Arnold Schwarzenegger has one of the greatest immigrant to America success stories of all time. He grew up in extreme poverty in Austria, became a European bodybuilding champion, because a multi-year international bodybuilding champion, became a real estate millionaire in California, became the world’s top actor, and then became the governor of California. I’ve been wanting to read his book Total Recall for years. It’s a long book, so I didn’t get to it until now. It was a fantastic read. It’s very inspiring and useful. These types of books can’t be summarized easily, and I suggest you read the full thing to get his story. But here are my book notes for the book. I’m sorry in advance that I didn’t have the time to edit this for grammar yet. I just wanted to get it out.
There are so many interesting parts of his life. Did you know he married a Kennedy?
Anyhow, if you want to learn some tips about succeeding in life from someone who has done it, this is the book for you. In fact, he dedicates a chapter at the end of the book to summarizing his tips, so you can always go to the end if you want a more practical, concise summary. But I wanted the full journey because you get the nuances of his life story, just like watching a movie.
Without further ado, here are my book notes.
He grew up in Austria in complete poverty. There was no standard amenities like you would see in a normal house. There’s no plumbing, electricity or any of that. The heated room with a stove. When people would poop, you could hear the poop hit the bottom of the water with a splash.
He and his brother got every illness you could think of and his mother was experienced at treating that illness. One time, she trapped in the snow for 4 miles over a mountain to carry his sick brother to the nearest hospital.
It was a time of negative sentiment. The townsfolk felt like losers because they had lost World War II and had nothing to show for except poverty and ruled by the Russians. Arnold look forward to every December where when his mother would take him once per year to a department store which only has 2 to 3 floors for clothing to buy. His mother would only By the Bear essentials bites he always look forward to it and the department store felt like the mall of America to him.
He seem to have a natural talent for entrepreneurship and lifting weights. Do you want various local competitions for weightlifting. He will train all the time and it wasn’t really painful for him because every rep he did put him closer to Becoming a champion he was wanting to be. Since he was so poor, he found different ways of trying to make money. He would buy ice cream in bulk and we sell them on the beach so that customers don’t have to walk 10 minutes to get them for three times the price. When that summer season ended, he was already to panhandling and lying that he had lost some money, But that ended quickly once his dad discovered. He later work at A shop that told him taught him how to sell. She had to make sure every customer who left the shop bought something, even if it was a tiny purchase. If anyone left the shop without a purchase, that was a sign that you didn’t put in all your effort and you weren’t a good salesman.
He had a crazy dream of moving to the United States one day. He can’t remember where it came from but he told everyone he knew about it. And what he knew was that America was the best, most powerful country, and that all the celebrities were there. So that’s where he wanted to be because he wanted to be the best. A lot of friends and family were skeptical about it but he was enthusiastic about his dream and told everyone. Later on, after discovering how a Mr. Olympia had went from going from his home country to winning awards and eventually making it to America, becoming the star of the movie Hercules, and getting rich and needing a pretty wife, he fine-tuned his vision into one involved him one day becoming Mr. Olympia himself and then moving to America I am going to Hollywood. He thought about his vision so often that he couldn’t see it not happening. It was a alternating thing. He had to make this happen or he would fail and have nothing.
Through mentorship and encouragement from Mr. Austria, he was told that if you put in the work, he could win the competition to. So, he dedicated himself to it. And he won various local powerlifting and bodybuilding, competitions.
He joined the Army because it was the next natural step. The local army was there not for warfare, but as a sign of sovereignty and independence. It was one of the things they were allowed to still have. He inspired to be a team driver since it was very expensive to train someone and it was in very limited tanks. He succeeded in becoming a team driver but was often rambunctious and immature, occasionally making a mistake that would destroy part of a building. One time, he waste another tank driver without knowing that there are still people sitting on his tank. He got chewed out for a lot of the stuff. He was punished by having to crawl through the mud under and over to tank 50 times.
He was invited to compete in bodybuilding in Germany, which took it more seriously, but he didn’t see that as a real possibility since no one got discharge from the army for anything that wasn’t a legitimate concern. He usually had to be an injury or a promotion. But out of luck and because Of how much he goofed off and caused damage, they ended up allowing him to get discharged.
He would sometimes insert a third workout because he felt like he got more of a stimulus. On the same day. He will pump route 26 for 100 repetitions of calf raises her tricep extensions. At night, his muscle my Twitter job, which was just a good indication that he had got a great workout in.
The person he was staying with to compete overseas turned out to be gay and continuously make moves on him even despite his rejection. It was shocking because until then, he had known gay people but they would never impose their sexuality on others. Luckily, he went to another person he knew who was generous enough to have him stay with him when Arnold revealed what happened.
He would’ve initially tried to win Mr. Austria first before competing in Mr. Europe but he was too impatient. It would’ve taken him many years to get ready, so he just tried.
He employed a different technique called stripping to bulk up enough for the competition. This technique involved starting at your heaviest weight rather than the traditional technique of doing sets and building up to your heaviest weight. He will start at your heaviest for six repetitions and then gradually do more sets with less weight.
When he would train in Munich Germany for the competition, he would train so hard that his arms would hurt no matter where he would place them. If you let them hang, they hurt. But he didn’t have any strength left to lift them. He ended up resting them on the table. He showed his arms who was boss. And they were forced to grow.
He didn’t like that people didn’t let girls train and work out in those days. So, he would let them train at his gym for free by sneaking them in.
After a hard days work, he like to have fun. He would go to the bar with his friends to flirt with girls and to get into fights. He wasn’t there for the alcohol since he couldn’t drink much to keep his physique. In that area, they were not really serious fights that involved someone trying to kill someone else. Instead, these were fights that usually ended up afterwards with one person buying the other a beer or a pretzel. Wow these were fine, after a few months, he realize he had to discipline himself and get serious. He wasn’t going to win the competition by falling all around and going to sleep really late. He realized he had had to go to sleep at a certain time to get enough sleep. There was always fun to be had and they would always have fun no matter what. So he had a rein in how much time he would spend goofing off.
Arnold’s biggest obstacle to the competition turned out to not be the bars but his manager, who didn’t submit his application because it turned out he was scared of losing him. Luckily, he found out and found someone else to submit. He ended up winning runner up because he looked a lot stronger and better than his competitors. Many bodybuilders looked big, but weren’t strong since they didn’t powerlift like him. While he felt very happy about how he placed, which was better than expected, he started pondering if he could’ve done better if he came into it aiming to win. From then on, he changed his mindset and went into every competition expecting and aiming to win. His inner talk before competing was like “The sea should part for me. They should just give me the trophy. I deserve it.”
He also got educated about catering to his fans. He would dash off to celebrate after winning and push through his fans only to get scolded once and told how his fans paid money to be there and he should at least spend some time with them. After that, he always made time for his fans.
Building up a name in bodybuilding back in the day was like politics. He had to start a small grassroots efforts where are you toward local events to build up your name and enthusiasm about you. Overtime, that enthusiasm would help you win Mr. Universe.
When he was 20, he heard that international party builders were using drugs to improve their physique, which you later investigated to be steroids. At that time, they weren’t illegal by any means. In fact, they were used for rehab, not muscle enhancement. At the time, his philosophy as a 20 year old was to leave no stone stone unturned because he wanted to win and didn’t want his competitors to have any edge. He got steroids from his local physician but he says it didn’t really help him that much. He said the game was equivalent to getting a good tan. He said he’s in modern times, people are taking 20 times the amount of steroids that he ever had access to back in those days and when human growth hormone came on the scene, it became even more dangerous since people died. During his time, he found it helped him gain weight and eat more but it was mostly water weight. He ended up fine-tuning it to take it only in the 6 to 8 weeks leading up to competition.
