We often hear, “Mindset is everything,” yet we rarely see it applied in action. What does Gorilla Mindset in action look like?
Philosopher Stefan Molyneux and Mike Cernovich sit down to discuss failure, internet haters, ambition, happiness, and human nature. Watch it below, list to the podcast, or read the full transcript.
P.S. Have you tried Gorilla Mind, my personal brain boosting formula? It’s what I use every day.
Read the full conversation below as you listen to the podcast.
Stefan Molyneux: Hi, everybody. It’s Stefan Molyneux, I hope you’re doing well. Here with Mike Cernovich, the lawyer/filmmaker, the bestselling author of Gorilla Mindset: How to Control your Thoughts and Emotions to Live Life on Your Terms, and MAGA Mindset: How to Make You and American Great Again. He’s also producer of the film documentary Silenced: Our War on Free Speech and the imminent, brilliant I dare say, upcoming film Hoaxed: The Media’s War on Truth. The website is Cernovich, C-E-R-N-O-V-I-C-H.com. Twitter.com/cernovich. Mike, how have you been?
Mike Cernovich: Been well, man. I actually had a really nasty cold though, for about the past five or six days.
Stefan Molyneux: Did you get that flu, because I hear that’s like death medieval flu coming down that’s striking people down like a swing of a medieval scythe.
Mike Cernovich: Luckily I didn’t get the flu, which a bunch of people got. I got an abbreviated version of it or an abridged version of it. It’s still pretty unpleasant.
Stefan Molyneux: Yeah. The other day my daughter wanted to go to a play center and all I can think of is you know that violet light that they put in crime scenes, it just shows you all the body fluid? And all I could see was this like play center coated in this weird violet light of doom and it’s like, “Nope. The only thing we can do is go skiing because those bugs will be killed by the snow.” That’s kind of key for me these days.
So let’s talk about what’s coming up, what, a couple of weeks now. February 24th, that’s 2018, A Night for Freedom. Actually it’s the second Night for Freedom I suppose. Washington DC, ANightforFreedomDC.com. What’s going on and why should people come?
Mike Cernovich: Well, they should come to see you.
Stefan Molyneux: Well, naturally.
Mike Cernovich: You’re the draw. You’re the main event. I’m happy making you the main event. Jesse Lee Peterson will be there and he’s going to be with us doing a private podcast. We may have a special guest or two that I’ll keep on the down low for now. The main reason people should go is because you need community and we’ve proven that it isn’t going to be 20 people in some dingy, grimy little space acting weird. We did A Night for Freedom New York, right, to prove the concept. We proved the concept that look, our people want to do things that are fun. Our people want to socialize. Our people do want to hang out. And they are all good people and you know they’re good people because I would never give a media pass to [inaudible 00:02:15] the Huffington Post or the Guardian because those are fake blogs. And their articles, they’re like, “Oh, angry white people gather at A Night for Freedom.” But there’s actually no pictures of anybody being angry. Everybody’s like smiling and having a good time. So even with undercover infiltrators, they couldn’t find anything wrong with what we did or how we behaved and that’s because we are not like them. We had a lot of fun.
Stefan Molyneux: Well, I have never myself taking cocaine injected directly to the eyeballs or any other balls on my body, but if I did, Mike, I’m pretty sure it would be the kind of contact high that comes from meeting brilliant, smart, fun, happy people for a great night of enlightenment and entertainment. It was a real blast and I coasted on that for like a week in terms of the joy juice in my brain and everybody was so thrilled and it was so wonderful to just … I’m sitting there for like four hours after my speech just meeting and greeting people. It was an electric night and people should not miss out on it. If they crawl to get there, take to the sewers, catch a ride with a skyhook on an airplane, whatever you need to do to get there. It is going to be like an oasis in the desert for people and it’s something you can keeping going afterwards. You keep your contacts, you get your cards, you exchange information with people, and keep the flame alive.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. People meet all kinds of great people, make a lot of friendships, lifelong friendships, and that’s why too we always price things based on peoples’ level of commitment and what they can invest in everything because general admission tickets are subsidized by the VIP and sponsor, the super sponsor, which is great because we want everybody who can possibly find a way to go out for a night to be able to come out and have a great time.
Stefan Molyneux: Right. Right. So this was your first, I guess, New York was your first big event since the DeploraBall and fear of failure, that’s a big thing to stare down. You’ve got venue cancellations, you’ve got Antifa floating around, you’ve got cops downstairs, you have … you don’t know who’s managed to infiltrate their way in, you’ve got hostile reporters. That is a lot to take on and how concerned were you about whether New York was going to go well, badly, and how did you deal with that fear of the crash and burn scenario that it seemed like you were on the conveyor belt too for a while there?
Mike Cernovich: I didn’t have fun until it was about 9:30 PM. The night of the event. And Shauna came over and gave me a big hug and I felt sort of overwhelmed with emotion as if okay, I can now finally say that we’ve won and, you know, I had that sort of where Michael Jordan’s crying as he’s holding the trophy thing. I’m like, “Nobody’s going to catch me. Nobody’s going to catch me getting emotional.” But yeah, I didn’t have … It wasn’t fun for me until about 9:30 that night because we did have one venue not only canceled on us, which I don’t have a problem with the venue saying, “Look, I don’t like you. I don’t want your money.” Fine. Capitalist. Right? I do have a problem with people saying, “We actually really like you. Thank you for the $16,000 deposit. We’re going to host you and we can’t wait.” And then when I go in Friday at 2:30 PM and we’re supposed to be opening the doors for us, you, and I, and others at 1 PM to get set up. When I got that Friday at 2:30 PM, the guy goes, “Can’t do it. Can’t host your event.” And he said, “Well, we need a permit.”
