I never really thought much of Arnold Schwarzenegger before I picked his book up in a second-hand book store spontaneously a few months back. I knew that he is a legend in bodybuilding and that he did a few movies and was the governor of California, but I never comprehended how much of an amazing feat it is to achieve so much in one lifetime.
After reading his autobiography, Total Recall, I have a ton of respect for what he has achieved, but more importantly I have gathered valuable information into what it takes to become the greatest in the world in literally multiple fields. This book is actually one of Tai Lopez’s top books of all time and I can see why – you really get a detailed glimpse inside the mind of someone so hard-working and successful.
Here’s a list of reasons Arnold has been able to accomplish any goal he sets for himself, and be successful in any endeavour he undertakes. There’s so much to say that I thi post will be split into two parts.
His tough upbringing
I mentioned in my last blog post about Elon Musk that tough childhoods seem to have a strong correlation with success later in life. Where Musk developed a tolerance to stress from his childhood, Schwarzenegger stated ‘the discipline rubbed off on me. I turned it into drive.’
From a very young age him and his brother were put to work. Their parents kept a tight ship, making them wake up at 6AM and fetch milk from the local farm every day, as well as walk ¼ of a mile to fetch water from the well, even in the worst of weather conditions. They were even made to earn their breakfast by doing sit-ups, along with practicing soccer daily no matter how bad the weather was.
Along with this their father trained their brains by taking them on outings to experience culture and history; he would make them write essays on their experiences and with any spelling mistakes they made, they would have to copy it fifty times over.
All of this matured into skills he used for the rest of his life. Firstly, the act of enduring discomfort to earn even the most basic of rewards such as food instilled in him a strict work ethic. He understood from an early age what it takes to achieve; to earn something.
He became accustomed to harsh conditions: ‘Hardships were routine. When you grow up in that kind of environment you never forget how to withstand physical punishment.’ This stress tolerance would allow him to endure pushing his limits for hours every day in the gym and whilst working in film, practicing the same stunts hundreds of times over.
Similarly, the spelling mistakes punishment taught him the value of repetitions, not only in the gym but in practicing and mastering any skill. He states ‘everything is reps and mileage. The more miles you ski, the better a skier you become; the more reps you do, the better your body. I’m a big believer in hard work, grinding it out, and not stopping until it’s done.’
From an early age Arnold states ‘I became absolutely convinced that I was special and meant for bigger things. I knew I would be the best at something.’
He was 100% sure he was destined for success. This is the law of attraction. But the thing is, the law of attraction doesn’t work unless you do. Hence, Arnie took massive action to get out of his hometown and outwards to where opportunity was waiting: ‘The best course of independence was to mind my own business and make my own money.’ – He visited a local factory at age 14 and got a job, being paid a man’s wage. He was serious about his vision, and he wasn’t going to wait around. He knew he had to start right away because there was no time to waste waiting for the right opportunity to arise.
Pairing his self-belief with a vision, he became unstoppable. He understood the value of hard work from a young age and when he met successful people he realized that he could copy what they had done. When he met Mr. Austria, Kurt Manzel, with his muscular physique, sports car and all the girls he dated, it didn’t merely inspire him. It proved to him that he could easily achieve that and more if he put in the hours. And put in the hours he did.
When he met Reg Park, a highly successful bodybuilder from England who had moved to America and starred in movies, he quickly understood that if Park could do it, so could he.
‘I refined my vision until it was very specific. I was going to go for the Mr. Universe title… I was going to Hollywood… it became so clear in my mind that I felt like it had to happen.’
When he placed as runner up in his first Mr. Universe competition, he realized he should be competing to win, not just to compete. From then on, everything he worked towards was with the intention to come out on top. Winning was his duty.
His visions turned into goals, and his goals turned into massive action. On his goals, he stated ‘I had to make it very specific so that all those fine intentions were not just floating around… I found it liberating. Knowing exactly where I wanted to end up freed me totally to improvise how to get there.’
He didn’t need to know how exactly he was going to achieve his goals, but he knew he was going to. Succeeding wasn’t an option; it was his duty. In fact, he stated ‘winning was a given. It was part of the job. I had an obligation to win… I’d say to myself, “Okay, did that. Let’s move on to the next competition.”’
Constantly moving forward
Because success was his duty, he never dwindled on it for too long. He always moved on to the next thing, the bigger goal. On being picked to play a role in Hollywood, he explained ‘I didn’t share my feelings of pride with anybody. My style was to keep moving and not reflect too much.’
Often, when people achieve a sense of success or winning, no matter how small, they become complacent. Arnold never stopped being hungry no matter how much he achieved. As soon as he achieved one goal, he raised the bar and moved on to a bigger goal.
When he achieved his first vision of becoming the top bodybuilder and being an actor in Hollywood, he felt it an obligation to do more. ‘”Now that the studios are coming to me,” I said, “what if I go all out? Really work on the acting, really work on the stunts… What if I shoot to become one of Hollywood’s top leading men?’
Continued in the next blog post