Gorilla Mindset, published in 2015, is the flagship project of lawyer, author, & documentary filmmaker Mike Cernovich. At a sturdy 177 pages, Gorilla Mindset offers a 360-degree analysis on the different avenues of your life. The book not only challenges you to lay bare your own infrastructure, but offers you a beautiful system to re-wire your brain and body for success and maximum enjoyment playing the game of life.
The book feels split into two parts: Mindset & Lifestyle. Mindset is the core cognitive shifts that need to be installed for us to live the lifestyle we desire. Mike later offers coaching on managing your money, your relationships, fitness and emotional state. There are a ton of smaller details that are covered; vitamin supplements, walking and sitting posture, even filing taxes! But the Mindset training is the real stuff that you can’t get anywhere else, because half of it comes from YOU!
“You can choose to view your problems as pointless suffering, or you can choose to view your problems as preparation for life.” — Mike Cernovich
Consider your state of energy being contained in a chamber, and any function, whether good or bad, calls for expense of that energy. However, under stress, a lot of that energy can flow out, leaving the chamber drained. Mike’s system on controlling your energy is broken up into parts: Self-talk, Framing, & Mindfulness/Focus. Self-talk minimizes leaks in our energy, and framing directs the flow to more advantageous sectors.
“Do not passively accept whatever emotional state happens to affect your body” — Mike Cernovich
Mindfulness is being cognitive of the internal and external values that affect your state of mind. You should be aware of every passing value. If it’s good, capture it so you can relive the moment when you feel weak, or capitalize on the momentum. If it’s a poor moment, you now have the tools to re-frame it as a challenge and improve your mood.
What’s key in mindfulness is the focus on the present moment; You can not move backwards, so only prioritize the things that will keep you content in the present moment and securing a good future. It is however, very satisfying to re-read Gorilla Mindset and find yourself remembering where you were at certain chapters, and to realize how far you’ve come after applying the techniques. I first read Chapter 3 laying down on my couch, now I’m re-reading it sitting straight at my computer, composing this review!
I will use Gorilla Mindset in real time. This is only my second story for my blog. Writing this review is difficult for me; I can’t sit up straight and want to look at my phone to distract myself.
I smile after realizing this. I will use “self-talk” to explain that this is a new experience and that is why I am so distracted. Now I must “re-frame” this challenge as something that I want to do and will get better at if I continue pursuing it. I become more mindful, and now with an improved focus, I will sit up straight and start typing again.
“I still feel like that fat kid who was afraid to walk home from school” — Mike Cernovich
Gorilla Mindset is not going to make permanent changes on your life; the book is meant to be re-read over and over as it contains exercises that have to be constantly performed, exactly like our physical bodies that need exercise to maintain fitness. It’s possible for you to slip back into the person you were before reading the book, but now you have the tools to see your flaws and improve on them, or to face new and old challenges with higher clarity.
“This is your book, not mine.” — Mike Cernovich
My favorite part about this book is that there’s no pressure to peform the exercises Mike proposes. He offers as many alternatives as he can, so you can choose the one you like. If you are skeptical, he is satisfied if you just commit to the bare minimum. It’s your experience and it is up to you to make the best out of it. Personally, I found the mindset section was quite comprehensive and I chose to take a break and re-read all those chapters again later before I got to the lifestyle section. The book flowed far better afterward.
To be honest, you might not even like the book or certain chapters on your first read, and think many of the exercises are silly. After Chapter 3, I wrote in the book, “I didn’t like this chapter that much, but it makes sense.” I only wrote this because the concepts were unfamiliar and challenging. After re-visiting this, I now wrote beside it, in a new pen: “This Chapter is great!” In due time you will learn to embrace the unfamiliar, having a new confidence in your mindset to overcome what comes next.
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I’m still slow to adapt on reading books digitally. I prefer the paperback here!