It’s like, no, he runs an event space, he literally does what his company does is they hold events, they hold parties, they hold … well, we need an event gathering thing. And he just was completely lying to me. And from there, this was about the time that you joined us and went to venue number two. So venue number one cancels. We go to venue number two. We talk to them. They know who we are. They had hosted, you know, other controversial people, so they didn’t care too strictly about business. We do a deal. We all have dinner and everybody is celebrating and, you know, I’m having a good time. You guys were with me. I was still in my head a little bit because I told you guys even, I said, “When we’re in the venue setting up, then I’ll feel comfortable.” So I’m kind of exhausted, I go home Friday night, fall asleep. Shauna comes in at 1 AM, “Hey, babe, get up.” “What?” “The second venue canceled on you.” I go, “No, it can’t be, babe. They know who we are. It can’t be.”
So I pick up the phone at 1 AM. No, no, the second venue canceled. The promoters were fine with us, but then the venue owner said, “Well, actually I would be fine having you, but I need 24 hours notice so that I can notify NYPD precinct and just have police there.” So of course embedded in that is the idea that well, wait a minute, the venue owner, the second venue owner was fine with us, but he’s like, “Well, I need to get the police here because I know these feral leftists are going to come out.” And I’m like, “Okay.” So then I’m up until 3:30 in the morning trying to find a venue, can’t find one. Wake up sick to my stomach because a number of reasons. One is that movement leaders don’t get to say, “Well, you know, two venues canceled on me. Pity me. I’m such a victim. Isn’t it sad?” Now, everybody that was in town knew what I would do. I would refund everybody’s money. I would’ve taken a $100,000 loss on it just taking a bath because we already prepaid the caterer, which was $45,000. And then I would have just had happy hour. I would’ve said, “Okay.” Hey, we would’ve done something, but I said, “Man, I’m not going to quit until I’m dead, right?”
So we keep calling around, right? We keep calling around, keep calling around, keep calling around. Finally we find a guy who says, “Bring $30,000 cash [inaudible 00:07:51].” So my business partner said, “Well, I got like $7,500 on me. Can you go get $20,000?” And I said, “Well, I mean, what choice do I have? Sure.” So I go to the bank and then meanwhile there was like this media [inaudible 00:08:08] that were filming it. So for them, I’m like, “Great. I’m glad you … ” They got great footage. I don’t know what they’re going to do with it, but they were doing kind of a longer project on it. So anybody who claimed that I made this up, like no, there were literally people following me around and it wasn’t my people. It was media people following me around. So the idea that like I did all of this because it would be fund is, of course, ludicrous.
So we go in, get the cash, get the venue. I’m still a little uneasy. And then I give the guy the cash and I go … he takes the cash, they count it, he goes, “Okay.” And I go, “Well, should I like sign something?” And he goes, “Your people are here setting up. I have your money. What’s to discuss?” I’m like, “Okay.” I can deal with people like this. I was like, “Okay. I like this guy. They’re just straight up like it’s business.” And then people set up, everything was great, and then the event started going. A little bit behind schedule, a little bit of chaos, but ultimately it go going.
Stefan Molyneux: No, it was fantastic. I was very pleased to be there sort of mid afternoon. I have this thing where I want to go make friends with the space that I’m going to speak in and also figure out the dimensions, where to pace, where to walk, so that I don’t go pull a Steven Tyler and plunge off the stage. So it was really great having that luxury ahead of time.
So you had a fascinating thing to me going on when we were at the second venue and you were like, “Well, you know, it’s the price of the game.” It’s like the mindset and the mental approach that you take to these kinds of issues I think people would be quite curious about because it is old thing in life. Like what stops people? Where is it that they hit that wall? And that wall that they hit where they just kind of give up and they go rubber bones, that’s usually internal. It’s usually before something happens external that is going to stop you. People are just like, “Okay. Whoa. That’s like one too many straws that breaks the camels’ backs.” So what is the language, Mike, that you use in your mind to frame these kinds of setbacks and to give yourself that resolute willpower to keep going?
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. I call it the three E’s, which is ego, expectations, entitlement. Me, I exist, I’m a person, I have expectations about the world. My expectation about the world is if I sign a contract with a venue, they’re going to perform as they said they’re going to perform and nothing’s going to happen. And then I feel entitled to having things go right. To have things go according to plan. Now a lot of people would say, “Well, you’re not actually feeling entitled to have things go according to plan because they’re supposed to go according to plan.” Well, that’s the breakdown in the model. No, nothing’s supposed to go according to plan. That’s the idea that you believe the world is supposed to perform to your expectation. No, the world is going to perform to the way it wants to perform based on how much force that you can push back against the world and then of course the world is going to push back against you. So as we’re doing this venue thing, I’m not thinking, “Oh, I can’t believe they canceled. What do I do? I’m such a victim. Everybody’s going after me. The world is rigged.”
Well, the world is rigged against us, Stefan. And everybody listening, I hate to break it to you, and everybody listening, and Michael, and the whole crew, but yes, the world is rigged against us. When you have a venue that you paid money to and they’re like, “Nope. Not going to do it.” Setting you up. When you have venues cancel on you when you have feral hate mobs of people coming out trying to threaten you, then it’s fair to say, “Yes, indeed the world is rigged.” So what? So what? That’s always the question about childhood. My parents … Great. Great. I accept your premise. You’ve had an unfair life. You weren’t born with maybe the gifts others had. You had a challenging upbringing. You were abused. Bad things happen. Okay. I understand and with all compassion I say, “Now what? Now what?” And that’s where you have to adjust ego, expectations, entitlement is you have to say, “Yeah. The world is rigged against me. So what? I have to live according to the world as it is and then of course find ways to hack it.”
