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Insights On Leadership From Chimp Alpha Male Behavior

Many aspects of today’s world are often referred to as “jungles”. We have the concrete jungle in reference to large cities full of tall concrete buildings with hardly a patch of green in sight. We also have the corporate jungle, which many of us have to face daily in our jobs. While modern man has evolved from his former state of nature, it seems as if the laws of the jungle still apply in the modern world.

In order to survive in the modern jungle, it might be worthwhile to take some lessons from the real jungle. The chimpanzees (together with the bonobos) are our closest relatives and share about 97% of the same DNA with humans. They live in societies led by alpha males. These alpha males dominate all the other members of the group and use different types of strategies in order to attain and keep their rank. These strategies could be quite illuminating for the potential human alpha males as well.


The Rise of Mike

In 1960, Jane Goodall started studying a small group of chimpanzees living in the Gombe National Park near Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. At the time, the alpha male of the group was Goliath, a huge chimpanzee who could intimidate other chimps with his size.

However in 1964, a remarkable thing happened. Goliath was deposed from his position by Mike, a physically much smaller chimpanzee, who until then was probably one of the lowest ranking males in the community, usually spending his time on the outskirts of the group, and often getting physically attacked by other males. He was usually the last one to get access to food, eating only after all the other males have eaten.

This changed almost from one day to the next. On one of those hot, sultry days that often happen in the African jungle, Mike walked over to the camp of the researchers and took two empty kerosene cans by their handles. Then, while carrying those two cans, he walked over to the place at which he was sitting previously, close to the other chimps.

He started to rock back and forth, at first only slightly, but then more and more vigorously. The other chimps noticed this and started to watch him intently. Mike began to make hooting sounds and then suddenly charged towards the place where the other males were sitting, running fast and hitting the two cans in front of him. When he approached them, the other males ran out of his way.

Mike ran a bit into the jungle and disappeared from sight, but in a few minutes he was back again, making a lot of noise and hitting the cans. He once again charged the other males. They once again ran away from him.

Then at that moment, he made a fateful decision. Goliath was sitting a bit away from the group, but Mike decided to charge him as well. He ran towards him, hitting the cans and hooting so loud, that even Goliath got out of his way.

Male chimpanzees show their submission to more powerful members of the group by grunting and reaching out their hands. The display persuaded all the other members of the group of Mike’s superiority. At that moment, all the other chimp males came up to Mike, grunting and reaching out their hands, and then grooming him. The last male chimp to come to him was David Greybeard, until then Goliath’s staunchest ally in the group. Only Goliath remained apart.

Mike vs. Goliath: The Showdown

The match was now set for a showdown: Mike vs. Goliath. Whoever would win this epic showdown would become the alpha male of the group.

The final showdown came one time after Goliath returned from a two week patrol in the southern parts of the group’s territory. One of the main roles of the alpha and the other males, was to protect their group’s territory and so they would often go off on patrols.

This day was the culmination of a period of fierce displays between Goliath, the incumbent alpha male and Mike, the challenger. Their displays grew more and more fierce, with both Goliath and Mike trying to outdo each other. Mike managed to learn how to keep three empty kerosene cans in motion and so his charging displays were very noisy and messy. Goliath would often charge and beat up some of the young chimps in order to show who the boss around there was.

That day, as he was returning from his patrol, Goliath grabbed a huge branch and dragged it towards Mike. Mike was sitting in a tree, ready for what was to come next.

Goliath, then leapt into a tree that was very close to the tree in which Mike was sitting. At first they starred at each other intently, motionless. Then Mike started his display. He started swinging wildly on the branches, jumped down to the ground and started hurling rocks at Goliath. Then he leapt into Goliath’s tree and started swinging the branches there.

Goliath reciprocated by doing a display very similar to Mike’s, swinging around and leaping to the ground in order to throw rocks at Mike. Then Mike came down again as well and they continued their charging displays on the ground. However they never even touched each other. Each tried to overcome the other just through a sheer display of intimidation.

