10 Lessons from a Year of Gorilla Mindset – Part 2
This is the second part of a two part series looking at a year of Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich (read part 1 here). In case this is the first post you’re reading on my site, I write about Gorilla Mindset A LOT.
And for good reason.
It was the catalyst for one of the biggest changes in my life – where I started to take control and stopped feeling like a pathetic victim.
Initially I’d started to put these thoughts together in one article before realising it was going to be too long. Even I struggle to read 4000 word blog posts.
What do I want to achieve with this 2-part series? It’s not to sell you books – although many of you have bought Gorilla Mindset after reading my reviews – instead I want to share the lessons I’ve learned over the last year. Hopefully it will ring true and you can apply some of what I’ve learned to your own life.
Rediscovering a Love of Books
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I’ve written about it before and even had guest posts on the subject. It’s no secret that I’m a full on bibliophile.
But before reading Gorilla Mindset, I had gone through a period where I wasn’t really reading much. I’d flick through magazines around bed time or read a novel on my Kindle, but I certainly wasn’t reading to improve myself or to learn new skills.
Since then I’ve started reading again, this time like I mean it. I normally have 3 books on the go at one time – one paperback (bedtime), one on Kindle (breakfast/office) and an audio book (commute). Here’s a selection of what I’ve read or listened to:
There are many more than this but some I’d struggle to list them all. I used to be put off paying for books. They’re so expensive or so I would think.
Books might cost money – but what are they worth?
One book I didn’t include in the list was This Book Will Teach you to Write Better by Neville Medhora. It only cost me a couple of pounds but I used the techniques to get my first freelance gig on Upwork then again to write the assignment. I’d made back double the value of the book in an hour.
The value of the other books is harder to quantify. Some people say self-defeating statements like “You only retain 10% of a book’s information” to which I would reply:
That’s infinitely more than if you didn’t read it in the first place.
Or put it another way – even if the 10% rule is true (It could be higher for some books) – if you read 10 books on a subject like business or persuasion, you’ll have retained a full book’s worth of information.
So how do you choose what books to read? You could pick a subject and read several books until you feel well versed enough to move on to something else.
I also like to go on recommendations – both the Amazon and ‘real life’ ones. If you’re reading something you’re enjoying, look out for the author recommending other books.
When I see these, I like to add them to my Amazon wishlist there and then. That way I can go back and review whether it’s something I want to read or not.
I also find that Amazon recommendations gets things right about 80 – 90% of the time. That means that of the books I’ve bought based on the Amazon algorithm, around 8.5 out of 10 have been good reads.
The rest were duds.
Obviously you have to use good judgement too and be aware that Amazon may be trying to push books on you for other reasons, like profits. That said, my overall experience of Amazon recommendations is good.
You can’t put a price on knowledge. So rediscover that love of books and read to build up and educate.
Breathing is Life – Just as Wim Hof Says
In the chapter ‘Mindset is a Body’, Cernovich explores the connection between your mindset and how your body feels.
This is also something he’s explored in many of his podcasts. One method from the book is to examine how you feel in certain situations, particularly when under stress.
Through being mindful in these situations, I’ve realised that when I’m on edge or annoyed, I’ll clench my teeth. I also get a numb feeling in my lower legs. Consciously relaxing both body parts instantly improves my mood 90% of the time.
But what about breathing? Breathing is something that we all do – if you don’t do it for a few minutes, you’ll die!
But so much of our breathing is unconscious – as if in a zombie state. Since downloading and using the Wim Hof app, I learned to be more mindful of breathing and how it has a huge impact on the physical body.
For example, part of the Wim Hof method is cold exposure, starting with showers. If you control your breathing you can stay under a cold shower for much longer than if you breaths are short and snatched.
Being more mindful of the physical and mental connection of good breathing has led me to a more peaceful state and an ability to have more energy and focus which then has a positive impact on other aspects of life – work, family, business.
If you want to experience the deep relaxation and physical benefits of breathing, I recommend Wim Hof’s Inner Fire app as an introduction.
Gorilla Mindset isn’t Just for Men
Pick up the cover, what do you see? Two hulking gorillas. I even found the book by searching ‘self help for men.’ Mike knows his market and the book is squarely aimed at men.
