Book Review: Gorilla Mindset

I just finished up reading Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions to Live Life on Your Terms by Mike Cernovich. While I don’t yet know a ton about Mike, from what I can tell he began life as an average joe, which I imagine makes it very easy to relate to the majority of those that find themselves drawn to his content. Through commitment to mastering his thoughts and emotions, Mike took himself from being an overweight individual with a caustic, abrasive personality to develop a life of esteem that he enjoys living. Ultimately, I think the purpose of the book is to provide guiding values and principles which will allow others to become the people they want to be.

One of the main recurring themes that I picked up on through out my journey through the book is the relationship between the mind and the body. In essence, it is a whole lot easier to achieve success through the use of your body when your mind is in order, and vice versa. In order to achieve maximum results you need to have a well nourished, well rested

Another guiding principle in Gorilla Mindset is definitely an offshoot of the ideas of Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich.” That is, with some sort of passion or purpose, it is much easier to guide the mind and body to make the decisions that will lead you toward that goal. Frankly, this is the same advice that anyone worth listening to is giving. If it were as easy to determine some core beliefs as it is to talk about them, that would be half the battle.

As far as practical suggestions go, I’ve tried to nail down three specific things to take away from the book that I’m not doing today, but will look into:

  1. The first thing that I’m going to try is what Cernovich called a “contrast shower.” Frankly, I’ve heard of cold showers many times before and actually read about them in another blog just yesterday. That being said, I’ve honestly been too much of a pansy to just hop in and start taking cold showers, yeah yeah, I know. Anyways, a couple of tips in the book to get used to doing this is first, start with hot water then after 60 seconds or so, shift the water to cold. For the rest of the shower, alternate back and forth between hot and cold water finally finishing on cold. Given that I haven’t tried this method yet, I don’t have a ton to add but will certainly report back when I feel as though I have something more to offer on the subject.
  2. Next, the book mentioned a product called Greens Plus (http://www.greensplus.com/) which supposedly helps those of us that aren’t able to consume enough green vegetables in a given day get that bit of nutrition. Follow up on this subject to come as well.
  3. Finally, it felt really good to hear straight from Mike the importance of writing and expressing ideas and opinions on paper rather than just letting them float around in your head. I’ve been wanting to start a habit of writing for quite some time and I’m really excited to be writing this blog. Really, I’m not doing this for anyone besides myself and at this point I don’t particularly expect anyone to be terribly interested in what I have to say but hey, you never know.

Workout:

  1. I got to the gym a bit later than I would have liked this morning as I didn’t get up until quarter to 6. Adding in a five minute meditation in the morning has been pretty cool so far, I think it’s a fantastic way to get the day started. Once there, I simply did five rounds of jumping rope followed by the recommended Athlean X agility ladder interval exercise. That is, I completed 8 rounds each with 20 seconds on and a 30 second break the lateral shuffle, In In Out Out, Icky Shuffle (a lot like the heisman) and the Ali Shuffle. I was dripping in sweat by the time it was done and severely out of breath so I think it was a success.
  2. Got into the hotel pretty late for work and I didn’t want to disrupt anybody below me so I simply completed a 10 minute “Fat Burning” workout from Sean Vigue’s Bodyweight Workout Youtube Channel.
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Control Your Controllables

When I worked for Wrigley for 18 months, I had a boss who was extremely influential on me. Like my current boss, she placed a huge emphasis on talent development, which was crucial for me in terms of becoming successful in the corporate world.

While I don’t hear from her too much anymore, one lesson that I will never forget that she taught me is the title “Control Your Controllables.” While WordPress is telling me that controllables isn’t a word, I’m going to run with it.

Basically, the idea here is that as you make your way through life, there are going to be countless situations that you cannot control. A situation in which no matter how hard you try, something or someone is getting in your way can be extremely frustrating, however the lesson that I’ve tried to apply from my mentor was that I need to learn to accept those things for the way they are. It doesn’t mean to give up, rather, it means to find a way to be successful no matter what, and in spite of that roadblock.

One specific example that can be considered, particularly as it comes to health and fitness is genetics. Sure, some people are naturally much more athletically gifted than others, its just a fact of life. Does that however mean that those with less natural born athletic talent should sit around and become couch potatoes? NO! It is the responsibility of everyone to become the best person they can become. Or at least to become the person that they want to be.

