Many of us have seen Limitless, the 2011 thriller in which Bradley Cooper playing Eddie Morra, a down and out writer struggling to pay his bills and unable to hold down a relationship discovers NZT-48, a mystical pill that unlocks his potential and turns his life around overnight, learning new skills, making loads of money and eventually becoming a congressman. It’s a great movie both for its sheer entertainment value but also it makes you think, what if this was possible? What if we could take a magic pill that changes our life, means we can do whatever we wanted, achieve all our goals and give us limitless potential (hence the name of the movie).

Well maybe we can do all of this and we don’t even need a pill that costs hundreds a pop. Now before we go any further we need to make some things clear.

  1. There is no magic pill that does all of this, even if there was it’s unlikely to be safe and would be prohibitively expensive for most of us
  2. NZT-48 appears to give Bradley’s character the ability to slow down time, absorb everything around him and respond, again we can’t slow downtime, but we can absorb a lot more information than many of us think (more on this later)
  3. None of this will happen overnight, in the movie they had to fit a complete change of life into 1 hour 45 mins, but you can change your life and you CAN start now.
  4. Robert DeNiro probably won’t appear in your life

So how could we do this in real life? Well, let’s look in detail at what Eddie actually does to achieve all of this. The first thing he does is cleans and organizes his flat, nothing spectacular here, right? But why would this help? Well, it’s difficult to get our life in order if our environment is a mess, our heads are busy enough without everything around us making it feel more chaotic. Also, it’s as simple as this; Take control of the things you can control, start with a small circle of order (cleaning your living space) and expand the circle outwards. Once this is done he sits down and sets his priorities, first on the list is to finish his book. Now am I’m not saying everyone needs to write a book, but I am saying to identify what’s your biggest priority and start working on it. By completing his book, he not only manages to earn some money, he feels a great sense of achievement and doesn’t have that sense of urgency looming over him. We all put things off that we know we should do, sometimes it’s because we give something else priority or because we decide to do something more fun but less productive but by focusing on the important, we free ourselves to live life rather than let life happen to us.

So, we’ve got things in order, and ticked off the important stuff, what’s next? Eddie goes to work on himself, spending time on improving various aspects of his life, getting fitted for a nice suit, learning different languages, getting fit and healthy, learning to play the piano, and getting up to date with current affairs. So, what’s going on here? Well aside from the fact that he learns a lot of skills to an advanced level impossibly quickly, he’s growing as a person, in the movie he jokingly calls it ?self-improvement month? but why just limit it to a month? Eddie is taking the time to better himself in things he enjoys, not only does he enjoy them, but they also benefit him in the long run. It’s like the old proverb ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got‘, in other words, if you want to be a better you then start taking the steps to become a better you. Now learning 3 languages, getting in shape, becoming proficient with musical instruments among many other skills in the space of what appears to be days or weeks isn’t realistic, but the concept is solid, by regularly spending some time on bettering yourself the result is a better you, simple really.

So far, we’ve got our life in order, completed our to-do list, and become a better version of ourselves, what’s left? Well before things start going all Hollywood thriller on us Eddie does one more thing. He gets a job at a stockbroker and makes loads of money by being good at it. What can we take away from this? After all, not many of us want to work in the stock market. The lesson here is to find something you enjoy, get good at it, and find a way to make money doing it. In the case of this movie he enjoys math and current affairs and uses this passion to make money on the stocks bit the applications for this are vast. Enjoy drawing? How do people make money from drawing? Are you good with coding? Could you build websites for people? Do you love dogs, maybe charge people to walk their dogs for them or start a doggy daycare? The possibilities are endless.

One last thing, we’ve spoken a lot about how to improve ourselves and our lives, but we can’t forget one critical component and something in this movie that most of us miss. Eddie takes the time out to enjoy himself, his life, and time with people around us. Self-development is great but it’s a waste if we don’t enjoy the person we’ve become
We can’t turn our lives around overnight, it takes time, effort, and a little sacrifice. Growth is a constant process, there is no end, only progress but the point is if you’re not happy with where your life is now, if you want more or better, you can turn it around, your potential is limitless.

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