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A Letter to My 25 Year Old Self

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There has never been a better time in the history of the world to be alive. Western civilization allows people lacking noble birth to rise through social and economic hierarchies. And unless you become an outright druggie, you’ll never starve to death. Western civilization allows you to take incredible risks.

Your brain is just barely fully developed. Yes, that’s true. You keep wondering why until recently you did stupid sh-t and lashed out at people and got your feelings hurt. Blame your brain. Now you can do the real work, and have more fun than you ever imagined.

Realize how lucky you are. At 25 you can live audaciously, start a business, completely and spectacularly fail, file for bankruptcy, and start over. Other than the hurt feelings and shame of failure (we’ll talk about that later), you don’t face any physical risk for your life. This is a new development in civilization, and it’s so baked into the system, like a structural privilege, that we don’t realize how great we have it.

Avoid hedonistic activities associated with catastrophic risk. Billionaire investor and dispenser of Americana wisdom Charlie Munger sums up this advice, “Don’t do cocaine. Don’t race trains. And avoid AIDS situations.”

Work a real job, and once that job is over, work on your side job. Everywhere I look there are wantrepreneurs. They have energy and lack know-how. Running a business is hard. Learn how to run a business on someone else’s Bitcoin.

Warren Buffett tells this story about Charlie Munger:

Charlie, as a very young lawyer, was probably getting $20 an hour. He thought to himself, ‘Who’s my most valuable client?’ And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day. He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this, be the client, and then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.

Drive a crappy car.  Nice cars attract attention from people you don’t want noticing you (police and basic people). I didn’t buy a nice car until in my 30s. My car was so ratty that when Shauna came over to visit and parked in the lot, her friends asked her, “Whose car is that?

When I finally bought a nice car, it was a used BMW convertible. Let some other sucker eat the depreciation, and never buy a new car.

Time (and focus) is a Zero-Sum Activity.

Time spent with losers is time not spent with winners. Time spend with toxic people is time not spent with inspirational people.

Rate your social interactions with people, and cut out anyone below a 4. When you hang out with someone, how do you feel afterwards?

A 5 inspires you. A 1 drains you. A 3 is meh.

To surround yourself with 5’s, you must cut out the 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s.

Spend your time with people who inspire you to greatness. When you hang out with people, they should have new ideas to share with you. The way they live should inspire you to live a better life, because what one man does, other men can do.

You must inspire others to greatness. What do YOU have going on? If you’re 25 and don’t have some hustle, and aren’t reading new and interesting books and taking risks in life, why would older more successful people want to be around you? Sorry that no one told you this: People judge.

Where will you find the time?

This will be easier to answer when you’re young. You think you have responsibilities and problems, but you most likely don’t.

My 25 year old self would scowl at me for how much time I waste. (And despite wasting an inordinate amount of time, I get more done than 99% of other people.)

When I was 25, I never posted to an Internet message board, played video games, or talked to losers. I was reading books, going to the gym, and learning skills not taught in the classroom. People with nothing going on were cut out as they are spiritual and emotional vampires.

Don’t drink more than once a week, and get up and go to the gym the next day. I partied hard after succeeding in my 20s and 30s, and every morning after went to Equinox for a workout, cold eucalyptus towels, and a steam room session. Knowing you must get up to hit the gym, regardless of how much you party, sets a limit on your alcohol consumption.

Get in the best physical shape possible. I’ve been fat, fit, jacked, and everywhere in between. Life is better for fit people. The world treats you better. Beauty privilege is real. Fitness privilege is real.

Learning how to learn and learning how to earn.

Most of your peers are lazy and weak. The bar for success is low. People are a joke. I outwork most people far younger than I am, and that doesn’t make me proud. It makes me contemptuous for modern society.

Develop one new general skill a year.

  • Public speaking,
  • Copywriting,
  • Blog building,
  • Photography,
  • Event planning / social organizing,
  • Accountancy,
  • Body language reading,
  • Social skills,
  • Fashion.

Scott Adams calls this talent stack building. Read his books. I call it, “Duh, learn stuff, what the f-ck else are you going to do with your time – watch TV?”

Tearing other people down doesn’t bring you up.

Status is programmed in our DNA, because once upon a time taking down the alpha made you the alpha. Those days are gone. Tearing down another person doesn’t raise you up, because our society is niche and widespread.

