Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich Book Review

Yesterday, in New York City I attended the Gorilla Mindset seminar taught by Mike Cernovich. I first read Gorilla Mindset last summer and listened to it again on Audible last week to prepare for the seminar. As someone who enjoys reading and has read several books on attitude, perspective, growth and improving myself over the years, I enjoyed the book very much. Some of the perspectives were new, some I was familiar with and had run across before in my reading or in my life but the main difference is that all the ideas were presented in a practical fashion that really helps the reader take action with the advice which is the most import part of self-help or personal growth. The best ideas in the world will not make a difference in your life if you never act on your knowledge. You have to live out the habits daily to build the momentum to change the direction of your life or to accelerate your dreams. The focus on movement and action what stands out to me in Cernovich’s book and distinguishes it from other self-help, personal development books.  He includes written worksheets and physical exercises to help you take the ideas in the book from the cerebral to physical space, from thought to action.  Whether through physical exercises to improve your posture which in turn improves your oxygen intake which can improve your energy and focus or writing out your idea daily routines, these exercise are what makes Gorilla Mindset practical and effective.

We all need books on self-improvement and growth. No matter who we are, whether we are learning a new way to see ourselves or the world or if we are seeking something to affirm something we already know, investing in ourselves is the best investment we can make.

I enjoyed the entire book and the workshop but the lesson that struck me most as my challenge for growth is in taking back control of my attention. I live a very busy life. I am booked and overbooked much of the time and struggle to accomplish everything on my list. At the same time, I need to play a bit. All work and no play makes Kitten a dull, frustrated, grumpy girl! But I realize that everything I do eats away at my attention and therefore my time.  To reach my goals with my limited resources (time, money, energy) takes discipline and focus. While I am good at focusing on my goals and getting work done when that is my priority, I believe that my leisure time is less effective.  If I am working hard to excel in my career and with writing by focusing on the highest priority tasks and learning the most beneficial skills, do I take that same mindset to my leisure time?

When I sleep, am I getting a full nights sleep? Am I sleeping soundly? Am I going to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule?

When I play, do I invest in the hobbies that are most fulfilling? Do I invest in the people who mean the most to me? Do I make money, spend money or save money to support my hobbies? In other words, are my leisure activities an energy gain or just a different kind of energy drain?

I like to kill time on social media. This is free and I’ve met some fantastic people who I admire and appreciate through social media. I am also able to nurture friendships with people who are far away or in very different personal places than I am which makes it hard to engage in person.  So while I can point to these very positive aspects of social media use to justify the time I spend there, it occurs to me that I am rationalizing by focusing on only the benefits. In reality, social media can be as much or more of a drain to my time and energy.  As Cernovich says, mindset, focus and energy all have momentum. If you aren’t moving forward, growing, developing, you are moving backwards, stalling, sinking.  If you aren’t getting energized by what you do and the people around you, you are likely getting drained.

The key is to maximize the energy by investing in people and activities that give you a boost while avoiding or eliminating things that drain you.

And when there is something that has both, like social media, with both benefits and detriments, it’s important to figure out the cost benefit ration, estimate your return on investment, set up some boundaries and stick with it.

It’s time for me to put my ideas into action and establish boundaries in my leisure life the same way I do in my professional life.  If I am not working, am I playing or rejuvenating? And is my play time energizing me or just distracting me? Is my time of rest clearing my mind or just dumbing it down?

It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t have this mindset shift to make me more conscious of my actions and choices. But since I have it, applying it to my life could very well give me new momentum, accelerate my growth and help me change my own life to one of more abundance and joy.

On page 91, Cernovich asks;

  1. What do you want more of?

  2. What do you want less of?

  3. Does [person/activity] bring you more of what you want?

  4. Does [person/activity] bring you less of what you want?

To be honest, I generally avoid mindfulness articles. I think I have an aversion to the books and articles that speak softly to me as I suspect they are all trying to lull me into a cage of lies. But the mindfulness Cernovich talks about relates to focus and attention.  And his straightforward tone and practical framing makes me realize that a lack of mindfulness is the cause of my major time wasters.

To answer his questions, I want more time. I always feel rushed.  I want less of the rushed feeling, less feeling like I have so many things to accomplish and can’t keep up.  To then asses everything in my life against this metric really puts things in perspective.  I’ve been focusing on trying to wake up earlier, cut corners, multitask.  I’ve probably been wasting time thinking about how I don’t have enough time! I’ve certainly wasted energy worrying and being frantic or having to complete items twice that I rushed through.  But to refocus off of these emotions of frustration and take a hard look at everything I do, in the moment and say, is this activity worth my time and attention? Is it bringing me more or less of what I want? This can very well change my work habits and therefore change my life. It’s like finding money you forgot you had.  I don’t need to create new time, I need to stop wasting the time I already have.

Gorilla Mindset is a great book but and a quick read. But if you prefer audiotape, the audible version is also fantastic. Cernovich has a great, approachable voice, the recording has clear audio and the narrative is easy to follow and absorb.

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