Is Modafinil a real life cheat code?

By Jonathan Roseland

I'm not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I'm a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinkingYou should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset - spend over $150 and you'll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

I'll make the case that Modafinil is a real-life cheat code for myself and many other high performers; entrepreneurs, writers, celebrities, athletes, and even politicians.

Many of us spent a lot of time in our youth gaming; rescuing princesses in pixelated towers, furnishing our Sim's houses, fighting aliens in space battles, killing monsters in Black Mesa, leveling up our character's skills, or building Roman cities.

And most of us used cheat codes from time to time. I belong to the generation that gamed before the internet proliferated every aspect of life. Often you actually could NOT find cheat codes on the internet. The only place you could find cheat codes was in the back of the game's cheat guide which you had to buy separately. You would spend hours and hours trying to figure out a puzzle or build up enough resources to go to war with the Mongols or whatever and after failing repeatedly you would walk back down to the video game store and have to pony up another $12 for the cheat guide.

But we wouldn't buy games just to cheat, we would cheat so that we could get ahead in the game. If you're like me you really resisted using cheat codes, preferred to earn your progress, and used cheat codes sparingly so that you could build some momentum of progress through the game and actually enjoy it as opposed to getting bogged down in one level and unmotivated.

The cognitive enhancer Modafinil is highly analogous to this, I'll make the case here that it's a real-life cheat code for me and many other high performers; entrepreneurs, writers, celebrities, athletes, and even politicians. Here's why... real life cheat code infographic
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Jocko Willink, a highly decorated retired US Navy SEAL and bestselling author, is perhaps most famous for saying that...

Discipline equals freedom.

Discipline equals freedom.

Similarly, I like to say that...

Discipline is the ultimate lifehack because discipline gives you any other thing that you desire.

Do you desire wealth and money to enjoy the finer things in life?
Work persistently with discipline and focus to provide value to the world and you'll be rewarded richly.

Do you desire a sexy girlfriend (or boyfriend)?
Discipline will make you the kind of person who attracts somebody really attractive - that's how it worked out for me!

Do you desire a good-looking body and physique that people stare at with longing and jealousy?
With long, disciplined hours spent in the gym or exercising you can sculpt just such a body.

Do you desire fame, celebrity, influence, and public notoriety?
With discipline, you can build an attention-worthy personal brand that will attract millions of social media followers, likes, raving fans, and bitter haters.

Do you desire health and vitality?
With discipline, you can fix almost any health problem that holds you back and habituate good habits that make you happy and energetic all the time.

Do you desire a happy, loving family?
Discipline is crucial to healthy familial relationships. Without it, your family life will be a cauldron of dysfunction.

Or perhaps you're more altruistic instead? You desire more than anything else to leave the world better than you found it and make a positive impact.
Social revolutionaries and thought leaders without discipline consistently make the world much worse despite their good intentions.

Discipline gives you the freedom to do or be whatever you want.
Discipline will give you the freedom to flourish in the career and vocation of your choosing.
Discipline will give you the resources to be free to go and do whatever you want.
Discipline will give you freedom from the petty tyrants in your personal life.
Discipline will free you from the vices and bad habits that hold you back.
Perhaps you lack political freedom and are oppressed by the powers that be where you live. Discipline will give you the power and resources to fight back, change the system, and resist tyranny or the means to pack up, leave and go somewhere freer.

The problem with discipline

If you don't already have it, it's damned hard to get.
If you don't have discipline you'll fail over and over in your plans and ambitious projects.
You'll frustratingly repeat your own personal history cycle of hope, striving, failure, and crushing disappointment.
You'll rationalize and come up with elaborate excuses for your failure and lack of follow-through.
You'll believe in conspiracy theories about a system of oppression that's holding you down.
You'll talk about working smart instead of working hard, but the truth is that you do neither.
You may go to personal development events or hire coaches that motivate you for a few days or weeks but the clarity of purpose, focus, and intensity will not last long enough for you to accomplish anything meaningful.
You'll grow a little more cynical and bitter every year; your self-loathing will gestate into bouts of depression and illness.

Yet when you have discipline, you have momentum. You slowly but surely accomplish your goals. You become happier, which makes you less needy, which makes you more attractive to other people. People call you out of the blue with great opportunities.  Your success begets more success.

Discipline evokes a stereotype of a hard-nosed, workaholic old man but the truth is that when you have discipline life is way more fun. When you're working you really work but when you're relaxing and playing life is sublimely beautiful. You're free of petty time-wasting chores, tasks, obligations, and worries that suck the joy out of life.

We've all met old or middle-aged people who were, honestly, losers.
They were in dead-end careers that sucked the life out of them. They had health problems and bad habits. They looked bad and smelled bad. They had an awkward, creepy way of communicating. Their personal lives were a wreck, they complained about their failed marriages and their children hated them.
This is the life that awaits you if you fail to become disciplined.

Discipline is hard to get

Some of us were lucky to have parents or a community that spent years or decades instilling discipline but many of us have to learn discipline as adults.

