#309 Arnold Schwarzenegger Before He Was Successful



In this episode, the hosts discuss their personal connections with the founders of companies that support their podcast, emphasizing their shared passion for product quality and business building. They highlight Eight Sleep, founded by Mateo Franceschetti, as a revolutionary sleep improvement product that they personally use and recommend. The episode also spotlights Tiny, a company that simplifies the process of selling businesses for founders, and Meter, which offers innovative internet and Wi-Fi solutions for businesses, founded by Anil and his team. The hosts also delve into Arnold Schwarzenegger's early life struggles and his relentless drive towards success, illustrating his goal-oriented nature and ability to leverage bodybuilding as a stepping stone to a multifaceted career in business and entertainment. Arnold's former girlfriend, Barbara Outland Baker, provides an intimate look at his life before fame through her book "Arnold and Me: In the Shadow of the Austrian Oak," revealing Arnold's unmatched focus and determination.

Summary Notes

Personal Relationships with Company Founders

  • Speaker B highlights a unique aspect of the podcast: personal knowledge of the founders who advertise on the platform.
  • Knowing the founders, such as Chris Andrew from Tiny, Anil from Meter, and Mateo from Eight Sleep, is due to the mutual support and listenership of the podcast.
  • This relationship-building facilitates trust and shared values in product quality.

"Founder of every company that advertises on founders. I know Chris Andrew from Tiny, I know Anil from Meter, and I know Mateo from eight sleep."

The quote emphasizes the close relationship Speaker B has with the founders who advertise on the podcast, suggesting a level of personal connection and endorsement.

Shared Obsession for Product Quality

  • Both the podcast team and the company founders possess a deep commitment to the quality of their products.
  • This shared obsession is a primary reason for the close collaboration between the podcast and the supporting companies.

"Obsession for the quality of the products that we make in the businesses that we are building."

This quote underscores the shared passion for product excellence between the podcast and the founders of the companies they work with, which is a cornerstone of their partnership.

Eight Sleep's Support and Founder's Story

  • Eight Sleep, a company that offers temperature-controlled beds, is a supporter of the podcast episode.
  • The personal story of randomly meeting Mateo, the founder of Eight Sleep, illustrates the close-knit nature of their relationship.
  • Speaker B's personal experience with Eight Sleep's product highlights the significant improvement in sleep quality.

"I had no idea how much that would improve the quality of my sleep."

Speaker B's testimonial about Eight Sleep's product reflects a genuine user experience that has led to better sleep, serving as an authentic endorsement.

Tiny's Founder-Focused Business Model

  • Tiny offers straightforward cash exits for founders looking to sell their businesses.
  • The company's process is designed to be fast, focused, and flexible for founders, with options to stay or transition leadership.
  • Tiny commits to preserving the DNA of the acquired companies and operates them for the long term.

"We have built a process focused on founders."

This quote from Tiny's shareholder letter encapsulates the company's dedication to creating a founder-friendly acquisition process, which is a key aspect of their business model.

Venture Misfits and Tiny's Advantage

  • Tiny seeks out "venture misfits," companies with solid fundamentals but misaligned with the expectations of their venture capital investors.
  • These companies often face pressure to grow rapidly and may be undervalued due to not meeting the 'unicorn' status.
  • Tiny sees an opportunity to provide a quick and painless exit for such companies.

"Because of this incentive misalignment, we consistently seen an unfair advantage in making the process quick and painless for sellers."

The quote explains how Tiny capitalizes on the misalignment between venture-backed companies and their investors, offering an advantageous alternative for founders.

Meter's Internet and Wi-Fi Solutions

  • Meter provides Internet and Wi-Fi solutions designed to be as simple as setting up utilities.
  • The founders of Meter are described as obsessed with the quality of their product, even sleeping on factory floors to learn the manufacturing process.
  • Speaker B emphasizes the ease of customer experience with Meter, aligning with a theme of entrepreneurship discussed in the podcast.

"Choosing Meter is a no brainer."

This quote conveys the strong endorsement for Meter's services, emphasizing the simplicity and reliability of their Internet and Wi-Fi solutions for businesses.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Early Life and Drive

  • Arnold's early life experiences, including feeling neglected compared to his brother, fueled his ambition and drive.
  • His father's strict discipline and the competitive environment at home pushed Arnold to excel in bodybuilding as a means of proving himself.
  • Arnold's encounter with Reg Park's success story in a magazine served as a pivotal inspiration for his bodybuilding and life goals.

"It gave me the will, desire and drive that normal life doesn't create."

Arnold's quote reflects on how the perceived rejection from his family contributed to his extraordinary motivation, which propelled him to pursue his ambitious goals.