While others didn’t like the attention and pressure from an audience interviewing him during competition, it empowered Arnold. He found that the enthusiasm and cheering helped him perform better ways for some people, they preferred no one there.
Arnold found that the limit he had on how much weight you can lift was purely psychological. He thought he was lifting incredible numbers that no one could come close to. But when he saw her which park do 1000 pound calf raises, it changed and upper leveled how much you can lift. Wedge told him that the limit is in your mind. If you weigh 250 pounds, your calves are already lifting that amount of weight per step. So we have to go beyond that.
Just like the four minute mile, there was a 500 pound clean and jerk psychological limit in the 70s. But once one person had broken that record with 501 pounds, all of a sudden, three more people that year broke that record. Arnold also illustrates this with a story with his friend that he worked out with later on in California. This friend Did four reps of 500 pound squats and put it back, saying he was so tired. But 10 minutes later, Arnold egg him on because a few attractive girls had walked into the gym and he told him that the girls can you talk to and he didn’t believe he could squat 500 pounds. His friend Frank, someone who love to show off to women, said he would prove otherwise and all of a sudden, he did 10 reps with 500 pounds with ease. His body didn’t physically change in that 10 minutes, his mind did. Sports or so physical that people forget that the mind plays a critical role as well.
His dream was still to go to America. To accomplish that dream, he knew he had to do something extra ordinary so that he would get a telegram requesting him to come to America just like his idol I did win he won a lot of bodybuilding competitions in Europe. Arnold’s goal was to win more titles across all the various bodybuilding federation and competitions more than anyone else. If someone had won four times, he would win six times. He made body building his number one priority ahead of work, life, and girls. He still made time for those other things but he first made sure that he got in his 4 to 5 hours of working out every day.
When he went to London to compete in his second Mr. Olympia, instead of the promised travel and spending money that he was supposed to be given, he was told that he would get this money if he signed a contract which would take a cut of everything he won from his competitions and make that person his official agent. He was upset about this and refused. He got a loan from someone else he knew.
His focus and dedication paid off and he won Mr. Olympia in Europe for a second time. Sure enough, he received a telegram requesting him to come to America to compete in the US version of Mr. Olympia with all expenses paid for.
His goal was not just a visit America but to stay there. In the army, some of the advanced 10 drivers got to go to America for training. While he was tempted to do that, he knew that after the training was done, they will return and that’s not what he wanted.
Arnold competed in Miami, but didn’t win. He was comforted by another bodybuilder and it was the first time another man had been comforting and empathetic to him. He cried in his room for a few hours which was cathartic. He was most upset about himself because he didn’t do everything he could to prepare. He could’ve pose better and done a lot of small things to improve his definition and other stuff. But he relied on his momentum from winning in Europe to carry him through. He made some immature mistakes. Arnold resolve to not make that mistake again so that he could walk away with a smile even if he lost because he did everything he could.
Arnold was out of cash and didn’t have a job. He didn’t know how he would even get home. A famous bodybuilder Joe Weider started talking the owner and ask him a bunch of questions about how he trained. Arnold marveled that the experience and imagined what his friends would think if they knew Joe was asking him about his routine. Joe offered to pay for his food, lodging, and transportation to California for an entire year so that he can spend an entire year to train. You felt that Arnold had potential and would be the greatest and he needed to dedicate himself to it because there’s a lot of room for improvement. Arnold arrived in California at the age of 21 with no money, cheap clothes, couldn’t speak more than a few words of English, but with a big smile.
Arnold was disappointed when he got there. He had confused Hollywood with Las Vegas and was disappointed at the unpaved roads, barely any tall buildings, not much going on, no blocked off streets for the movie sets and lack of shiny lights. He was also disappointing with Gold‘s gym in California because the roads were paved the buildings nearby look decrepit in like small Barricks. Even from where he was from, his roads would be paved and swept.
Since he was part of the bodybuilding community, he was never really alone when he came to California. The community is very welcoming and friendly to you and treat you as one of their own even if they’ve never met you. The bodybuilding community in America was super friendly, helping him find an apartment that he didn’t have to pay for, and even helping him get access to all the necessary stuff he needs to leave. They brought him spare utensils, plates, and other items to use. That sort of stuff was unheard of back in Europe. If someone was moving in, he wouldn’t even think to help that person.
Being a young, reckless kid, he crashed the first car that one of his bodybuilder friends landed him. It was a massive pileup and he got injured from it. He didn’t have health insurance so one of his bodybuilder friends helped find him a doctor and paid for his expenses. He felt really bad about it and wishes he could have learned the names of the people who were involved so he could write an apology letter to each of them today. Despite that, he went to sleep that night feeling optimistic.. America was a land of opportunity he got a slap on the wrist for it when he could’ve gotten a lot worse and sent to jail back home.
He was supportive of do United States fight against capitalism because all the countries he live near where succumbing to communism and the difference was night and day. When he looked at East versus West Germany, it was like looking at two different weathers. One was gray and one was sunny.
He felt he was up-and-coming and made great progress but had a long way to go before becoming champion. Since there is so many overlapping competitions And not everyone competed in each of them, he had to really beat the champions at various competitions to be crowned the best. It takes about 10 years to build a world-class body and he had six years of training so far. But people saw him as up-and-coming and looked at him because of the progress he’s made despite his early age.
In bodybuilding, you really have to be brutally honest and work on your weaknesses, rather than double down on your strengths. And you’ll find us some body parts. So you have to spend more time on doors. Arnold calves were not growing like he wanted. He was pretty down three times a week and he update you every day. He saw that his mentor Ridge Park was training them every day add 1000 pounds when he was content with them at three times a week 300 pounds so he changed his routine.
Arnold was scared to death about not having health insurance after his accident. He also didn’t want any free handouts. It took him six months, but he paid back his health bills to the guy who had spotted him. He also made a little bit of money, not much, on the side driving cars to the coast for a company who would export them to Australia. A large chunk of his earnings went to a health insurance plan that someone had drafted up custom for him.
Arnold noticed that Joe Wieder was good at marketing to young man. He created magazines that caught Arnold’s attention when he was young. They promised things that young, vulnerable men cared about such as how to be sure that they could get a high-paying job, be successful around women, and be able to defend themselves. Joe would also Position things in a way that what is most appealing even if it stretch the truth a bit. He would have nicknames for all the bodybuilders in a magazine such as the blonde bomber, which made things more fantastical. Although the pictures will show a bodybuilder with a surfboard next to models, in reality, the bodybuilders couldn’t surf and the models were usually paid actresses. Although one of the models was the wife to bodybuilders so she worked for free. And although the products were distributed across the world, they weren’t done song in fancy big airplanes. But it didn’t perturb Arnold when he found out about the hype because enough of the facts were true enough.
Joe Wieder manage to Arnold. He knew how to sell. Joe was the reason that Arnold got the role of Hercules in the movie Hercules in New York at the age of 22. They originally wanted to cast another bodybuilder but that person was part of the competing organizations in bodybuilding that you always in a part of. Instead, Chou pitched hard to cast Arnold instead. He lied and said Arnold had a Austrian Shakespearean acting background and was in perfect shape for this role. Arnold got the role, won his fourth international bodybuilding competition, then flew to New York to film this low budget film. At 22, he didn’t feel he was ready. He didn’t think he would get a film roll until at least 30. Unfortunately, his English was terrible. They gave him an acting coach and speech coach but two weeks of that wasn’t enough to make up for his lack of English. He couldn’t understand many of the lines or speak well.
