Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
A gorilla is a powerful, dominant animal. We humans are known as “great apes” or “human primates.” This doesn’t mean being a mindless brute. This means recognizing that both mind and body are important for success and happiness.
We are great apes who seek enlightenment. We want answers. These answers cannot be found in our mind or body alone. With Gorilla Mindset, you will recognize the power of unifying your body and mind — to simultaneously embrace and overcome your primitive nature.
The Power of Self-Talk
- Avoid Speaking in Absolutes
Rather than saying, “I always make this same mistake,” recognize that each mistake is an opportunity for growth. Moreover, do you really “always” make the same mistake? That is probably not true and telling yourself you “always” make that mistake and will “never” improve is certainly not helpful. Instead say, “I made a mistake. I will avoid it in the future by _____. ”
- Talk to Yourself as You Would a Close Friend
When going on a negative rant against yourself, stop and ask: “Would I talk to a close friend or loved one like this?” The truth is you are probably meaner to yourself than you are to others.
- Smile When You’re Angry at Yourself
Mood and posture are linked, and it’s been proven that engaging in the physical act of smiling can actually make you feel happier. When you start talking to yourself in a negative manner, raise your body up, take a deep breath, and smile. You might find the rant stops in its tracks.
- Turn a Critical Statement about Yourself into a Question
Rather than blame and talk down to yourself, ask, “How can I prevent making this same choice in the future?”
- Talk to Yourself in Front of a Mirror
Look in the mirror as you talk to yourself. Repeat the same negative words to your face. How do you look? Is that the type of person you want to be?
- Repeat Your Mantra
Your mantra or affirmations could be a word, a sentence, or even an entire essay.
Change the Way You Perceive Life’s Challenges
- Watch Your Language
Instead of calling something a “problem,” reframe it as a “challenge.” That seems cliché, but it really works.
- Remember That Growth Can Be Painful
Adopting a growth mindset is bittersweet. The bitterness comes from the pain accompanying growth. “No pain, no gain” is true. The sweetness comes from growth. Nothing feels as good as winning.
- Remember That Pain Is Inevitable
Even if you didn’t embrace the pain of growth, life would bring pain to you eventually. You cannot choose whether the pain is coming. As is said in Game of Thrones, a hit book series and later, an HBO adaption, “Winter is coming.” Once you accept that pain is inevitable and leads to growth, you’ll be better prepared to endure winter.
- Take the Long View
The challenges you face today will give you the resources you need to succeed tomorrow. You fell down a lot as an infant before you learned to walk. You tripped when learning to run. At some point, you were clueless and made mistakes, yet those mistakes eventually led to your success and mastery.
- Embrace the Suck
Let’s face it. Sometimes life is going to be hard, and no amount of arguing or wishing it were otherwise will change that. When you go through hard times (and we all do), accept it and then embrace it. Army Rangers call this, “Embrace the suck.” Rangers go through rigourous training and for 58 days they average less than 2 hours of sleep each night. Every day is worse than the last. Bodies ache and begin to break down. If they sat around complaining, they’d never get through it. Instead, they choose to “Embrace the suck,” which allows them to endure and succeed.
How to Check into Your Life
Here are 10 ways to become more aware of your surroundings:
- Notice the eye color of every person you interact with. Most people are either too busy looking at their computer screens, or they lack the self-confidence to make eye contact.
- Pay attention to a person’s features. How many wrinkles do they have? Do they have freckles or sun spots? Do you think they spend a lot of time in the sun?
- Watch a person smile. Do their cheeks move or does the area around the eyes crinkle (the so-called “crow’s feet”).
- Look at the person’s shoulders. Do they slump? Do they protrude forward?
- Look at a palm reading chart. Read your own palm. Is this arbitrary? Sure. There is nothing magical about reading your palm, but there is something magical about learning how to see details others don’t see.
- Sit in a coffee shop for an hour. Count the number of people who come in. Pay attention to their age, race, and gender. Try estimating how many customers the café has on a given day.
- Pay attention to the size and shape of each word in this sentence. How many words does this paragraph contain?
- Get out a stopwatch. Count the number of breaths you take in a minute. This will help you become more mindful of your breathing patterns.
- Pick up your favorite book or check out your favorite website. Count the number of words in each sentence, the number of sentences in each paragraph, and the number of paragraphs on each page. Is there a pattern or cadence? If so, can you use that same pattern or cadence in your own writing?
- Look around, wherever you are. Count the number of different colors you see.
There’s nothing particularly special about those 10 habits. Make up your own if you want to. Mindful people notice what others don’t. Once you notice details others miss, life becomes more interesting, as visionaries see where the patterns in all things
How to Control Your State of Mind
Remember, How You Feel is Your Choice:
Remind yourself that you have the power to choose how you feel. Tell yourself, “How I feel is a choice I make in the present moment.” Do not passively accept whatever emotional state happens to affect your body.
Capture and Recreate the Moment:
We all have good days and challenging days. When you are feeling especially good, resourceful, or confident, capture the moment. Track where in your body you have this feeling. Recreate this feeling when you’re by yourself or having a “blah” day.
