#193 Arnold Schwarzenegger Arnolds first autobiography

Summary Notes


Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder" is a testament to the power of dedication, discipline, and self-belief. From his early days in Austria with a physically active family, Arnold's individualistic drive led him to bodybuilding, where he found his passion and a desire for personal recognition. Despite skepticism from peers and family, his relentless work ethic and hunger for success drove him to become the youngest Mr. Universe at age 20. Schwarzenegger's philosophy of life—continuous hunger for advancement and conquest—is evident in his approach to bodybuilding and later ventures. His book not only chronicles his rise in the sport but also his strategies for overcoming weaknesses and his commitment to expanding the public's understanding of bodybuilding. Arnold's story is a blueprint for applying a growth mindset and intense focus to any craft, showcasing how he transformed his bodybuilding principles into a business empire and a successful acting career, proving that with the right mindset, one can indeed achieve and conquer.

Summary Notes

Early Ambitions and Dedication to Bodybuilding

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger discovered his passion for bodybuilding at the age of 15.
  • He aimed to become the best bodybuilder in the world, not just as a hobby but as a life's mission.
  • His family was physically active, which contributed to his early involvement in sports.
  • Arnold transitioned from team sports to individual sports due to his desire for personal recognition.
  • His first visit to a bodybuilding gym was a pivotal moment, confirming his future path.
  • Despite his natural athletic ability, Arnold's drive demanded more from himself.
  • He experienced an intense addiction to the feeling of working out and the gym environment.
  • Arnold's commitment was evident in his first intense workout, which left him extremely sore and weak.
  • The pain from training was interpreted as progress and growth, reinforcing his dedication.
  • Arnold's pursuit of bodybuilding was unpopular among his peers and family, but his focus remained on achieving his goals.
  • He was driven by a desire for success and recognition, setting him apart from his friends.

"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."

This quote highlights Arnold's clear and unwavering goal to not only be a bodybuilder but to be the best in the world, reflecting his ambition and determination.

Discovery of Role Models and Setting a Blueprint

  • Arnold found inspiration in bodybuilder Reg Park, who became his blueprint for success.
  • Reg Park's success as Mr. Olympia and in movies like Hercules resonated with Arnold's aspirations.
  • Arnold obsessively studied Reg Park's life, workouts, and diet to emulate his success.
  • He was determined to achieve his goals faster than others thought possible, increasing his training frequency.
  • Arnold's father and others were concerned about his extreme dedication, but Arnold saw himself as different from "normal" people.
  • He aspired to greatness, drawing inspiration from historical figures like Caesar and Napoleon.
  • Arnold envisioned using his bodybuilding success as a stepping stone to movies and building an empire.

"I wanted to do something special, to be recognized as the best."

This quote encapsulates Arnold's desire to stand out and be the best in his field, indicating his drive for recognition and success.

Mindset and Mental Dedication

  • Arnold's mindset was characterized by an insatiable drive and a willingness to endure any hardship for his goals.
  • He trained in harsh conditions, undeterred by cold or discomfort.
  • Arnold saw resistance as a challenge to overcome, similar to Stephen Pressfield's concept of "resistance" in "The War of Art."
  • His vision extended beyond bodybuilding to creating a business empire and achieving fame in the movie industry.
  • Arnold's mental dedication was evident in his willingness to sacrifice and push through pain and obstacles.

"My dream went beyond a spectacular body. Once I had that, I knew what it would do for me. I'd get into movies and I'd build gyms all over the world. I'd create an empire."

This quote shows Arnold's long-term vision and understanding of how his bodybuilding success could be leveraged to achieve even greater ambitions in business and entertainment.

Mastering the Mind

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger experienced fluctuations in motivation and performance.
  • He learned the importance of mental discipline in bodybuilding.
  • Arnold's friend Carl emphasized the mental aspect over the physical in performance.
  • Arnold surrounded himself with like-minded individuals for motivation.

"It's not your body, Arnold. Your body can't change that much from one day to the next. It's in your mind."

This quote explains Arnold's realization that his performance inconsistencies were due to his mental state rather than physical limitations.

Fundamentals of Mastery

  • Arnold believed in mastering the basics of bodybuilding.
  • He learned from Reg Park the importance of basic exercises to build a strong foundation.
  • Arnold observed that mastering fundamentals is a common trait among experts in any field.

"From the beginning, I was a believer in the basic movement."

The quote highlights Arnold's focus on basic movements in bodybuilding and his belief in their effectiveness for building a strong muscular foundation.