Arnold did some selling of his own to John. He missed his friend Franco Colombo and wanted him to come to America, but he knew that angle would never appeal to Joe. Instead, he pitched his friend Franco Colombo by saying how he is the best person pound for pound in his weight class. He emphasize how Arnold would be the dominant champ in the higher weight class and if Joe had Franco Colombo, he would dominate the lighter weight class. He always resistant and find ignorance repeatedly. He would ask Arnold to explain everything again each time Arnold brought it up. But eventually, he caved and brought Franco over. Franco and Arnold live together in a apartment that was so small they couldn’t even hang up a painting. But to them, it was luxury because they had lived in even smaller places back in their own country. They lived real close to the beach and had a sink in bathroom.
The movie you went straight to the shop after it came out because the production company went bankrupt. And they dubbed over Arnold voice because he had to strong an accent. But he didn’t care. He was happy. He was paid well every week I’m filming. And he could write home to his parents to tell them that he had made it, winning bodybuilding competitions and starring in a movie.
The year that Joe had promised to sponsor Arnold had passed but there’s no question that Joe wanted to continue sponsoring Arnold. He started adding more angles in ways to add Arnold to his magazines as Arnold got more successful. Joe respected Arnold unlike the other bodybuilders since the bodybuilders at the gym at his time didn’t have a job and we sit around asking for Joe to pay to fly them to competitions. But Arnold with someone who worked for everything and then ask for free handouts.
Joe’s money didn’t get far so Arnold was always starting side businesses to make extra income. He did seminars at his gym. He started his own mail order business that’s owed pamphlets on bodybuilding tips and photos, which bloomed out of demand from his fan mail. He and Franco Colombo started a brick Lane business. They were very few obstacles to starting a business compared to his home country, which is why Frankel told Arnold that this was the land of opportunity. Anybody builders would feel that mail order because they want to fulfill their order after receiving pavement in in a proper amount of time, which would get their business shut down. Arnold was better at this. He also talked Chou into running an ad in his magazine for Arnold mail order service. Wow Joe was big in that space, he didn’t see Arnold another bodybuilders as any threat of major competition.
I also noted a section in the book that talks about how Joe Anybody builders would feel that mail order because they want to fulfill their order after receiving pavement in in a proper amount of time, which would get their business shut down. Arnold was better at this. He also talked Chou into running an ad in his magazine for Arnold mail order service. while Joe was big in that space, he didn’t see Arnold another bodybuilders as any threat of major competition.
I also noted a section when Arnold talked about how Joe asked him to interview other bodybuilders with a tape recorder to get material to use for his magazine and other stuff. But the bodybuilders were pretty boring and Arnold asked bad questions, which often infuriated joe. Eventually, Joe just asked for the recorder back. I guess interviewing wasn’t one of Arnold’s talent.
Arnold would always have Joe pick a part his ads before he launch them. Since Joe was a merchandise in genius, he would pick a part his ad, sometimes Word for Word. He would say to add things like “fulfilled in x-rays” or “limited edition” because people love limited addition stuff and wanted to make sure that the company was reliable.
Arnold and his friend Franco were both very entrepreneurial. They used little tricks to sell their bricklaying business and build trust with prospects. They would argue in German and Arnold would play the nice guy, translating in English that he believed it he could build with the prospect for a 1,000 less bricks and save that person some money, arguing that he could sell back the leftover bricks. This build trust because the prospect felt like Arnold was a good guy was trying to save money and he would close the deal that way. He was also good at positioning products in a more appealing way to buyers. He would resell leftover bricks to another person as vintage bricks when they were really just old bricks. He wanted to get rich quick, so he also looked into real estate. He realize that they were building a new airport which would be bringing a huge boom in real estate development nearby. With the airport, they will need to build a shopping mall, houses to live, and manufacturing facilities. So Franco and Arnold but about $15,000 worth of plots of land nearby. They leverage that to do that since they could only pay $5000 down. The potential He wanted to get rich quick, so he also looked into real estate. He realize that they were building a new airport which would be bringing a huge boom in real estate development nearby. With the airport, they will need to build a shopping mall, houses to live, and manufacturing facilities. So Franco and Arnold but about $15,000 worth of plots of land nearby. They leverage that to do that since they could only pay $5000 down. The potential Noise from the sonic boom of the new airplanes with something that they didn’t consider. The developers urged Arnold not to sell the plot, saying that it was a minor convenience and that they would sort out the legal matters eventually, and that the plots would be worth a lot to their grandchildren. Ultimately, the legal proceedings resulted in global lol saying that plains can only go sonic over the oceans.
Arnold and Franco became world-class bodybuilders. I hear voraciously always looking for new training techniques, big or small. And they would meticulously record which part of their body feels sore after new techniques every day, building a log for years that were culminate in his encyclopedia bodybuilding book. One of his key discoveries was that everyone is unique because of hereditary reasons. You couldn’t copy someone’s training program to a T because your body parts may respond differently to the training. At best, you can borrow ideas from someone’s training technique and use them for yourself in the best way for you.
He got invited to another big bodybuilding competition, another one of the biggest by another organization. He looked at the schedules and realized that all four of the top competitions were happening on different days and he could theoretically go to each one in Windy Mall. But then, he realized that the flights wouldn’t be physically possible. He told the person who invited him who was a big organizer and well-connected. He said he’d love to come and bring all his bodybuilding friends but it wasn’t feasibly possible. Arnold said to him, I see you were well-connected Jay and I’d love to bring all my friends, but it isn’t physically possible. Let’s see if you can make it happen. It took him only a day, and he found away. He promised Arnold a private jet as transport to get him there.
For this second competition, Arnold has been preparing like crazy. The man to be with Sergio, who had one many times. Arnold studied videos of Sergios posing routine many times over to Gannett edge. He realize that Sergio always defaulted to the same routine over and over. So he decided to come up with new posing routines and match everyone is Sergios poses with three poses. Each of these would put Arnold in the best light compared to Sergios poses, which Arnold had memorized. Arnold was way younger and Sergio was getting to retirement years so he had a edge based off youth. Sure enough, Arnold won the competition and he still couldn’t believe it. As they went onto their third competition, Arnold wanted to psychologically gain edge on Sergio. He wanted Sergio to look softer and less chiseled so he lied to Sergio and told him that he felt that he won because he had more weight and he had put on more weight ever since he lost a Sergio last time. Sergio took the bait and put on 10 pounds by the time the next competition rolled around. But this made him look worse because you can’t gain 10 pounds that quickly and not look more soft.
In this next competition, they posed for an abnormally long time probably because the judges kept asking for more poses to please the enthusiastic audience. Arnold came up with a scheme to get an advantage. After posing for a while, he told Sergio that they had had enough and that they should walk off the stage and let the judge decide. Sergio started walking off by Arnold only took two steps, Struck another post, and then pointed to Sergio has to signal where did he go? Sergio reacted in a confused way. That was the nail in the coffin. Tons of people change it for Arnold and some even boot Sergio. Afterwards, Sergio told others that he felt he had been had.
