The system is rigged.

There are puppet masters pulling strings. While the ruling elite may change names or faces, it will always be there. Now what?

At some point deep political insight is indistinguishable from trivia. Learn about the world, but obsessing over secret conspiracies is going to make you a paranoid weirdo.

Changing the system requires you to change yourself.

Let’s say you fight against the first rule. You will never accept injustice. Great. Fight the power!

Now bring yourself back to reality. Humans are primates, and if you look like a gross person, you will never develop a following sufficient to create social change.

If you or your life is a mess, you’re never going to have a hope of beating the the rigged system. Social activism starts with personal activism.

The Civil Rights Marches of 1965 got results. BlackLivesMatter is a failure. Pop quiz: Can you spot the difference between these two images?

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Needy people are greedy people.

Twenty years ago a charity sent me a solicitation using a misspelled name. I gave them money. My mailbox became overfilled with more solicitations from other charities – all used the same misspelled name.

Charities sell your personal information. Rather than thank you for your gift, they bombard with you more offers from themselves and other groups.

The same mindset is true of “friends” and “family” who ask for a favor. They’ll never be grateful and instead will always ask for more. It gets worse.

There’s a perverse cognitive bias at work. People you help often resent you for helping them, as they feel like they owe you something.

Today’s favor is tomorrow’s obligation.

Have you ever felt the rush of a huge win? That rush never lasts due to the hedonic treadmill. (“The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.”)

Whatever you do for others today becomes their new normal. It won’t be viewed as a favor later on.

Live by the 80/20 rule or die by it.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity)[1] states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Think about five friends in your life, or five clients, or five business you run, or five of whatever.

  • 20% of the people in your life (1) are responsible for 80% of your happiness.
  • 20% of the people in your life (1) are responsible for 80% of the drama.

As business owners we have clients we adore and who are great to us. Are we expressing gratitude to them or are we focused on the toxic people?

Most people never evolve past high school. Their personalities are fixed and won’t change.

If you knew a person 10, 20, or 30 years ago, you know him today. The pot head is still a pot head. The people who wanted to be cool kids are still chasing days of glory gone past. Nerds are still nerds. Gossip girls are still gossiping.

It’s important to accept this rule because often you meet people today who are trash or in serious need of work. You let them into your lives optimistic they will change. They won’t. Move on.

Never give second chances. (Leave that for your God to do.)

That’s a corollary to the above rule. Once you accept that change in hard (look in the mirror at how hard changing yourself is, and you’re actively working on yourself), you realize the futility of hoping someone will change.

Skip the moral judgments when dealing with people. Either they “work” for you or they don’t.

Viewing people as good or bad or moral and immoral isn’t helpful. In a free society you can work with whomever you like. If a relationship isn’t working, avoid nonsense like, “But the person [who is screwing up] means well/has a good heart.”

There are clicks and there are snaps.

Remember back when you learned a new skill or new language. You were frustrated, tired, and maybe went to bed exhausted. You felt like nothing good was happening. You felt terrible.

You went from nowhere after hours and hours of practice. One day it all “clicks.” It all makes sense.

The same is true of snaps. You may feel good today, even as drama mongers in your life attack you. Then one day…you snap.

You must keep parasites and negative people out of your life. Even if you feel good today, they are wearing you down and bringing you closer to a breakdown.

  • Watch “The Backwards Brain Bicycle – Smarter Every Day 133,” a fascinating look at neurological formations and skills acquisitions.

Even if these rules are wrong, they are right.

Life is about probabilities. Successful people are lucky in the sense that you never know when an idea will hit. Some people are too ahead of their time to succeed. In life you have to play the odds.

Yes, there are people who deserve second chances. Maybe 1 in 10 people should get one. This means you’re going to be ripped off or conned 90% of the time.

Playing exceptions to the rule is a form of self-destruction by ego. You know better! The rules don’t apply to you. Yes, the rules apply to you.

And the above paragraph was less about you than me. In college I helped a “down on his luck” guy out by opening a bank account for him. He couldn’t open one because of brad credit. Turns out he was a crack head who overdrew the account and wrote bad checks.

Recently someone completely back stabbed me and tried destroying a project I had worked on. The specifics aren’t important. I helped this person as he had a bird-with-a-broken-wing vibe about him. I bet against my own rules.

Here I am, at 39, still making mistakes. Which brings me to Bonus Rule #11.

Keep moving forward.

Our current age is understood as the therapeutic society. Let’s all sit down and talk about our childhoods, our parents, and the people who betrayed us. People spend years on couches and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Zero results.

We’ve all make mistakes in life, and our parents made mistakes, and our friends and loved ones have made mistakes. Focusing on mistakes will distract you from focusing on your future vision.

Mistakes you made are puzzles you weren’t able to solve. Find the reason you weren’t able to solve the puzzle and then move forward. Brooding over past mistakes or walling in regret amplify the mistakes.

Find out why you screwed up, then move forward. The keyword is you.

You won’t hear me cry about people who betrayed me because, FACT, I let them into my life. Their betrayal was due to my own ego or foolishness. (Isn’t it interesting how we are self-obsessed with being victims and suddenly lose all interests in ourselves when it’s time to assign accountability.)

Own your choices, own your life, that’s Gorilla Mindset.

See you in 2017!

P.S. Gorilla Mindset is now available in hardcovers, exclusively at Barnes & Noble. They look gorgeous.

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