The Spread of Confidence

  • Success in bodybuilding boosted Arnold's confidence and sense of uniqueness.
  • Arnold's changing self-perception led to increased recognition from others.
  • He craved special attention and felt empowered by the new attitude towards him.

"Before long, people began looking at me as a special person."

This quote reflects the positive feedback loop Arnold experienced as his bodybuilding success increased his confidence, which in turn led to more recognition and further boosted his self-esteem.

Overcoming Negative Reactions

  • Arnold faced skepticism and lack of understanding about bodybuilding.
  • He questioned his choices due to the negative reactions from others.
  • Arnold learned to focus on his internal instincts and passion for bodybuilding.

"Most of the people I knew didn't really understand what I was doing at all."

The quote illustrates the lack of comprehension Arnold faced from others regarding his passion for bodybuilding, which was a relatively obscure sport at the time.

Complete Dedication

  • Arnold prioritized bodybuilding over relationships and distractions.
  • He practiced stringent discipline and focus to achieve his goals.
  • Arnold's progress reinforced the effectiveness of his dedicated mindset.

"I couldn't be bothered with girls as companions. My mind was totally locked into working out."

This quote underscores Arnold's single-minded dedication to bodybuilding, to the exclusion of typical social relationships.

The Growth Mindset

  • Arnold believed that the same discipline used to change his body could be applied to change anything in life.
  • He viewed bodybuilding as a foundation for developing a growth mindset.
  • Arnold felt that if he could transform his body, he could also transform his habits and life.

"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."

The quote encapsulates Arnold's belief in the transferability of discipline from bodybuilding to other areas of life, embodying a growth mindset.

The Three-Part Formula for Success

  • Arnold's formula for success included self-confidence, a positive mental attitude, and hard work.
  • He criticized the attitude of those who make excuses for their lack of improvement.
  • Arnold applied bodybuilding discipline to other challenges, like adjusting his weight for movie roles.

"Self confidence, a positive mental attitude, and honest hard work."

This quote outlines the principles Arnold credits for his success, highlighting the importance of mindset and effort.

Conflict with Conventional Expectations

  • Arnold's bodybuilding ambitions conflicted with his parents' traditional expectations.
  • He ignored societal norms and listened to his inner voice.
  • Arnold aspired to leave Austria for the opportunities in America.

"My desire to build my body and be Mr. Universe was totally beyond their comprehension."

The quote reflects the disconnect between Arnold's unconventional goals and the societal expectations of his parents and peers.

Visualization and Weakness Identification

  • Arnold emphasized the importance of honest self-assessment and addressing weaknesses.
  • He used visualization techniques to achieve his goals.
  • Arnold's military service in Austria provided a disciplined environment conducive to his bodybuilding aspirations.

"I was always honest about my weak points. That helped me grow."

This quote highlights Arnold's commitment to self-improvement by acknowledging and working on his weaknesses.

Early Competitions and Determination

  • Arnold went AWOL from the army to compete in his first bodybuilding contest, which he won.
  • His victory reinforced his belief in his potential and determination to succeed.
  • Arnold's success led to opportunities to manage a gym and compete internationally.

"I had won. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Europe Jr."

The quote captures the moment of Arnold's first major victory in bodybuilding, marking the beginning of his ascent in the sport.

Rejection of Spectatorship

  • Arnold refused to be a mere spectator in life and aimed to actively compete and win.
  • He was determined to compete in the Mr. Universe contest despite being advised against it.
  • Arnold's ambition and self-belief drove him to challenge himself against the best.

"If I go over there, I'm going to compete."

The quote demonstrates Arnold's refusal to settle for observing success and his insistence on pursuing it actively.

Mental Dedication to Goals

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger exhibits an unyielding commitment to his goals, regardless of the circumstances or hardships.
  • He is willing to endure extreme conditions, such as cold and hunger, to achieve his objectives.
  • Arnold's mindset is characterized by overcoming obstacles by any means necessary, whether jumping over them, running through them, or going around them.
  • His dedication is also demonstrated in his ability to balance roles, such as instructing clients while training for the Mr. Universe title.

"I don't care what I have to do. I will do whatever. If I have to sit in a jail for seven days on a stone bed with a tiny blanket and no food, I don't care. I will do it." "Go back to him saying, I have this gym. It's freezing in Austria. It's below freezing. There's no heating. I don't care. I'm still working out this absolute 100% mental dedication to his goal."

These quotes highlight Arnold's intense commitment and willingness to endure uncomfortable situations to reach his goals. His determination is unwavering, and he does not allow external factors to deter him from his path.