Unfortunately, soon after, he found out that his 25-year-old brother had died back in Europe while driving drunk. He wasn’t close with his brother anymore and had only seen him once in three years but it was a tough blow for him and his family. They weren’t good at expressing their emotions and he chose to just put it out of his mind so he could focus on his goals. His brother had gotten a job at electronics company and we’re full around with a lot of girls but was finally settling down with a girl he was engaged to.
Afterwards, he was zoomed a hectic schedule to continue training and competing while working and taking community college classes on the side. He would work out five hours a day and then do all his other side business stuff including the bricklaying and mail order business. He would also take college classes at the Santa Monica college. But he enjoyed his classes since they were much more chill them back in Austria. One of the teachers even decided to teach outside under a tree in the grass, which he felt was like a vacation compared to the rigorous procedures back in his country. He didn’t feel any pressure to take classes from anyone and enjoyed taking on classes. But he had a very busy schedule and with sometimes work from 6 AM to midnight every day.
After he won Mr. Olympia, Joe Wieder sent him on sales trips across the country and shopping malls. He would sell the heck out of vitamins and other products, claiming that they would give sexual energy and just the nutrients necessary to do in the energy and body desired. He would sell things how you would sell a blender or vacuum cleaner. He would demonstrate, try the product himself, and then give samples. People would eat it up and order a ton of Joe Wieder supplements or bodybuilding equipment. Joe would only send Arnold because it was the only person worth it who could sell his products well.
I was around this time that Arnold got a steady girlfriend. He had no trouble getting women. They were groupies that would Chase after bodybuilders at the gym and after competitions all the time. You can walk down the beach and get 10 phone numbers. But the girl he chose as his girlfriend was more of a girl next-door type who won is something serious not just a fun time. She liked Arnold as a person and didn’t even follow bodybuilding. He met her family and she was someone who is one year younger than him going to college. Arnold’s friend Franco had also gotten engaged to someone. Franco was studying to be a chiropractor. Arnold Girlfriend was also fine with his philosophy of saving every penny he had.
I eventually found his next real estate investment, which he saved up all his money to invest in. Afterwards, one of his bodybuilding friends kept pestering him on how he could put up with so much risk. What if he couldn’t find tenants? What if something broke? Arnold said that he didn’t concern himself with such stuff until it happened. Often times, it is easier to make decisions without having all the information because you don’t overthink things.
Arnold set his sights next time making bodybuilding a more recognized board. At the time, very few people knew about the sport and the competitions would only attract 5000 attendees. A lot of the stuff people said about bodybuilding wasn’t positive at the time. Joe Wieder wasn’t focused on that goal, simply expanding his business on the current audience, which was mostly kids.
He did a lot of things to expand the sports reach, including networking with people in the acting world. His tenants were actors which helped with the networking.
Eventually, he got some appearances on talk shows to promote bodybuilding. He had to sell them in the pre-interviews that he was capable of talking about it. Later on, he realize he can lie about statistics to convince people that bodybuilding was more appealing. He would say how it went from 20% of women liking bodybuilding to 80% in a magazine over the last few years. It turned out people were interested and cared about the staff, which prove that there was room to grow the sport.
I was also around this time when Parnell voice trying to persuade Joe Wieder to let women into the gym. But it was still a very manly sport with a lot of locker room talk and cursing, so there was resistance against it. Arnold kept pushing seeing how having women at the gym in Munich and helped people train. And they eventually allowed some women into the gym, on the condition that they would sign a contract that they were OK with men cursing and That they had to go to the beach bathroom since there was only one bathroom in the gym.
It was at this time the owner started getting more acting opportunities. His networking had helped people trying to convince others to have him in the wrong. He got an appearance on Lucille’s balls TV episode. Lucy always the biggest female actor at the time, having started her own networking and getting rich after I love Lucy. I know it’s screwed up the table read because he just read it as it is, not realizing he was acting out. In other cases, he would’ve been cut there, but Lucy was nice and they didn’t have any replacement, so she asked him some questions that your vote is acting ability. On the actual filming said, he throws up for a moment because he didn’t expect a live audience. Lucy did some improv which brought things back on track and made Arnold remember his lines. From then on, Lucy acted as a mother reached out to help Arnold with his acting. I know Dan got another wall and a film related to bodybuilding. He took acting classes, which introduced him to a whole universe of terms and emotions that he never heard of. He was used to welding off his emotions because they prevented him from succeeding in competition. Now, he had to really understand them.
His acting coach would ask a lot of questions and probe into his life to evoke certain emotions. It was tough on Arnold since he didn’t address a lot of those experiences at all until now. He would hit a wall on certain things like being unable to cry on cue even when his coach would prove and prod around when he felt sad when his family members died.
With this movie will, he had to make the call of retiring from bodybuilding because the physique required for the wrong man he had to slim down a lot. He was already leaning on retiring and he wanted to focus on acting, so it made sense. He was required to slim down a lot and go from 250 to 210 pounds. He started visualizing himself with a slim athletic look, which made it clear that he had to change his appearance and that killed his appetite for steak and protein shakes. He visualized himself as a runner and changed up his workout routine to more cycling and running.
But he was juggling way too many things at the same time I felt overwhelmed and stressed. He still had his mail order business, his Brooklyn business to juggle along with his acting. It was at this time that he realized that he had been training his body this whole time but not training his mind and sharpening his mind. He always saw these yoga type people on the beach and they were big into transcendental meditation. He was a skinny guy there that he would always talk to you, and this is when he got into meditation.
His Conan movie deal got acquired and then he was asked how much of the 5% in profit in the contract he would give up. Even though they were expecting a big negotiation, Arnold immediately said he give up all five points. He realize that he was giving up potentially a lot of money, but he knew in the supply in the man situation, he didn’t have much leverage. He also wanted it to symbolize the reason he got into this industry. It wasn’t for the money. Plus, he believed that later on, the tables were turned and he would have the leverage and these people would be bargaining with him once he became a big movie star. Fans were showing positive support when word got around that he was training for the role. He took this as a great sign since the fans were the heart of this character. He needed to win over pre-existing fans to this long-standing character. Conan was really his ticket to that next level of international fame as a respected actor.
He also was fortunate enough to avoid the psychological damage of constant rejection that other actors faced. Well many would complain how they keep getting rejected during the acting classes he went to, Arnold was able to get enough rolls that he wanted. He also didn’t have to scrape by as a waiter like many of the others since he had made a million dollars in real estate.
For a charity celebrity tennis tournament that he thought would be good networking and publicity, he met the Kennedy family and developed a romantic relationship with one of the family members, maria. They connected very well because for once, the woman he was with never limited or disliked his ambitions. Rather than think of his ambitions as blocking the woman’s dream of settling down and having children, maria had just as much ambition. Plus, she was never skeptical of his dreams because she had seen members of her family accomplish those dreams from nothing. Her grandfather told the country that they would lend someone on the Moon and he did. Her mother started the Special Olympics. Her father was a Director in the Peace Corps. The Kennedy family did have their challenges though. They were always in the public guy. They also often were under the sum of their parents and I’ll have the same political beliefs and hobbies. And if they accomplish something great, people would just say that they had a lucky because they were Kennedy, so they had to work harder to make up for that.
