This is a quick post about personal development and life hacking.
Three real life human superpowers
- Super Stamina: Human beings have developed to be able to run without stopping for thousands, yes thousands, of miles.
- Spidey Senses: One in 2,000 people has a condition called synesthesia. These people are able to mix senses like sight, smell, and sound. Some report being able to taste music. The condition is linked to savantism.
- Cold Control: Using breathing techniques and the power of the mind, extreme athlete Wim Hof was able to climb Mt. Everest shirtless and in shorts. He says you can learn to control the cold as well.
Human beings can outrun any animal on Earth. That is the title of a Business Insider article about the first superpower on this list. It is one we actually all possess.
I remember being 6 years old and feeling utterly disappointed when I saw a chart showing the top speeds of different animals, the humans almost dead last, right between turtle and iguana.
What nobody told me as a little boy is that walking on two legs and sweating means we can absolutely wreck a cheetah over any distance over a couple of miles. When it comes to running long distances, humans can outrun almost any animal.
If we’re built to run though, how come so many runners injure themselves?
The New York Times reports “a combination of factors is likely to play a role, experts say. Exercise early in life can affect the development of tendons and muscles, but many people don’t start running until adulthood, so their bodies may not be as well developed for distance. Running on only artificial surfaces and in high-tech shoes can change the biomechanics of running, increasing the risks of injury.
What’s the solution? Slower, easier training over a long period would most likely help; so would brief walk breaks, which mimic the behavior of the persistence hunter. And running on a variety of surfaces and in simpler shoes with less cushioning can restore natural running form.”
But superpowers don’t actually exist in real life … do they?
After seeing Donald Trump become president of the country and seeing Elon Musk name his child X Æ A-12, it is difficult to make the case for what is and isn’t possible.
Is nothing impossible for human beings, then? Well, we all have our limits. The important thing to realize is how mutable and downright bizarre these limits often are. Often, we are limited by our mind and our training, rather than our physical capability.
Personally, I have found this to be true in skateboarding and parcour. Doing a backflip over a ledge onto a roof is physically doable for most people, same as a cheeky kickflip, but are you about to run out and do either? Hell no! The reason why can be found in your deep mind. We call it the subconscious.
The subconscious is always in your thoughts, whether you like it or not.John Harold
Do you know how your subconscious works? This is the powerful mechanism for unlocking every one of the three real-life superpowers in this article.
Sadly, most people have no idea how their subconscious works or how to make friends with it.
Your unconscious mind is basically like an appliance in your brain that extracts and packages enormous chunks of memory, feelings, and intuition instantly. It warms them up. Then, much like the toaster in your kitchen, it pops out a fresh, hot answer to life’s questions.
These questions can be as mundane as “how much milk should I drink with this pastry?” or as complex as “should I ask her to marry me?”
Could these superpowers be somehow obtainable? One way it arises is through a condition called synesthesia. Synesthesia is reported to develop in adulthood through the use of psychedelics.
This is when your senses get jumbled together and you “smell” a color or “taste” a sound. It happens with brains that have above average neural connections. It is also reported to have an association with savantism.
This dramatic trait that is more common than you might imagine. Billie Eilish has it. Stevie Wonder did too.
Ironically, it means the only thing Stevie Wonder could see was his music.
Synesthesia is not exclusively a product of hard genetics. I can personally attest to experiencing it for years following the use of psychedelics, anecdotal evidence that was later unexpectedly corroborated by scientific findings.
Our brains have a nifty feature called neuroplasticity. They change. They can change themselves. It’s pretty incredible. Our life experiences and the way we live form a feedback loop. Smithsonian’s online magazine reports that we can actually teach ourselves synesthesia. (Mine manifests itself as occasional 3D visions of abstract ideas such as “how the poor look at the rich”)
Some of the common types of synesthesia include:
- Color-to-sound: Some hear sounds when they see colors, others see colors when they hear sounds. They are consistently the same pairings, but the pairings are not necessarily the same for everyone, although there are significant similarities.
- Visio-spacial: Numbers, letters, months, and dates will occupy physical points in space. A might be farther away than B and perhaps lower than C. Sometimes they are arranged in circles. Studies show these synesthetes have a superior ability to recall events.
- Mirror-touch: They feel the sensations of people they see. They can’t watch violent movies because they feel as if they are being shot and chased themselves.
- Sound-gustatory: They taste sound. I once heard a report on Snapchat News about a synesthete with this type who said that hiphop was sour and pop was sweet.
Wim Hof is not your ordinary extreme athlete. He has mastered his body and mind to the point that he can literally be injected with toxic e.Coli bacteria and beat it by overriding his automatic nervous system with his brain.
The guy is so incredible that hearing his accomplishments without seeing the evidence isn’t enough for most people. That is why I’m going to include this little video.
Through his app, Wim has actually taught thousands of people how to be stronger, happier, and healthier. He attributes his discoveries to basically spending the 80s doing hardcore vigilante research on deep vedic meditation. His powerful commitment to his practices are a major reason he has been so successful.
There’s really too much to say about this guy. He’s a superhuman with an identical twin who is just a dude living in Italy–basically tells you everything you need to know, right?
Joshua Waitzkin, another guy who figured out how to hack the simulation
Joshua Waitzkin has a really powerful subconscious.
He was 16 years old when he received the title of International Chess Master. He is also a Tai Chi world champion and the inspiration for the book “Chasing Bobby Fischer.” More than anything else though, Josh is a bold bold lifehacker.
Take, for example, his claim that he translates the essence of chess into the language of Tai Chi.
Waitzkin says he does not like the word prodigy. He claims we can all harness incredible superpowers if we just learn to learn.
Conclusion: these are three examples of real life superpowers
In conclusion, you and everybody around you has access to superpowers. That is, human beings are naturally able to run thousands of miles without stopping, we are naturally able to breathe fine at freezing temperatures, and some of us are even able to see sounds.
Which of these real life superpowers would you pick if you could only choose one?
What is and isn’t possible? The truth is that the answer to that is changing right in front of our eyes.
The superpowers in this article have been used and practiced by human beings for thousands of years. It is only our own Western culture that is getting to know them for the first time thanks to the interference of the internet.
The internet has created obsessive self-improvers like myself, and it has enabled us to hunt down the blueprints to eye-popping phenomena like Wim Hof method and synesthesia.
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