made us as a human species. It is the reason we as a species survived while others went extinct. You may ask what are a couple the others? Good question. There are a total of 4, and they are the happy chemicals: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin.
Endorphins are the chemicals that get released after a long intense run, also known as a runner's high. We feel great after a long run, but two days later we can barely walk. It’s because of the endorphins.
All these chemicals helped us survive as a species. Thanks to endorphins your ancestors could have kept on running; hunting down dinner and even had enough energy to drag it back to the campfire. Thus our biology and feel good neurotransmitters rewarded us for doing something that ensured our survival. Nowadays with supermarkets we hardly get any endorphins in our body except for athletic people.
The famous chemical that probably everyone has heard of; we get it when we see food, eat food, smell food or do something we said we would do (that great feeling you get after checking something off your to do list).
So why do we have this chemical? Remember all these chemicals are there to reward us for keeping us alive. Getting food in ancient times was hard and if we only went to hunt when we were hungry it was probably already too late. So our body gave us a little shot of dopamine when we saw a fish in the distance, when we neared the fish another shot, when we caught it another shot of dopamine - it keeps going until we take the first bite of that delicious fish. The incremental rewards keep us focused.
A warning. Dopamine unmoderated is HIGHLY addictive - ask your friends who are trying to quit smoking. You can see the dopamine addiction in gambling, booze and even our cell phones. If you wake up with a craving for alcohol you are an addict. Well, if you wake up and the very first thing you do is check your smartphone… you might be an addict.
The chemical that makes us hierarchical animals, I'll go as far as calling it the confidence chemical. Take a look at these two animals; crocodiles and lions. If you've ever watched a documentary about these animals you noticed the difference in how they eat. The crocodiles are in petty competition fighting with each other for the food while the lions have a clear hierarchy in eating order from the alpha male of the pack on down to the scruffiest of cubs.
Serotonin instills a sense of social pride, a bond between people. It stops the petty infighting because we recognize an alpha leader. The alpha leader gets the luxury of eating first. However, it comes with responsibility - when the pack is in danger they turn to the alpha, and it is the alpha’s responsibility to defend them - and the alpha dosen't have to be a male, imagine the mother lioness defending her offspring.
As can be seen serotonin works as follows, we as a group recognize a leader. We give the leaders some perks first in food, first to mate (in the modern world it’s bigger office, fancy cars etc.) - but we are not stupid - there's a tradeoff. We expect that when danger threatens us the leader, full of serotonin and confidence face it head on to protect us all.
L-Theanine and Charisma
We know that to be charismatic we need to have a clear set of goals and values, envigorate our communications with our emotions. We need to be a lighthouse of who we are. People will understand who we are by what we do.
Alone l-theanine is not going to enhance your charisma there is one ingredient that is missing. The yin and yang combination, l-theanine and caffeine. The caffeine will increase your brain activity while still having mental clarity increased levels of dopamine and serotonin.
The mental clarity and enhanced brain activity will help you find your clear set of goals and values. And the increased levels of dopamine will let you communicate better with emotions while the serotonin will give you the confidence.
What will happen when you are who you are and say what you believe? You will find people who don’t like what you think (well, more often than not they will find you) and that’s ok not everyone has to be your friend, but what also happens is that people who think the same, do the same things like you, will be attracted like you. You will find your own group with the same mindset like you. A nice side effect of doing so is increasing your Oxytocin (the trust neurotransmitter) levels.
The time and place to use it varies for every other user. The golden rule I always follow is, use L-Theanine before any important event. Think of an interview, presentation or even your driving license exam. Of course 'important event' is a very abstract description and in the end you can decide for yourself when to and when not to use it. Use the combination of l-theanine and caffeine about half an hour before you need the effects.
What makes L-Theanine such a winner as a Nootropic is it's lack of side effects; the fact that we have been drinking green tea for more than 4000 years without anyone reporting significant negative side effects should suffice as a weighty proof of it's safety. A final (Much more debatable! - JR) positive is that L-Theanine as a charisma stimulator is like Dual N-Back as working memory stimulator, after gaining a few anchoring reference experiences with L-Theanine in social situations, you will internalize some of that charisma, and be able to call on it on demand.
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