7 Weeks of Brain Games with Lumosity Made Me Feel Like A Drug Addict

In the best way possible… by Brendan O’Connor

Hey, I’m Brendan. I’ll be experimenting with a number of natural supplements and personal investment tools to maximize my potential during arguably the most formative years of my life. I’m here to share my experiences with you. In no way am I paid to endorse any company or product.

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Balance has always been my driving force and I think I’ve done a pretty okay job at maintaining it. But life has been getting hectic recently- all of us know that feeling. I have two jobs, a girlfriend who also just became my roommate, and this deep down, nagging sense that if I’m going to reach my full potential, I need to kick it into high gear, like now. But I already feel like I’m already in 5th and I want some balance back. I had a choice to make: sacrifice balance or find someway to tap into my full potential. Let the search begin.

There are too many self-help and personal investment guides out there that offer vague, often BS recommendations. And there are some- few and far between- that have been worth reading. See: Tim Ferris’ blog.  A few of these points may have found their way somewhere in between my ears, but the brain fog, lack of dedication and not knowing where to begin stopped me from taking any decisive actions. Would I start exercising every day? Commit myself to a healthy diet? Finally get my budget in line? Stop biting my nails? Cue “Fitter, Happier, More Productive”.

Around this time- the same time that the cable salesman swooned me back into becoming a Comcast customer- I saw some advertisement for a fun and simple way to train the brain. I’m typically not one who trusts advertisements but for whatever reason this one caught me.

Lumosity, they called it. I did a little Internet digging, going where I always go first when researching a company: “Our Team”. Turns out, “their team” is the most overachieving, impressive group of under-40s I’ve ever seen. My apprehensions went out the window.

Lumosity claims to improve a user’s cognitive functionality through the training of five distinct areas: memory, speed, problem solving, flexibility, and attention.

Yes, please, I’ll take the lot.

All that’s required is ten to fifteen minutes and $5.82 per month. That’s less than one beer at most places in DC. I owed it to myself to at least try. Pretty sure they have a money back guarantee that I’d forget to redeem anyways. So along with the kicking of one long-lingering bad habit that contributed to the mental fog, Lumosity became my first test with personal investment.

Fast-forward seven weeks.

I’ve trained almost every day since. Most days when I first get to the office. Instead of booting up the Internet, logging into Gmail and Facebook, then trying to figure out how the hell I just spent the first thirty minutes of my day, I play five games on Lumosity. The speed at which they kick the brain into gear is so incredible that I even thought about cutting out my second cup of morning coffee.

Then I thought again. Nope, definitely not there yet. Maybe that will be self-investment #2.

I’m a competitive person by nature. Not that guy from co-ed intramural sports in college screaming from the sidelines at girls who didn’t move the ball quickly enough, but I do find myself craving that competitive spirit. Lumosity is my new release. Yea, I just said that. Damn I’m getting old. But hey, I find myself getting upset if my scores slip from the day before, which drives me to improve my concentration and determination on each exercise, ultimately increasing my focus throughout the day.

The result is that I’ve seen my Brain Performance Index (BPI), their measurement of mental fitness and overall cognitive performance over time, increase from 770 to 1336. To put it in terms that non-users can understand, compared to other users in my age group (25-29) my BPI was in the 40th percentile. After just five weeks I’m now in the 87th. Boom!

I’m like a drug addict. On the days I don’t want to train or think I have too much going on to dedicate fifteen minutes, I somehow convince myself that if I just had one little boost to my BPI, I’d be good!

My only issue with this quantitative measurement is that I don’t think the first week is a truly accurate assessment of BPI. I spent the first week getting introduced to the games, playing them one to three times at most.  I’m pretty sure lower scores during that period were more so an element of me having no clue what the hell was going on than a reflection of my cognitive ability.

Assessing my experience with Lumosity qualitatively? Let’s just say I’m a believer. This thing actually works. I’ve seen significant improvements in my level of attention, ability to quickly shift focus between tasks, and most importantly, a boost in my short-term memory, which I thought was long gone after a concerted effort in high school and college to destroy it.



Hell, it could just be a placebo. But with more and more research supporting the positive correlation between cognitive training and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, coupled with the technology at our disposal capable of providing a quick and easy way to train, there is every reason to find some way, whether through Lumosity or another platform, to start your mental training program now.

Have any of you tried Lumosity? What were your experiences?

Get started here: http://www.lumosity.com

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