Arnold's Goal-Oriented Nature

  • Arnold is described as extremely goal-oriented, with precise objectives set upon his arrival in America.
  • His goals ranged from practical needs like housing and transportation to professional aspirations such as finding a training partner and increasing his salary.
  • Barbara Outland Baker's book, "Arnold and Me: In the Shadow of the Austrian Oak," provides insight into Arnold's life before fame.

"A conflict grew in our relationship. She was a well balanced woman who wanted an ordinary life, and I was not a well balanced man and hated the very idea of an ordinary life."

This quote from Arnold highlights the fundamental differences in life aspirations between him and his former girlfriend, illustrating his relentless pursuit of growth and aversion to an ordinary life.

Clarity of Purpose

  • Clarity of purpose is described as focusing on a singular goal to the exclusion of all else.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is used as a prime example, with his focus on bodybuilding, then movies, and later politics, without believing in a plan B.
  • The documentary about Arnold on Netflix is mentioned as a three-part series, indicating the depth of his life's story and his clear mission.
  • Arnold's dedication to bodybuilding is highlighted by his extreme training regimen, which surpassed the efforts of his peers.

"Arnold talks about in interviews and in books and everything else, he didn't believe in plan B. He believed you picked what you want."

This quote emphasizes Arnold Schwarzenegger's philosophy of having a singular focus without a fallback plan, which is a key aspect of his success.

"It frees you because you know exactly what your mission is at life."

Speaker B suggests that having a clear purpose actually liberates a person because it provides a definitive direction in life, countering the belief that it might be limiting.

The Power of Singular Focus

  • The discussion revolves around the benefits of having a singular focus in life.
  • Arnold's life is used as an example to illustrate that one's mission can evolve over time, but the focus remains singular within each phase.
  • The speakers discuss the common misconception that a singular focus is limiting, whereas they argue it is freeing and provides motivation and psychological advantage.

"And you never doubt yourself. And I think most people never experience that in life."

Speaker A suggests that the certainty that comes with a singular focus is rare and that most people do not experience the confidence that comes from having no doubts about one's direction.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Drive and Motivation

  • Arnold's upbringing is described as lacking in distractions, which contributed to his drive.
  • His environment, which had no television or indoor plumbing, is mentioned as a factor that made it easy for him to focus on bodybuilding as his way out.
  • Arnold's psychological advantage and his extreme training routines are highlighted as key factors in his success.

"Every thought, every action, everything is directed towards this one goal."

This quote illustrates Arnold's total dedication to bodybuilding, with every aspect of his life being oriented towards achieving his goal in the sport.

Relationship Dynamics and Support Systems

  • The importance of having a supportive spouse or partner is discussed, especially when pursuing challenging goals like building a business.
  • Arnold's relationship with Barbara is analyzed, showing a fundamental mismatch in their values and desires, with Arnold's focus being on his goals and Barbara desiring a more conventional life.
  • The speakers emphasize the need for clear communication and the ability to be supportive or step aside in the face of one's partner's ambition.

"You either have a supportive spouse or you don't have a spouse."

Speaker B stresses the importance of having a partner who is either supportive of one's ambitious goals or not being in a relationship at all, highlighting the significance of support in achieving success.

Arnold's Early Life and Its Influence

  • Arnold's early life, including his father's military background and the post-war environment, is discussed as a formative influence on his drive.
  • The speakers suggest that Arnold's intense focus and drive are not surprising given his upbringing and the lack of opportunities he faced.
  • Arnold's ability to communicate his priorities and the necessity of his focus on his goals is emphasized as crucial to his success.

"To him, life was something you directed."

This quote captures the proactive nature of high-agency individuals like Arnold, who take charge of their lives rather than letting life happen to them.

The Role of Negative Motivation

  • The concept of negative motivation, driven by a desire to prove others wrong, is discussed as a powerful force behind Arnold's achievements.
  • Arnold's relentless pursuit of his goals is seen as a product of his upbringing and his determination to reach his maximum potential.
  • The speakers discuss how Arnold's negative motivation led him to the pinnacle of success in multiple fields.

"This negative motivation pushes him to achieve the maximum potential in every activity, which he did."

This quote summarizes Arnold's use of negative motivation to excel in every endeavor he undertook, from bodybuilding to acting to politics.

Arnold's Influence and Charisma

  • Arnold lived in the Titan realm, embodying leadership and passion to effect change.
  • Conversations with those who knew Arnold gave Barbara insights into his single-minded motivation.
  • Arnold's charisma was described as superhuman, captivating even those initially skeptical of bodybuilders.
  • Despite his sometimes outlandish behavior, Arnold became a beloved figure in Barbara's family, displaying his charm and humor even in unconventional ways.