Then the final moment came. They both stopped, and nervously eyed each other sitting down. Then suddenly Goliath ran up to Mike, and doing the chimpanzee sign of submission, began grunting and grooming Mike. Mike savored this for a moment, but then turned around and reciprocated. He was now the undisputed alpha male of the group.

This entire story, which was described in vivid detail in Jane Goodall’s book “In the Shadow of Man”, makes for a riveting and illuminating reading.

3 Strategies

There are 3 main strategies that the male chimps use to gain alpha status.

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The End Of The World Is Near, The Selfie Stick Is Here!

Sometimes you get a rare glimpse of the future in a single fleeting moment. It is at this instant that you lose your innocence, your distorted vision of reality shatters and you wake up to the hard realization of what the truth is. Years afterwards, you remember this momentous occassion as one of those defining moments: “What were you doing when…” The date remains etched in your memory. Forever will you split your life into two periods, the one before the juncture and the one after.

At last it all becomes clear and you gain a deep insight into the state of civilization and its future direction. You have finally seen the object that defines the era that you will live in, the single item that stands above the rest.

A moment like this happened to me last weekend. Forever will I remember the day when I became aware of this wondrous gadget, the day when I learned of the existence of the greatest invention of the modern age, the selfie-stick!

How My Shocking New Discovery Came About

My world will never be the same ever again. It all started off so innocently…

As for most people, Friday night is the first night of my weekend. Work finally ended and I tried to make plans with people to go out. I learned that a few of my friends were sitting outside of a bar on a square close to where I live. I decided to join them.

I came a bit later, after they have already had a few beers and so the mood when I arrived was festive. I quickly joined into the conversations. We ordered a few beers and went on to order some more. As it got later in the night we turned to discussing more cultural topics. We discussed work, politics, and other things. Little did I know that this conversation was going to forever change my view of the world.

I have never understood why people have a need to take selfies, update their facebook status or check-in at places. One of my friends was about to do a “check-in” on Facebook at the bar and I made a short comment on that.

This started off a small discussion on selfies, status updates and checking-in.

That is also the first time I heard the “word” mentioned for the first time. There was a girl sitting to my right and she volunteered that one of the friends sitting to my left had gotten a selfie-stick for his birthday.

What?” I was puzzled. “A selfie stick? What is a selfie-stick?

The friend to my left reached into his bag and took out something that looked like a handle and a thing at the end for grabbing. He proceeded to mount his camera on it, extend the handle and with the camera facing him, snapped a few pictures of his head.

I was dumbfounded. It was as if all thoughts in my brain had been erased and I was left with only one question floating around in my head: “Why?

Why would you do that? Why would you take a selfie, but more importantly why would you buy a device to better enable you to take selfies?

Who are the people who do this? What has possessed them to do this? I was feeling a total disconnect from what we call “civilization” these days. Is this what it has come down to? All progress from the invention of the wheel, to the printing press, to Copernicus and Galileo fighting for the truth, to science making great discoveries has led to this… to the selfie-stick? Is this the pinnacle of modern civilization?

I had finally lost my innocence.

The Dawn Of A New Economy

Time magazine has recently published a list of the greatest inventions of the year 2014. It includes wireless electricity, the fusion reactor, and the selfie-stick…

What we are doing now is creating a whole economy centered around narcissism and self-vanity. There is a huge ecosystem to sustain the entire lifecycle of human attention whoring. You have the Facebook status update, Foursquare, Instagram; you even have an app to help you send nude pics of yourself, Snapchat. We have finally discovered the Holy Grail of life, sexting.

As a society, we have taken attention whoring and instant gratification to a whole new level.


According to statistics, the past two days produced more information, than all the information that has ever been produced between the dawn of civilization and the year 2013!

That is a staggering number, one that is almost impossible to comprehend. It would be great if this was real knowledge. Sadly it is not so. Most of that information is not “information” in the sense of knowledge obtained from investigation, but instead user-generated content, things like pictures, instant messages, or status updates.

