“What are those red light-emitting objects going into your ear canals, Sir?”
“Oh, they are just preventing my jet lag by resetting my circadian rhythm while recharging the mitochondria in my cells”
Attending the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference in 2017, I had many conversations like the above. A conversation with a “biohacker” (a term, in and of itself, that now makes me cringe) at this convention was more along the lines of talking to a soulless robot than a human being.
Wait, WTF is a Biohacker?
It does sound like some Will Smith, iRobot-type shit, I know. Basically, biohacking is utilising technology to extend your lifespan and optimize your health to the highest possible metrics in the most minimal viable manner. Biohacking has become a trend in affluent communities around the world. Mainly due to the influence of one man, Dave Asprey, and his multi-million dollar empire known as Bulletproof.
The way I look at it, however, is biohacking has now become a way of looking radically cool on Instagram. It is no longer about improving health for yourself. Biohacking has now become a social construct that involves individuals (admittedly, I was one of them) showing off the latest hacks to gain followers on Instagram.
Instagram and Chasing Vanity Metrics
For the past two years, I have had a relatively successful small Instagram account following. I managed to rack up 2500 followers. Each day I would franticly write up posts, reply to people I didn’t like and comment on peoples posts I didn’t even admire to get their attention and hopefully gain a few followers in the process.
You would think this growth and small attention was giving me happiness and fulfilment, right? Dead fucking wrong. I found myself compulsively checking my Instagram account like a crack addict. The look of disappointment when I failed to reach a number of likes. I would compare myself to others in my insta-sphere with jealously because they had more followers than me. For the life of me, could not believe the person I was becoming. The cycle was vicious.
I believed I was doing all this work on social networking for my own good. That one day, I would be an influencer within the health community. Sharing my stories of weight-loss, testing products and giving my humorous twist was the general theme around my account. Also, a shit load of coffee.
At the end of the day, all I was really chasing was happiness. We all are. This year, however, I realised happiness cannot be pursued — it must happen — and being wrapped up on Instagram 24/7 was getting me nowhere close to my idea of it.
35 000ft with Tim Ferriss and Dr. Peter Attia
Every year myself and my mom visit our family in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. I downloaded a recent podcast from The Tim Ferriss Show for the flight. The host, Tim Ferriss (my absolute favourite human/mentor on earth), got interviewed — or, rather, had a conversation with — Dr. Peter Attia.
Dr. Peter Attia is a polymath within the health and fitness industry and seems to have the most calming way of asking questions. He could put a Rhino to sleep. Tim and Dr. Attia spoke at length about happiness. They also spoke about psychedelics and the potential medical/mental health benefits of their use. It’s a great episode and I highly recommend listening to it.
Drugs and my man crush on Tim Ferriss aside, I realized something on that flight: happiness is all there is. Anything that is robbing you of this fundamental need, should be taken behind the barn, and shot. That is; not being present, relying on likes to make you happy, toxic people (wouldn’t recommend shooting anyone, though), the stories you tell yourself that are not confirmed, yet you retreat into the anxiety they bring, and the physical environment you’re in.
2018: The Best Year Yet
2018 has been the most pivotal year of my life. I have never felt more at ease within the universe. I feel comfortable. My happiness has been a side-effect of cutting the non-essentials out my life and getting back the child-like play with creativity that I enjoyed as a kid.
If I can draw one lesson from this year, it’s that trusting the universe can be one fo the best antidotes to anxiety. As a naturally anxious person, I’ve now seen the power of not fighting the universe. This is not some woo-woo bullshit, trust me.
It’s hard to explain, but my man Tony does a great job:
Speaking to those soulless humans at the Bulletproof Conference; building up following of people on all social networks; getting into the best shape of my life — this all ended up becoming meaningless. Not because these metrics were “wrong.” But they were surface level. They were not truly fulfilling.
This is not to say that I’ve given up with my personal brand, fitness/health and producing content. In fact, I’m more determined than ever to become an example of what I’ve observed and implemented this year.
It comes down to one thing: simplicity.
Life is fucking simple. It’s about loving someone other than yourself and looking after your health in the process so you can contribute and add fulfilment to society and your life.
What I see on Instagram nowadays is narcissistic individuals that are interested in nothing other than showing off their latest biohacking equipment, blending disgusting green juices and scoffing them down and neglecting the truly important things in life.
Last year, I neglected the important things; family, friends, showing genuine interest in strangers, giving without expecting, going on adventures and love.
Don’t get me wrong, however, for you genuine biohackers out there, I am not bashing you for trying to improve yourself. There are some truly great people I still follow for advice and I support whole-heartedly. You can see these people by who I follow on my account.
All I’m saying is, it does not need to be something that is documented 24/7. I don’t want to know what colour your faeces is and how the shape of it reveals the lactose intolerance of your biology. Just because Dave Asprey does something, does not mean you have to agree and follow suit.
The lens I’m currently viewing life through is this: I’m going to focus more on whats in front of me and less on how many likes I get; I’m going to look people in the eye and eat a delicious low-carb meal without posting about it; I’m going to be present and alive with enthusiasm; I’m going to find love within myself which will lead to love from external sources.
This is me justifying my behaviour to the world. It’s free therapy for me. It’s my thoughts catalogued so you can think about it, too.
Without me noticing, social media has been the crux of my life for the last few years. I want to change that.
I’m not a biohacker.
I’m a spiritual being having a human experience. For reasons I can’t quite explain right now, I now understand the power of trusting in the universe. So should you.