Ever since I was little, I have been my own worst critic.
I lean towards being a perfectionist. I have realized over the years that this isn’t good for my mental health.
When you are constantly and harshly judging your own actions throughout the day, you will slowly start to hate yourself. Just think about it.
If you have a little voice inside your head that judges you for your mistakes and shortcomings, all day everyday, you will start to resent it, if you don’t downright HATE it.
We associate that little voice in our head with ourselves. That little voice, BECOMES us. But I assure you, it’s not YOU.
One of the most powerful statements I have ever read, comes from Mike Cernovich.
Gorilla Mindset starts off with an immediate gut-punch that sticks with you throughout the entire book.
When I read that statement, I immediately thought to myself, “Damn. I really am an asshole… to myself.”
It’s much harder to improve ourselves when our own mind is degrading us every step of the way.
A friend of mine refers to that negative voice as your “drunk monkey.”
Would you treat a drunk monkey seriously? Would you actually engage with and care about the opinion of the obnoxiously loud drunk guy arguing with anyone and everyone at the bar?
No, you wouldn’t.
That guy is a loser. Your drunk monkey is a loser.
And they both need to shut the fuck up.
When you hear those judgmental, negative voices in your head, realize they are simply a bunch of drunk monkeys.
Tell them to shut the fuck up, and move on.
Gorilla Mindset: Chapter 1 – Mindset is a Conversation – The Power of Self-Talk
Back to Mike’s quote…
If you talked to your friends like you talk to yourself, you wouldn’t have any friends.”
— Mike Cernovich, Gorilla Mindset
We all judge ourselves for our actions. Many of us have an incessant little voice inside our head that constantly bitches and nags at us for every little mistake we make.
You wouldn’t tolerate a friend that did that. So why should you tolerate it from your own mind?
Mike says to “treat yourself like a treasured and trusted friend.” That is fantastic advice.
Too often we allow the voice inside our head to boss us around. Instead, we should change that voice into a caring and compassionate one.
That’s not to say go soft with yourself.
But it does mean that you should have a positive conversation with yourself about the mistakes you have made and how to improve upon them. Nearly all situations can be solved. Nearly nothing is an absolute.
Mike offers two methods to immediately recognize the absurdity of your inner monologues: Talk to yourself in a mirror, and record what you’re saying, to listen to on playback.
Personally, I never recorded myself because I realized how retarded my self-talk truly was during step one. I had my self-defeating self-talk out loud while watching my facial expressions in the mirror.
Mike was right. I was disgusted at what I saw and heard.
Instead of judging yourself, ask yourself questions. Ask yourself if you’re being hateful, or being the type of person you want to be in that moment.
As I’ve fallen into negative self-talk, I’ve been able to more easily pull myself out of it simply by asking myself questions and starting a conversation inside my head.
Over the past week, I’ve managed to greatly reduce my stress levels using this simply technique. By asking myself questions, I was able to realize that in my efforts to get more stuff done in less time, I was inadvertently stressing myself out.
I enjoy working towards my goals and being on the grind, but using Gorilla Mindset has shown me I also need to schedule some downtime to recharge and reboot.
Last Sunday, I set aside an hour to perform breathing exercises while listening to binaural beats.
I haven’t relaxed so much in months.
We hold a ton of tension in our bellies. Through deep breathing exercises and (painful) foam rolling, I’m slowly reducing a lot of that tension.
Deep breathing exercises are important for maintaining proper health and peak performance in the gym. Elliott Hulse calls it breathing into your balls. Watch his video and give his methods a try.
Mantras & Affirmations
Mike’s final suggestion for changing your self-talk comes in the form of mantras and affirmations. Both will help keep you focused on your goals.
Mantras and affirmations are essentially positive visualizations, and visualizations are powerful. Come up with your own powerful affirmations and repeat them to yourself each day.
I have sticky notes with mantras placed on the bathroom mirror at home. I read through these when I can, and usually read them each morning when I’m getting ready.
Here are some of my other mantras:
- I am a God.
- “Successful people do what they have to do, whether they feel like it or not.” — Brian Tracy
- “The best revenge is massive success.” — Frank Sinatra
- “A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
- “You achieve big things by doing the little things correctly every single day.” — Elliott Hulse
I have also written down my current twelve goals over the next twelve months in the form of affirmations… but I can’t tell you those. I explain how I structure these affirmations (and why they’re a secret) in this article about visualization.
Whenever you encounter a problem, resistance, or lack of motivation, repeat your mantras or affirmations to yourself. By focusing on your reminders each day, it will help keep you focused on your goals.
Come up with your own mantras and affirmations that are supportive of your goals. Write them down, then read them each day.
Foster this new habit and you’ll begin to accomplish more than you ever thought was possible.
Gorilla Self-Talk Habits
Mike closes this chapter with six habits you can use to improve your self-talk:
- Avoid speaking in absolutes.
- Talk to yourself as you would a close friend.
- Smile when you’re angry at yourself.
- Turn a critical statement about yourself into a question.
- Talk to yourself in front of a mirror.
- Repeat your mantra.
Gorilla Mindset is the book to read if you want to radically change your self-defeating thoughts into powerful and supportive ones.
Start reading it today. Gorilla Mindset really does work,