So for me, when we’re walking around there looking at the space, to me I’m just thinking, “Okay. We have this drama. Got to come up with this money. I better get my refund on this.” It didn’t even occur to me to feel sorry for myself because I don’t have expectations about the world and that the world should perform the way that I believe it should perform.
Stefan Molyneux: Yeah because we all have these ideals about, you know, honesty, integrity, and being forthright, and so on. And, you know, of course in the long run we hope to build that world so that those ideals are more firmly embedded in peoples’ minds and you can rely upon them. But right now, where we expect the physics of rationality to be the world that we move in, we’re moving in a sort of this psychotic dream nightmare scape of other peoples’ lack of integrity and that I think is really important to understand. You know, every time you go out in the car, you assume that there’s some lunatic out there driving half blindfolded. Every time you got out on the ocean, you assume that there’s going to be some terrible storm. Like expect the best, sure. Prepare for the worst and recognize that we still live in world where power, and influence, and fear, and greed, and all of the base monkey brain human lusts and paranoias are kind of what’s running most people. And whoever can exert the most pressure wins. Whoever can will the strongest is going to get their way. I really would love to evolve beyond that, but that I think is where we are at the moment and recognizing that and making your peace with that I think makes things a lot easier to navigate.
Mike Cernovich: Right because you can’t change the world. You can only change yourself. Or if you do want to change the world, you have to change yourself. So I also … Ego, expectations, and entitlement is kind of my model of dealing with the world. I just say, “Okay. You have expectations about the world. Now you free bruised because poor me. The world didn’t perform to expectations.” And then you realize well, actually it’s because of a basis on entitlement. So just all that homespun wisdom that we’ve lost, just get over yourself. Just get over yourself. Get over what you thought about the world and how its supposed to perform and then find a way to make it work. So that means if what I have to do is come up with $20,000 in cash, go to the bank, fine. To me, it didn’t even occur to me that this was an absurd situation.
Now the people filming it, to them, this is like great TV to them because this never happens in their world. Their world is so different from our world that they are just like giddy because I’m on the phone like yelling at people and hanging out. Then meanwhile, Cyra walks over, “Dada.” So she’s sitting on the table and I’m going, “Just get the venue where I have to be.” And she’s just laughing and giggling of course. Doesn’t care, just having fun. So to these guys, this is like bizarro world. They’re like, “Wait a minute. You got to go to the bank right now and get $20,000 in cash?” I’m like, “Yeah.” They go, “To get a venue?” And I go, “Yeah because two others … Yeah.” They’re like, “Wow, this is amazing.” So they’re like elated because we really do live in an alternative universe where not only do we have problems getting venues because of the venue owners who might not like us, but we have venue owners who do like us or at least will do business with us who are afraid of Antifa coming in and committing terrorism.
And in fact, I thought it was quite revealing that a man who had walked home from the party and he was a block or two away down the street was viciously attacked by an Antifa terrorist. His face he had an orbital bone break. The Antifa terrorist, who is a 30 year old white man, tried to strangle the guy to death. NYPD, which had been there, grabbed the suspect and then he tried to put a police officer in a headlock. So this guy is facing multiple felony counts, right. Two felonies, a couple charges for assaulting the officer. CNN has covered that? The media? Where is the coverage? No, that’s a local crime story. The New York Post wrote it up or Daily News did, but the mainstream media goes, “Well, that’s just a local crime story.” It’s like, “Oh, so if I had smacked Chelsea Manning at A Night for Freedom you would’ve said, ‘Oh, well that’s just a local misdemeanor. Assault, no big deal.’ Really?”
We do live in these parallel structures and we do have, you and I and everybody listening in, the world is rigged against us and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to do anything about it. And in fact, we showed and that’s why I did the party is what fueled me was that if we threw a bigger and better party than anything the people who hate us could ever throw, which we did, that would be a triumphant statement of who we are, what we stand for, and what we can overcome. It’s proof that we are the good guys. We are the on the right side. And on a personal level, it is proof that, “Hey, you want to make fun of Gorilla Mindset the book? Well, here. I live it. I wrote the book, and I live the book, and it had to happen.” So too, that was the pressure too was the guy who wrote Gorilla Mindset doesn’t get to say, “Well, I mean, you had two venues cancel, so we’ll just have a happy hour. Yeah, we’ll just have a happy hour and whatever.” You don’t get to do that, right? You have to make it happen one way or another and we did. Our revenge and our victory was the party.
Stefan Molyneux: Yes. Now, inner critic time because there’s this Aristotelian mean I think that people need to get in regards to the inner critic because the people who don’t criticize themselves, who don’t sort of have what we used to do in business and what I still do in what I do now this sort of … the post mortem. Like what worked, what didn’t work, how can you improve. And you have of course written that article at cernovich.com about what you’ve learned from it. So not criticizing yourself, not having that kind of feedback about how to improve makes people lazy and has them kind of squander their precious talents in the low rent section of underachievement. On the other hand of course, we all know people and maybe you have this sometimes from time to time as do I where that inner critic is like this death poison hydra fastening on your jugular and just goes way, way too far. So as far as having reasonable criticism with yourself, lessons learned, post mortems, things to improve, how do you keep that balance where you want to improve, but it doesn’t go too far into self-flagellation?
Mike Cernovich: Right. And we had talked about this before off camera. The difference between importance and self-importance. If you don’t feel like you’re important, if you don’t feel like you matter, if you can’t say, “I matter. My life has a purpose,” well then you’re going to be a slug who lays on the couch all day and you’re going to be depressed. But if you’re the guy or gal who walks around, “Oh, my God. I’m the most important person in the world. The world better bow to me,” you’re going to get crushed so fast and then you’re going to say, “Well, I don’t understand.” They’re going to be a victim. [inaudible 00:18:39].