You can also see how constantly tearing people down ages people. Look at journalists. They don’t look healthy, do they? This is because they don’t have an aspirational message or vision. They look for the negative in everyone. This programs their minds to see the negative in themselves. (Or maybe people become journalists because they hate themselves?)

Doing journalism aged me prematurely by 3-5 years. I used to be a total hottie. Now I’m a handsome guy, but could be way better looking.

Focus on ways to bring people up with you. Are you making introductions, connecting people, building out networks?

Most of your problems are Mindset-based, not Physical.

A mosquito isn’t going to give you malaria. Your child isn’t going to have to crawl into a coal mine. Almost all of your issues are mindset based.

  • Am I good enough?
  • Will people judge me if I fail?
  • Will I look stupid?
  • What if….

This handsome young man didn’t feel very good about himself. Why? He didn’t understand the power of mindset. He let others dictate his sense of self-worth. He felt slave emotions like shame.

 

Shame is the mind killer. When you take visionary risks, people will laugh at you, as you appear literally insane to them. Visionaries see what others can’t or won’t see.

Most of my teenage and 20’s life involved adults laughing at me and telling me I didn’t have an idea. Well, here I am and where are they?

Give people permission to reject you. Most people tell themselves no, or tell themselves the other person will say no. “I would do this, but no one will care.” F-ck off with that nonsense. You live in a free market, capitalist society. Make the market tell you no.

Get used to hearing, No. The most successful businessmen and women will all admit, if in a rare moment of candor, that they don’t know why some businesses succeed and others failed.

For example, I invested in a fantastic lifestyle company. Do you know what our best product is? This anti-aging facial serum.

Not Gorilla Mind (Rush), which is a fantastic pre-workout. Not Gorilla Mind (Smooth), which I use to stay focused with no jitters. A product we added to the inventory on a whim is the top seller.

Why? Because that’s how the free market works. You have an idea in your mind. And other people have their own ideas.

We are actually taking the company in a different direction, and will focus more on lifestyle products.

Don’t fight the free market. Don’t take rejection personally. You had an idea. The free market had another idea. Trust the market.

On a long enough timeline, you’ll (probably) get what you deserve.

If you take care of yourself, avoid toxic people, and work hard, you’ll almost certainly get what you deserve.

Stay alive. Don’t give up hope.

Remain hopeful. You’re going to have some down days, and you can choose those bad times as preparation for something more.

Mindset is a choice, and your life is in your hands.

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Mindset

Blood Work for Men

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Women live longer than men because women go to the doctor. Sure there is more to it than that, but it’s also true that if a woman sees a mole or something, she’s calling the dermatologist. Men accept “aches and pains” as sign they are growing old and never see a doctor until it’s too late.

Part of taking care of yourself is getting regular blood work done (at least once a year) and knowing how to read your own blood work. The most important tests for men health are testosterone levels, cholesterol levels, fasting glucose levels, and Vitamin D.

  • As always, never undergo a diet or exercise regime without a doctor’s supervision!

Yes, you have to learn how to read your own labs because most doctors won’t order the full male anti-aging lab work you need (insurance companies often won’t cover a full panel), and if when doctors do order full labs, they only look to see if you’re with “range.”

Take testosterone levels for example. My own recent blood works shows I am within range, and even have a healthy overall testosterone level. But I’m at the bottom 20% percentile for free testosterone. (Isn’t it funny that people often accuse me of having ‘roid rage. I’m actually low T!)

Let’s go into my own blood work.

Testosterone levels.

Here is what the lab work looks like. Does it sound confusing? Fret not.

This testosterone lab result shows my testosterone levels are 538.8 ng/dL.

500 ng/DL is considered a healthy level by most general physicians who tell you to eat according to the Food Pyramid. It’s also the magic number to get TRT.

  • See, “Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Playing Catch-up With Patients
  • Although there is no consensus on an absolute number that defines a low testosterone level, concern exists that there are economic incentives to raise the bar for normal and thereby increase the potential market for testosterone-raising products. Many commercial avenues for the treatment of low T do not follow the standards of the established medical community. Some websites suggest screening for low T with total and free testosterone levels for all men aged > 40 years. Others advise men to consider TRT if they have a total testosterone level of < 500 ng/dL or a free testosterone level that is not in the upper one-third range for men aged 21 to 49 years.