We get bombarded everyday with notifications of check-ins, selfies, and pointless status updates.

This is a symptom of the values that are held dear today and the morals of society. And all this just drives itself, the more status updates and selfies are produced, the more people create an internal need to produce them. This ends up feeding a never ending loop, which keeps on growing bigger and more pointless.

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The Original PUA: Learn To Pick Up Chicks The Way The Ancient Romans Did


Way before Mystery, Style and Tyler Durden, even millenia before Don Juan and Casanova, there was Ovid and his “Ars Amatoria”, which could be translated into English as “The Art of Love”. This was the premier textbook of Ancient Rome on how to pick up women.

It’s jam packed with such golden nuggets of wisdom as: “take care that your breath is sweet, and don’t go about reeking like a billy-goat” and “Don’t judge a woman by candle-light, it’s deceptive.

The manual consists of 3 books, the first dealing with how to pick up a chick, the second deals with how to keep a chick, while the third one reverses the tables a bit and gives tips to women on how to seduce guys. Even though the third book is meant as a guide for chicks, it can also give guys a pretty good idea on the different tricks that women use to play with guys.

The 3 book manual proved so popular that Ovid even wrote a sequel to it, titled “Remedia Amoris” or in English translation “The Cure for Love”. The sequel gives strategies and advice on how to fall out of love and avoid being hurt by a broken heart, which can be applied in different types of situations, whether in a divorce or in trying to forget a oneitis.

It turns out that Roman guys were quite horny and Roman women were huge promiscuous teases, so the books addressed a huge hole on the market and proved to be a bestseller. Guys have been hungry for the latest, greatest tools in the arsenal since time immemorial and handwritten copies of “Ars Amatoria” were being snapped up faster than hot cakes.

Finally, guys who didn’t have the muscles and fame of Hercules, the sex appeal of a gladiator, or the riches and power of the Roman Emperors could get their share of the fun. The manual was meant for the average guy on the street and the tips were practical and to the point. 🙂

On a more serious note, the books also caused quite a controversy in Roman circles. While they were popular, they also precipitated a bit of an outrage in the more conservative parts of society. Emperor Augustus was in the midst of a campaign to try to uphold the morals of Roman society and a few years before the publishing of the “Ars Amatoria”, he had promulgated a set of laws meant to strengthen families, outlaw polygamy and punish adultery.

While written in a fun, light-hearted way, Ovid’s books also had an underlying political message and were also meant as a protest against this official uptightedness in the matters of love and family.

This slight poking fun of society can exemplify the internal character of Ovid himself. He came from the upper segments of Roman society and was originally destined for the path of a public official, but instead rebelled a bit and became a poet. He was also quite the ladies man and was married and divorced three times by the time he was thirty.

Written in a poetic style (elegiac couplets), the “Ars Amatoria” (completed by 2 AD) was just one of his works. Ovid was a prolific writer and poet, with the most famous work being called “Metamorphoses”. This is a huge book also written in poetic style and describes the most important stories of Greek and Roman mythology, spanning a long timeline from the creation of the Earth by the Gods to the times of Gaius Julius Caesar.

In 8 AD, Ovid was exiled to Tomis, a city on the Black Sea, which is now the modern city of Constanta in Romania. This was done on the direct orders of Emperor Augustus. According to Ovid, it was due to “a poem and a mistake”. It has been speculated that this poem could have been the “Ars Amatoria”, however the most likely explanation was that he was involved in some political intrigue against the Emperor and that was the main reason why he was exiled.

So let’s examine the timeless wisdom ( 🙂 ) of Ovid (the ultimate Roman PUA) in the matters of picking up chicks. Maybe you too can learn something. 🙂

Ovid compared the art of seducing a woman as being akin to war and listed the different steps that need to be taken: “You, who for the first time are taking up arms beneath the standard of Venus, find out, in the first place, the woman you are fain to love. Your next task will be to bend her to your will; your third to safeguard that your love shall endure. This is my plan, my syllabus. This is the course my chariot will pursue; such is the goal that it will endeavour to attain.

