Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30th, 1947. He is an Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician and former professional bodybuilder. He has also served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011. Whether you like him or not, there’s no denying that he has had one of the most eclectic and exciting careers in history.
I’ve always admired this man personally because he’s simply accomplished so many things, and people like that fascinate and inspire me. I know some people aren’t massive fans of reading, so hopefully this blog will capture the main points of his book.
So, without further ado, here are the top tips for life that I’ve learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger:
1) It’s All In Your Head.
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In the book, Arnold tells a wonderful story of how he thinks he has reached his limit in calf raises until he sees a man called Reg do twice the amount than he can. Arnold is forced to reconsider his own limitations, or else face feeling defeated.
Arnold demonstrates here that the way we train our brains is what is holding us back. Sometimes it can be the smallest lack of motivational fuel. Arnold began to believe in his own abilities as a bodybuilder more and more, which was the fuel he needed to become great. This goes to prove that your only limitations are those that you place within your own mind. Train yourself to believe more in your own ability to crush your goals.
2) There’s No Competing.
“Failure is not an option. Everyone has to succeed.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Losing to Chet Yorton in a bodybuilding competition taught Arnold a very valuable lesson. He learned that he must go into battle to win, not to compete. From this point, Arnold began to visualise himself winning a competition. His visualisation thoughts became a vibrant and unadulterated focus on achieving greatness and crushing his goals. He began to insist on aiming high and on being the best.
The lesson here is to be absolutely committed to being the best you can be in your field. Commit all of your soul to achieving your goals, and throw yourself into them armed with complete determination to come out on top.
3) They Say No, You Hear Yes.
Arnold had a very dear mentor called Lucy who taught him lots. But the main lesson that she taught him was that when you hear a no, you should make it become a yes, and act accordingly. This might sound a little senseless, but if you do it, it forces you to act in a way that is unrelentingly dedicated to pursuing your goals. He acted like this very often throughout his life, and it made him humble and brave in his daring pursuits. By lying to himself in this way, he also learned to focus on what he could be, rather than on what his limitations were.
Tricking your mind is a fantastic life hack. Use it to your advantage, chase down your wildest pursuits, even if they feel impossible.
4) Life As Reps.
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not to simply exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold has an incredible work ethic. He used to work out for five hours per day, six days per week! While doing this, he also worked on his mail order business, on his acting lessons, on his degree, and on his construction job. The guy worked!
Arnold began to see life like bodybuilding reps. In bodybuilding, if Arnold wanted to make a certain muscle bigger, all he had to do was increase his number of reps, and then gradually increase his resistance by adding more weight. He transferred this mentality into all aspects of his career, and would constantly keep track of his progress. For example, in his book, there is a picture of a speech he was learning with lines next to it of how many times he had practiced different parts of the speech, so he could keep track of his progress.
This is another really good example of one of my favourite philosophies: Hard Work. Arnold wasn’t necessarily more naturally gifted than his other competitors, but he ensured that he was working harder than any of them. It’s important that we all ask ourselves, could we be dong more reps in order to attain our dreams?
5) Keep Smiling.
Arnold was always smiling, even when he was lifting huge weights in the gym. He puts a lot of stock in having a smile on his face, and believes that it is one of the most important things you can do. He would always make sure he was smiling because, no matter how hard things felt, he knew that he had a much bigger and more exciting goal ahead of him that he was working towards.
He had a dream of moving to America, and achieving the seemingly impossible. It was these goals and aspirations that kept him smiling event through some pretty bleak times.
6) Cash In On Your Individuality.
One of the reasons that Arnold Schwarzenegger became so popular and successful was because he was completely unique. He didn’t fit the classic Hollywood mould. He had a very muscular body, an unusual accent and a strange yet memorable name.
Rather than being embarrassed by these peculiarities, he decided to flaunt them, to cash in on them. He was vulnerable and self-aware enough to trust in his own abilities to achieve his vision. It’s vitally important that we all acknowledge what makes us unique, and to use it to our advantage. Your greatest quirk could end up being your greatest asset.
7) Staying On Top.
“Every rep and every set is getting me closer to my goal.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold found that when he reached the top of his game in bodybuilding, he began to plateau, because he became very comfortable with where he was. He found that it was harder for him to stay on top than it was for him to reach the top in the first place.
