Society loves to talk about your responsibilities and duties. It shirks playfulness and risk-taking. If want to break free, you need permission to live life 100% on your terms. Learn to adopt a silver back Gorilla Mindset today.
You start by taking full responsibility for your life, never blaming “the system” for your failures. You believe that your mindset matters far more than genetics or natural talent. If your body is the hardware to the intelligent machinery that is you, then your mindset is the operating system atop it. A Strong Mindset encompasses both the body and the mind. Common mindsets that people often adopt include:
There are two types of self-talk: positive and negative.
Negative: You would not speak negatively to your friends, chastising them for not being better, viciously critiquing everything they do wrong. So why talk to yourself as such? Many people have an overly-dramatic internal dialogue. Their inner voice is akin to an overly dramatic friend who freaks out over nothing. Your negative thinking is often irrational, and not even selfgenerated – it most likely came from the negativity that surrounds you, even from family or friends. To uproot negative thoughts, write down your thoughts, say them in front of a mirror, or record them on your phone. This brings them to the surface and forces you to face them head-on. Is that really how you want to be perceived?
Positive: Affirmations and mantras are “new-agey”, right? Yet repeating positive mantras to yourself can have tremendous, tangible benefits, primarily by improving your mood. You are mighty and unstoppable! Most of your positive self-talk should be structured in the form of: “I am going to___”. Avoid saying things like “I always___” or “I never___”, and reframe any self-critiques as questions.
One study surveyed athletic champions and found that bronze medal winners were surprisingly happier than silver medal winners. The reason stems from the fact that the bronze medal winners were interpreting the situation by being appreciative that they were even on the podium. The silver medal winners, however, were blinded by their frustration at being so close to the gold.
This example showcases the importance of frames. Framing is the subjective interpretation overlying the given situation. We create internal mental frames each time we choose certain words to use. Children even demonstrate an innate ability to frame situations (e.g. “Dad, Mom said it’s okay, so…”). Lawyers frame things by cherry picking facts and questions. To better reframe your own life’s struggles & situations, practice:
Perhaps pain and stumbles are necessary, like when you first learned to walk.
Instead of defining mindfulness, it’s easier to imagine its opposite: “distracted and unaware”. It’s about entering the present moment, about getting out of your own head and having your attention enter your body.
Be mindful about how you’re thinking of mindfulness in this very moment: Are you thinking it’s weird? Are you judging it as new-agey? Are you fully embracing it? Do you smugly believe you already knew this?
Do periodic mindful “check-ins”. For example, before you ask your boss for a raise, check in with how frantic and clouded with anxiety your mind is becoming. When the author prepares for his podcasts, he checks in with his environment (e.g. noticing tiny details on the microphone) and his body (e.g. noticing subtle sensations from within). When combined with intentional self-talk, you can create a wonderful daily practice of mindfulness. Be mindful to see how your anxiety is simply focusing on one “maybe” future. Focus on your task and get off your phone at the gym!
Create deeper connections with someone by really paying attention to them. It’s just you and them, the rest of the world does not exist. Notice their eye color. Zoom in on their dimples. Count the number of wrinkles on their forehead. Give the Now, give them, all your attention, and thereby create a deeper bond with life.
One particularly mindful activity is walking. The greatest thinkers throughout history, from Aristotle to Plato, from Socrates to Einstein, found value in taking strolls. When you walk, check in with how you’re walking.
How’s your posture? Look at all the people with their slumped shoulders and downward-angled chins. Flex your calf and feel your glutes. Notice how your hips are tight from a slight anterior pelvic tilt due to all the sitting you do. Notice your pronated shoulders from being hunched over a keyboard. There’s been strain in your lower back you were weren’t even consciously aware of until you read these words just now.
We believe that our mental states (i.e. moods & emotions) are set in stone, that we simply must accept them. How do you feel right now? Check in mindfully, not judgmentally. Then, perform this exercise:
Check in and observe your level of focus. Are you living frantic, distracted, and unfocused? Are you frazzled over the logistics of a vacation when in reality you’ll be just fine when you get there? Are you getting lost in the weeds or harping over non-essential details?
Success demands ruthless focus. Ask if each action is bringing you closer or further from your goals. Create ruthless focus on what truly matters for this hour. Even as he was writing this very chapter, the author checked in and realized that his mind was starting to think about how to market the book, instead of the task at hand. He’d handle that in the future, during that present moment, when it was time. For now, write.
Check in and wonder if you really have to be on your phone. Are you using it to seem important? If you were actually important, they would wait for you. “Do you think Steve Job scrambled to answer his emails?”
Check in and wonder if the demands on you by family or friends are really worth your time. Are they selfishly taking advantage of the relationship to extract value from you? If they were truly 100% supportive of you, wouldn’t they want you to be ruthlessly focused on your goals, and not deal with their petty neediness? If they call you “selfish”, how supportive are they, really? Check in and wonder if you’re properly considering both the positive outcomes of your goals (e.g. becoming richer), as well as the negatives (e.g. becoming stressed). Only once you recognize both sides can you make a clear, conscious choice if it’s worth it. This is far better than mindlessly blundering along in life.
You can use your newly weaponized mindset defensively (i.e. preventing ruts) or offensively (i.e. powering on towards your goals). There are specific habits you can adopt daily to help train your mindset:
Cut out negative people (even friends & family) who “impose their demands and ego upon you.”
Quickly count backwards from 100 to 0.
Heart Health: Your brain’s performance is directly linked to your heart. Did you know that the blood your heart pumps each day could fill a swimming pool? Eat vegetables and blueberries, drink beet juice, control your weight, and exercise regularly. Lymph Maintenance: Lymph fluid is clear fluid containing white blood cells that circulates better when you move, so exercise, massage, or stretch. Gut Health: Over 50% of your feel-good neurochemicals serotonin & dopamine are stored in your gut. Improve it by eating fibrous foods (e.g. oatmeal or artichokes) and leafy vegetables.
Vegetables: Veggies lower your risk of cancer and improve your skin. Busy people can make green smoothies in the morning. If you are having a cheat meal, load up on broccoli first to get a bit full.
Exercise: Dr. Osborn, a renowned brain surgeon, claims that the best way to improve brain function is with regular exercise. While interval training (i.e. alternating sprinting/walking) is excellent, nothing trumps weightlifting for health and longevity. More muscle mass is inversely correlated with cancer death, boosts your immune system, helps digestion, and decreases inflammation. Compound exercises like squats or dead lifts actually recruit so many muscle fibers that they form new synapses in your brain. Remember: You always feel better after going to the gym compared to before.
Supplements: N-A-C, ZMA, Vitamin D3, Fish Oil, Greens+ (green powder), Whey, Curcumin, B Vitamins, Vinpocetine, and Tryptophan.
• Posture: Proper posture keeps the organs in the right spot, and may affect testosterone and cortisol.
The brain and body are highly linked, and good posture is vital. Poor posture stems from our rushed way of life, hunched over our computers and phones (“iPosture”). Your hips are likely too tight from sitting for too long.
As your posture gradually improves, you may cough from pockets of built-up CO2 being released, and you may feel a pulling sensation or a tightness as you stretch rarely used muscles. Improving posture may even increase testosterone and decrease cortisol levels.
Unlike going to the gym for an hour, exercising your posture can be done constantly, at each moment, thus posture can be done constantly, at each moment, thus allowing for “regulation of testosterone over a longer time frame.” Socially, dominance amongst primates (yes, including humans) is evaluated on “erect posture, glares, eye contact, assertive speech.” Studies have shown that holding a smile (e.g. by biting a pencil) can actually make you happier; similarly, keeping a tight grip on good posture can make you feel more assertive.
Money can be used for good or evil. If you’re so convinced that it’s evil, do an experiment: make a boatload of money and if you still think it’s evil give it all away. You should view your personal finances like a corporation, in which you invest in improvements and minimize taxes. Do you buy things to impress the neighbors or because it will improve you? Do you crave external validation? Is it “a drug to fill the empty void”?
For those who do want to make more money:
If you get a raise or a windfall, don’t change your spending habits for several months.
Any time you’re remembering the past or bringing up old feelings, you’re engaging in visualization. What if you only spent your time envisioning the future, not the past? What if you practiced visualizing with all 5 senses? What if you were very specific and didn’t just float off into daydreams? One study measured 3 groups of basketball players: those who practiced free throws, those who visualized them, and those who did both. The group who just practiced improved the least.
Wield visualization as a tool, visualizing the future you want. If you’re not fulfilled with what you’re doing, change it! Walk the streets until you’re exhausted and see what pops into your head. Always be specific and concrete, and always use all 5 senses when visualizing.
Why did you wake up today? Is it “because you have to be somewhere, or because you are excited for what the day may hold?” Use your visualization skills to imagine your perfect day. Be detail-oriented and write it down. Answer: “Who, what, where, when, why?”