“What’s past is prologue,” is the mantra of the West. Your past determines your future. Who you are now is a product of who you were or what you’ve done. In the past.
If you doubt people view the world this way, listen to them as they tell you about their lives, and their problems. Answer with, “Now what?”
But I’ve had a terrible life and everyone treats me unfairly.
People won’t see me for the person I am.
I don’t have the relationships I deserve!
Watch how angered people get when you say, “Now what,” “And,” and “So what?”
The only way to change your life is to reject the proposition that your future life story is dictated by your past life story.
Now some people with negative thoughts will say, “BUUUUUT” and list some ways that the past dictates who they are. And that’s fine. Leave now, you are squandering my time and yours.
A future-oriented person would say, “You’re right. My life isn’t where it needs to be, and I need to focus on how to change the future.” And yet this so rarely happens.
There is simply no reason I ever should have broken the John Conyers story. 99% of professional journalists who work a media job for their entire lives will never have a scoop like that. Nothing in my past suggested this outcome. And yet it happened. Why?
You cling to the past because familiarity is comforting.
Public speaking is listed as one of a person’s greatest fears. People aren’t afraid of public speaking, they are afraid of what might happen. They are afraid of the unknown. If I told you everyone in the crowd would love your speech, and if you believed everyone would love your speech, you’d love public speaking. The fear is of the unknown reaction of the crowd.
People don’t fear death, they fear what happens when they die. They worry about the unknowns, such as what will happen to their family.
The unknown is seen as more dangerous than the known, and thus people choose to be miserable rather than begin anew, because nothing is as unknown as the new.
How do you improve at life?
Question: How much better would you be if you practiced a skill every day for one or two years? Would you be ten times better? Twenty? Fifty?
I expected the answer to be “10” or so. The real answer is your improvement is nearly immeasurable:
You wouldn’t be ten or twenty times better; you’d be immeasurably better. Comparing their skill at the beginning and end of the process is like comparing a Model T to a Ferrari — it’s not an increase; it’s a complete transformation.
Which raises a question: if intensive daily practice is so transformative, then why aren’t we all doing it? In other words, what do these people have that the rest of us don’t? I think one answer is this: they have a willingness to feel stupid. To endure the unique social-emotional burn of repeated clumsiness. And this willingness is the secret foundation of their development.
I once attended a Tony Robbins seminar, and the person said the biggest internal barrier stopping her was the fear of looking stupid. This person had stopped taking risks because she was afraid of looking stupid.
I have looked awfully stupid over the years. Many times. I’ve looked insane at times, too.
And yet I’m still moving forward, accomplishing what should be impossible.
A media person was asking me some questions, and I started asking my own questions, because it’s more fun that way:
“Is there any reason in the world I should be where I am today?”
He laughed. “No, actually there’s not. You should have been out of public life long ago.”
“Why then,” I continued, “do none of you guys asking me how it is I’m able to do what I do?”
If you aren’t making mistakes, your game is stale.
Being a white belt in jiu jitsu is great. You suck, and everyone knows it. The problem arises when you get a blue belt. Now you’re afraid of being tapped out by a white belt.
People stop at mediocre because they feel like they have a game, but mastery requires error after error.
My life is like a cautionary tale, but whatever. I keep moving forward and don’t let the past dictate my future.
YOU are allowed to define your identity.
Identity is the story of yourself.
“I am a…” precedes a story about yourself, and yes it’s a story you tell yourself.
“I am a father” contains a story, and often the definitions you use determine the story you live.
We see this most often when people won’t do something because, “I’m just not the type of person who…” This phraseology is almost always used to justify why you won’t take an action that would improve your life.
“I’m just not the type of person who takes risks.” You’ve created an identity based around the story of a risk-averse person. What if you could change that story?
Your identity is often defined, by the way, by your lowest point or greatest mistake.
Did you know Mike Tyson went to prison? I bet you don’t, or if you knew, you forget. That’s not what you think about when you think about Mike Tyson’s story.
“I think about the future.” – Mike Tyson
When a news anchor asked Mike Tyson about the biggest regrets of his boxing career, Tyson said, “I don’t have too many highlights, I don’t think about my boxing career much.”
You don’t look back and reminisce about your boxing career?
Never. Really. I’m telling the truth. I think about the future.
That’s what the world knows about you, Iron Mike…boxing champion of the world.
I’ve done other things, I’ve done movie, I’ve done television, that’s where I want to stay.
How do you practice for life?
What skills do you need to succeed in life?
- If you want to be a comedian, take a comedy class.
- If you want to be a dancer, take a dance class.
- If you want to be a tennis player, take a tennis class.
If you want to be good at life, well, tell people you’re going to take a class about life. Get their reactions.
Life is hard, and yet it’s assumed anyone who wants to learn more about life is weird. How does this make any sense?
When you phrase the question the way I did above, you see immediately how silly it is to suggest that taking a class at life is a bad idea. You see that taking a class on life would be the most import project you could ever undertake.
How would you practice for life?
Practicing presupposes you’re learning a new skill, and to make it in this life you need to stay healthy, develop personal relationships, and earn money.
Most people aren’t practicing at life. They are living the only way they know how to live, which for most people means they aren’t living effectively.
You’d think that someone who was practicing for life would regularly go to the gym, learn more effective ways of communicating and connecting with others, and they’d take courses to improve their skills. What percentage of the population does that describe?
I’m re-listening to How to Win Friends and Influence People.
I’m taking a writing class from Masterclass (not an affiliate, nor sponsored).
Because how else will I improve my relationships with other people, and improve my writing skills?
How do you start a new life?
You start a new life by doing something else. Simple to understand and hard to live.
You start a new life by practicing something new every day.
What would your life look like with an hour of concentrated effort on a new life?
Within a year, it’d be unrecognizable.
Why doesn’t everyone who wants a new life start practicing?
Because they’ll look stupid, or feel stupid even when alone. (Go stand in front of a mirror and practice public speaking. I get you’ll feel stupid. Why? No one else is there.)
What is your greatest fear?
Is humanity’s greatest fear the unknown or the fear of looking stupid?
Maybe they are the same fear.
If you want to change your life – to truly take it to another level – get used to both.
There is no shortcut.
You can use some mindset tools to push past them. For example, when life isn’t going my way, I tell myself this is practice for something greater.
This requires a life vision, a belief you are working for and heading towards some place.
Those techniques work, and you’ll still have to get used to waking up not knowing for sure what will happen. And you’ll have to get used to looking stupid, if not now then in the future.
I started doing videos. Some of the older ones make me cringe. The ones that make me cringe are the reason I’m here.
I started writing blogs. Some of my old blogs are poorly worded or outright nonsense. The blog posts that make me cringe led to the book that lets me live.
Mindset. Identity. Story.
What stories are you telling yourself about yourself? How can you change these stories?
Blood Work for Men
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.
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.
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:
5.0 = average risk
3.4 = half the average risk
9.6 = twice the average risk
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 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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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 is less important than testosterone, but it’s still an important male hormone. Some evidence suggests that DHEA is good for bone health.
Magnesium is the most important supplement men (and women) can take.
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 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.
Podcast – How to Win Big By Starting Small
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?”
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.
Listen to the first two chapters of the Gorilla Mindset audiobook for free
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.