Because we live in Boston and have a condo near Tampa, we naturally cheered for Tom Brady during the Super Bowl. In my opinion, his outstanding performance is the result of two elements beyond just being in shape:
- He has excellent brain function.
- He has decades of experience, giving him a high level of wisdom and field savvy.
These are two critical elements that can lead to the highest pinnacles of success in virtually any field. Because of my interest in brain function and neuroscience, I have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to maintain excellent brain function as one ages. Number one on the list: don’t get the disease Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain Syndrome or CARB Syndrome. This disease is a common form of food-induced brain dysfunction caused by long-term exposure to highly-processed food as I outline in my book “Brain Drain”. I have identified 22 symptoms of CARB Syndrome. Read through the list and try to imagine a professional quarterback playing with these symptoms. It would be a complete disaster!
Trump Has an Untreated Disease
Now try to imagine what would happen if the former president of the United States had CARB Syndrome. Based on my observations, I suspect that Donald Trump has this disorder, which explains his implosion over the past few months. I don’t blame Trump for having an untreated disease. I blame the medical and scientific communities who failed to recognize this common disorder that likely is adversely affecting a large segment of our population.
It’s clear to me that Tom Brady does not have any elements of this disease. He eats a very healthy diet and largely avoids processed foods. He rarely drinks alcohol, another possible trigger of the disease. That is, except when celebrating after the Super Bowl when he admitted to consuming a little avocado tequila when he passed the Lombardi Trophy from one boat to the other! Brady also exercises compulsively and takes a boatload of supplements, which help to improve brain function.
Brady’s football experience as a quarterback is also hard to match. He started playing professional football in 2001—over 20 years ago, and he is still going strong. With his excellent brain function, this many years of experience will give him almost unbeatable football wisdom. He’s seen everything there is to see in football, and he knows how to read a defense accurately in a second or two.
The Making of an Unstoppable Team
Combining great brain function and the wisdom of experience sets you up to be a leader in your field of endeavor. Those people working around you then naturally gel into a smooth-running machine that is virtually unstoppable. The Kansas City Chiefs have many outstanding players, including their quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He is in great physical shape and has many natural talents. I also think his brain function is excellent.
In comparison to Brady, the only thing Mahomes is missing is years of experience, and that told the tale in Super Bowl LV. Tampa had a very aggressive defense, and that seemed to rattle Mahomes. As a result, his fellow players had trouble gelling into a smooth-running team. They started to make costly mistakes and incurred many unnecessary penalties, further frustrating Mahomes. The team imploded under the pressure of Tom Brady’s outstanding performance and leadership.
How to Super-Charge Your Life
These same principles that guided Tom Brady can be applied to virtually any field. Excellence demands three elements:
- You must be well trained to perform in your field.
- You must have outstanding brain function.
- You must have loads of experience in your field.
Occasionally individuals can luck out and outperform everyone else when they lack in one or more of these elements. Still, they rarely can repeat this high level of performance over time. To consistently perform at a high level, you need all three.
When I apply these principles to my field of clinical medicine, I find myself wondering how I stack up. When I look back at my training, I believe it was outstanding. I attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and graduated with honors. I then attended the University of Minnesota Medical School and graduated in the upper two percent of my class. I was then accepted by one of the first family practice residencies in the country (back when God was a baby).
The Key to Optimal Brain Function
When it comes to brain function, I believe I am in good shape. Because my dear mother had Alzheimer’s disease at my age, I have spent decades learning about the best ways to optimize brain function. These include the following measures:
- I eat healthy, whole foods and avoid highly-processed food to avoid getting CARB syndrome.
- Because the symptoms of CARB syndrome are caused by low levels of monoamine neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, I take a precursor supplement called CARB-22 containing L-tyrosine and 5-htp in a ratio of two to one. This type of supplement is the only way you can increase your brain’s neurotransmitters. There are no medications that do so. This supplement also helps to prevent or reverse the disease.
- I take four B vitamins (L-methylfolate, activated vitamins B6 and B12 and trimethylglycine along with several other supplements) to keep my homocysteine level below 10. High homocysteine is very bad for your brain, and this condition runs in my family. My homocysteine was once 27, and now it averages about 8-9. This article summarizes this complex topic reasonably well.
- I take a plethora of supplements that enhance and support brain function. The list is long and beyond the scope of this article.
- I don’t drink alcohol because it is neurotoxic at any dose.
- I compulsively exercise virtually every day.
- I associate with people who are smarter than me so I can learn from them.
- I analyze my mistakes so I can learn from them.
- I am continually challenging my brain with new mental and physical activities.
I believe that these measures have served me well. I continue to work in medicine at an age when many physicians are retired or deceased. I recently received my performance review from the telemedicine company where I currently work, and it was nothing but profuse praise for my dedication and skills. I love medicine and helping patients to improve their health and well-being. I have worked in many different clinical settings, and I seemed to excel at all of them. I’ve managed to work in clinical medicine for over 40 years without ever being sued or disciplined in any way. Like Tom Brady’s, that’s a record that’s hard to match.
I am not claiming to be a better person than anyone else, and I do have my faults. Just ask my wife! If you want to make your mark in this world, find something you are passionate about, and then follow the above steps. Who knows—you might become the Tom Brady of your field or profession!
I can think of one example among the people I have known over the years. I graduated from St. Louis Park High School west of Minneapolis in 1966. One of my classmates was Andy Steinfeldt. I was a pretty good runner in high school and college, but Andy was into other things and didn’t formally participate in sports. Since then, Andy has battled cancer twice and suffered severe damage to one of his legs. Did that stop him? I don’t know how he did it, but Andy decided to become a professional singer and extreme senior athlete in his 60s and 70s. He now sings in eight languages, and he participates in many athletic and strength competitions at a very high level, and is actively pursuing several world records currently held by athletes less than half his age. That’s why he earned the nickname “Mr. Impossible” and he has ended up winning against all odds! Andy has been a great inspiration for many people around the world, including me-his brain function is also outstanding, and I send him my blog posts for editing before publishing them because he always finds errors that I miss. Perhaps I should aim higher than Tom Brady to be the Andy Steinfeldt of medicine!