Ultimately, it comes down to that one guiding principle – are you willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goals?

Solid Workouts today:

  1. I’m going to try to get through Jeff Cavaliere’s 90 Day Athlean X Training Program. Today I started from day one for the second time in three weeks, I am going to avoid the distractions that caused me to fall of the plan last time.
  2. 40 minute intense stretching and core video with Sean Vigue. There were some positions that made me feel extremely uncomfortable however my body felt pretty good when it was all said and done.

 

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Attitude is Everything

The title of this post seems like a cliche but in actuality, it couldn’t be more true. The reason I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt is because I live it week in and week out.

Over the past couple of years since my father passed away, I have been going through a personal journey of development. Like many that have had similar experiences and put time and effort into becoming the person they truly want to be, I have had some extreme highs and lows. One thing I know about myself is that I can have a tendency to overthink things. When this happens, it is almost a definite downward spiral in my mood, and can lead to being less motivated and obviously less productive.

Quite honestly, the way I am feeling on Sunday night before the following week begins is almost always an incredible predictor of how my week will go; if I’m tired and put out, the ensuing week will certainly be a challenge. One really fantastic way of putting myself in the right mindset for the week at hand is to utilize something called positive affirmations. Rather than allowing myself to think negatively, I focus all of my attention on the positive things in my life such as my fantastic job, family and friends. After that, I attempt to focus my energy on my goals and visualize myself as the person I hope to become. It is when I put a huge emphasis on this way of thinking that I am at my best.

In order to truly achieve my goals, I know that my journey in personal development is just beginning. Life is a never ending journey towards growth and learning. Without a positive mindset, it is impossible to achieve success.

After a week of negative progress, I’m extremely excited for the week at hand. I finished this evening up with a 40 minute exercise from Sean Vigue on Youtube and can’t wait to get back in the gym bright and early tomorrow morning. This is going to be a great and productive week.

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Empathy

There is no doubt that this is something that I struggle with. For some reason or another, I have been primarily focused on my self through out the course of my life rather than others. I think a lot of times that causes me to act in ways that if given a chance, I may have slightly adjusted what I said or did.

Over the last couple of years, I have been working very hard at learning to see the world through the eyes of other people. Although sometimes very difficult, when I have the chance, I try and reflect for a moment or two and think about the ways in which my next action could affect those around me, rather than just myself.

Another really important part of this for me is the necessity to listen fully when having conversations with others. My mind just runs so quickly and sporadically that if I don’t focus and dedicate my attention to what others are saying, I end up in a completely different world. This is definitely noticeable to people and after I realize that I’m doing it, I can often feel them shutting off to the conversation.

Fortunately, thanks to books like “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” it is possible to learn skills like empathy. Through effort, time and focus, I hope to develop the ability to listen and understand others, and see things from their point of view. I think this will go a very long way in my ultimate success. 

In other news, I had some really solid workouts today. I started out this morning doing Sean Vigue’s 15 minute warmup, then 20 minute pullup and pilates. Then tonight once I got back to Syracuse, I did a 20 minute session on the rowing machine and another forty minutes on the stair stepper. That thing is no joke.

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Home Sweet Home

I never thought I would say this, but I am so thankful to be home from vacation. With all of the effort I am currently putting into improving myself and getting in incredible physical shape, being on vacation is tough and stressful. I did my best to eat well and exercise however when you’re with a group of your best friends from college in Key West Florida, that is easier said than done.

I didn’t get a chance to do much reading today, I was completely drained on the flight this morning. However, I did watch a couple of really awesome biographies which put some things into perspective for me. First, the internet is truly incredible. The fact that essentially every bit of information from all of the smartest people in the history of the world is immediately at my fingertips is mind-blowing. I am truly starting to regret the fact that I wasted a portion of my life not actively looking to learn absorb information. That’s alright, better late than never.

Anyways, I watched biographical documentaries on both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates today. I was zoning out a big during the Buffet one because I was so tired, but there were a number of recurring themes which follow right along with the themes of most of the other information that I’ve been consuming lately.