I think that this is a really important lesson, I’ve personally not achieved my goals yet, but it makes me realise that the battle is really never over. Even when you get to a place of accomplishment, there is still a constant grind and work that has to be put in to remain relevant and notable. The key is to constantly evaluate your goals, to ensure that you always have something new and exciting to look forward to which motivates you.
8) Passion Over Fear.
Arnold said that when he is delivering a speech to a huge audience he doesn’t get distracted or off put by the audience because he is so passionate about what his is talking about. He allows his passion, rather than his fear, to drive him to where he needs to be. We can all utilise our passion to propel us to success. Many of us will want to accomplish some pretty audacious and crazy things in life, and that can feel quite scary. This lesson is particularly useful; let your passions drive you. Not your fears of failure.
9) Build A Legacy.
What was really interesting about Arnold’s approach to life was that he seems to have a desire for success which stretches further than his own sense of self-wroth and pride. I really admired this about him. For instance, with bodybuilding, he felt that he needed to become successful to help promote fitness to people. This is one of the primary reasons that he took part in the famed “Pumping Iron” documentary.
Your source of motivation will become much broader and more exciting when you get to a place where your ambitions stretch further than yourself. Arnold firmly believed that every success he attained benefitted more than just himself, but also the countless people who would be inspired by his accomplishments.
10) Get Tough.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We spend a lot of time trying to minimize pain and skirt round struggle. We want to accomplish our goals as quickly and painlessly as possible. Arnold likes to use an analogy which shatters this unrealistic dream, and replaces it with a rather more compelling way of looking at things.
When it comes to building muscle, we all know that you have to put in work and push through the pain and the aching to get the body which you desire. And Arnold argues that this is just the same in life.
He became very aware that he had to develop his mind and body to be able to endure the hardships and uphill struggles that his inevitable failures and adversities would present him. In order to secure success, you need to endure failure. It is through that strength in the face of adversity that you learn to thrive.
11) Celebrate The Adversities.
“The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a stronger character.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold’s life wasn’t always easy and packed full of excitement and success. When he was young, his Father would physically abuse him and naturally, this would make him very upset. But as he grew older, this abuse motivated him to leave Austria and become world-famous.
If Arnold had never been motivated by his abusive upbringing to become successful, would he have ever fully realised his potential? Maybe not. It is very interesting to observe just how many people who have faced hardship have become great achievers in their field. There is definitely something to be said for using your hardships to motivate you.
It might be that you have suffered in the past; maybe you have felt worthless and useless at times. It might be that people haven’t always believed in your abilities, and doubted your worth. It is very important that you use these experiences to motivate you, if you don’t, they will only hinder you. I genuinely believe that, like Arnold, we should all make use of our negative past experiences to propel us to a place of success and contentment.
12) Don’t Always Focus Inward.
“Have a vision, trust yourself, break some rules, ignore the naysayers, and don’t be afraid to fail.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In a moment of brilliant achievement in Arnold’s life, he recalls the realisation that, as a society, we are too self-absorbed. We are constantly concerned with self. He says that he found more pride and happiness in his political works, where he focused on improving his state and country, than he ever did when he was focusing on his body or acting.
I think that this is a really brilliant lesson. It is important that we try to help other people as we progress along the way. This isn’t to say that you need to do everything as some sort of charity, but it’s really important that you try and benefit other people’s lives. I personally believe that it all comes back round anyway, giving people quality and support may be tiring at times, but it only works to serving a greater cause in the end.
13) Everyone Doesn’t Want You To Fail!
Arnold was once in a film called ‘Last Action Hero,’ which turned out to be a complete flop. He says that at the time, he felt like the world was against him. He says, “You tend to assume that the whole world is focused on your failure.” He later recalls his realisation that actually, the whole world doesn’t care about your failure, and most of the world won’t even know or care about it anyway. The reality is that people aren’t constantly checking up on you, watching You Tube videos about you, or stalking your social media, they have lives too.
The key here is to not become self-absorbed, and to ensure that you don’t become an asshole. Realise that the world is a massive place with lots of people on it trying to make their mark. If you put in the work and are deserving of success, your time will come. Look ahead to the next stage of your life and focus on what could go right next time.