Shooting for parts of Kona and got delayed due to political unrest in a country and other issues. Because of that, Arnold started having a crazy idea that he could not suck away, which is to take this extra time to make a big comeback in the bodybuilding world and shocked everyone, while proving that he was still the best. It had been four years and bodybuilding had grown immensely in that time. He only had five weeks to prep and he only told his girlfriend maria. Maria herself was against it because there was a risk that he could lose. She had just seen Muhamed Ali come out of retirement and lose to the world champion. But I know Cohen put away the idea, and he started training for 22 hour sessions per day. He kept it a secret, and it was the hardest workout ever done, but that made a very fun for him. Maria poured all her energy into helping Arnold train when she came around to it. She would snatch away ice cream that Arnold would try to eat.
The competition was filled with drama. There’s a huge discussion about whether he could join without registering. There’s also a big petition against some of the rules that were signed by everyone but are not. Then, Arnold one by split decision, 5 to 2. It was the first nonunanimous winner in the sport. Then, one person smashed his trophy and another announced he was quitting. It was also the first time Arnold heard boo’s. It created a lot of divisiveness, and he admits that it was not the best thing for the sport for his return. He eventually did patch it up with all of these people, but it took years.
Arnold noticed many nuances of acting as he shot Cohen in. Actors will change gears as they see the camera switch from a master shot to a more micro shot. He also had trouble expressing a very sentimental moment in the film in a natural way. James Earl Jones who is on site helped him through it. He said that Arnold had rehearsed so much that he had memorized the line breaks. He urged him to re-picture of the script with very narrow lines and then picture of the script with the paper sideways which highlights the longest line. He also noted that there are certain things while they’re acting that acting school never prepares you for. For example, it’s hard to be in the moment when people are doing stuff all around you, which sometimes include measuring you. And in the naked scenes, if you have a hard on, that’s not something acting school ever tell you how to prepare for.
At that point, he was working all the time. His bodybuilding side business was growing and he had creating new products, some of which he spent years building, which includes the encyclopedia of bodybuilding and a video training kit. He also had to work with his team to figure out how to sell and ship products at a profit. They had an idea to Ship lifting belts since there was demand based on people inquiring about it. They had to work out where to get each of the parts and assemble it, make it look weathered in a way that customers want it, and ship it in an affordable manner. Everyone would do their part to figure out how to set that up, and a few days, they would have answers. Then, it was on to figure out how to package and ship it.
In addition to his fitness info products, his real estate business was growing rapidly as well. They took on another big risk by taking their profits and investing in a area that was far south as Santa Monica, piece of real estate that his competitors had yet to consider because it was so far south. It was a risk because it may not pay off given it’s location.
And then of course, there was the movie work that had to be done. But the spy working more than he ever had, he saw it as a joyride. It was fun and discovery for him, not work. When he went to a meeting, he got to talk about movies, so how bad was that? And so if someone else complained to him about working 12 hours a day, he would crucify him because they were 24 hours in a day.
It was only when Arnold married his girlfriend and had a child that he started to pay more attention to work life balance.
During this time, he got into donating and attending fundraisers for a church of tolerance to prevent discrimination. It took some convincing, but he realized what a big impact that the Jewish community had made on him over the years and he felt it was his calling to illuminate a lot of discrimination because he even he felt he said things or done things that he shouldn’t have.
Seems throughout his life, there was a inquisitive interest in politics. When he went back to Austria, he would debate with a friend about the pros and cons of public versus private sectors. But publicly, he kept his politics to himself. That’s because we are promoting a movie, do you want to appeal to as many people as possible. Showing your political views is bound to turn off a portion of your audience.
Right before Conan launched, he switched agents. He felt bad for the agent that got him where he had, but he wanted to get the connections and major films that this international agent’s firm offered.
Originally approached about the Terminator with him playing the hero and O.J. Simpson playing the Terminator. The movie was low budget, we’re talking $4 million, and he thought the script was well written when he read it. When he met James Cameron, he found that this man was very technically advanced with cameras and knew how to make a big movie on a budget. He felt he was more drawn to the Terminator and emphasized the nuances of the acting of the robot, where he couldn’t blink or show emotion after killing.
He was offered the Terminator role but he argued against it for various reasons. For one, it had even less lines than Conan, which may make the audience think that he’s avoiding speaking. Plus, he wanted to play a hero not a villain so he wasn’t tight cast as a villain. But James put on the hard-sell, emphasizing how much Arnold talked and focused on that role over the John Connor role. he felt that way no one could play the robot role better and emphasized how difficult it was to play that robot as well, citing the brilliant acting in the film Westworld. He also argued that if Arnold play the role well in an interesting way, he could position the robot as a hero and making the most memorable character in the film. Conventional wisdom is that playing a villain was career suicide at the time, but the world just felt right to Arnold.
His agent was skeptical, but it felt right. They put him into a character that had normal clothes. Also, the money was good. He got paid $750,000 for about six weeks of shooting. It was just low-key enough that if it didn’t do well or if it affected him negatively, he won’t be game over. He just made a mental note that he had to be sure that his next role couldn’t be another villain.
Arnold believe in hard work and brought that philosophy of repetitions to acting. He did 50+ repetitions with various weapons on both arms to practice the code, expertise that a robot would have. A robot would not look down or flinch after firing. He enjoyed the practice. James Cameron also make sure to try to make the robot a hero in subtle ways. How do you make a robot mask occurring 30 carbs into a hero? With subtle things. They made the cops seem like they were always a step behind, which made the viewer think that they were incompetent and condescending.
Call me in the movie you did well upon release. But the executives and their team calculated that they would make more money if they toned it down and made it more PG so the kids would watch it too. I know the argued against us because it would alienate the core audience. It turns out he was right. It only grossed about $30 million in the US. The sequel did alienate the core audience.
When filming Terminator, Arnold had some uncomfortable moments. He had to wear a red light over his eye which burned his eye. And he had strap his real arm behind his back and operate a fake robot on. He also argued with James Cameron on using the phrase I’ll be back. He thought the phrase I will be back sounded more masculine and robotic. James held his ground, unwilling to change your word of his script.
Arnold announced to his executive that he would be parting ways with the Conan series after the second sequel even though he was originally contracted to keep pumping out sequels. The executive was amiable to his demands as long as he made a cameo in the female equivalent that was coming out, I film called red Sonja. The cameo turned out to be A full movie will commitment where they basically made him to star. He started an affair with the main actress on set, the actress who played Red Sonja. He intended it to be a summer fling, but the actress tried to turn it into something more serious when she came to visit in California to do some recording for the film. Arnold maintain that it was just a fling and he had a woman he wanted to marry that he was with. She wasn’t happy with it but she excepted, and leader, she found Sylvester Stallone and they had a relationship. I found it interesting how matter-of-fact it was when Arnold mentioned this part. There is no shame or guilt, embarrassment, or anything. He even described it as a heart fling not just a fling. I’m still glad you mentioned it in his autobiography rather than try to hide it. He gives a more realistic full picture of his story.
Everything has negatives. And you don’t want to overthink things, because there’s always tons of negative things that could prevent you from even starting. I would preferred just stumbling into it and that led to more action. He prefer doing it rather than overthinking. If he had known all deer was about bodybuilding, acting, real estate, he never would’ve started. In a similar way, he chose to turn a blind year to the horror stories that other man would tell him about marriage. He proposed and married maria.
His next film was Predator, which conflicted with the wedding ceremony. He had to rent a jet to get there and pause production. Arnold me 3 million for a predator and if you did well, you get 5 million for the sequel and then 10 million. He found he was able to ask for double what he previously jar with each subsequent film.
