My thoughts after reading Gorilla Mindset: We all need to form our own mindset that is tailor made for us.
I would go deeper and say that we all need to make our own philosophy about life that suits our personality, current reality, and matches our predisposition to being either introverted or extroverted.
Having a tailor made philosophy for someone who is naturally extroverted, high energy, prone to bouts of loneliness, and drinking, won’t be the same philosophy tailor made for someone who is introverted, low energy, and prone to bouts of insecurity and low-confidence.
Everyone’s makeup is different.
If mindset is like an operating system for your computer, then most people are running a system with lots of bugs, and crashes a lot when there’s a new program installed, or they have a system installed but it’s incompatible.
What keeps me in check, isn’t what’s going to keep you in check.
What keeps the local hot-head from raging at the most insignificant thing, won’t apply to someone who’s born with a level-head, but instead beats himself up with his own words.
Some of us go through life, without a mindset, without beliefs, without standards. We follow the herd. My philosophy works for me because I know myself. Trial and error were my biggest teachers, and those that are more knowledgeable guided me.
What I say to myself works for me, and may not work for you.
I will say that guys, who are stable, have standards, have failed as many times as they’ve succeeded, will find they already do some of the things outlined in Gorilla Mindset Timeless Strategies to Unleash the Animal Within.
I’ve read the whole book, and I’ve cherry-picked the parts that applied most to me.
Who is Mike Cernovich?
Mike Cernovich, author of “Gorilla Mindset” runs a site called dangerandplay.com. He is also a lawyer. I picked up this book and decided to do a review. I also added my own experiences and things that I would add.
Turning the first pages of Gorilla MIndset, Mike goes over his history of being bullied as a young kid. The crux of Mike’s journey begins when he suffered a traumatic and humiliating beatdown at the hands of a bully that left him demoralized and powerless.
I won’t spoil what his father said, but following that event, his father words to him sparked his determination to get stronger, improve, and not get bullied anymore.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t the Mike Cernovich you see on DangerAndPlay.com. Back then, as he mentions in Gorilla Mindset, he was fat, had low-self esteem, grew up in a poor neighborhood, stole, and suffered poor grades.
What is Gorilla Mindset ?
In Mike’s own words:
Mindset is a a set of assumption, methods, or notations. which are so powerful they force you to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviour, choices or tools.
Imagine a computer. The monitor, keyboard, and processor are the hardware. Without any software to run it, your computer would be worthless. Your body is your hardware and your mindset is your operating systems.
The quote above explains the “mindset” part, but why the Gorilla?
A gorilla is a powerful, dominant animal. We humans are known as “great apes,” or “human primates.”
Rather than view our physical nautre as something dirty or evil, I embrace my gorilla nature. This doesn’t mean being a mindless brute. This means recognizing that both mind and body are important to success and happiness.
Mike encourages readers, to abuse his book, write, annotate, and use it how you see fit.
Self-talk are the words you say to yourself everyday. No one teaches us how to talk to ourselves, instead, according Gorilla Mindset, we pick it up from our bullies, our teachers, and both negative and positive people.
Mike give advice on how to recognize self-talk, steps to keep yourself from spiraling down a negative thought-loop, affirmations, and mantras to live by.
Often times we don’t realize how ugly conversations can get when we talk to ourselves. Mike gives steps to change this. When you get to this part of the book–my opinion is to apply this advice when you are being overly critical of yourself. This could happen, when you lose your job, or suffer through some emotional trauma or something as simple as a having a bad day.
How I applied this chapter…
I’ve heard probably thousands of inspiring mantras, sayings and quotes, but 3 simple words have kept me out of some dark places before.
Looking back on my own self-talk–three words seemed to have stuck with me the longest. No matter what situation I’m in I’ll mutter, or think of these three words.
“Just keep going.”
“Just keep going” means doing something and sometimes I’ll bury my head in the sand and keep doing that something until I forget why I was even mad in the first place. People who work in sales, will know what I’m talking about. All it takes is one sale and all the previous people who hung up don’t matter.
For me, simple is the most effective. A simple quote that can be applied to anything, but recalled easily. For others, as Mike’s book suggest, it can be as outrageous or simple as you want it.
Mike refers to this as having a mantra. If you psyche yourself up in anyway then it’s the same thing.
I’ve only scratched the surface, as Gorilla Mindset expands upon these ideas.
chapters 5 and 6
These two chapters cover ruthless focus and lifestyle. Both have some overlap.
Cut off contact with negative people, even negative family members. The more people you have in your life, the more fulfilment or stress. When you allow negative people in your life, you begin using the Gorilla mindset techniques defensively, You are fighting off stress, anxiety, and worry rather than pushing forward towards what you want to achieve.
3 things I would add…
While Gorilla Mindset’s chapters 5-6 cover these topics, I would expand it to include the following:
1st) Cut the social media.
Toxic and negative people also extend to the YouTube channels you watch, the forums you read, and the emails you compose.This is one thing that I and others as well, need to work on. I don’t think this can be completely eliminated because, I still like to know what’s going on in this world.
2nd) Be efficient.
Bruce lee said, “Absorb what is useful discard what is useless.”
Every successful business, artist, and even amatuer hobbyist follows this rule, and Mike is no different.
In Chapter 6, Mike, briefly covers how he streamlines his mindset:
This is the area where Mike really shines. He streamlines many of his tasks to make them automatic. He keeps a positive focus, reducing stress and making things feel less like, “work.” In short, he makes careful use of his limited self-control to maximize success.