Even though my testosterone is within the average range, but the biological marker that matters is free testosterone.

  • Free Testosterone(Direct) 9.5 NORMAL

The range for free testosterone is 6.8-21.5 pg/mL. A level of 9.5 pg/mL is in the low range of testosterone.

Of course if you go to the doctor and get labs ordered, it’s unlikely he or she will even order a test for free testosterone.

And unless you ask for your results, the doctor is only going to look to see if you’re within range.

You can have low testosterone or have other issues even if you’re within range.

Cholesterol levels.

The scientific consensus on cholesterol levels and heart attack risk is a mess. First they said high cholesterol would lead to a heart attack. Then they said your HDL (high density lipoprotein) levels should be used to offset your overall levels. Now…. They don’t know.

Here is the latest on cholesterol and heart attack risk according to the Mayo Clinic:

For predicting your risk of heart disease, many doctors now believe that determining your non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than calculating your cholesterol ratio.

And either option appears to be a better risk predictor than your total cholesterol level or even your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level. Non-HDL cholesterol, as its name implies, simply subtracts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol number from your total cholesterol number. So it contains all the “bad” types of cholesterol.

An optimal level of non-HDL cholesterol is less than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.37 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Higher numbers mean a higher risk of heart disease.

To calculate your cholesterol ratio, divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL cholesterol number. So if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) and your HDL is 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L), your ratio would be 4-to-1. Higher ratios mean a higher risk of heart disease.

My HDL level is 65 and my total cholesterol level is 199.

  • 199 / 65 = 3.06

According to available consensus, I have a less than half the risk of a heart attack:

The Framingham Heart Study states that the following cholesterol ratios roughly signal different degrees of heart disease risk:

Men

5.0 = average risk

3.4 = half the average risk

9.6 = twice the average risk

HOWEVER…..

Because I have had my labs measured for years, I see that my LDL levels increased.

2013 cholesterol levels:

  • Total 132
  • Triglycerides 41
  • HDL cholesterol 45
  • VLDL cholesterol 8
  • LDL cholesterol 79

Because I’ve tracked my blood work since 2013, I see that my LDL went up, spiking my total cholesterol level. Basically because I’ve eaten like a fat ass all year while still exercising.

HDL levels go up when you exercise aggressively.

Fasting Glucose

Fasting glucose levels (measured in two ways) are more important that cholesterol levels. Your fasting glucose levels on a blood test will show you your risk for diabetes.

  • Glucose 89 ….. NORMAL 65-99 mg/dL

89 is good, especially as my levels in 2013 were 84.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

  • A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.

I also had my Hemoglobin A1c labs done:

  • Hemoglobin A1c 4.9

That’s a freaking good number according to Mayo:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test, which doesn’t require fasting, indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal.

I’ve still cut the carbs down largely because my diet is a disaster as anyone who follows my Instagram knows.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D levels should be in the 50 ng/mL range.

My result was 40.1 ng/mL range.

No big deal, I’ll start taking 5,000 iu’s of Vitamin D a day for a month or two and also make sure to get some more sunshine.

Misc blood work / lab results

Each person is different and your blood will tell the tale.

A full lab shows more than just tesosterone levels, and looks like this:

CBC With Differential/Platelet WBC 5.6 NORMAL 3.4-10.8 x10E3/uL 01 RBC 4.60 NORMAL 4.14-5.80 x10E6/uL 01

Hemoglobin 14.1 NORMAL 13.0-17.7 g/dL 01

Hematocrit 42.4 NORMAL 37.5-51.0 % 01

MCV 92 NORMAL 79-97 fL 01 MCH 30.7 NORMAL 26.6-33.0 pg 01

MCHC 33.3 NORMAL 31.5-35.7 g/dL 01 RDW 13.2 NORMAL 12.3-15.4 % 01

Platelets 286 NORMAL 150-450 x10E3/uL 01 Neutrophils 38 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Lymphs 44 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Monocytes 14 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01 Eos 3 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01 Basos 0 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Neutrophils (Absolute) 2.1 NORMAL 1.4-7.0 x10E3/uL 01

Lymphs (Absolute) 2.5 NORMAL 0.7-3.1 x10E3/uL 01

Monocytes(Absolute) 0.8 NORMAL 0.1-0.9 x10E3/uL 01 Eos (Absolute) 0.2 NORMAL 0.0-0.4 x10E3/uL 01

Baso (Absolute) 0.0 NORMAL 0.0-0.2 x10E3/uL 01

Immature Granulocytes 1 NORMAL Not Estab. % 01

Immature Grans (Abs) 0.0 NORMAL 0.0-0.1 x10E3/uL 01

How to Get Blood Work Done.

