We’ve read about Van Gogh cutting off his ear, watched Steve Jobs reveal the iPod in his legendary keynote, and experienced Michael Jordan dunking a basketball for the Chicago Bulls. These top performers make our jaws drop – we’re fascinated with them. We want to understand what’s behind their intense creativity.

Some say they were born with it. Others say creativity can be learned. Regardless, you’ve probably wondered how to increase your creativity and be the next Van Gogh, Jobs or Jordan.

Those of us who use nootropics have sensed that our creativity could be enhanced using them. Yet there has never been any concrete proof to back up our claims. Nothing to connect the dots.

This article attempts connects those dots.

In order to do so, we need to first understand what creativity is and give ourselves a tangible target to aim for. According to Clayton Christensen the Author of ‘The Innovator’s DNA’ your ability to be creative is a function of 5 behaviors.

  1. Associating.
  2. Questioning.
  3. Observing.
  4. Networking.
  5. Experimenting.

 If we use, develop and enhance these 5 behaviours we will experience more creativity in our work. Approaching the problem this way, gives us a clear and specific objective. Understanding creativity as a combination of these 5 behaviours, we can use targeted nootropics to enhance each creativity triggering behaviour and become more creative.

Let’s begin…

Creativity Enhancing Behavior #1: Association

Creative associations happen when you draw connections between related and unrelated fields. This is how Orville and Wendell Wright took their bicycle repair talents and built the world’s first human flight machine. It was their ability to take information from unrelated fields and apply it to aircraft design, that allowed them to change the world.

Your ability to make creative associations is dependent on your working and long term memory. This is where the Racetam family of nootropics helps.

Suggested Racetam For Creative Association

In several studies Oxiracetam was shown to increase memory input/output – the essential factor in creative association. Oxiracetam also increases acetylcholine uptake and utilization in parts of the brain brain responsible for memory formation. Start with the recommended dose and dial it in based on your specific needs.[1]


Creativity Behavior #2: Questioning

Question is posing queries that challenge common wisdom. Remember a time when you were sitting in class in school. The teacher asked a question and you knew the correct answer. Everyone else in the class had it wrong. Were you able to calmly state your opinion and challenge the social pressure of the class? Or did you get anxious, freeze up and shut down?

Challenging common wisdom requires a calm disposition. You can’t creatively question when you’re moody and your anxiety levels are high. Mood enhancing nootropics assist this process.

Suggested mood enhancers for creative questioning

If you want to improve your mood and amplify your creative output, Isolated tryptophan works well. It’s one of the few mood enhances that have a history of research and work well as a standalone supplement. It has been shown to increase serotonin levels and make you happier. Start with the suggested dose. [4]

Special note on tryptophan: It does not work well with other amino acids in the bloodstream, as the other amino acid compete for uptake. In order for it to work well it must be taken without other proteins in the bloodstream either in the early morning or before bed. [6]

Creativity Enhancing Behavior #3: Observing

Observing is scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things. This is how Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity. It was his observational powers and hours spent observing his local train station that allowed him to make the creative connections that changed our views on classical physics. [9]

Your ability to creatively observe requires focus, attention and uses up a lot of mental RAM as the brain is constantly filtering out irrelevant information. This is a mentally exhausting process and is the reason most of us turn to stimulants.

Suggested nootropics to help with observing

Heavy stimulant users may be surprised to find out that Caffeine + L-theanine works better than just caffeine. Caffeine causes adrenal hormone release while the amino acid L-theanine has a calming effect on your nervous system. The two taken together have a synergistic effect and create a calm internal focus.

The result? You become more observant and thus more creative.

The research on caffeine + L-theanine is pretty extensive. It’s been shown to Improve focus/attention, brain alpha wave levels, while reducing heart rate, and anxiety levels. For anyone looking to enhance creativity, it’s an absolute must.

Start with 1:2 ratio of caffeine to L-theanine. Low stimulant users may see a benefit of 50mg of caffeine and 100 mg of l-threonine. Heavy users may need to double or triple the dose.