Here are the different phases of seducing a woman (taken from various parts of the manual):

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Who Were The Roman Gladiators?

The gladiators

It’s a hot day. Two men are waiting at the gates of the arena dressed in battle gear, ready for their fight to start. Sweat is flowing down their cheeks and their breathing is becoming heavy. This might be their last day alive.

Yet these men are professionals. Training has prepared them for this day and they know what needs to be done. They stand proud and determined, wiping all doubts from their mind and instead refocusing their thoughts on the task ahead.

Each one has the same thought flowing through his mind. No, this will not be his last day. He will go on to score a huge victory and be celebrated by the crowds, going on to become a real sports superstar. Each one of them knows that they are the best, yet there can be only one winner. One of these will leave the arena a victor, while the other one will be the defeated…

Each one of them will do everything in his power in order to remain the one standing up, to be the victor. There is no other way. They are Roman gladiators and that is their way of life.

Gladiatorial fights were all the rage in Ancient Rome. They were the equivalent of today’s Super Bowl in magnitude and popularity, with one huge exception: some of the contestants would probably not make it through the day alive.


Ancient Rome was a martial culture and any type of sport where the contestants aren’t risking their lives was a pussy sport. That’s why athletics, which were very popular in the Ancient Greek city states, never became very popular in Rome. The Ancient Romans thought athletics were not something real men should compete in, because there was no risk in them. They might use similar methods of training originally developed for athletics to train, but athletics were for the pussies, real men wanted to see sweat and blood and feel death knocking at the door.

Many gladiators started off as lowly slaves, purchased on the market or captured in war, but went on to rise to become veritable superstars with fans cheering their name and women throwing themselves at them. They went on to enjoy lavish lifestyles just like the sports superstars of today.

However for the majority of gladiators this was not the case. Many of them died during their fight in the arena or suffered crippling injuries and lived out the rest of their lives as cripples. Gladiatorial fights were high risk, high reward contests.

Reflections on the role and popularity of gladiatorial fights in Roman society

Gladiatorial fights were the epitomy of Ancient Roman society. They demonstrated the ideal values that were held dear: valor, strength, bravery, cunning, discipline and above all risk. These were the individual traits valued in what was a very martial society. Rome was built by war and martial values were what was supposed to define Roman society.

The gladiatorial games exploded in popularity, when Rome had grown very far beyond its original borders. The very dominance of Rome in the ancient world at that time was the instigator for the growth in popularity of gladiators. Originally Rome was a small city-state and all male citizens were required to protect it. So in times of need basically all males had to go on military duty. During these times, most male Roman citizens experienced combat first hand.

However as Rome grew and conquered lands far and wide, less and less of its inhabitants directly participated in war. The empire of Rome also brought in more and more new subjects and these needed to be exposed to Roman culture and in that way “romanized”.

It is at exactly this time, when we see the importance and popularity of gladiatorial games grow and expand into all parts of the lands that Rome brought under its control. The games were sports, spectator sports, but they served not only as entertainment, very bloody entertainment, but as a way to remind the masses of their martial spirit and the original values of Rome.

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Personality Types: Why Are You The Way You Are? Part 2

Meta-programs are something that drives the way people behave in the real world. Oftentimes the outward manifestations of these meta-programs are what people describe as “personality”. Traditionally, personality is thought of as being unchanging and if you are born with a certain type of personality, then you are stuck with it.

In psychology, the theory that personality is unchanging resulted in different types of models such as the Myers-Briggs model and other similar models. According to these models, personality is fixed and people can be fit into categories based on their personality traits.

However neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) takes a different approach. Instead of types, NLP uses meta-programs. These are the predominant behavioral patterns. They are not fixed, but can be changed with a certain effort. People even adopt different patterns in different situations.

In Part 1 on meta-programs, there was a general overview and a description of two basic meta-programs. Here we will delve into four more.