I get the Male Anti-Aging Panel from Private MD Labs here.

Past experiences with doctors have shown that they won’t order the full labs, and when they do, they often won’t send you the full records.

I also like that I can log into a dashboard and get all of my blood work for over half a decade.

This is what the dashboard looks like. I have all of my data in one place, and they don’t charge you an annual fee to keep it stored here, unlike many of the new “health apps.”

The Male Anti-Aging Panel is comprehensive and covers every test I mentioned above and a lot more.

I get the Male Anti-Aging Panel done once every 12-18 months, because it’s expensive (your health is worth it), and I get a smaller test done more frequently as needed.

HEALTHY12 usually works as a 12% off coupon code. I used it on my last test and it worked.

What to do about Testosterone Levels.

Go see a doctor who specializes in male hormone optimization. Don’t waste your time with a General Practitioner unless you have a good relationship with him and her and they won’t give you any static.

TRT is around $80 a month.

Now there’s a lot of disinformation about TRT, and my answer is that I don’t care if you go see a doctor about TRT.

Lifting Weights + TRT Saved Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Life

I don’t have all day to hand hold cry babies who believe the lies.

Get your labs done, take care of your health, and talk to a doctor.

And listen to this podcast:

The Complete Guide to Fasting for Fat Loss, Increased Focus, and Spirituality

However also know that most of what you read online about how to “naturally raise testosterone levels” is bullshit as are those over-the-counter “testosterone boosters.”

If you enjoyed this article about men’s health, read Gorilla Mindset, which covers mindset and physical health.

Get Gorilla Mindset here.

Supplements I take for overall Men’s Health

Vasky – a vasodilator.

Vasodilators are medications that open (dilate) blood vessels. They affect the muscles in the walls of your arteries and veins, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing. As a result, blood flows more easily through your vessels. Your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard, reducing your blood pressure.

As the great Dr. Brett Osborn is fond of saying, “You’re only as old as your blood vessels.”

Vasodilators open up your blood vessels, leading to improved circulation. (But you have to see a doctor because you may have bleeding issues and a vasodilator could be harmful!)

Vasodilators also improve blood flow to other parts of the body if you know what I mean.

Vasky Is from MTS Nutrition and you can get it here.

3 cans of sardines a week.

Sardines are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.

Other people take fish oil, although some evidence suggests the body doesn’t absorb the Omega 3’s from fish oil as well as it does from whole fish. (Some idiot is going to scare monger about mercury and just go away because that’s disinformation and we don’t have time for that here.)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the few supplements the straight-laced Mayo Clinic recommends:

Heart conditions. CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Although findings are mixed, CoQ10 might help reduce blood pressure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who’ve had bypass and heart valve surgeries. Parkinson’s disease. Early research suggests that high doses of CoQ10 might be beneficial for people in the early stages of this progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

DHEA

DHEA is less important than testosterone, but it’s still an important male hormone. Some evidence suggests that DHEA is good for bone health.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the most important supplement men (and women) can take.

Read the full fact sheet here:

Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives). Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also a must-have supplement. Read the full fact sheet here:

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

Gorilla Mind Smooth.

Gorilla Mind Smooth is a stimulant-free focusing agent.

I take it most days, and sometimes stack it with Rush (as when I need to get a lot of writing done). Get it here.

Books to Read on Men’s Health

I only recommend two, because they are the best.

Get Serious by Dr. Brett Obsorn is the best general book on health and fitness for men.

The Testosterone Optimization Therapy Bible by Jay Campbell is the best book on testosterone and other specialized subjects.

Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich is the best overall book on mindset + good living.

Stay healthy friends!

This article is probably a lot of reading, and yet it’s only part of the knowledge you need to live a full and complete life.

If you have any questions, post them below!