The predator movie was a big success, closing the second most of that year. The Director went on to do diehard, proving it wasn’t just a fluke. But the issue is with sequels, the directors fees goes up as they get more successful, and so they couldn’t hire the same directors since they wanted to do the sequel for the same cost as the first film. Arnold tried to warn that the sequel would be a flop because the script was poor and the new Director replacement sucked. Sure enough, the sequel flopped.
He road the new trend of action movies in that era. The Rocky, Rambo, Terminator, and predator films started that trend and made so much money that executives couldn’t write that genre off as a passing trend anymore.
Arnolds goal was to double his salary with every new movie. It didn’t always go that way, but most of the time it did. He quickly rolls from $250,000 with his first big movie Conan to the million dollar range after several films, and then to the eight figure range several films later when he finally did total recall. The reason he was able to generate such increases was because Hollywood would pay based on return on investment. He was always asking how a film will appeal to an international audience. How would this play in Germany? How would this play in Japan? How would this play in Sweden? How would this play in The Middle East? Arnold would promote the movie internationally very well and he was conscious of subtle things that would affect its impact on foreign markets. The Asian audience wasn’t fond of facial hair, so why would he have a beard?
He also noticed that the films were too serious and when he added a little bit of humor, it would be refreshing to the audience. From then on, he always asked the riders to add some humor, even if it was two lines.
His films were so successful because he promoted them like mad abroad. Usually, the films would perform better internationally then they would domestically. It was also because they had universal appeals that were simple to grasp and everyone related to. It was good versus evil, fear of the future, and vengeance.
Arnold believed that you could have the greatest movie in the world, but if you didn’t promote it and no one knew about it, you have nothing. It always angered him that great artist like Picasso knew how to paint but not how to sell and that’s why they were poor.
Promoting a film is also about playing nice with the distributors. The distributors we decide how often or if at all if your movie is shown in certain theaters. If you show that you’re willing to come out, do some appearances, and really pull through for certain movie theaters to promote the film, they will give you more leeway.
During the filmmaking process, there is a screening done where a focus group will answer questionnaires about the film. This is very useful because they pick out things that you don’t notice, which gets added to the film or it informs marketing how the film will be promoted (as an action film or romantic film).
Arnolds philosophy was, once you pick a Director, you except everything he sees. He seen how arguing and fighting often and Susan that just causes a lot of problems. Of course, he did his due diligence. He would call and ask other actors about how our Director deal with things and how they dealt with stress. But once he decided, that was it.
No one wakes up and says, “I want to be difficult today.“ They just have their hangups and acting brings that out on set.
Arnold always pours over the marketing data before movies release. The studio has all sorts of data about the promotion of the movie due to its campaigns and marketing efforts. Arnold always zeros in on two metrics, awareness and want to see. If your awareness Number is in the low 90s, the film is usually bound to make over $100 million and open number one or two in theaters. I want to see Number tells you how many people want to see that movie.
There are a few other numbers that are important. Unaided awareness (how many people know about your movie when spontaneously asked) should be at least 40% for you to know you have a winner. Definite interest should be between 40 to 50% and first choice should be between 25 to 30%.
In total recall’s case, the numbers were abysmal at the start. The issue was that there was a big merger happening with Tony acquiring Columbia pictures and the distributor TriStar, which meant new leader ship. Arnold caught it quick and call the executives to figure out the cars and a solution. He suggested that the top promotional firms have a bidding war and present their best ideas on how they can make the trailer much better. I wanna install the trailer and knew the issue was that it made the movie seem like a $20 million movie when it was $100 million budget movie. The number one firm cimarron bacon o’brien had the best ideas and won the business
Arnold came to learning humor from masters with this intention: he didn’t think he would ever be as great as them, but he thought he could get better through learning and being around them.
After brainstorming, Arnold and colleagues settled on one idea they really liked for a movie, a movie about a two twins that were part of a scientific experiment. One twin got all the good genetics while the other got the bad ones. Since Arnold was an unknown player in the comedy space, they said how to build a contract that was percentage-based rather than salary base. They would get a percentage of the box office sales and take home zero base salary, which puts more of the risk on the actors to perform. They only got paid if they did well. Executives were actually more inclined to pay Arnold cash because everyone thought the idea would Lead to a successful movie. But by then, they were already settled on taking part of the risk.Lead to a successful movie. But by then, they were already settled on taking on.
Politics percolated throughout his life. He was always involved and interested in the latest events and candidates. He became the president’s fitness czar for a while, traveling to every state to promote fitness. He learned a lot about politics and how campaigning worked during that time.
Later, he met Nixon who he supported. Nixon was the first to tell him he should run for governor of california. He had no urgent timeline for this, but he filed it his mind. He was chill about it.
He did many more films, and a few on occasion would bomb. Some of the media would kick him when he was done and attack his political beliefs. But ultimately, he made over 100 million dollars from films and had tons of money flowing in from royalties and investments. He even got paid five million per foreign commercial he did.
Arnold had heart surgery to repair a faulty valve. When the news leaked, studios became hesitant to hire him. He had to do a lot of work to try to change that perception including posting photos showing him healthy and weightlifting and running and going on a talk show to demonstrate how he was healthy and talk about his surgery. They were still hesitant. While the studio guys stayed hesitant, he showed his vitality and health to make up artists and costume designers on set, which spread the news and fixed his issue.
When filming Batman and robin, his family was away for a week, so he cheated on his wife with the maid that was cleaning the house. The maid ended up having a son. At first, Arnold didn’t think it was his, but then the resemblance became pretty obvious after a few years. He secretly paid the maid saw that she had the funds to educate and feed the boy. I know they kept this from his wife until she found out 14 years later. That resulted in a divorce. Arnold Ashley kept the maid on the payroll and let her to continue to clean the house for many years.
He regretted the decision, and it seem like he thought he could get away with it. He admits that he used denial and silence often in his life to cope with things. he kept the news that he was running for governor silent until his appearance on the Jay Leno show. He kept his heart surgery silent and denied it to cope with it until right before the surgery.
This was one point of his story that I was always curious about since I started this book. I wonder why he would choose to cheat with a woman that was pretty overweight and seemingly unattractive. Perhaps, she was more attractive years earlier. I respect that he did mention this point as well as his other affair in the book, which paints a more complete picture of who he was, not just some perfect being. He does a dress the situation, which I found interesting. He talked about how successful people, no matter how successful, still off and make stupid choices or think that they can get away with it or be above the law. But he states that all your actions have consequences and he comes back to you eventually. He wasn’t happy about splitting with his wife because he still liked her a lot.
Similar to the Bill Clinton affair, the person these powerful man chose to cheat with weren’t that attractive. You would think that with all that power, we could get anyone they wanted. But I think it actually may come down to they are depleted will power at the end of the day and convenience. After all the work they put in, they were more vulnerable and just chose a woman nearby that was most convenient even if it meant lowering their standards. It definitely showed a side of Arnold that wasn’t perfect or successful, who made a mistake and created consequences. I also wonder if it’s also just part of not really defining and holding true to a value system. He had an affair with another actress before, and perhaps at the time, his values told him that it was OK as long as you don’t get caught. And that’s how it happened.
I also found that his morales were a little less than airtight. He was fine with smoking illegal Cuban cigars as president because he liked them.