The way I navigate it and because your audience is more rationally inclined is the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule, has been proven time and time again. And the 80/20 rule is simply that 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your actions. So let’s just apply that to A Night for Freedom. If I have a venue, you, and I, and Gavin, and Owen are there, people were going to be, for the most part, happy. If that venue had to be changed to Central Park, if it had to be changed to Times Square, if it had to be changed-
Stefan Molyneux: If we’re all on the subway in a row, it’s less optimal.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. People might not have loved it, but if all we had had is a place for us to gather, then 80% of people are going to say, “Well, you pulled it off. Son of a gun. It’s great.” Now that doesn’t mean you don’t want to seek out that other 20%. So what happens with people that say, “Well, I can’t pull off 100% of it. Where am I going to put the tables? Where are they going to put the chairs?” I didn’t even think about any of that to be honest. It didn’t even occur to me that there would be tables, and there’d be table clothes, and they would be set up. And then as it turns out, the way we did our podcast, we were all facing the crowd instead of each other. So in the post mortem, yeah, what we need to improve more is an hour more of programming before the party, a more kind of Rubin Report-esque setup where we’re looking at each other talking rather than sitting like this. Now people complained that I was on my phone, but yeah, I was coordinating with NYPD intelligence officers so those people can just, you know, go to you know where because I wasn’t surfing the web, dude, they’re like, “Antifa’s outside. Okay, we have 50 NYPD officers.” So it was like a real thing going on.
So yeah, we are going to take it to another level and you want to criticize yourself, but fundamentally you have to say, “What is it that’s going to get me the 80%?” So for example, I always say, “Watch the Joe Rogan Podcast … ” Even though Joe is … I don’t know what’s happened to him lately, but number one Joe Rogan Podcast. He and Redban are sitting in front of laptop and there’s these like flowers in the air just like … it looks dumb to be honest. And now he has one of the top podcasts in the world. Well why? Because he did the podcast. Your early videos are you and a Bluetooth in your car driving around with a Bluetooth. Now you have one of the biggest philosophy podcasts in the world. Why? Because you did the podcast.
Stefan Molyneux: Just keep doing it.
Mike Cernovich: You didn’t say, “Yeah, it could’ve been better. My pacing was a little off. What about this?” But that’s what stops people. They’re like, “Well, the lighting isn’t perfect and I need 15 … ” No you don’t. You need to do a podcast. You need to do a blog. That’s going to bring you 80% results and as you kep plugging along and then you say, “Okay. Yeah, lighting does matter.” So even me, I went from these Periscope iPhone. Great. That’s what I did. I didn’t always look good and the lighting was bad. Great. Now I have a professional home studio. Next year, I’ll have something else. So you do want to make those gains, but fundamentally you have to say, “What is something that I can do that will yield maximum results?” And for most people, quite frankly, it’s just get off the couch. Jordan Peterson would say, “Clean your room.” Because what happens is as you do that, then you start improving. You go, “Oh, yeah. So I did my first podcast. I watched it. And Shauna says I talk with my hands too much. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t.” How about you do the podcast first or how about you do the videos first?
Stefan Molyneux: Yeah. An object that is in motion tends to stay in motion and an object that is at rest tends to stay at rest. And this perfectionism, you know, the idea that the perfect is the enemy of the good, there’s something that really struck me when I was younger. I think it was some band. I think Huey Lewis and the News or something like that. Which kind of seemed to come out of nowhere. And when you look into most bands, what you do is you look back and you see, “Okay, well they spent ten years playing pubs.” Like Katy Perry started writing songs when she was like 9 years old. And if you look at like INXS the band, they ended up … they were playing the back water bars in the outback in Australia for like years and years and years. When people kind of erupt into your consciousness, it looks like they’ve just appeared out of nowhere. Like they just teleported into fame and competence, but they didn’t.
And recognizing that there’s a long grind in order to get “sudden success,” people want of course a sudden success because when you’re on the receiving end, it looks like they just teleported in, but there’s a lot of grind and a long way to go to get there. And the journey of a thousand miles just start walking, just start doing something. Find out what you like. Find out what the audience responds to. Find out what you’re passionate about and willing to risk for because if you’re not willing to risk, you can possibly succeed. And that slow and steady wins the race aspect, I think people look at that and say, “Well, that’s a hell of a long way to go.” And it’s like, “Well, sure. Which is why you should start walking right now.”
Mike Cernovich: So there’s three points to that. One is that your idea of what is great, well guess what, other people have their own opinion. So first of all, if you think, “Well, I can’t do it because I’m not good enough,” well, you might be right or you actually might be wrong. Some of the stuff that I’ve done that I thought was bad the market said we love it and they rewarded that. Now then two is what you talked about the ten year overnight success. “Oh, where did that guy come from?” “Out of nowhere.” “No he didn’t.” He was ten years in obscurity. I was an obscure blogger since I was like 25. I didn’t really blow up until I was probably 35, 36. And then of course the 10,000 rule. How are you going to get in your 10,000 hours of practice if you’re not doing it? And what we have to do is we have to practice in public.
And then I guess finally to touch on the point where people see what we have, so I put it this way. I go, “You don’t want to do what I do, you want to have what I have.” And here’s what I mean. People go, “Mike, how can I do what you do?” You mean pick up a phone and talk and do it? You pick up a phone and you talk into it. And to have a blog? Yeah, you buy a domain for $10, install WordPress, and you just write thoughts. You don’t want to do that. You want to have what I have, but what people don’t understand is what you and I have, “Oh, it seems cool. Oh, we have an audience.” Well yeah, but it isn’t cool. People harass your family. The death threats on aren’t cool. The having to have home security installed isn’t cool. The having to have a security guy come … So the rumors and lies that people spread about you and how that gets to your family and your family starts asking your wife questions.
