Lessons from Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of my biggest inspirations, why? Because he  achieved almost everything he set out to achieve.

  • He was born in a small Austrian town in a year of famine at the end of World War II. He grew up in a small house with no shower, no plumbing, and no flushing toilet, just a chamber pot, with the nearest well a quarter of a mile away.
  • By the age of twenty-one, he was living in Los Angeles and had been crowned Mr. Universe.
  • Within five years, he had learned English and was the greatest bodybuilder in the world.
  • Within ten years, he had earned a college degree and was a millionaire.
  • Within twenty years, he was the world’s biggest movie star and husband of Maria Shriver (member of one of the most prestigious families in America).
  • Within thirty-six years of moving to Los Angeles, he was elected Governor of California.

Clearly Schwarzenegger is someone everyone can learn from. He achieved extremely high levels of success in three different fields: bodybuilding, movies, and politics. Thankfully, over his life, Schwarzenegger has distilled some of the lessons he’s learnt.

  • Turn you liabilities into assets – Arnold had an unusual name, body and accent, for many that would have been a barrier, but in the end, when Arnold broke through, all three made him memorable.
  • When someone says no, you should hear yes – very few things are actually impossible to achieve. You should place trust in yourself, the only way to achieve the impossible is to try the impossible. If you fail, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.
  • Never follow the crowd, go where it is empty – most people are very unambitious, if you try to reach the top, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get there because most people only concentrate on low level activities. It’s always easier to stand out when you aim straight for the top.
  • No matter what you do in life, selling is part of it – you have to make people aware of what you are doing.

Like most successful people, Schwarzenegger has met many successful people in his life and he has learnt lessons from them. Below is a list of ten lessons he has distilled from his experiences and that of others.

  1. Never let pride get in your way.
  2. Don’t overthink – it slows you down, trust in yourself.
  3. Forgot plan B – don’t compromise, if you fail it doesn’t matter.
  4. You can use outrageous humour to settle a score – humour is surprisingly effective at resolving situations.
  5. The day has twenty-four hours – don’t waste your time, you have to stay busy to achieve a lot.
  6. Reps, reps, reps – consistent repetition is the only way to get good at anything.
  7. Don’t blame your parents – a harsh upbringing can make you become more ambitious, take responsibility for your life.
  8. Change takes big balls – act in the face of fear, make changes which will achieve long-term results.
  9. Take care of your body and mind – all you have is your body and brain, therefore invest in yourself to strengthen both.
  10. Stay hungry – keep moving forward, when you achieve something, start working towards something else immediately, only look back on your accomplishments with pride when you are nearing death.
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