Review and Discussion
There are subtle patterns in his behavior that you’ll find beyond the obvious, concrete lessons you’ll see. By studying the book closely like me, you’ll notice things like…
How he almost never lets obstacles, big or small, stop him. In his bodybuilding days, he encountered unpleasant surprises as he traveled to foreign countries. One time, the guy taking care of him kept making big, sexual passes at him even when he said he wasn’t interested. Another time, the guy providing him his travel money tried to force him to sign a binding contract before he got the money. In both cases, he found a friend or someone else to live and got a loan instead.
Some of the stuff he does you likely can’t emulate perfectly. Life isn’t that simple. I don’t have the genes to become a bodybuilder. But maybe that’s okay.
He used bodybuilding to get into the States. I’m already in the States. So, now what do I do about it? You can take the spirit of what he did into your own life. For example, he was clearly naturally genetically gifted and bodybuilding. However, he also tried out a bunch of different sports until he found the ones that were clearly, naturally student for him. So while you may not have the natural propensity for bodybuilding, you can take a spirit of what he says and try out a lot of things until you find excuses that just feels like you have more potential than most for.
This autobiography was comprehensive in a good way. It didn’t seem like he left no stone unturned and mention any notable event through out the course of his life.
Golds gym was invented by a man who work there every day. He would invent new machines with the input of all the bodybuilders around so that the machine would hit a certain body parts in just the right way with the right angles. He would never build a machine on his own without input from the members there.
Well his first real estate venture with the airports and work out, he still believe that real estate was the key to attaining wealth. He would notice how people would pay him to fix up a property for $10,000 for a property they had bought for $200,000 and then immediately flip it for $300,000. There is money to be made. While it was typical for people at the time to purchase a house to live in on their own, it was unusual for someone to buy a property to rent out. Arnold’s goal was to buy some type of apartment building so he could use the other tenants’ rent to pay for his own living expenses. He would live in the best room and then the other renters would pay for his room.
He had a certain talent for calculating real estate numbers. He got a woman called alga hulas in expert in real estate to mentor him. She came from the Middle East and had a motherly vibe, wanting him to succeed because he was a fellow immigrant. Through Olga, and his own research reading the newspapers, he knew everything you could think of about real estate in the area after sometime. He knew how certain houses would appreciate in certain regions compared to others. He knew who was doing a deal for how much. He knew how much that house had appreciated since the last deal. And he could calculate the expense per square foot that the house would use up very quickly.
A little over halfway through the book, I was starting to feel fairly overwhelmed by Arnold’s achievements. I mean where do you start? He married a Kennedy. He made seven figures with movies. He made it in real estate. And he was the undisputed bodybuilding champ. But I would have to say that maybe I don’t have to be at his level or maybe I will never get close and that’s OK. Even Donald himself had a similar mentality when he decided to get into comedy. He didn’t think he would be ever as great as the top comedians, but he thought he could learn a thing or two from them. Just by reading this book and learning about something that I take action on that I can improve my life a little bit, I become that little bit better. And that’s something I can focus on. Because it’s a little more difficult than you think. I think plenty of people will read this book, if they ever read it, and forget most if not all of what was talked about. Many will have treated it as entertainment and may never even consider instilling it into their habits. Those who try may forget and stop after a month or two.
I found it fascinating that Arnold really had a clear goal of being in Hollywood films and becoming a world champion in bodybuilding. His goal was so sad, that he turn down a lot of money that would’ve distracted from his goal even when he wasn’t making that much. He got an offer to Manage a gym for $200,000 which he turned down because it wasn’t the goal he wanted. It would’ve also taking 8 to 10 hours a day, which would’ve taking up a large chunk of his time. Joe Wieder was also grooming him to take over for him one day but he knew that wasn’t for him for similar reasons. I definitely would’ve had a harder time saying no given the amount of money offered, but in some instances, I’m better than most people. Sometimes, I may make the wrong choice and do things for the money even if it takes me away from my long-term goal and that’s not a good thing that I have to watch. All the times, I think I’ve been able to say no when other people would’ve said yes because of the money. So I have room to grow by in some instances, I’m better than average.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a lot of value in being part of a community or practice with a decent following and common purpose. Also being established and successful in that area helps as well. That’s because Arnold was basically given an incredible opportunity and benefited because of his success in bodybuilding. He was invited to come to America and stay in America, which was his dream, because of his success on the European circuit. Plus, the bodybuilding community loved him and welcome him, paying for his apartment, food, utensils, even a doctors bill from his injury. I don’t know if he would’ve gotten the same treatment if he didn’t have a community and if he wasn’t so successful already in his community.
That said, you don’t have to be a superstar at your sport to get some of the value that Arnold dead. Sure, that helped him. And maybe that contributed to his first movie role in getting apartment paid for. But he also noted that the income he got from that never really took him far. And so he had to start a bunch of side businesses on his own to supplement his income. He had a natural entrepreneurial talent, but it’s also important to realize that you should adopt the traits of hard work, salesmanship, and creativity because he had the skills that you can develop, which helped him get ahead in the bodybuilding world and grow his income.
You discover that he had his bumps and obstacles through life. One trait of his worth noting is how he found ways around his obstacles when they came up so that he continued to move towards his goal. For example, in his bodybuilding days, he ran into various surprises they came in his way from traveling to the country he needed to compete in. He had a gay person who was housing him who kept making advances despite Arnold tell him to stop. But Arnold found a way around by finding someone he knew to live with instead. He had an agent who tried to make him sign a contract to take a portion of his earnings indefinitely by withholding the spending money he needed when he got to London. But he found another way around by refusing to sign a contract in finding someone he knew who would loan him some money. And another time he found out someone who was supposed to submit the documents to apply to enter the competition intentionally chose to not do so because he feels threatened by Arnold’s rise to success. Despite this, Arnold entered on his own and succeeded in doing so even though he was late. It just goes to show that crap happens but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get around those obstacles.
The book also once again emphasizes something that I hold dear and appreciate, which is being fortunate enough to be born in the United States of America. I think most Americans take this for granted more than they should and Arnold’s store is one of many stories about how someone saw America as the land of opportunity and for tooth and nail to get into this country. And someways, I wonder if native born Americans can sometimes fall a bit behind since immigrants have been working so hard to get into this country that by the time they do, they hit the ground running and squeeze the opportunity out of every day whereas many Americans are just going through life in a pretty chill way. Arnold came to America at the age of 21 without being able to speak English. Was that a late start? What is he had a disadvantage? One could say so. But maybe not. He already had that work ethic carved out and was a up-and-coming soon to be world-class contender in bodybuilding.
It’s also worth noting that Arnold wrote down very specific goals on index cards. It was not enough to just write broad goals like New Year’s resolutions about what he wanted. That was only the start. He had to define specific things he wanted in writing, such as to save up $5000 or take 12 college credits. I think that specificity contribute to a success as well as writing it down to have that constant physical, tactile, repetitive feeling of burning it into your central focus. You might think that this constrained him, but Arnold argues that it freed him up. It allowed him to improvise on how he could get to that goal. For example, if his goal was to get 12 college credits, he had freedom to choose which college to get those credits and which ones fit into his schedule. He ended up taking college classes from three different colleges in the area.
Staying on the mountain is harder than climbing it. After he had won Mr. Olympia, he started to let things slip a bit. He had his sales meetings around the country and college classes to attend. And he would start to cut his workouts in half on where occasions. No one was close to him at that time except for Sergio who had been barred temporary because of a dispute between federations. He realized he had to get his act back together because he was getting soft.