P.S. If you made it this far, you deserve a reward. Use GM10 at checkout to save 10% on your full order at Gorilla Mind here.

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Mindset

Podcast – How to Win Big By Starting Small

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For a while I wanted to start a podcast focusing on a lot of issues you want to know more about, and finding the right people to work with is something I take my time doing.

We already have Jay back with the best health and fitness information you’ll get anywhere.

And Alex and Ed have done seminars with me.

What about the entrepreneurial podcast, though…

I’ve had more failures than successes, and needed someone to balance me out who has had more successes than failures, and also someone who had expertise in areas I didn’t.

(That’s how partnership works. There’s no reason to work with your twin. You partner with people who have complementary skills.)

A guy came down for a cigar night and seemed OK.

I tend to like people right away and work with them, or not.

Sometimes it leads me into some issues (as with my first film), but more often my instincts are right and it pays off.

(I had a bad feeling about the guy I did my first film with, but it was too late at that point.)

He said, “Wanna start a podcast?”

Sure.

And Mindset Squared was created.

What are we going to talk about?

Well Mike brought down a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 to compare with Yamazaki 18, so there will be some “good life” stuff for sure.

And also business and other subjects.

You can listen to all of the Mindset Squared episodes here:

You can listen to our most recent episode below:

Or watch the video here:

And bookmark this page to stay updated on all matters podcast related.

Mike Cernovich Podcasts

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Mindset

Listen to the first two chapters of the Gorilla Mindset audiobook for free

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Listen and if you like it, buy it at Audible here.

Gorilla Mindset: Introduction

Gorilla Mindset Chapter 1: Mindset is a Conversation

 

Gorilla Mindset audiobook reviews

Gorilla Mindset has over 1,400 ratings.

  • Essentials of mindset & lifestyle in one book
  • Gorilla Mindset is a series of mindset and lifestyle shifts that you can adopt in your life to get more of what you want. The audiobook helps you take your Gorilla Mindset training to the next level if you are working the paperback/kindle as well.
  • Just what I needed Some really great stuff in here about shifting your mindset from accepting life to doing something about it.
  • Self awareness Loved this book now I can see myself, or be more aware of myself. Thank you Mike.
  • Awesome! Wow! The things we can do when we have our mind focused on dong the right things.
  • A relatable book I’ve met Mike on a couple occasions and respect how he thinks and acts with intention. When I first heard the word mindset I thought some woo woo stuff. It took me some time to realize I was mistaken. I felt this book. It resonates. Try it out.
  • Great read to start a new year off right! Gorilla Mindset was very empowering and gave me a fresh outlook on life. This book started making me feel like I’ve been standing on the sidelines of my own life and that I am capable of so much more. I am ready to put these new ideas into action.
  • You really need this book! This is a fantastic book and is well worth the read. Mike has proven with venture after venture that he knows what he is talking about and is worth listening to. Tons of helpful insights and suggestions here…if you only absorb a small percentage of them, it will still be well worth your time.
  • Listen all the way through You have to listen to all of it. There is good material and ok material throughout, even though there is likely one or more things you won’t agree with or like. It’s only about four hours long and not polished but that makes it worth listening to and real.
  • Amazing and Enlightening ! Everyone should really read this. I completed with no interruptions! Very Detailed!
  • Thought provoking Mike Cernovich brings unique insight to personal development. He’s got advice on mental and physical health as well and relationships.
  • Big Brother Advice You Never Got It’s a great book, full of practical advice and I am going to use it. I never got any direction from my parents or brothers and I’m sure my generation(GenX) as a whole didn’t either. It’s only after much toil, that I have taken a sledgehammer to the poorly self poured foundation that I have haphazardly built. The words spoken in this book are more important now than ever. Thank you for the words of wisdom.
  • open mind Even if you do not agree with all subjects he talks about, it’s a great read/listen and you will walk away learning something new. Maybe even inspired… waiting on G.M.2
  • One of the best if not the greatest book on mindset This book is everything you need to get your mind and body right. With the addition of this audiobook you can hear Mike the same way he delivers on his podcasts. Really glad to have found Cernovich ‘s writing. I’m 110% sure he’s s helped tens of thousands of people all over the world. But this if you need to get your head straight or want more out of life.

You can listen to the full audiobook here.

 

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