3) in-time or through-time or between-time

Different people perceive time differently and this leads them to behave differently too. A basic distinction is in-time or through-time. These basically describe a person’s approach to activities having a time aspect.

People can represent the flow of time as different paths or lines in space. That reflects how they experience time. They have different timelines and plot them in their mind differently. Timelines are largely about visualization and picturing things in your mind. You can plot events from the past or future at different places on the timeline and this has an effect on how you experience and think about them.

In-time people live in the moment and for the moment. They are not too worried about the future and devote their full attention to what they are doing now. They are not too worried whether they will arrive late for a meeting or similar things. They often arrive late and don’t see anything wrong with it.

It is very hard for in-time people to plan ahead or even look at the past in an objective way. They also have a very hard time estimating how much time it will take for them to achieve something.

Many in-time people see events through their own eyes and can have an internal feeling of the past and present being both as now.

This is an individual trait, but can also be a cultural trait as well. For example certain cultures tend to be more in-time, for example the Spanish. In Spain, for most people, time has no meaning and if you set up an appointment, most will come late. They live for the “fiesta”.

Through-time people are the opposite of that. For them planning is important and so is organization. They are much better at planning and organizing their actions. They like to analyze things and often give off the impression that they are not absorbed in the activity taking place.

Another trait of through-time people is that they are punctual and realize the importance of time. They see events as flowing in front of them and therefore can often disassociate themselves from them. They know that time passes and that things interact with each other and that actions are connected to each other. One action can have repercussions at other points in time.

These two different ways of viewing time and reacting to its flow have severe repercussions on people’s behaviors. You can often tell pretty easily which people are in-time and which are more through-time. There are certain expressions that give it away. For example in-time people often use buzzwords like “live for the moment” and often talk about the “now” and “feeling”.

On the other hand, the speech of through-time people reflects the importance that they give to the passage of time. They often use time related phrases such as “next time” or “in the future”.

In-time people often react badly at traditional time management techniques. Through-time people on the other hand are often very good at time management.

This has repercussions on planning and following a plan through. It will be much easier for a through-time person to plan out goals and then set out a course of action to achieve them. So in this, it is better to have a through-time mindset, however an in-time person might enjoy the experience of being in the gym more.

As stated before, there is no “better” meta-program. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages and is better for certain situations over others. It is also perfectly possible to adopt one meta-program in one situation and another one in another situation. However for drafting goals and then achieving them, the through-time meta-program is the one that is the one that achieves results.

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Kick-Ass Tunes To Pump You Up

I don’t know what it is with music, but it has a very interesting effect on your emotions. Some songs can uplift you, some others can make you feel down, some can make you think, and some have the effect of pumping you up. I often listen to songs to try to pump myself up. Youtube is an amazing resource for these types of songs (80s edition 🙂 ).

Here are some of my favorites:

What are yours?

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Get Some True Love! Be A Dog Owner


You know who will always love you in sickness and in health? Think about it! Wait for it…wait for it… A dog! 🙂

A dog is always happy to see you. When you come home from work, cranky and miserable, the dog is always there to greet you, really happy that you are back. The dog will be wagging its tail, jumping up and down and squealing in sounds of joy. Sure, they might bring over the ball for you to throw as well, but the dog will always be there when you come.

Whether you own a small dog or a big dog, or something in between, the dog always loves its owner. Even if the owner mistreats the dog (how dare you!), the dog is still attached to its owner and shows him love.

You might be feeling down, the dog will come and try to comfort you. They will cuddle next to you and start licking you. The feelings from the dog are true, not pretend. Dogs can lie all day waiting for their owner to return and when they do, they will be ecstatic with joy.

There is a special bond between the dog and its owner. The dog knows that it belongs and wants to show its affection. You are the leader of its pack and the dog acknowledges it. Instead of feeling resentful, he only feels love for you.

