Arnold Schwarzenegger's Rules of Success


Rule number one: Have a vision. If you don’t have a vision of where you want to go you drift around. You never end up anywhere. You end up in the wrong place.

I was very fortunate that I stumbled on my vision: I was 11 years old and I saw a documentary about America. The bridges, the freeways, the skyscrapers. I said to myself that is where I want to be.

Arnold hated growing up in Austria: I couldn’t see myself becoming a farmer or a worker in a factory. I felt I was born for something special. For something unique. For something big.

The blueprint for Arnold’s life: I saw a bodybuilding magazine that had Reg Park on the cover. He was a 3 time Mr. Universe winner. He was in the movies as Hercules. I read that magazine over and over again. The magazine told me how he trained, how long he worked out, how he won all these bodybuilding competitions. How he was discovered for movies. I wanted to be just like Reg Park.

The majority of people don’t know where they are going: You know how great it felt that I knew where I was going? I was so relieved. Because when you have a goal everything becomes easy.

74% of people hate their jobs: The majority of people don’t like what they are doing. They are just aimlessly drifting around. For them, work is a chore. It is not fun.

People would ask me why I was smiling while working out so hard: I told them because I am shooting for a goal. In front of me is the Mr. Universe title. Every rep that I do gets me closer to accomplishing that goal. To make this vision turn into reality. I couldn’t wait to do another 500lb squat. I couldn’t wait to do 2,000 sit-ups. I couldn’t wait for the next exercise.

Visualizing your goal and going after it makes it fun: You need a purpose in life.

Rule number two: Don’t listen to the naysayers. Everything I ever did I was told it was impossible. When someone said to me it can’t be done, I heard it can be done. When someone told me no, I heard yes. When they said it was impossible, I heard it is possible. I am a strong believer in what Nelson Mandela said: Everything is impossible until someone does it. I did not listen to the naysayers.

No one knows what you can do: When I wanted to get into movies I was told no one in Hollywood has an accent like you. That my accent will give people the creeps. No one in Hollywood has ever become a leading man with an accent. It doesn’t happen. These are the kinds of things I heard. You know what? I didn’t give a shit. Because I believed I could do it.

Rule number three: Work your ass off: There is no magic pill. You have to work. It drives me crazy when people say they don’t have enough time to work out or do something to improve. Imagine if you read one hour a day about history. How much would you learn after one year? Imagine if you work on some business you want to develop for one hour every day. Imagine how further along you will go.

We have 24 hours a day. Organize your day: I worked out five hours a day. I was working in construction because there was no money in bodybuilding then. I went to college. I went to acting class four times a week. There was not one single minute that I wasted.

What Arnold learned from Mohammad Ali: He worked his butt off. I saw it first hand. He was asked how many situps he did. He said he didn’t start counting until it hurts. Think about that. He doesn’t start counting until he feels pain. That is working hard.

Arnold believes in Ted Turner’s quote: Work like hell and advertise. You work your ass off and then you let the world know about your work. If you have a company, if you have a movie, if you do sports — work your ass off first and then let everyone know.

Rule number four: Don’t have a plan B: When you start doubting yourself that is very dangerous. What you are saying is if my plan doesn’t work I have something to fall back on. That means you start thinking about plan B. You are taking that thought and that energy from plan A.

Make a full commitment: Plan B becomes a safety net. It is important to understand we function better if there is no safety net. I have never, ever had a plan B. I made a full commitment that I am going to be a bodybuilding champion. I made a full commitment to be in America. I made a full commitment that I am going to get into show business.

Rule number five: Help other people. When I was an immigrant everyone helped me. They invited me to Thanksgiving. The bodybuilders in the gym brought me plates because I had no plates or silverware. I had no TV. No bed. They brought it to my apartment. They helped me.

Rule number six: There is no such thing as a self-made person. We all benefit from the help of other people. When you are born you need your parents to raise you. You need teachers to teach you. You need coaches to coach you. Everything I did I always needed help. You can call me anything you want. But don’t call me a self-made man. I did not get to this point by myself. How could I be successful in movies without an audience? The people that go see the movie help make you successful.

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