Maybe the top three are:

  1. Both Buffet and Gates had an irrefutable passion for their respective field from a very young age.
  2. Warren and Bill III (I didn’t know that he was a third, they actually called him Tre when he was younger) are both and always have been avid readers and lifelong learners. Their ability to consume and retain information is truly stunning, how cool would it be to have photographic memory?!?
  3. Buffet and Gates are both tireless workers. The reason that each of these men has been able to amass a net worth of billions isn’t just because they were smarter, or they were lucky, or they had rich parents. The reason is that they identified a focus, learned a ton about it, and worked towards it with unrivaled intensity and fervor. I think it’s super important to note that neither of them were just running around helter skelter throwing things against the wall until they stuck, they both knew exactly what to focus on.

In summation, if you find something that you’re passionate about, learn a ton about it, and put in more effort towards it than anyone else, the success will follow.

Great workouts today:

  1. 40 minutes of yoga and pilates. I found a Youtube channel called Sean Vigue Fitness. He does some incredible stretching and Yoga stuff, I can feel my core, chest and arms getting noticeably stronger already. This included 100 pushups as well.
  2. 20 minutes on the rowing machine at the gym to get a good sweat going.
  3. 30 minutes on the stationary bike. I got behind the 3:00 mile pace early but battled back and ended up making it 10.1 miles in 30 minutes.

 

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Comfortability

The main reason for a lack of progress in our own lives, or in the progress of our organizations is the fact that humans become too comfortable with their surroundings. Realistically, that is why there is such a lack of greatness in the world!

Sure, people like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods were blessed with an incredible ability to perform in basketball and golf respectively, but do you think that skill alone was enough to propel them to the top of their field over everyone else that’s ever played? Of course not! Michael and Tiger, along with everyone else who has ever achieved anything truly great became comfortable with making themselves feel uncomfortable.

These are people who are constantly pushing the limits of what their minds and bodies can do. These are people who dedicate their entire life and passion to becoming the absolute best, and they do that by getting a little bit better every single day. By forcing themselves to do whatever it takes to get a little bit better, the end result is incredible.

There is no reason that greatness can’t be achieved, aside from self limiting beliefs. When in doubt: work hard, stay humble and no matter what, never allow yourself to get too comfortable.

 

Some might say Lil’ Wayne is great too, I think his accountant certainly would. If you don’t believe me, take it from Wayne:

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Good To Great Mentality

Waking up to workout this morning was TOUGH. I left the gym in my hotel last night at about ten so when my alarm clock rang this morning at five I wasn’t too thrilled. Add to that the fact that this whole push up, pull up and sit up regime has me as sore as I’ve ever felt, it would have been easy to roll back over and sleep for another hour or so. I didn’t though, a big win in the mental fortitude game.

I got an awesome chance to relay some of the incredible information I learned from Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” to some others today. Basically, a business that I work with has a couple of individuals that I view as high potential. Lately however, these guys have been caught in a bit of a quagmire, they’re not producing improvement in their results and I’ve been witnessing a lot of excuse making and finger pointing.

I did my best to impart some things that I’ve learned recently on leadership and ownership, I think it stuck. The business that these guys work for is extremely high output and high energy. Management is constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries on customer experience and as a result, there isn’t a ton of time to be micro managing on a day to day level (I know some people would see this and shout praises from the rooftops). The only issue with this that we uncovered is the fact that my buddies weren’t feeling empowered to make decisions that would ultimately effect the customer experience and the business.

That’s where Jim Collins’ “Hedgehog concept” came in. At the end of the day, the business in question is highly focused on customer experience. Being a car dealership, their ultimate goal is to provide a car buying and owning experience that no other manufacturer or dealership can duplicate. Today, with this knowledge of the dealership’s “Hedgehog concept” in mind (See “Good to Great” book review for a better explanation of what that means) we gave these two high potential employees full autonomy to operate within the dealership’s primary focus. Ultimately, if these guys decide to make a decision that results in the customer receiving a better experience than they would have otherwise, they have management’s support in taking action.

When Collins and his research team identified high performing companies, this is one of the main things they found! Companies with passionate, engaged and skilled employees that allow them full autonomy to make informed decisions which fall within the company’s guiding principles are bar-none the most effective. Period.

 

Where do you fit within your company or organization’s hierarchy? Are you engaged and passionate about what you do? Does your company have a guiding idea or principle which influences each and every decision that not only management, but every employee makes every day?

 

Workout:

  • 13 Mile bike ride at just under 19 mph
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