I've been spending a lot of time in a mountain town in Vietnam called Dalat.
Dalat was created in the late 19th century as a cool-air health resort city and is now famous for farming.
I'm here enjoying the cool weather and looking at agricultural investment opportunities.
In the surrounding mountains of Dalat are tribes of ethnic Vietnamese farmers.
The farmers are very poor. So poor I can barely explain to westerners how poor.
So poor that they have never been inside of a restaurant. If they're able to purchase food, they purchase food that has been cooked on the side of the street and sold from a bicycle.
It was at a local gym I met one of these farmers.
(The gym smells like cat urine and is filled with weights you wouldn't find at the worst USA gym. I pay 75 cents per day to visit, and that's foreigner price, so I assume Vietnamese pay 25 cents per day.)
The ethnic Vietnamese boy was the fellow in the gym with the 2nd best physique.
I introduced myself to him with the international sign for “good physique” which is a thumbs-up.
We exchanged names and pleasantries in broken english, and I asked him what supplements he takes (knowing full well that the supplements available for sale at the gym have an inch of dust on them).
He said “no, nothing, I only eat a little rice. Nothing else.”
I said “what about protein?”
He said “no, nothing.”
I said “how about Chicken?”
He said “no, only when I have a little money can I eat chicken. Every day I just eat a little rice and every day I must do some very hard work” and with a big smile he said to me “I am farmer“.
A lot of people would look at his physique, which is very, very good, and the first thing they would say is…
When it comes to muscle shape and muscle insertion, genetics can be a big help – but genetics don't drive you to the gym.
Each time I've been to this gym at night I have seen the farmer boy working hard (I have never seen him in the daytime at the gym).
It takes quite a bit of cognitive dissonance to say the farmer boy has a good physique because of good genetics….
…knowing that he goes to the gym every day and lifts weights, he diets constantly and he does physical labor at elevation all day, every day.
(Mountain air has less oxygen, making it difficult to breathe until you acclimate. Endurance athletes will train at altitude to gain a cardiovascular advantage over their opponents. After you work hard at altitude, sea-level cardiovascular work seems easy).
It takes wilful ignorance to discount his hard work and label it “good genetics”.
His genetics give him an advantage of having a physique that “flows well”.
But genetics never lifted weights for him, genetics never kept candy out of his mouth, and genetics didn't build his muscle – work did.
The stone cold reality is that people with good physiques play sports or they go to the gym or they do some hard work.
There isn't anyone alive who has a good physique and does no physical activity – it takes work to achieve.
Genetics mean shit if you don't go to the gym. No one is gifted a good physique and no one is gifted an iron will.
To get what you want you work for it and that's it.
Achieving the Gorilla Mindset
If you want a good physique, if you want money, if you want fame, if you want peace, if you want anything…..
You work for it.
Even if you were born with shit. Even if you were born in hell. Even if you thought it wasn't possible.
Mike and I have a lot in common. We both lived in hell, for example, and escaped to the light.
Victor Pride (far left) and Mike Cernovich (far right) enjoying cigars in Saigon.
Mike stayed at Pride Castle for half a year.
It was there he finished his book Gorilla Mindset (which could have been titled This is how you change your life, step by step).
Below is an excerpt from Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich.
I grew up as a child on welfare. I had holes in my clothes. My parents were well-meaning and good people, but they had no concept of how to make or save money. They made mistakes and did the best they could, which is all you can expect from anyone.
Not only was I usually the poorest kid in school, I was also the fattest. I was “naturally” chubby and was picked on, ridiculed, and beaten up. I was afraid to walk home from school, as more often than not people would follow me. I’d be called names and beaten up.
My dad told me to start taking martial arts, and he even started taking classes with me. I was not naturally athletic. I was clumsy and out of shape, and couldn’t even do a single push-up. I hated martial arts classes and would have quit had my dad not been there taking classes with me. I went through the motions, but I had no natural talent or belief in myself.
One day a bully beat me up badly. It was humiliating. My sister had to pull my attacker off of me. I felt demoralized and powerless. We had a mattress in our garage. I went to the garage, laid down, and cried myself to sleep. When my dad came home from work, he opened the garage door, looked down at me with part pity and part contempt, and asked me one question that changed my life.
“When are you going to get serious?” Those words, coupled with the expression on his face, were a wake-up call for me. I made the decision right then and there: I would get serious. Very serious.
I would train until my body was exhausted and would hit the heavy bag until my knuckles bled. When I read in a martial arts magazine that Thai fighters do 10 rounds on the heavy bag, I decided to do the same. When I learned that Thai boxers would roll up magazines and hit their shins and legs to toughen themselves up, I did that as well.
I learned that when you consciously put in work, you will make progress. You might have terrible genetics, you might not have potential to be in the Olympics or win a UFC title, but you will improve.
I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, boxed, and began beating up the bullies who had bullied me. I had a hair-trigger, and would even look for reasons to fight. But I was never happy, and my social skills were poor. I was awkward and weird. My mindset was based on vengeance rather than on exploration, connecting with people, or being happy.
At one point I was invited to attend a school “lock-in” at the YMCA with a bunch of other classmates. I was so wrapped up in “fight mode” that I put on Tiger Balm to keep my joints warm, lest someone decided to start a fight with me.
I also didn’t perform well in school, with every teacher having the same line for my parents at PTA meetings: “Michael is so smart. He does not live up to his potential.”
It wasn’t that I enjoyed getting into trouble, but I grew up in a poor neighborhood. Where I came from, getting good grades and doing homework wasn’t the norm. I’d get into fights, steal sandwiches from the local grocery store, and shoot out car windows with a BB gun (which was also stolen). When one of my acts of vandalism made the local newspaper, I clipped out the picture with pride.
To change my life, I had to change my own mindset.
That poor white trash boy grew up and became a rich lawyer with powerful associates and attractive friends.
Was he born rich and successful?
Obviously he wasn't, you just read about his childhood.
So if poor, white trash from Jerkwater, Illinois can do it, why can't anyone else?
Changing your life is as easy as changing your mind and deciding to live the life you need to live.
Step by step instructions now exist – so there are no excuses for living poor, or living fat, or living dead behind the eyes.
There's no excuse for living in hell, when all it takes is the decision to see the light.
If you want to change it, then you decide to change it, and you work every single day in every single way to get what you require.
If you don't live the way you dream, it's because you didn't work for it.
And that's the world's easiest fix….
Just start right now.
Until next time.
PS – Gorilla Mindset is available for sale on amazon. Do yourself a favor and buy it, read it, follow the worksheets, and for heaven's sake – take it seriously.