10 ways to gain real superpowers that will change your life

Super creativity! Unstoppable willpower! Tony Stark-like confidence!

You can gain real super powers. No gamma radiation, spider bites, or mutations necessary.

A few simple tips can have you performing heroic deeds in no time — cape not included.

1) Gain super creativity!

Take a hot shower.

Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease — when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain— we're more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we're trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. "That's why so many insights happen during warm showers," Bhattacharya says. "For many people, it's the most relaxing part of the day." [Imagine: How Creativity Works]

Here are more ways to increase creativity.

2) Add powerful new habits!

Use the "20 second rule."

Look at the good habits you want to develop and see if there's a way you can make them easier to begin by 20 seconds.

Want to stop a bad habit? Increase the time it takes to initiate it by 20 seconds.

Put those gym clothes where you can reach them. Put the chocolate on the top shelf and close the cabinet.

Here are more ways to break bad habits and add good ones.

3) Gain unstoppable willpower!

Eat something.

From my interview with willpower researcher Roy Baumeister:

Eric: What's the easiest way to increase willpower when you're tapped out?

Roy: Just eat something. In the lab we use sugary snacks, which I don't really recommend people use in their own life because they're not that good for you. We use it in the lab because we need something that works really fast and sugar gives you a quick burst of energy. Unfortunately, it's then followed by a quick crash. Your metabolic energy goes up and then it comes down again in a big way. Eat something, like protein, that your body will burn over a longer period of time.

Here are more ways to increase willpower.

4) Instantly reduce stress!

Get out in nature:

The results show that the relationships of stressful life events with number of health complaints and perceived general health were significantly moderated by amount of green space in a 3-km radius. Respondents with a high amount of green space in a 3-km radius were less affected by experiencing a stressful life event than respondents with a low amount of green space in this radius. The same pattern was observed for perceived mental health, although it was marginally significant. The moderating effects of green space were found only for green space within 3 km, and not for green space within 1 km of residents' homes, presumably because the 3-km indicator is more affected by the presence of larger areas of green space, that are supposed to sustain deeper forms of restoration. These results support the notion that green space can provide a buffer against the negative health impact of stressful life events. [Social Science & Medicine]

Here are more ways to reduce stress.

5) Super learning!

Write a summary.

Via Daniel Coyle's excellent book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

Research shows that people who wrote a summary remember 50 percent more material over the long term than people who…(just) repeatedly read. …Passively reading a book — a relatively effortless process, letting the words wash over you like a warm bath — doesn't put you in the sweet spot. Less reaching equals less learning.

On the other hand, closing the book and writing a summary forces you to figure out the key points (one set of reaches), process and organize those ideas so they make sense (more reaches), and write them on the page (still more reaches, along with repetition). The equation is always the same: More reaching equals more learning. [The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills]

Here are more ways to increase learning.

6) Develop mind control powers!

Connect better with others by emphasizing similarity.

Demonstrating that you have something in common with someone else makes them more likely to help you. Salesmen deliberately fake little similarities in order to influence you and connect with you. And it works. Out and out mimicking people (but not obviously) causes them to like you more and to act more kind.

Here are more ways to increase your mind control super powers.

7) Be productive enough to take on multiple supervillains!

Much like a superhero, checklists really can save lives.

Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, tells the story of how much of a difference checklists made in a hospital ICU:

Pronovost and his colleagues monitored what happened for a year afterward. The results were so dramatic that they weren't sure whether to believe them: the 10-day line-infection rate went from 11 percent to zero. So they followed patients for 15 more months. Only two line infections occurred during the entire period. They calculated that, in this one hospital, the checklist had prevented 43 infections and eight deaths, and saved two million dollars in costs. [The New Yorker]

Here are more ways to gain super productivity.

8) Resist evil and be a better person!

Use peer pressure to your advantage. Spend more time with the type of people you want to be.

From Charles Duhigg's excellent book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:

In a 1994 Harvard study that examined people who had radically changed their lives, for instance, researchers found that some people had remade their habits after a personal tragedy, such as a divorce or a life-threatening illness…Just as frequently, however, there was no tragedy that preceded people's transformations. Rather, they changed because they were embedded in social groups that made change easier… When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real. [The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business]

Here are more ways to be a better person.

9) Gain Tony Stark confidence!

Confidence is a real super power. Immediately increase it by looking at your resume.

I immediately think about my research credentials, a trick I developed after discovering that getting people to think about aspects of themselves that are conducive to success can actually be enough to propel them to a top performance and prevent choking… The mere act of realizing you aren't just defined by one dimension — your SAT score or a speech or a solo — can help curtail worries and negative thoughts. In essence, thinking about yourself from multiple perspectives can help relieve some pressure that you feel. [Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To]

Here are more ways to give you super confidence.

10) Increase your super powers from A to Z!

Get enough sleep.

You can't cut corners on sleep and not have it affect you:

…by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight — the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk. [The New York Times]

Being tired actually makes it harder to be happy. "Sleeping on it" does improve decision making and can help you follow through on your goals.

Lack of sleep makes you more likely to get sick and more likely to behave unethically. There is such a thing as beauty sleep.

Most people don't get nearly enough. If you do, it really is like being superhuman.

Here is everything you need to know about super sleep.

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