From the top of my head, here are other examples to think about when reading these 2 chapters:
For guitar players:
Jimi Hendrix absorbed Albert King’s two-string bending, B.B. King’s vibrato, and the showmanship he picked up from blues players he met on the chitlin circuit. What you were seeing onstage was the cumulation of ideas, tricks, and techniques, he learned and merged into his own playing style.
McDonalds does this so well, that any kid off the street could run it. They’ve perfected and streamlined their business.
The concept is no different if you want to improve your mindset. Take what works, discard what doesn’t. If Mike’s book works for you, then great. If not then try something else.
Ruthless focus also means you should be looking for the best ways to accomplish something. That means trial and error.
If you want to get bigger arms, then find out what causes your arms to grow. Maybe advice from Kai Greene works for you, or advice, from Chris Jones from Physiques of Greatness.
If you can’t work at home because there’s too many distractions, then work at the library.
If it takes you all day to get around doing something, then find ways to hold yourself accountable.
If you want to write more than 1,000 words a day, then use Google, YouTube, ask and search until you find the answer. Absorb those ideas that helped you write more; Trash the rest and just keep going.
3rd) Eliminate material things. (Covered in Chapter 9 as well)
I can remember one day, I just said to myself, “Why do I have so much junk? And toys?” This is an actual conversation I had when I was 9. I immediately cleaned out my room and threw away anything that wasn’t needed.
I felt better but I didn’t know why.
I was one of those kids that took care of my toys. Sometimes I would even keep them in mint condition by leaving them untouched and inside the box. Now that they’ve been handed to my nieces and nephews they are all but destroyed or missing arms and legs.
From then until now, this mentality still exists with me.
I still barely own anything, not because I’m poor, but because I’ve associated “having things” with “having stress.”
What I do own, is what I need and use. If you read my Pomera DM100 review you can see that this even extends to the writing device I compose on.
The point I took away in this part of Gorilla Mindset is this: eliminate all the unnecessary, have ruthless focus.
The topic of food, is extensively covered in Gorilla Mindset. The food you eat, also affects your mind and body.
The 20 best foods to base your diet around are: chicken, salmon, white fish, lean beef, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, eggs, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, arugula, red peppers, romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, and oranges.
The Joe Rogan Kale Shake
If you read Danger and Play, then you’ve probably heard of Joe’s Kale shake, which is something he drinks each morning.
It’s a plant based drink packed with nutrients.
Gorilla Mindset provides the recipe:
- 4 stalk kale
- 4 celery stems
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pear
- ½ oz ginger
- 8 oz water (optional, to help items blend together more smoothly).
Other topics included are:
- Digestion and Mindset
- Lymphatic system function
- Carbs and calories
- Protein intake
Mike is no small guy. If you listen to his podcast iTunes, he gives away tons of free advice concerning mindset, lifting, and juicing.
With that said, his advice on lifting and the effects it has on the mind, are covered.
Gorilla Mindset Posture Exercises
This was something that I never considered before reading Gorilla Mindset.
Cernovich: Does the research suport my claim that better posture can naturally increase testosterone level?
Dr. Nicholson: Yes.
Good posture itself may have an effect. Having an open, upright, and relaxed posture may simply help the body function overall. At the least, such postures can promote relaxation, which decreases stress/cortisol and can therefore increase testosterone. A study by Cuddy, and Yap (2010), which I mentioned in the article about the science of posture and testosterone, did find a reduction in cortisol for participants who posed in powerful positions. Therefore, the effect mike is getting with these exercises may be some kind of structural alignment or even relaxation response type of phenomenon. Such psychological states, in turn, may relate to other neuroendocrine changes. Thus, we may also be seeing a “fake it until you make it” type effect on mindset and emotion, leading to greater testosterone production as well. In either case, the main benefit of such postures is that they can be done routinely/constantly. Practicing such body language and mindset can result in them being chronically activated.
He continues further:
Therefore, rather than getting a temporary increase from a workout or a victory, such exercises may allow for regulation of testosterone over a longer time frame. After all, the research I discussed in the science of posture and testosterone article, about changes in testosterone levels in men during marriage and divorce, seems to indicate longer-term effects on testosterone due to psychological and social changes (Mazur & Booth, 1998). In short then, the added benefit of these exercises may come from the fact that they help to relax the body, promote good behavioral habits, and/or improve mindset and emotions ― in order to better regulate testosterone levels over the long term. In other words, this is not simply “performing an exercise”, but rather developing the habit of functioning in a physiologically and psychologically powerful and masculine way. Of course, all of this is an educated hypothesis, based on the results of other studies. Additional testing would be necessary to tease apart a more specific “why” among all of these reciprocal relationships. Mike’s personal results, however, certainly serve as a good case study to support that these longer-term effects are taking place by at least one of these paths … if not more.
The chapter on posture was a lot to take in. In Gorilla Mindset, he provides several exercises along with pictures to help you improve.
Gorilla Mindset goes deep exploring not only techniques to improve your mindset, but it also explains how everything is tied together mainly–money, food, posture, and mentality.
All I can say is that this book contains no fluff, and starts to pick up around chapter 4. Keep in mind, that it’s not just Mike’s advice but also contains interviews from Doctors and scientific papers.
Check out Gorilla Mindset Timeless Strategies to Unleash the Animal Within.