So if people were just thrust into what you and I have, they would actually be crushed because you wouldn’t even know how to handle it, but when you level up … So actually the worst thing that can happen is if you do have that instant super stardom because suddenly you’re like, “Wait a minute. How do I deal with vultures? How do I deal with parasites? How do I deal with the media?” You don’t even know, but you and I we’ve leveled up progressively so now it’s just like, “Oh, okay. So this is just a different way of dealing with a problem that I’ve dealt with on a smaller scale.” So it’s actually better to level up progressively over ten years.
Stefan Molyneux: Yeah. I mean I remember way back in the day in one of my early videos, there was a guy I knew who was talking to me and said, “Yeah, but your video, man. It did like 500 views. That’s really sad.” And now you could look at that and say, “Well, compared to this person or that person, that’s not very much.” And I said, “Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. So if I went to go and give a speech and there were 500 people in the audience, would you consider that a failure?” And he’s like, “Well, no. That would be pretty good.” And it’s like, “So that’s my metric.” I’m reaching 500 people without even having to travel. And then you build up from there. You don’t get to 100,000,000 plus views and downloads that way. You just keep focusing and just get stuff done. That is really, really the important thing. You know that old saying that says, “If you want something done, give it to the busy guy,” because people who are in motion are going to get things done. You generate excitement, you generate enthusiasm, and you generate momentum, and people want to join the winning team.
And so for me, there is, for the most part, a kind of desert you have to cross. And the desert is you’re putting out a huge amount of effort and you’re not getting much in terms of feedback. You’re not getting much in terms of return. Now you’ll have a few dedicated people early on. Hold onto those people. The people who love what you do from the beginning, they’re the way. They’re the water bottles in a sense you drink to get across the desert to get to more general popularity. But if you have a goal in you that is not based on vanity. If you have a goal in you that’s based on making the world a better place, you don’t have the option to sag and to stop because you have a goal to make the world a better place.
If you’re like a doctor and you have a pill that can cure some deadly disease and you got a giant sack full of them, well you could sit there and say, “My legs are tired.” It’s like, “Yeah, but I’m doing something really, really important and that’s what powers your legs.” And I think a lot of time, people procrastinate because they want to make it about themselves. They want to make it about their vanity. Like in England, the kids they did a survey. And they said, “And what’s the number one thing that the kids want?” To be famous. Well, for what purpose? Well, for vanity. For money. IF you make it about you, you’ll almost never have the locomotion to sustain the cross across the desert of obscurity to sort of the lush oasis of having an effect. And if you make it about you, you’ll never have the will power to continue.
Mike Cernovich: And not only that, but those who want fame don’t realize that if you want to be loved then that means hate is going to get to you. This is another thing a lot of people don’t understand is that compliments for me are nice, I like to get compliments, but even when I get a bunch of them and you’ll read them. I’m a human being. I’ll go read all of the five star reviews about Gorilla Mindset on Amazon to feel good about myself, but then I go, “Wait a minute.” If you let compliments define who you are and how you feel about yourself, then when the hate comes in, then the hate is going to have more impact than it would.
So a lot of that has to come to to transcend your own ego because the bigger your ego, the more the mob can control you. You have to fundamentally have a philosophical belief system and believe that, “Look, what I’m doing is right and what I’m doing is making the world a better place. So I know a lot of people are going to love that. A lot of people are going to hate that. But I have to stay the course and realize that I’m trying to move the world and move people into the right direction. In doing that, you’re going to get love. Don’t let the love inflate your ego too much. You’re going to get hate. Don’t let the hate bring you down. You have to stay grounded. So that’s even sort of one of my mantras is that I just try to stay grounded. I don’t ever try to let the love inflate me too much and I don’t ever let the hate bring me down too much.
Stefan Molyneux: Yeah. I mean, when I … it was quite a love bomb at A Night for Freedom in New York. You got hundreds of people saying, “You changed my life. I’m a better person. My kids are being raised well. I got married. I had kids because of the principles I learned through your show and so on.” It’s wonderful. I could sit there and say, “Well that makes me a great person.” And I don’t really experience it that way at all, Mike. The way that I experience it is they have gained the respect for philosophy for rational thinking, for clarity, for honesty, and so if the show has helped create that sort of north star for them to guide their lives by, fantastic. It’s not about me. The last thing I’d want is for people to sort of sit there and say, “I’m going to ask Stef. What would Stef tell me to do?” It’s like the whole point is to empower people to make decisions for themselves. You don’t invent the scientific method so everyone runs to you and asks you what’s true or false, but so they have a methodology for themselves to figure out what is right or wrong.
But the hatred stuff is really important and I think you get even more than I do, Mike, and that’s a big question because it does come as a surprise for a lot of people because when you start out, you’re surrounded by people who support you and then you get out into a wider arena. And people call in this crazy rage of airstrikes down upon a public figure. Particularly those involved in this kind of empowering work. The way that I work with it is to recognize that I am a proxy for what they dislike in themselves. That it’s really not about me. They don’t even know me. I’m just some guy. I’m a bunch of pixels on the screen. I’m a guy doing what he thinks is the most important thing to do on his own integrity. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. They can’t possibly hate me because they don’t really know me, but the question is where do you think the hatred comes from? What is it fueled by? Because I think if people understand that, they’ll have a lot more courage in the public sphere because they’ll be able to put that dislike in context.