Jocko acquired the discipline that now makes him a successful author and entrepreneur thanks to decades of military training and service. That's one way to get it, but the cost is very high, you may even pay with your life on the battlefield of a foreign land.

There are other paths to discipline...

  • Exercise and fitness.
  • Entrepreneurship and business.
  • Mastery of technology; learning programming, building websites, or tinkering with hardware.
  • Martial arts
  • Many young men devote years of their lives to learning the art of seduction; practicing social dynamics.
  • Spiritual or religious devotion to a church, movement, or mindfulness practice.
  • Studying seriously in college to prepare for a serious profession (that you may end up hating!)

If you've embarked on one of these paths you know that you don't get that far without discipline. But discipline can be quite the catch-22; you need discipline to get discipline but if you don't have discipline you really struggle to get discipline.

Luckily there is a shortcut to discipline

A class of safe, non-addictive legal drugs called Nootropics or smart drugs that consistently improve focus and motivation. Modafinil is one of the most popular and praised Nootropics.

Modafinil is a cheat code for discipline.

I'm not suggesting that you use these drugs forever and become dependent upon them for your productivity; I certainly don't. I'm suggesting that you use these drugs like a cheat code; as a short-term measure to build momentum towards your goals and to jump-start your discipline with practicing habits that produce more discipline.

Modafinil is a wakefulness drug

Modafinil's pharmacological purpose is a wakefulness drug for narcoleptic people. To quote from an interesting 2017 UK paper on military surgical teams dealing with the challenge of sleep deprivation:

Modafinil is an alerting substance, also used to treat excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnoea and shift work sleep disorder. It is preferable to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine as it is less addictive and has fewer of amphetamine's side effects, which include insomnia, anxiety, increased alertness and decreased hunger. The exact mechanism of modafinil is unclear but it is thought to increase the concentration of monoamines and hypothalamic histamines, thus promoting a state of wakefulness. It has proven useful in increasing certain aspects of cognitive function in sleep-deprived physicians after night shifts.

If you're not a narcoleptic the effect it has is just making you awake and alert for a long time; as much as 20 hours. That's why militaries and air forces around the world give it to their most elite soldiers whose lives and missions depend upon extreme alertness.
The wakefulness effect is one of the major things that makes it a cheat code...

Story time: Not long ago I attended pickup artist meetup in my town, which can be a great place to meet like-minded guys interested in personal development. An informal talk was given about holistic personal development; learning the art of seduction while doing fitness and entrepreneurship. I was chatting with a Dutch guy who was totally new to the game and personal development.
I explained to him that learning game was a major commitment; if he wanted to take it seriously he should be prepared to spend multiple long nights out every week talking to girls, getting experience. And he should spend several hours a week in the gym and at least 20 minutes daily doing meditation.
He was a bit taken aback by the time commitment of real personal development; he asked when the hell do you get any sleep?
I admitted that I use these drugs; that allow me to function at 110% on a whole lot less sleep!

A time hack

Most people need 8 hours of sleep a night to have 8 - 10 productive hours in the day - and if they're being honest with themselves the last working hour or two in the evening is pretty mediocre.
If you use Modafinil you can easily get by on about 6 hours of sleep and will have 8 - 12 productive hours in the day.
With Modafinil you gain between 2 - 6 very productive hours a day.

Perhaps you're not like my Dutch friend, let's say you're on the path to discipline through entrepreneurship and fitness.
As a non-pharmacologically enhanced person, you would get up around 8 AM or 9 AM, go to your job in the morning, work 8 hours, come home and you'll be kind of tired, you'll have maybe an hour or two of productivity left in you, you can go to the gym or work on your entrepreneurial projects. The time you spend working on your entrepreneurial stuff is certainly not the best hours of the day. Hopefully, you're not distracted by your family or some other demand of your time in the evening.
Contrast this to someone on Modafinil; they wake up at 6 AM and work for 2-3 hours undistracted on what really matters to them, then they go to their job for 8 hours, they are alert and awake the whole day, then they come home and have ample energy and focus to workout, work on their entrepreneurial stuff, read a book, write or spend quality time with their family.

Cognitive Enhancer

Modafinil is so popular among Silicon Valley tech wizards and Wall Street traders because it's a hardcore cognitive enhancer, a quintessential smart drug.
A trial of 60 patients observed that it helped both...
Episodic memory - Memory of your past; the house you lived in during your childhood, your first job, your first kiss, etc
Working memory - The RAM of your mind that you use for problem-solving.
The team of researchers concluded

...modafinil (200 mg) could improve episodic memory and working memory performance in patients with remitted depression. Modafinil may have potential as a therapeutic agent to help remitted depressed patients with persistent cognitive difficulties.

That study was done with depressed people BUT otherwise healthy people consistently report that it's a potent enhancer of their capacity to do intellectual labor or complex problem solving, like...