Shop Caffeine + L-Theanine Here

Creativity Enhancing Behavior #4: Networking

Networking is meeting people with different ideas and perspectives. It requires you to remove social anxiety. Our brains are wired to connect and we see incongruencies in others instantly. Nothing kills your creativity quite like social anxiety.

The good news? There are anxiety reducing nootropics.

Suggested anxiety reducer for creative networking

Bacopa has been shown to reduce stress on dopaminergic systems which regulate dopamine nuerotransmitters related to happiness and pleasure. In short, this supplement will lower social anxiety and help you to connect with others. This will lead to more creativity. [7

Creativity Enhancing Behavior #5: Experimenting

Experimenting is constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge. Thomas Edison is perhaps the world’s most famous creative experimenter. It was the insights that emerged from his constant experimenting that allowed him to create the first lightbulb. [10]

Your capacity to creatively experiment requires your brain to predict cause and effect while testing variables. Your ability to focus and increase mental energy are essential when experimenting. Nootropics that target mental energy aid the experimental process. [2]

Suggested nootropic for creative experimenting

Choline is a useful nootropic alone. It’s the dietary precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Preliminary research has found that choline supplements help improve focus and mental energy.  [2

Shop CDP-Choline Here

The Creativity Stack

There is no proven nootropic specific to enhancing creativity, but we can formulate the following stack based on the creativity enhancing behaviours listed in this article.

Note: Dosing and timing should be based on your specific needs and body mass. Start with the recommended dosages and then cycle off every 4-6 weeks.

The Creativity Stack Looks Like This:

1. Oxiracetam. Dosage of 1200 mg to 2400 mg daily.

2. Tryptophan. Dosage of 500 mg to 4g daily.

3. Caffeine + L-Theanine. Dosage range of 50mg caffeine + 100 mg L-theanine to 20mg of caffeine + 400 mg of L-theanine (daily).

4. Bacopa Monnieri 10:1 Extract. Dosage of 300 and 450 mg.

5. CDP-Choline. Dosage of 250-500 mg daily.

Final Thought

Our world is changing rapidly. The bar for human achievement is set higher each day and the tools available to you are more powerful than ever.

The world’s top performers before our time did not have access to smart drugs or nootropics, but you do. Now we have nootropics which can target the 5 creativity enhancing behaviours (association, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting). If taken responsibly, these nootropics can amplify our innovative potential and push the boundaries of our current capabilities.

You have been looking for a way to increase your creativity using nootropics. Now you have it.


[1]  Dimond SJ,. (n.d.). Increase in the power of human memory in normal man through the use of drugs. Retrieved October 1, 2015.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/826948

[2]  Supplement naturally boosts ageing brain power. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2015. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/02/24/1203788130776.html

[3] Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, Jensen JE, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DA (Nov 2008). “Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy”. NMR in Biomedicine 21 (10): 1066–75. doi:10.1002/nbm.1281. PMID 18816480. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18816480

[4]  Young, S. (n.d.). How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Retrieved October 1, 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/#r67-1

[5]  Christensen, C., & Eyring, H. (2011). The innovative university: Changing the DNA of higher education from the inside out. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[6] Specificity of the acute Tryptophan and Tyrosine plus Phenylalanine depletion and loading tests Part II. Normalisation of the Tryptophan and Tyrosine plus Phenylalanine to competing amino acid ratios in a new control formulation Badawy, A. A.-B., Dougherty, D. M., and Richard, D. M.  (2010). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20725610

[7]  Ethanolic extracts of Alstonia Scholaris and Bacopa Monniera possess neuroleptic activity due… (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24497742

[8]  “The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age”. Smithsonian Institution.Archived from the original on August 13, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.

[9] Isaacson, W. (n.d.). Einstein: His life and universe.

About the Author

Hi Folks!

I’m Ben Austin. My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. Why be put in a box?

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I’m a habit hacking physicist and the founder behind the popular website Stop. Start. Do. My work has been featured on Rich 20 Something, People Who Matter, Kick Start A Cause, Idea Lemon, Willpowered and Lone Mind. If you liked my article and want to develop the habits of the world’s top performers, then sign up for my newsletter here. You can also follow me atBenAustinBlog.com where I post personal experiments and other things I’m working on.

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