I’m going to tell you a secret that will save you 61% on alcohol for the rest of your life, and help you feel more creative, competent, and brave.

It all starts with a simple ​question​.

Do you believe mixing alcohol with energy drinks intensifies the effects of alcohol?

That’s what researchers at Insead’s behaviour lab asked 154 young Parisian men during a study.

Researchers gave the men the same cocktail of vodka, red bull, and fruit juice, but labelled it as either a vodka cocktail, a fruit juice cocktail, or a vodka red bull cocktail.

Surprise surprise. The guys who thought they’d just knocked back a vodka red bull cocktail were ready for action.

Over the course of three exercises they rated themselves as 61% more drunk than the others, were more likely to take a gamble, and fancied themselves more likely to get lucky with women.

But the thing is, that wasn't supposed to happen.

Ironically, the scientists had predicted the opposite. The caffeine in the energy drink should have masked the effects of the alcohol, making them feel less drunk and more alert.

But the boys expected a buzz, so their brains manufactured it for them.

Red Bull says their drink gives you wings, but the most potent ingredient is what Rory Sutherland calls advertising alchemy. It’s all about marketing, labelling, and association.

We're told to expect something, and so we look for it. We make it true through the power of our ​belief​.

Expectations are powerful.

So are the ​narratives​ we tell ourselves, and the messages we choose to listen to.

We are what we consume - physically and intellectually. Choose wisely.

Is your media diet gold or garbage?

Are the ideas you interact with enduring or ephemeral?

What’s your vodka Red Bull?

The stories you consume can give you wings or send you hurtling towards the ground.

Your self-talk governs your behaviour, and your behaviour shapes your outcomes.

If you want to be 61% more potent, tell yourself better stories.

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