  • Computer programming
  • Writing about technical subjects
  • Graphic design
  • Mathematical or geospatial reasoning
  • Navigating a complex environment
  • Financial or economic trend analysis
  • Studying scientific literature

Motor Control Enhancement

Many cheat codes imbue enhanced physical abilities to run faster, jump higher, or fight better.
Modafinil won't radically enhance athletic prowess but there are about 60 published pieces of scientific research drawing a connection between Modafinil and motor coordination. Modafinil users report that it enhances their physical capacity for...

  • Exercise and weight lifting
  • Athletic training
  • Marksmanship
  • Martial arts
  • Hip-hop or Latin dancing
  • Or playing sports

An Income Hack

Modafinil isn't exactly cheap (at least compared to other Nootropics), costing between $1 - $3 per pill, high performers choose it over other Nootropics because consistently it pays off.
A friend of mine, who is a pretty successful business person, once nonchalantly mentioned to me over beers in MedellĂ­n, Colombia that he probably nets an additional $100,000 a year because of his frequent Modafinil habit.
I've conducted a couple of informal surveys online in forums and Facebook groups

  • The majority of people who use Modafinil respond that it modestly increases their income.
  • About 5% report that it's drastically increased in income.
  • A small proportion report no change at all.

And oddly this question always seems to offend some people!

Modafinil changes your personality

I've used it myself for years and have talked to a lot of people who use it and as far as I can tell it does subtly change your personality over time.

  • It makes you more disciplined and focused.
  • More opportunistic and assertive.
  • More analytical and calculating.
  • More judgemental and critical.

Imagine a character from an Ayn Rand novel who remembers and practices all 48 of the 48 Laws of Power, you'll be a bit more like that. If you're a happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow kind of person and you want to stay that way Modafinil might not be for you. It may even make you feel like a psychopath sometimes...

Social Skills

In real life, the cheat code for negotiating a raise at your job, closing a sale, acing an interview, ingratiating yourself with a more elite social circle, or scoring a date with a hottie is, of course, your social skills - or more precisely verbal intelligenceInterestingly, you can find conflicting anecdotal reports about this online...

  • A lot of people find that Modafinil gives them an edge in social interaction, it improves their vocabulary noticeably and makes them wittier. A lot of pickup artist guys will drop a Modafinil tablet before a night out spent cold approaching women in discos; they report that not only does it enhance their verbal dexterity and player instincts. It also gives them the stamina to stay out till 4 AM, 5 AM or however long it takes for them to pull.
  • But some people find that it makes them myopically focused on logical problem solving, which is counter-intuitive to relaxing and having fun socializing. Also, you really shouldn't combine Modafinil and alcohol.

Personally, for the longest time I would schedule my Modafinil days on days when I did not have social plans in the evenings because I would be in a bit of an anti-social mood. However, recently I found that if I do only 100 milligrams of Modafinil combined with a midday mindfulness practice (could be 20 minutes of meditation or 10 minutes of brain training) and about 5-10 milligrams of Nicotine (from Nicotine gum, mouth spray or another source - I don't smoke) it has the same effect of making me very focused and alert but I'm not an antisocial zombie by the end of the day.

You'll have to experiment and see how Modafinil affects your social self.

Combat Skills

Many cheat codes improve your character's combat skills; making you a more lethal sniper or sneaky assassin.

One of the most famous Modafinil trials was conducted in 2004 at the US Air Force Research Laboratory with F-117 stealth fighter pilots.

Because Modafinil has such a potent vigilance-enhancing effect, at least several of the world's leading militaries give it to their most crucial soldiers.
This (awfully written!) BBC story reports that in 2006 the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense stockpiled vast amounts of Modafinil to give front-line combat personnel an edge.

Tolerance Curve

Similar to video game cheat codes, if you use Modafinil too frequently, it deprives you of really enjoying the game.
Most otherwise healthy, non-narcoleptic people who use Modafinil more frequently than two or three times weekly run into a steep tolerance curve in the performance-enhancing effects of the drug.

  • The cognition-enhancing effect will last for only a few hours as opposed to all day.
  • You'll have a Modafinil hangover the day after, you'll be a bit less clever and energetic.
  • It may even cause some brain fog or a headache.

You'll have to experiment on your own but many high-performing Modafinil users find that it works best if you plan your week around two or three days of intense productivity that you take Modafinil.

Biohacking for Multi-Players

You may have found that gaming with friends makes it a much richer, more competitive, and more bonding social experience compared with solo play. You can certainly biohack solo, it's the secret weapon that gives an unfair advantage to many top 1% elite performers. However, I think that getting involved with a biohacker community online is a great way to accelerate your personal development.
That's why I offer a free 30-minute consultation and a membership in an exclusive online community to anyone who invests at least $150 in their biohacking with Details are explained here...

Alternatively, you could form your own mini biohacker secret society with some of your friends or colleagues who share your ambition, penchant for self-experimentation, or passion for cryptocurrency. You could save some (bit)coin by pooling your money with friends and purchasing a larger supply (at a price as low as .99 cents per pill) of Modafinil.

 For those who prefer to try before they generously offers free samples of Modalert, Waklert, Modvigil, or Artvigil.


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