Mike Cernovich: My funniest story about haters actually is I was about to give a talk at Columbia University and I was over by a side door and I saw three people walk by me in mask up. It was Antifa protestors, they were coming to protest me. I was standing outside in a suit and they looked at me and then they looked away and kept walking forward. And I was with a wonderful person, Rita, and she goes, “They don’t even know who you are.” I go, “Yeah. You’re right.” They just walked right by me. It wasn’t like pitch black or anything. They walked right by me, saw me in a suit, looked at me, looked away to march. So they people who are protesting you, they don’t even know why. They don’t even know why you are. They don’t even know what you stand for. It’s just blind hatred. It’s blind groupthink. And for them fundamentally, the protestors they don’t believe in anything. They’re just trying to hang out. They’re just trying to hang out with each other. They don’t even know why they hate you.
Stefan Molyneux: Right. Right. Yeah. They’re just told that you’re some bad person and they come up with all of the negative pejoratives so that they have an object. But you must be incredibly frustrated in your life to have that level of hatred towards … I mean its not like you and I are kings of the world and have our direct hands on the massive levers of state power or we can’t print money at will like the Federal Reserve. We don’t actually have … we have the power of influence, we have the power of ideas, we have the power of conversations. The real powers that be, I mean I think are well worth being afraid of and being angry about, but you and I being the targets, it seems kind of cowardly in a way because what is so bad about what it is that we’re doing? I’m trying to teach people to think rationally and clearly. You’re trying to get people to overcome their inhibitions and live life of power and so on. It’s kind of hard from this side of things to kind of see, okay. If we were talking about doing terrible things to large groups of people, sure. I could understand it. How is it that teaching people to think critically and overcome inhibitions to live a powerful life, what makes that so terrible for people?
Mike Cernovich: A human nature, I call it the law of reflection, is best understood in terms of you see a guy’s in a Ferrari and somebody goes, “That’s a little you know what car. He must have a small something. He’s compensating for that.” And you go, “I don’t know. Maybe he just likes cars. Maybe he worked his whole life and he bought a used Ferrari or maybe that was really what matters to him.” But the ideas if you see an image of a person that you feel insecure about it so you want to … “Oh, no I don’t want to admit why I feel insecure. Maybe I don’t feel like I could ever buy a car like that.” So with you, if you’re telling people, “Hey, live human rationality,” you’re showing courage. People then they see fear back. They’re like, “Well, he’s not afraid. Why am I afraid?” Me, I think the reason they hate me and people think I’m crazy, but you tell me what you think, I think people hate me because everybody knows I talk a little funny. Myself included.
And you know what I do every day. I get up and I talk. And they go, “Well, wait a minute. How dare he. How dare he do podcasts and videos. How dare he get up and not let this bother him.” Well, what they’re really saying is, “Well, he’s doing something I believe that I should be able to do. He’s showing great courage every time he gets up and talks. I feel like a coward.” Well, rather than saying, “Well, why do I feel like a coward and how can I show more courage?” I’m going to lash out on him for making me feel that way.
Stefan Molyneux: No, that’s very interesting because everybody has a particular kind of physical flaw that they can look in the mirror and say, “Well, here’s why I can’t do X. I got an overbite. I’m bald. I’m old rather than the demographic relative to a lot of people.” And you know, I get a lot of bald jokes and so on. “How can you handle it?” It’s like, first of all it’s fantastic because I can just get up and od a video. There’s not a lot of styling going on here. I know that you have the … what do you use a towel or something sometimes? A towel and some coconut juice or something. People, they stop themselves because of perceived physical flaws. I mean the funny thing is I never actually heard what people talk about with regards to your voice. I’m really focusing on the content of what you’re saying. I could care less. It doesn’t matter.
But if you have a physical flaw, which everyone does of course, and everyone thinks there’s some level wherein your physical flaws won’t matter. And that’s bullshit. I get a pimple. Who cares? But if you’re a face model and you get a pimple, well you’re doomed. Or if you get to be over 28 or whatever it is. Everybody has a level of physical perfection that is going to elude them based upon where they are and when you have just publicly saying, “Well, I don’t care if I speak funny. I don’t are if I’m bald. I don’t care if I’m older than the usual demographic.” I don’t care. I don’t care at all. I don’t care if I don’t have an entire boatload of credentials behind me because that actually makes me work harder. This stuff makes me work harder. The fact that I don’t have a set makes me work harder to be more animated, to have better analogies and metaphors and so on.
And so if you don’t let yourself be stopped by little things that are outside of your control to a large degree and fundamentally unimportant then I think that does challenge people who use that excuse of imperfection to avoid being in motion.
Mike Cernovich: And that’s the hate. The hate is like who do you think you are? Well, what they’re really saying is, “I feel small.” Another kind of silly example is when I was out dating or whatever, I would go inside and I’d wear aviator glasses with reflective lenses and I would have quite an attractive girl saying, “Really? I can’t believe you’re doing that.” And I was like, “Why are you getting so mad?” Well because sociologically they were thinking, “Well he must think that he’s better than everyone else because the rules say you can’t wear aviator sunglasses … ” I would wear a cowboy hat, I would just do something that I would stand out in a ridiculous manner and it does work because they would say, “Well, who do you think you are to challenge our mores, our norms because?” Because people believe that whatever their ideas are are their ideas. Well, you’re supposed to walk, talk, act, look, speak, behave in a certain way because they were designed by society to do that.
So they’re called, I don’t know if you’ve ever read his book, Howard Bloom The Global Brain. He calls them conformity enforcers. So the ideas is that if you’re a nonconformist, which you clearly are, if you’re a nonconformist like I clearly am, you’re going to trigger it’s almost like a biological hive mind process where the conformity enforcers are going to come in and say, “How dare you. How dare you not conform. How dare you think you can teach philosophy if you’re not at Harvard.” But then when you join Peterson and you talk psychology at Harvard, they go, “He’s a YouTube star.” It’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” It’s like, “Well, wait a minute here. You’re saying Molyneux isn’t a PhD of Harvard’s so he can’t talk philosophy, but Jordan Peterson is a PhD or whatever and he taught at Harvard, but he’s just a YouTube guy, right.” So they’re not even honest in their critique.