I found that Arnold naturally pursued passion over money. Sure, he wanted to be rich too, which is why he pursued a business in real estate before acting. But two large stages of his life, bodybuilding and acting, were driven largely by his passion and pursuit of being the worlds best. Evidence for that is that it throughout his story. He turn down a lucrative non-inflation adjusted six-figure salary as a gym manager when he was winding down from bodybuilding and starting acting. It was a largr amount of money, but it wasn’t where he wanted to go. And then, he turn down a good amount of acting offers because they didn’t typecast him in the leading man role that he was after. And when he was filming Conan, he initially had a contract they gave him 5% of movie profits. But then, they tried to negotiate Yep percentage away from him. He was happy to give away all of that percentage because he knew it was a role that would build him to be an international name and it’s symbolized that money wasn’t the reason he did this. Well you seem pretty natural for Arnold, I find it harder to move along this line completely. In large drugs, I deafly have. I walked away from pursuing med school and science research for that reason. On the flipside, I don’t know if I have yet to put the full throttle on pursuing my passion. While I have done a lot of things, there’s a lot more that I want to do and pursue, such as a career in entertainment, but some of those things really require making a big move or leap. I think we’re also served in Arnold favorite was that the place he landed in America for bodybuilding was also a fantastic place to pursue his other dreams, since it was right near Hollywood and real estate was booming at the time. That said, you can’t make excuses. Wherever you are, you should have a clear dream and pursue it.
The more you know, the less you tend to do something. You can overthink anything. That’s because everything has negatives. If he had known all the things he knows now about bodybuilding, real estate, and acting, he probably won’t have started. He prefers to just do rather than overthink it. I noticed this behavior as a common thread throughout Arnold story. I think there’s something that I can take away from this since I am an over thinker. And definitely overthinking usually pulls up a lot of negatives that cause anxiety or worry, sometimes unnecessarily. That said, the opposite extreme of just plugging into things without any preparation or research could yield other problems. I don’t know for sure if Arnold takes this approach or simply does less overthinking but still prepares in advance. But I do know that for me, toning down some of that over thinking can lead to less worry, less concerned, more action, and less in action. As I write this, I’ll be moving to a new city in two weeks. As you may imagine, the things that people I know in real life have told me as well as what I’ve come up with myself has caused worry.
What if I get robbed, monkey, or killed? What if I can’t afford it? What if it’s too much of a hassle? But sometimes, the greatest opportunities come from taking the plunge. What I do know is that not moving would lead to the same monotony and predictable life that I am all too familiar with, and little or no big, new opportunity will come from there.
I also noticed Arnold’s ability to network with different groups that would serve his aims even as his goals changed. After bodybuilding, he was able to go to certain venues, such as gentleman’s club‘s, bars, and restaurants that certain crowds hang around. He wanted to be rich, so he hung around all the rich people that frequented and those areas. He also hung around other groups To learn about politics or acting. These groups would have different types of people, some in biker outfit and others in overly polished dress outfits. He felt he should be naturally comfortable in every one of these environments To learn about politics or acting. These groups would have different types of people, some in biker outfit and others in overly polished dress outfits. He felt he should be naturally comfortable in every one of these environments, while others only hung around one. Later in life, after becoming an action hero star, he turned his attention to comedy since he always felt he had a sense of humor. All of a sudden, he started networking and hanging out with comedians at galas, dinners, advanced, and comedy clubs. He learned a lot from these people and he made sure to Ntwrk and praise the older accomplish people who fell out of favor and recent years. He didn’t see him self at the level yet of a list celebrities so well they would dismiss this older talent because they could blow them out of the water, he came from a culture of respect to his elders and he felt there’s a lot he could learn from older living legends.
Arnold believed that what mattered wasn’t how much you make but how much you keep and invest. He never wanted to be in the long list of celebrities who wiped out financially.
Arnold was a skilled salesman. When he was governor and trying to sell the people on investing in infrastructure, he didn’t talk about the infrastructure. Instead, he successfully sold them by talking about the struggles and benefits they cared about. He talked about how frustrating it was to wait in traffic and how they were late to your children’s soccer games or dinner.
Arnold had a high risk, high reward style. You saw this throughout his life. He even had to get a heart surgery because of a heart defect, and he chose the higher risk option that could potentially allow him to do all the normal functions of a human. This method had a 60 to 70% success rate, but if it failed, they would have to redo the surgery. The less risky option would guarantee a fix, but would require a mechanical pump and would limit him to non-athletic activities for the rest of his life. I found his high risk, high reward style different from other successful people. Richard Branson or Warren Buffett usually try to illuminate any substantial downside risk.
A Summary of His Tips (Last Chapter of the Book)
Turn your liabilities into assets. Arnold worked hard and push forward despite the doubters. He was told that he would never succeed in acting because of his accent and his big bulky build. But he worked hard on eliminating his accent just like he worked hard building his muscles. Ultimately, while people said were his flaws ended up being what turned him into an action star. One director of Conan the Barbarian said if they didn’t have Arnold, they’d have to build one.
Don’t be scared of the impossible. If you fail, so what? That’s what everyone expects.
Never follow the crowd. Go where it is empty. He remarks on how average people will not follow the crowd on small things, like not going to the famous restaurant when everyone else is going to avoid the lines, but how they will follow the crowd on big things. When everyone was told to buy a house, or not bought an apartment. When everyone else was just trying to get any role in film or TV show, Arnold held out to be a leading man.
Arnold equates suffering to the people he met in the 60s working for the diamond mines. It was 1400 feet down and 110°. I made a dollar a day and they could see their family once a year. Anything better than that and you’re doing well.
Don’t blame your parents or anyone else for a less than ideal upbringing or situation. Channel those into something positive. Turn it into something better. Arnold wouldn’t have been the person he was if his father wasn’t as harsh, which meant he would’ve possibly never left Austria. Every time Arnold’s dad whined about his weight training being useless or hit Arnold, he used it as fuel to motivate himself to succeed.
Don’t be afraid to fail. If you screw up and fail, what’s the worst that can happen? If Arnold didn’t get elected as governor, he would’ve just gone back to acting and making a lot of money. So don’t let the fear of failure cripple you.
No one could put Arnold in a mold. He did things his way even when people told him that he had to look a certain way, govern a certain way as a governor, or follow certain political group actions if you are part of the group. Ignore the naysayers.
Never let pride get in your way. Arnold’s friend Muhammed Ali was fine with showing his friends how much stronger Arnold was to prove the effectiveness of weightlifting.
Don’t overthink. You need time to not think and move instinctively. Those who think too much get bogged down. It is a skill to turn off your mind. Overanalyzing cripples you. Arnold did the research but moved quickly when there were uncertainties he could’ve solve. Moving quick and not dwelling helped Arnold get real estate that his competitors missed. He did the same by making movie deals quickly without freezing.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day. So use them effectively. Arnold had a student who went to him when he was governor complaining about how the student had to get a part-time job to afford tuition. Arnold said, let’s investigate and see what we can do. He found out that the student spent 67 hours a day on classes and studying. But when I investigating what else he does with his time, he was at a loss for words because he spent it haphazardly on his own free time. When Arnold went to take college classes, he was doing a bunch of things on top of that including acting and running his businesses full time. And he wasn’t the only one. Many of his fellow classmates were also working full-time on top of class.
Get your repetitions in. Arnold would rehearse things dozens or over a hundred times. Don’t just put in reps at the gym. Do it elsewhere. He rehearsed speeches and acting scripts just as many times.
Change takes big balls.