Professionalism and Frustration with Amateurs

  • Arnold finds it frustrating to work with clients who do not share his level of dedication or professionalism.
  • He perceives most people as amateurs who are not fully committed to their goals.
  • Arnold's clients often fail to apply his advice effectively, which he finds disappointing.

"It was frustrating. People who would never benefit from what I told them kept taking my time." "They paid and came to the gym, but it was a disgusting, superficial effort on their part."

Arnold is frustrated by the lack of commitment from his clients, who do not match his professional approach to training and goals. He is disheartened by their half-hearted efforts and considers their time together wasted.

Innovation in Training

  • Arnold's necessity to balance work and training leads to the development of the split routine, which he later popularizes.
  • He trains twice a day, in the morning and evening, and is amazed by the results.
  • This innovation was born out of expediency rather than initial theory.

"I trained both morning and evening. It was the beginning of the split routine that would later become famous." "I couldn't believe the results."

Arnold's adaptation to his busy schedule leads to the creation of the split routine, which contributes to his impressive results and later becomes a standard in bodybuilding training.

Overcoming a Loser's Mentality

  • Arnold recognizes a "loser's mentality" in his early competitions, where he underestimated his own potential.
  • He learns the importance of positive thinking and harnessing the power of the mind.
  • After coming in second in a competition, Arnold uses the experience to analyze his weaknesses and improve.

"I was young and not mentally developed at this losers. I was still capable of falling back into what he calls a loser's mentality." "Once I was over the initial disappointment of losing, I began to trying to understand exactly why I had lost."

Arnold acknowledges his initial self-defeating attitude and resolves to adopt a more positive mindset. He uses his second-place finish as a learning opportunity to address his weaknesses.

Hunger for Success

  • Arnold believes that his intense drive and hunger for success give him an edge over his competitors.
  • He is motivated by his desire to win, which he feels more intensely than anyone else.
  • This hunger for success is a key factor in his determination to improve and ultimately achieve his goals.

"I was relying on one thing. What I had more than anyone else was drive. I was hungrier than anybody." "I knew there could be no one else in the world who wanted this title as much as I did."

Arnold's drive and ambition are central to his success. His deep desire to win and be the best fuels his relentless pursuit of improvement and victory.

Mastering Fundamentals and Concentration

  • Arnold discovers that the secret to success is not special exercises but rather concentration on standard exercises.
  • He learns from other champions that mastering the basics is crucial.
  • Intense concentration is advocated by influential figures like Edwin Land as a means to tap into unknown resources.

"What his secret was was concentration. He concentrated on the standard exercises." "My whole life has been spent trying to teach people that intense concentration for hour after hour can bring out in people resources they didn't know they had."

The quotes emphasize the importance of focus and mastering the fundamentals as the foundation for success. Concentration allows individuals to fully utilize their abilities and achieve greater results.

Overcoming External Doubts

  • Despite his success, Arnold faces skepticism from his family and others who question his career choices.
  • Arnold remains focused on his goals, ignoring external doubts and criticisms.
  • He is driven by an internal scorecard and instinct, rather than the opinions of others.

"They were upset about me leaving home to manage a gym and refusing to go to school and prepare myself for some respectable profession." "I let everything they said pass over my head."

Arnold's ability to ignore external negativity and remain true to his own vision is a testament to his strong sense of self and commitment to his path.

Learning from Idols and Role Models

  • Arnold's experience with his idol, Reg Park, teaches him more than just physical training; it influences his personal growth.
  • He learns the importance of conducting oneself with calmness and focus, rather than arrogance and aggression.
  • Arnold's time with Reg Park shapes him into a better person and athlete.

"Meeting Reg park made me become a better person." "Working with reg park for a short time helped me more than anything to clear up the little confusions I had about the principles of other champions."

These quotes illustrate how Arnold's interactions with Reg Park significantly impact his development, both in terms of bodybuilding techniques and personal character.

Dedication and Visualization

  • Arnold uses visualization techniques and self-affirmation to maintain his focus and drive.
  • He meticulously tracks his progress through measurements and photographs, analyzing each aspect of his development.
  • Arnold's approach is holistic, encompassing both physical training and mental conditioning.

"You are a winner, Arnold." "I had lists and charts of all the things I needed to concentrate on, pasted all over."

Arnold's dedication to his craft is evident in his detailed tracking and visualization practices. He reinforces his self-belief and focuses on continuous improvement through constant reminders and self-affirmation.