Stefan Molyneux: This is the funny thing too because when I was younger, I used to dislike that process and I’d say, “Well, I have good arguments. Why are people like filling it up with sophistry and garbage and so on?” But as I get older, which is not an argument, it’s just an observation, but as I get older, Mike, I actually really respect that social push back process because changing society is really, really, really risky and it goes right a lot more often than it goes … it goes wrong a lot more often than it goes right. If you look at the various revolutions, and deposings, and coups and so on throughout history, 99 times out of 100 it turns a moderate shit show into an unbelievably [inaudible 00:39:02] scraping the bottom of the barrel shit show.
So most times it goes wrong and so I think that there should be a huge amount of stability within a society because it works. For a lot of people for a lot of time and those of us who come along who wish to change things, I think that there should be a lot of push back because again most times people get it wrong and things get worse for the average person. And the fact that there’s a lot of push back I think is good because it means that only the people who’ve got really strong wills, who have a higher mission, a higher purpose, and are really certain about what they’re doing, for better or for worse, only those people are going to push through. So the sort of, the phalanx that guard the throne of changing society like the Praetorian Guard guard, I really respect them and welcome them now because I think that they should drive a lot of people away who aren’t really committed to the vision that they want to bring forward to society. And those who get through can walk through anything.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. That’s sort of Burkian argument about why you’re a conservative. A natural sort of conservatism. Which politically, I’m not conservative per se, but yes. The French Revolution was a disaster. People were chopping each other’s heads off. Pol Pot, complete disaster. All this revolutionary thinking, generally disaster. Society should be naturally conservative, which just means stable. Hey, can you get up? Can you exchange in free commerce? Can you buy and sell goods? Can your wife or daughter walk around at night without reasonable fear of being randomly attacked or assaulted? Things like that. So you should have a stable society where there is a high degree of conformity and then if you do want to come in and challenge the mores and the be a nonconformist.
So that’s why where Jordan Peterson comes in is post modernism went too far. Where they said, “Let’s just deconstruct everything.” Well no, I mean we do believe that Jim Crow laws were wrong. And we would say, “Well, Jim Crow laws are wrong. We should change those laws.” But what happened is people go, “Well, whatever system enabled Jim Crow laws to happen must be deconstructed so let’s just burn it all down.” And you say, “Well, actually if you burn it all down, you’ll probably have another civil war and it’ll lead to real problems.” So post modernism said, “Well here’s something about society that is bad. Rather than fix that problem, let’s just deconstruct the whole thing, tear it all down.” And when that does happen, yeah, you now have the global brain and the hive mind in everything. It goes crazy and then everybody goes and balkanizes, fractures, and starts killing each other in their own small little groups.
Stefan Molyneux: Oh, it’s this deep God damn pendulum swing. Drives me crazy. And I’m like I’m like this guy striving with all of his might to try and slow the pendulum in the middle. It’s like, “Well, there’s racism is American society.” Okay, well then let’s try and deal with that. “Okay. We’re not going to open and subsidize the importation of millions and millions and millions of people from the third world.” It’s like, “I think that may be considered a bit of a swing too far.” It’s like, “Well, women don’t have access to all the same rights and opportunities as men do.” It’s like, “Okay. So the solution to that is to create a massive gynecocracy that relentlessly promotes the superiority of women.” It’s like, “Can we just slow down in the middle a little bit here?” “Well, blacks are underrepresented in certain groups, so let’s create massive affirmative action and enforce employers to hire them thus creating huge amount of racial tension.” It’s like, “Can we just kind of stop a little bit in the middle here and have balance?”
The revolution it seems never knows when to stop because it becomes an industry especially when it’s paid for by the state. It become an industry that is detached from the needs of the people and the balance of the society and it goes from a necessary compensation to a crazy tumor that threatens everything.
Mike Cernovich: And part of that is just human psychology is if you tell people, people go, “How do I change my life?” Like as in my mindset work. I’m like, “Well, you don’t change your life. You get off the couch, you go to the gym.” “What do I do at the gym? I want to bench press 500 pounds.” “You don’t go to the gym and bench press 500 pounds. Just go to the gym and walk around.” And people think that’s like the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard. And I go, “When’s the last time you’ve been to the gym?” “Well, you know, I used to go 10 years ago.” I go, “Well how about … because I know that if you just go to the gym and walk around, eventually you’re going to be like, ‘What’s this thing?’ Or, ‘What’s that thing?’ And then the rest will fall into place.” So you don’t change your life, get off the couch.
With Jordan Peterson, like people go, “Just clean your room.” Just the idea that once you clean your room then you’re going to say, “Oh, my room’s clean. I’m a little bit more organized. Well, maybe I should decorate a little bit better or maybe I should do this.” Those habits you develop in the process, but unfortunately people don’t believe that gradual improvement is possible. They believe, “We need a revolution. We have to have a revolution or else we’ll never get women’s rights.” And then you realize like with the Me Too stuff, it went from legitimate stories of abuse and harassment that should not be tolerated to, “Well, you know 30 years ago I was taking a shower.” And people are like, “Wait a minute. Nobody even remembers where you were 30 years ago, right?” To now anybody can say anything and then of course the backlash is as Arianna Huffington tweeted out, “Men are now three times less likely to mentor women,” because men are now terrified. People go, “Well, they shouldn’t be terrified.” Well, in a perfect world women would not falsely accuse men and men would not harass women. They would respect them as peers and colleagues.