Find an Outlet:
Find a release valve for yourself. Sometimes it feels good to release the negative energy from your body. There’s nothing wrong with shouting, just don’t shout at your spouse, family, friends, or especially your children! For me, going to the gym is essential. When you must take time off due to work or an injury, my mood is harder to manage.
How to Take Control of Your Attention
Recognize That Focus Is Either/Or:
Countless studies have proven humans are not capable of multi-tasking. At best, we can switch from one task to another effectively, but we lose our flow when we do.
When you feel yourself focusing on something, ask yourself if you are focusing on what matters.
Use Self-Talk to Recognize What You’re Focusing On:
Ask yourself, “What am I focusing on? Why am I focusing on this? Is focusing on this issue/person/idea bringing me closer to my goals or pushing me further away?” As you see, focus is tied to your self-talk and mindfulness. The more checked in you are, the more focus you have.
Focus Is Finite:
Our human willpower and ability to focus is limited. Therefore avoid depleting your ability to focus by wasting it on negativity or toxic people. Organize your life to maximize your focus.
Focus on Good Health:
Focus requires brain power, which requires peak physical health. To increase your focus, follow the health and fitness guidelines we’ll discuss later.
Focus on What Matters Most in Your Life:
By taking inventory of your life, you’ll begin to understand who and what you want in it. Focus on obtaining more of what you want out of life while refusing to focus on negative people and activities.
Use Self-Talk to Regain Your Focus:
When you feel your mind wandering, use self-talk to remind yourself, “I am choosing to focus on x, when I should be focusing on y.”
Turn Off Your Cell Phone at The Gym:
When you’re at gym, turn off your cell phone. The gym is time away from the grind, and it’s a time to focus on my health and fitness.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone When Playing with Your Children:
They are the most important people in your life. Mindlessly checking email and being distracted is something they will notice and remember. Turn the phone off
Do Not Eat in Front of the Television:
When you eat, you should focus on your food. Studies have shown people tend to eat 25-50% more calories when eating in front of the television. Because we aren’t focused on eating while watching television (or surfing the web), we lose track of how much we’ve actually eaten .
Pick One Task to Accomplish at a Time:
The world is busy and we’re overwhelmed, but you work most effectively when you focus on one task at a time. Choose one task and work on that for a set period of time.
Health and Fitness
- Throw Away All Junk Food
“Out of sight, out of mind.” Make it hard to eat unhealthy foods.
- Avoid All “White Foods,” Including Sugar, Milk, and Bread
While milk and bread are not necessarily bad for everyone, many people have trouble with those foods. Right now, you want to focus on this one simple rule. Cut these foods out for a month. You can always reintroduce them to see if and how they affect you.
- Focus on What You Can Eat
Instead of viewing clean healthy eating as depriving yourself, focus on the foods you can eat, which are myriad. Focusing on what you can have, rather than what you can’t is essential to establishing an abundance mindset. There is a huge list of tasty nutritious foods in the previous section. Focus on ways to spice them up, rather than feeling deprived.
- Buy a Spice Rack
Spices are high in anti-oxidants and will help you avoid getting bored when eating healthy foods. You can only eat so many eggs before it gets boring. Throw on some curry powder, and suddenly you have a new meal.
- Get a Crock Pot
A crock pot will turn even the leanest, flavorless meat into a juicy tasty meal. A crock pot is also great because you can cook your food efficiently. Turn your crock pot on in the morning before work, set the it to low temperature, and return home 8-10 hours later to a great meal (and my house smells wonderful too!).
- Start Juicing (or Blending)
Green juices and smoothies are a great way to fulfill your body’s need for nutrients. Often when you feel hungry, your body is really telling you it’s undernourished. To learn more about juicing, go to FitJuice.com or check out my juicing book, Juice Power , on Amazon
How to Keep Money in Perspective and in Your Pocket
View Yourself as an Investment:
You are a company — You, Inc. Invest in your company. Learn about your company. Study it with the most intense detail. Eating healthy foods will save you healthcare costs in the long run. Reading books will help you improve your life and keep your mind sharp. In fact, reading can help delay, mitigate, and prevent many forms of early-onset dementia.
If You Use Credit, Do it Wisely:
If you can’t afford to buy it, don’t buy it. This seems like a simple tip, and yet so often credit card companies offer incentives like free travel to entice you into signing up for a credit card. If you use credit cards, pay off the balance in full each month.
Start a Side Business for Tax Deductions:
Part of the Gorilla Mindset Shift is to see yourself as a producer rather than a consumer. Once you start your own business, even if it’s only a side business, you are well on your way to earning more money .
Start Saving for Retirement Today:
Dollar-cost average into the stock market every month. Do not become a day trader. Be an investor, and invest for the long term. Keep buying. Sometimes you’ll buy high and sometimes you’ll buy low.
Differentiate Between Wants and Needs:
When you’re broke, you don’t get to buy what you want. You only get to buy what you need. Never delude yourself into believing a want is a need.
If You Get a Raise, Live Off Your Old Salary:
You were living just fine off your old salary. Do not grow into it. Instead, save the increase or put that money towards a side business.
If You Receive a Large Sum, Don’t Spend it for a Year:
Maybe you’ll receive a huge bonus at work, an inheritance, or even win the lottery. Do not spend the money for a year or else you’ll end up like so many lottery winners — broke.