But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been bought or read by women. Of all the people I’ve recommended the book to, more women have read it than men.
My wife recently finished reading it and had a lot to think about in terms of her mindset and approach to some of her skills (she makes incredible embroidery pictures that she’s love to be able to sell one day).
Cernovich has even spoken about writing a women’s version (see above) that would contain much of the same content but be repackaged and edited to read slightly differently.
It would deal with issues that are more common for women than men. By his own admission, the work that would be required for this is minimal.
It’s encouraging that there are women as well as men out there who want to be happier, more successful and more in control. If you’ve read Gorilla Mindset and know a woman who would enjoy it, why not lend them your copy?
Focus on What You Want at the Expense of Everything Else
A major part of the Gorilla Mindset is focus – the ability to create a vision and then apply every task in the context of achieving that vision.
For example – do you have a vision that you will be a healthy and fit Dad? Then all of your daily efforts should be focused on making that a reality. That means eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep.
One important aspect of this is having a life audit. I really did this the second time I read the book. I used a spreadsheet and colour-coded the different activities and commitments in my life. Anything that didn’t fit with my vision of the future was either cut there and then.
Or I made concrete plans to extricate myself from those commitments in the future.
Now, several months on, I’ve got much more time and energy to focus on the things I really want to do and to achieve. Working towards that vision every day, I know I’ll realise it someday.
Another way of looking at energy and focus is this: Every day you get a bag of sand – roughly the same size. That sand is your energy. When the bag is empty, you’re done for the day.
Everything you do takes sand out of your bag. Some people and things take more sand than others. Negative people and experiences take A LOT of sand.
But you can choose how much sand to give to people and tasks (if any at all) while keeping enough to do the things you really want to – like spending time with your kids, reading a book etc.
That energy and focus needs to be a conscious decision however – you can’t just expect to wake up one day and have it. You need to fight hard to focus on tasks and activities.
A Mindset Shift in Money
I don’t write much about money – partly because I find much writing on how to get rich or make money quite pretentious. Many online gurus have made their money by telling people how to make money rather than actually making it in the first place.
But money isn’t evil – this was one of the biggest shifts over the past year from Gorilla Mindset. Money can be used for good or evil.
Having more money can allow you to do more good in the world if that’s what you want to do. Being poor and grumpy isn’t martyrdom – it’s pathetic.
When I worked in an NGO overseas, there was a phrase people used – the Absolute Poor. This was a catch all term for people who were destitute. They were so focused on living day to day that they had little or no chance of lifting themselves out of poverty.
Their mindset of survival prevented them from looking for opportunities to scale themselves and make more money. So they didn’t.
However everyone had opportunities to make money. One way was ‘Nsumba’. A friend or a relative would lend you a goat or a cow to look after.
You cared for the animal and were entitled to 50% of the offspring as payment. Wealth could quickly be accumulated in this way as a female goat was worth a years’ salary for a manual worker.
Since reading Gorilla Mindset, I’ve started to look for Nsumba opportunities in my own situation – how can you make money with little investment? And once you do that, how do you repeat and scale? I’ve got some ideas which seem to be working and others in the pipeline.
The main shift is I stopped looking at money as evil but as a vehicle for change and for good. Many of the things and causes I care about need money to continue – why not be the patron that makes it possible for them?
Gorilla Mindset is Life Changing – if You Let It
On a scale of 1-10, how persuaded are you that Gorilla Mindset is a life changing book? A 9 or 10? If you got this far, well done. That’s over 4000 words of my thoughts on how Gorilla Mindset could make a difference like it has for me.
Normally I’d call this part of a post ‘Conclusion’ except I don’t see this as the end. In fact I see this day and every day as a new beginning – 24 hours full or opportunity to:
Get closer to my life vision
To give abundantly to others with out expecting in return
To improve my health – physically, mentally, spiritually
Yes a book helped me get there, but I had the ability to do these things all along. I just needed the right magnifying glass to see it.
If you’ve read the book, you’ve probably been nodding along in agreement to much of what I’ve written. But then maybe you haven’t and you aren’t convinced.
Can a book really do all this?
Here’s my challenge: Buy the book. Do the exercises faithfully – will your life be better or worse?
I know the answer to the question – why not find out for yourself: