10 Things I Learned from Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich
Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich has sold over 20,000 copies in less than a year. It is one of the biggest self publishing hits of this decade. It’s changed the genre forever along with countless men’s lives.
Until recently, I’d hardly read a single ‘self help’ book. I read and own a lot of books but I can probably count on two fingers the number of self-improvement titles I’ve read all the way through.
But that changed a few months ago. I was at a point in my life where things weren’t working as well as they should and I knew that I needed to change. I needed to improve my circumstances and my attitude.
So I did what anyone would do and typed ‘self help for men‘ into Amazon’s search engine and Gorilla Mindset is one of the titles that came up. If you want to know why I chose it, you’ll have to keep reading…
I didn’t know anything about the author when I hovered over ‘Buy with 1 Click’.
Now it turns out that we have a lot in common – Mike Cernovich likes food, books and keeping fit and healthy. He’s also driven to achieve personal success and freedom and most admirably, wants to take as many men with him as he can.
As a Dad, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of bath times, bed times and often hard times. Sometimes you need a jolt of electricity, a new direction or new focus. From my experience reading Gorilla Mindset can bring all of those things.
So here is a summary of my journey so far – ten things I learned while reading Gorilla Mindset.
1. You Can Judge a Book by its Cover
When I got those results up on Amazon, there were a lot of titles on my screen. It turns out male self help is big business and everyone wants a slice.
But look at that cover – the silver-backs, the brain, the flowers (!!?).
That cover is what I want to be – bold, powerful and in control. Although the blurb helped, I was already sold by the time I saw those two hulking apes.
This was an impulse buy, an instinctive purchase.
Sometimes people talk about ‘impulse buying’ as a negative thing but Mike says on one of his Youtube videos that instinct is often correct – even 90% of the time. When I saw this book and the bold and well designed cover, I knew that this was the book I was looking for.
And I was right.
2. Bad Publicity can be Good Publicity
There is an old cliche ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’. Well maybe. I’m not so sure that this is always the case. But when I read some of the vitriolic, even abusive reviews (particularly on Amazon.com) of Gorilla Mindset, it made me even more curious.
Since then there have been even more attacks on the book:
Apple removed the title from iBooks due to a ‘technicality’
Positive reviews for Gorilla Mindset have been censored
Was this Mike Cernovich guy really so bad? And if people hated the book or the person, why was that? Was the book so controversial that I would find it hard to swallow?
I needed to know.
Actually now I know Mike himself is quite a controversial character which probably explains the vitriol to some extent. But his book is for a wider and more inclusive audience. Ironically those Amazon trolls had the opposite effect in making me want to read the book in spite of their bad ratings.
Cernovich turned his critics’ energy against them – that’s Gorilla Mindset.
3. I am in Control of my Mood at All Times
One of the Gorilla Mindset techniques is called ‘framing’. This is used to control and influence mood. The basic premise is that once you control how you view different situations, you can also change your mood.
Being in a good mood is a choice and therefore being in a bad mood is a choice.
Think about it: You’ve had a tough day at work, the traffic was horrendous and your work is stacking up. You get home and the house is a mess, the kids are going crazy and your wife looks like she’s on the edge of reason.
You have a choice.
You can choose to demand to be the centre of attention – that everyone bows down at the altar of your great suffering. Or you can suck it up, switch into ‘model-father’ mode and shelve any negativity or moodiness.
You say to yourself ‘I’m tired, but right now I need to man up, shut up and get on with my responsibilities as a father and as a husband’. In so doing, you use the Gorilla Mindset to control not only how you feel but the environment around you.
If you can do this, you’re on your way to a high level of mindfulness and general Dad related awesomeness.
4. Listening to Trance Music Makes you More Productive
In the chapter on mindfulness or ‘being in the moment’, Cernovich writes about listening to Classical or Trance music to improve your ability to be more mindful and aware of your surroundings. I was already listening to a lot of Classical music when I read this but Trance music? Really?
I’ll give pretty much anything a go. So the next day at work, I put my headphones in and searched for ‘Trance mix’ on YouTube. There are literally thousands.
I instantly noticed a difference. There’s something about the rhythmic repetitiveness of the bass and the soothing vocals (I go for Female Vocal Trance) that give me razor sharp focus. I’m much less easily distracted and can really zone into the task at hand.
Instead of listening to the news, I’ll listen to Classical music. I’m actually listening to classical music as I write this – Beethoven’s 6th.
5. Positive Framing can Change Your Life
Positive framing can also be used to change the way you view major life events. A great example from my personal experience is this:
I got turned down for that promotion which sucks. But I got some great feedback during the interview process and know where I went wrong. Next time I’m going to smash it.
Where as before you might have stopped at ‘sucks’, now you’re reaching beyond the outcome to the future possibilities.
Positive framing is such a great discipline and ability and I use it all the time now. Of all the Gorilla Mindset techniques, this is one of the most powerful.
This really is a game changer. You can banish so much negativity from your thinking and your life just by positive framing. This is probably one of the best lessons to be learned from Gorilla Mindset.
6. Gorilla Mindset: Abundance is Better than Scarcity
Throughout his book, Cernovich writes about ‘abundance mindset’ and ‘scarcity mindset’.
A scarcity mindset looks for obstacles and hindrances. It highlights the problems and the potential pitfalls. A scarcity mindset says ‘I’m not going to join the gym because I’ll feel stupid and fat next to all those fit people. Plus the parking is awful.’
The abundance mindset, on the other hand, says ‘I’m going to join that gym. I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ll hire a trainer who does. I’m also going to learn all there is about working out. One day I’ll be fit and healthy too. The parking sucks so I’m going to take my bike instead.’
This translates into so many other areas of life.
One easy way to apply the abundance mindset to a variety of situations is to say ‘I don’t know how to do that, but I can learn’.
The only downside to being abundant (if this even is a downside) is that other people’s hopeless negativity is amplified by your ability to frame and see the positives.
The Gorilla Mindset will not only change you, it will change how you see others.
7. I am a Brand not a Consumer
The book builds to something of a climax in the ‘Money’ chapter where Mike offers advice on how to change your mindset when it comes to money.
A major part of this is to think of yourself as your own personal brand – to think like a producer and not a consumer.
This is such valuable advice in a world where Dads are aggressively sold products at every turn.
Think about when you were expecting your first child – companies were falling over themselves to sell you useless things like feeding chairs, changing tables, Moses baskets with integral air conditioning.
If you’re like me, you fell for it.
But Cernovich turns this on it’s head and tells the reader to think ‘What am I good at? What do I know about? What can I sell?’
This has certainly changed my thinking and my perception of myself. I find myself much more critical and able to sniff out when I’m being led down a sales funnel, even in the supermarket.
I’m also thinking about the future and what I want to achieve. ThisDadDoes.com is definitely part of that journey and I’m excited where it might lead. As the site grows, I’m learning skills I never even knew were possible.
8. The Gorilla Mindset Brain Warm-Up is a Great Way to Start the Day
I often go for a run first thing at around 5am. Everyone is asleep, the city is just waking up. I can think clearly and its a good way to start a busy day. But I’d never thought of warming up my mind.
It makes a lot of sense. Why would you not warm up your brain. Its going to be fuzzy and cold after seven or eight hours of general inactivity. Your mind needs exercising just like your body.
Doing the Gorilla Mindset brain warm up I noticed an instant change and effect on my mental sharpness both at the time and during the first part of the day. I do one now whenever I can.
9. My Kids Deserve my Full Attention – That Means my Phone is Away
Tucked away in Gorilla Mindset is this piece of advice: When you’re spending time with your kids, put your phone away. Kids quickly pick it up if your not giving them your full attention and as a hard working Dad, your time with your kids is scarce and therefore valuable.
I find it easier and less tempting to just put the phone in another room while we play. That way I’m physically not unable to check it. I keep it on silent so there’s no annoying buzz.
This makes such a difference to the quality of the time I can spend playing with my kids. They respond much better when they know they have my full attention. Hopefully they’ll remember that their Dad cared about them and had time for them.
10. I am Responsible for my Outlook on Life. And Changing it.
Reading Gorilla Mindset came at the right time in my life. I was ready for a change and to affect that change myself. I wanted to be more focused and to have a better and more specific outlook on life.
A key part of the Gorilla Mindset is the setting of goals and the relentless pursuit of those goals. As I start to put the wheels of that process in motion I’m excited by where I may end up.
Ultimately, how you live your life, how you behave as a Dad is your choice.
You’ll either do it well and get the most out of life and your relationships or you won’t. I’d hate to be older and look back on these years with regret – that I had a chance to change for the better but didn’t take it. Hopefully this book is going to be part of that journey for personal improvement and effectiveness.
P.S. Inspired to buy and read Gorilla Mindset? Get it here (Amazon).