If you are feeling unloved, unappreaciated or forgotten, get a dog. Sure it’s hard work and a dog requires dedication, but you are guaranteed 100% love. A dog is like a member of your family, one that loves and adores you dearly. Love your dog, take care of your dog, it will love you back.

This is for all the dogs out there! 🙂


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chimp behavior

Get Females By Giving Them Meat

chimp behavior
Yeah you heard that right. The most efficient way to get females is to give them meat. You give meat, you get sex, it’s that simple. At least that’s what the scientific evidence says for one particular group of individuals that live in the forests of Africa: chimpanzees. 😛

“Males observed in the West African nation of Ivory Coast shared monkey meat with females that exhibited the pink swellings on their rear ends that indicate ovulation and sexual availability. More surprising was that males shared meat with females that didn’t have sexual swellings, perhaps in hopes of future success, the researchers say. The sex “may not necessarily occur immediately—it could occur sometime in the future,” said study co-author Cristina M. Gomes, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.” quote: National Geographic

So you see here, our primate cousins, the chimpanzees figured out that the best way to get it on is to go hunt, get some meat, and then share it with females, who will then thank for it by doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

Maybe that’s where the tradition of guys inviting girls out for dinner or buying them drinks developed from. Men are digging deep down into their genetic memory and using tried and tested strategies from way back in prehistoric times. 🙂 Too bad those don’t seem to work anymore.

However, there are some who dispute this theory. Other scientists did some research and found no correlation.

“They found no evidence for immediate meat-for-sex trades, nor did they find that males who shared more meat got more sex.“One explanation for this discrepancy could be the cost of short-term exchanges”, Gomes says. Males who hunt risk ceding their access to oestrous females to other chimpanzees. Long-term exchanges could be a way of gaining the benefits of meat for sex, without taking such risks.” quote: New Scientist

Well, I think both things might be true. Some chimp males try to play the gentleman by going hunting and sharing their meat with others, while the females don’t always appreciate this. While these chimps are out hunting, there are probably some leecher chimps who try smooth talk the female chimps into giving it up. With many females it probably works.

This is not that different from the human world. It is unfortunately not a rare occurrence that a guy who has been working hard all day, comes back home and finds his wife in bed with another guy, most likely some unemployed smooth talker. 🙂

It’s fascinating how many parallels there are between humans and the animal world, and especially our closest cousins, the primates. So based on these similarities, scientists try to find out more about human behavior by studying apes and monkeys.

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weight gain with beer

We Are Back And A Change Of Direction

weight gain with beer
Sorry for the delay in posting. I made a mistake on my hosting account and ended up somehow erasing my entire blog, so that’s why you couldn’t access it for a week. However now we are back! 🙂

I have also been thinking about the direction of this blog. The main aim from the start has been to help hardgainers with gaining weight, however I have been slowly expanding it to other fitness and lifestyle topics.

After some thinking, I have decided to expand it further to other topics as well, in fact to make it a bit more personal. While I love fitness, there are also some other things that I am working on and can share my advice and opinions on. These include travelling and language learning and so I would like to expand the blog to include these topics as well.

Not sure if this the right course of action, however I have to say that I have not been getting the traffic that I envisioned. One advice that I read on the internet is to make a blog more personal in order to widen its appeal. I think I have a unique point of view and a mix of experiences, something that could inspire others.

I will keep the domain name of the blog the same and the core topics will still be covered in depth, I will just add a few more topics. This might turn off some readers who are not interested in those topics, but I believe that even they will still find a wealth of information on here. I will still continue to cover fitness and especially continue to give tips on how to gain weight and lean muscle.

I have kept a language learning blog that I infrequently updated. The main purpose of that blog was to share some short stories and especially different language learning resources that I came across. I will keep that blog as a way to share resources, however different stories and reflections on learning languages will shift to this blog. Not sure how exactly I will determine what will appear on this blog and what on the other one, but I will try and see what works.

Hopefully this new direction will be interesting to my readers and help them get inspired to apply some of these things to their own lives.

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