Arnold Schwarzenegger started life in a tiny village of Graz in Austria. It was his father who first encouraged him to participate in some kind of sport.
However it wasn’t until the age of 15 that he first began lifting weights. But even at that early age he was decisive and positive declaring:
“I want to be the best built man in the world. Then I want to go to America and be in movies. I want to be an actor.”
And with this sort of drive and intention he became unstoppable, for after just five years of training he was declared Mr Universe – The Greatest Bodybuilder on the planet. ‘Arnie’ subsequently went on to raise the bar further constantly pushing himself to 13 more major titles. It was clear that his laser beam focus and concentration played a great part in his success and that his inner power was the key to much of his success as to his outer lifting abilities.
“I knew I was going to be a bodybuilder. It wasn’t simply that either. I would be the best bodybuilder in the world, the greatest, the best-built man.”
Through meticulous gathering of knowledge of his subject and immense passion and devotion, success was always going to be his but only because he made it for himself, no-one did it for him….he wasn’t lucky! Far from it, he created his own reality.
“I wanted more, I demanded more of myself.”
It is clear now that Arnold had tremendous belief in himself and refused to give in or waver from his goals. He knew what he wanted then went and got it, no matter what. He regularly used creative visualization produce astonishing results.
In his bodybuilding life his mind was:
“utterly dominated by Reg Park. His image was my ideal. It was fixed indelibly in my mind.”
Reg Park was another top bodybuilder whom he wished to defeat.
“The more I focused in on this image and worked and grew, the more I saw it was real and possible for me to be like him.”
Arnold had clearly discovered the power of mind over the body. He also realized emotional distractions and worry weakened him. These negative influences took strength away from his workouts which he hated. It came to his notice that the people surrounding him also made a difference. Negative people tended to try to stifle him, not believing in his goals and focused lifestyle. He found negative people were not at ease around him until they had either pulled him down or he had won them around to his way of positive thinking.
“I remember certain people trying to put negative thoughts into my mind, trying to persuade me to slow down. But I had found the thing to which I wanted to devote my total energies and there was no stopping me.”
He was determined not to let anyone distract him no matter what. He was persistent in his efforts and held his dreams in his mind always. Arnold clearly understood the principle that: success breeds success, declaring:
“Positive thinking can be contagious. Being surrounded by winners helps you develop into a winner.”
Arnold’s tremendous progress as a teenager continued. He continuously challenged himself through his self imposed goals and bust through many road blocks inwardly and outwardly but in short…his dream was coming true!
“I wanted that body and I didn’t care what I had to go through to get it.”
At just 18 Arnie was called up for his military national service joining the tank corp. However this put him in a difficult position as it meant he wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the junior ‘Mr Europe’ being held in Germany that year. However his determination to compete and succeed forced him to risk all and go AWOL. Naturally he took the top prize and a big trophy but also picked up a week in solitary confinement for his troubles. It seemed there was no sacrifice to great for Arnold to achieve his goals.
Next he went on to win Mr Universe in London and following this his dreams led him to the US where he immediately came across much tougher competition and initially came up short. However it didn’t take him long to assess his weaknesses and devise ways to cut them out, in short he refocused.
“I was always honest about my weak points, this helped me grow. I think it’s the key to success in everything: be honest; know where you are weak: admit it.”
So his reality check allowed him to stay in control of his goals and to adjust his plans accordingly. Doing this stopped him from becoming to inward looking ad wandering off track.
“When I see that I have certain backward attitudes, I reason them out and work to make my outlook more realistic.”
Arnold also learned a lot through observing what other successful people do and what unsuccessful people do. This down to earth approach has often given him the edge on his rivals.
“Most of the people I observed couldn’t make astonishing advances because they never had faith in themselves. They had a hazy picture of what they wanted to look like someday, but they doubted they could realize it. Ultimately they didn’t put out the kind of effort I did because they didn’t feel they had a chance to make it. And of course, starting with that premise, they didn’t.”
Over the years Arnold had developed a winning mindset and mentality. He soon realized that this could be a applied to any area of life that he wished. In short he had developed a simple mind set for success.
In bodybuilding, there are big goals like winning Mr Olympia; there are medium-term goals such as attaining your ideal weight of 245 lbs with just 5% body fat; and there are lots of short term goals like: getting to the gym, eating enough protein, doing an extra rep for each exercise and so on.
Basically what Arnold did was to take this successful approach and apply it in exactly the same way as he did in bodybuilding to other areas of his life.
“In two or three years, I had actually been able to change my body entirely. That told me something. If I had been able to change my body that much, I could also, through the same discipline and determination, change anything else I wanted. I could change my habits, my whole outlook on life.”
Arnold was actually a millionaire way before he started his career in Hollywood and in learning about business, Arnold applied the bodybuilding-template to his studies. In exactly the same way he built up his acting career slowly but surely always with the end focus in mind.
Looking back at the achievements he has made during his life it is no surprise his philosophy on life is:
“The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer,”
I strongly suggest you take a note of the tremendous success of Arnold’s life and realize that it was down to himself and the way he has used positive thinking throughout his life to achieve his goals. He wasn’t born lucky, or with anymore chance to succeed than you or I. Follow his template for success and you can also live a very fulfilling life.