That would be great, but we do know that we have men who do commit abuse and we do have women who make false allegations. And if you just say you have to believe anything like that Aziz story, for example. “Well, he was raping me as I gave him oral sex.” It’s like, “Well, how does that figure?” So now if you just have a bad date, somebody could go to the media and that becomes rape so, yeah, men are terrified of being with women and now men don’t want to mentor women. So great job, Me Too.
Stefan Molyneux: Let’s close off with question of procrastination, which is something that I think it’s sort of one central devil that’s got its tentacles wrapped around the neck of potential it would be procrastination. Like everyone knows that deep down you have something to offer the world. It may not be spectacular, it may not be earth-shaking, but so what? Everyone has something to offer the world. And I do believe that we have a kind of obligation to bring our talents to bear on making the world a better place for the basic reason that we’ve inherited the freedom to do so by people who made that striving themselves. Procrastination. You know you’ve got something to do. You know you’ve got something that you can offer, but it’s easier to play a video game or to stare at the television or whatever it is.
Do you have that temptation? Do you know people who you’ve helped overcome? And what’s the best way to just get that [inaudible 00:45:45] of people?
Mike Cernovich: Of course. I’m a naturally extremely lazy person, which that is itself [inaudible 00:45:51]. It’s actually true. I’m a naturally lazy person. So I have to overcome procrastination pretty much every day in my life. Now as you do create a positive feedback loop where people are like, “Oh, come on, Mike. Do a video,” then you don’t want to let people down and like, “Okay, okay. I don’t want to do a video today, but sure.” So once you’re in the feedback loop, it changes. But what I tell people is the greatest thing I’ve ever read, I wish I had come up with, was that hell is what happens when you’re on your deathbed and you meet the person you could have become. And one day, people are going to look back and you’re going to wonder, “Well, maybe I could’ve done something.” And when that happens, it’s going to be too late. There’s no time like today. The person you’re going to become isn’t going to be brought into being unless you start working on that person today. And maybe, maybe one day you’ll be confronted with what you could’ve become.
Stefan Molyneux: That’s a very powerful thing. Yeah. It’s a very powerful thing and I am reminded of an article I read many years ago. I mentioned this on the show before. And procrastination doesn’t necessarily have to do with massive ambition in the world, it can simply be, “I want to improve my relationships. I want to be more present. I want to be more honest. I want to be who I am and not just a conforming mirror to other peoples’ expectations. To actually self-actualize. To be who you are and vocal about what you think and with the willingness to correct and be corrected.”
And I do remember reading an article about a woman who was retiring and she was clearing out her office and she was going through all the memos and all the little reports and all this crap that she’d written over the decades and she was looking back and she came across one report and she was about to put it in the shredder because that was kind of her job is to shred everything that wasn’t. And she said, “Oh, yeah. This, man, this was like 20, 25 years ago. I remember this night directly because my daughter was opening in her school play and I couldn’t make it because I was working on this report. Now my daughter to this day remembers me not being there for the first half of that play and now this report, which everyone’s forgotten about is now going in the God damn shredder.”
And working on your relationships, you know, relationships can be an incredible boost. They can also be an incredible limitation if you’re around people fundamentally opposed to who you are and you’re not aware of it. And so the procrastination doesn’t have necessarily something to do with building some new philosophical system or holding A Night for Freedom, it can be just, “I’m sick and tired of not being honest in my relationships and that dishonesty, that self-erasure is fundamentally required by the expansion of the powers that be who control over you.” If you’re not yourself, what do they care? If they take away your rights. If you have nothing original to say, what do you care if there’s not freedom of speech? If all you’re going to do is conform, what do you care about voluntary association of freedom of association? So become who you are and become honest and speak the truth about what you believe. That’s the foundation for actually valuing the freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard to give us.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. The revolution starts with you. Any procrastination starts with you. Don’t change the world, change yourself. Don’t worry about … if you can’t change yourself, for example, and this by the way is why I have much more tolerance of people within their own … I have a large degree of tolerance to weird people. And primarily because I know how hard it is to change myself. The idea that I’m going to change every person that I ever meet is, to me, insurmountable. The idea that I’m going to completely change the world strikes me as odd and yet here you and I are. We have been changing the world. But that all started 10, 15, 20 years ago when we first looked in the mirror and decided to change ourselves.
Stefan Molyneux: It’s a funny thing too. There’s an old, I mean it’s a very common belief or at least I wish it were more common, that if you can’t manage your own feelings, you end up having to control other people. Like if you can’t manage your own sense of … Let’s say you’re jealous. You have a tendency towards jealousy and you’re in a relationship. If you can’t find a way to manage, and rationalize, and deal with your own paranoias about being jealous, let’s assume that your boyfriend, your girlfriend is not cheating then you end up having to control your partner’s behavior. “Oh, you can’t go out to this place. You can’t go out with this person.”
Because you can’t manage your own feelings, you end up controlling other people. But the amazing thing for me when I really began to start working on changing myself, Mike, was the humility it gives you about institution’s capacity to change the world. The nothing ends up with a greater skepticism towards central planning and government control of this, that, and the other. When you start to change yourself and you realize how difficult it is, the idea that some centralized institution can wave a magic wand of bureaucracy and change the world for the better completely evaporates from your mind, which is why I think people who pursue self-knowledge end up being skeptical of these big giant government institutions and social engineering monoliths.
Mike Cernovich: And I guess a great way to conclude our conversation is if you liked this conversation, why don’t you come meet us in person?
Stefan Molyneux: Right. We’ll be there in the flesh. 3D.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah. [inaudible 00:50:48] Washington DC.
Stefan Molyneux: It’s ANightForFreedomDC.com. Please bookmark and check out Mike’s excellent blog, cernovich.com. Twitter.com/cernovich.
Mike, it was a great pleasure. I guess we’ll be seeing you in two weeks and change. Looking forward to it, man.
Mike Cernovich: My pleasure
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