Achieving and Recognizing Success

  • Arnold becomes the youngest Mr. Universe, fulfilling his childhood dream and affirming his status as the best in his field.
  • The realization of his goal is overwhelming and serves as a pivotal moment in his life.
  • Arnold's achievement is the culmination of years of dedication, hard work, and unwavering belief in himself.

"I was 20 years old, and I was already the greatest and the best." "Now, I told myself, is the most important moment in your life."

Arnold's reflections on his victory at Mr. Universe highlight the significance of reaching his goal and the emotional impact of his success.

Shocking the System

  • Arnold advocates for constantly challenging oneself by doing things that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable.
  • He believes in the importance of shocking the system to promote growth and avoid stagnation.

"You have to shock your system. You should be doing things that you're not used to."

This quote encapsulates Arnold's philosophy of pushing beyond one's comfort zone to achieve greater results and continuous improvement in bodybuilding and life.

Passion for Work and Enjoyment in Training

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger emphasizes the importance of loving what you do, especially when it involves a lot of time and effort.
  • He created a fun and challenging outdoor training routine that combined intense workouts with social activities.
  • Arnold and his training partner would perform extreme workouts like 55 sets of squats, followed by relaxation and leisure activities.
  • This combination of hard work and enjoyment was a key component of his success.

"It's important that you like what you do. And we loved it. We had fun, but we also did astonishing workouts." The quote highlights the significance of enjoying the work process, which can lead to better performance and results.

Mindset and Mental Preparation

  • Arnold contrasts his mental approach to training with other bodybuilders, noting the importance of concentration and focus.
  • He avoided distractions and maintained a positive attitude, believing in his potential to win.
  • Arnold observed that many bodybuilders lacked self-belief and allowed negative thoughts to hinder their progress.
  • He stresses the power of self-talk and visualization in achieving success.

"Concentrate while you're training. Do not allow other thoughts to enter your mind." This quote emphasizes the necessity of maintaining focus and excluding irrelevant thoughts to achieve peak performance.

Resilience and Overcoming Setbacks

  • Arnold discusses the emotional impact of coming in second in a competition and his subsequent recovery.
  • He describes the entrepreneurial emotional roller coaster, experiencing extreme highs and lows.
  • Arnold's resilience is evident as he quickly recovers from his disappointment, using it as motivation to work harder and succeed in America.

"But I've always been resilient. A day later, I'd gotten myself together." The quote demonstrates Arnold's ability to bounce back from setbacks and his determination to improve and succeed despite challenges.

Business Acumen and Market Expansion

  • Arnold learned valuable business lessons from Joe Weeder, an influential figure in the fitness industry.
  • He recognized the potential to expand the market for bodybuilding beyond its niche audience.
  • Arnold's strategy involved educating the general public on the benefits of weight training and fitness.
  • He built his business empire by promoting bodybuilding, selling merchandise, and hosting seminars worldwide.

"I began to look at bodybuilding as a kind of vehicle." This quote reflects Arnold's vision of using bodybuilding as a platform to grow a larger business and reach a wider audience.

Innovation and Showmanship

  • Arnold identified gaps in the approach of other bodybuilders and innovated by incorporating ballet into his posing routine.
  • He hired a ballet dancer from UCLA to improve his gracefulness and appeal to both the audience and judges.
  • Arnold's willingness to explore unconventional methods like ballet lessons reflects his commitment to excellence and differentiation.

"I went to hired a dancer at UCLA and started taking ballet lessons to further improve my posing." The quote illustrates Arnold's innovative approach to enhancing his performance and setting himself apart from competitors.

Application of Bodybuilding Principles to Other Areas of Life

  • Arnold sees bodybuilding as a foundation for developing personality, confidence, and character.
  • He applies the discipline and work ethic from bodybuilding to his acting career and business ventures.
  • Arnold's determination to succeed in various fields is driven by the same principles that led him to become Mr. Universe.

"Just like I needed to build up a 300 pound bench press. Learning that gave me plenty of positive energy to use later on." This quote connects the discipline and effort required in bodybuilding to the dedication needed to excel in other life challenges.

Empire Building and Future Aspirations

  • Arnold aspires to be an ambassador for bodybuilding and to use his fame to promote physical fitness.
  • He discusses his plans to work on his acting skills and to amass wealth through business.
  • Arnold's mindset is one of certainty and determination, believing he has already achieved his goals in his mind.

"Now I am determined to work as hard on removing my accent as I was on improving my poor calves." The quote shows Arnold's commitment to personal improvement and his belief in the power of hard work to achieve any goal.

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