"Frank believed that Arnold lived in the Titan realm, where he was the consummate leader, and he was filled with passion to achieve something better." "With people to know him, it helped give her a better understanding of why Arnold had such single minded motivation." "Arnold had this superhuman levels of charisma." "He would just say outlandish things." "He carried his boisterous manner everywhere, even into my family's home."

These quotes illustrate Arnold's strong leadership qualities, his intense focus on his goals, and the exceptional charisma that endeared him to others, despite his tendency to break social norms with his bold behavior.

Arnold's Dedication and Work Ethic

  • Arnold's dedication to his goals was described as unfathomable, with a routine that prioritized his ambitions.
  • His confidence was unshaken by disparities in sophistication, income, or status.
  • Arnold's childhood dream to be a unique, revered winner was fulfilled through his bodybuilding success.
  • His presence evoked respect and "godlike wonder," likened to the great leaders in history.

"Arnold spent 364 days a year on his own terms, Arnold always felt self confident, no matter the disparity in sophistication, income or status." "He had fulfilled his childhood dream to capitalize on being a unique, revered winner."

Arnold's relentless pursuit of his goals is highlighted, showing how his confidence and dedication set him apart from his peers, leading to his extraordinary success and the admiration he received.

Arnold's Learning and Networking

  • Arnold's approach to learning focused on changing behavior, not just memorizing information.
  • He understood the importance of building a network of allies and strategically established connections.
  • Arnold was described as the most calculating person, with a focus on public relations and foresight.
  • His learning extended beyond bodybuilding, taking classes and expanding his knowledge base.

"Learning is changing behavior." "He had unlimited imagination and ambition, and he believed in strategically setting up a firm network through written correspondence." "Arnold was the most calculating person." "He had steadily accrued undergraduate credits from Santa Monica College."

These quotes emphasize Arnold's strategic approach to learning and networking. He valued the transformation of behavior through learning and recognized the importance of cultivating relationships for success.

Arnold's Personal Growth and Consistency

  • Arnold was consistently focused on personal growth, improvement, and learning.
  • He took classes in various subjects, expanded his vocabulary, and refined his speech.
  • Despite his diverse interests and ventures, Arnold remained consistent in his dedication to learning and self-improvement.

"His vocabulary expanded by several thousand more words, and he worked to make his accent less guttural." "He admired anyone who could contribute knowledge into his mental storage tank."

These quotes demonstrate Arnold's commitment to personal development, showing how he continuously sought to better himself and valued knowledge from all sources.

Arnold's Optimism and Positive Spin

  • Arnold was known for his ability to spin situations positively, seeing problems as opportunities.
  • He maintained an optimistic outlook, influencing others around him to adopt the same attitude.
  • Arnold's approach to life was likened to the philosophies of Edwin Land and Andrew Carnegie, who also valued optimism and the ability to cultivate a positive disposition.

"He always spun things for the positive." "Optimism is a moral duty." "A sunny disposition is worth more than a fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated, that the mind, like the body, can be moved from shade into sunshine."

These quotes capture Arnold's optimistic nature, his belief in the power of positivity, and his alignment with other great thinkers who also cherished the value of an optimistic mindset.

Arnold's Understanding of Media and Promotion

  • Arnold recognized the power of media early on and used it to his advantage.
  • His ability to navigate through various forms of media contributed to his rising fame.
  • Arnold's promotion of his work was consistent throughout his career, understanding its importance in maintaining success.

"Arnold kept visualizing in an interior space where his leadership skills would constantly promote him to higher levels of fame and power." "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise."

Arnold's strategic use of media and relentless self-promotion are highlighted in these quotes, showing his awareness of the role media plays in building and sustaining a public image.

Arnold's Financial Independence and Real Estate Success

  • Arnold's first fortune came from real estate, allowing him financial independence to be selective with movie roles.
  • His strategic investments in multifamily apartments and partnership with a wise realtor contributed to his wealth.
  • Arnold's real estate success is an example of his ability to build relationships and his foresight in financial planning.

"Making his first fortune in real estate actually gave him the independence to let him pick the movie rules." "We lived in a frugal apartment for five years so Arnold could accrue a critical mask of liquid capital."

These quotes reflect Arnold's financial acumen and the importance of his real estate ventures in establishing his independence, enabling him to pursue his ambitions in the entertainment industry on his own terms.

Arnold's Work Ethic and Personal Development

  • Arnold owned income-bearing real estate at 26 while maintaining a rigorous training schedule.
  • His refusal to slow down led to conflicts due to his continuous pursuit of more projects and empire expansion.
  • Described as emotionless, self-centered, and goal-oriented to an extreme degree.
  • Arnold's motivation to succeed was so intense that it was suggested he would rather die without it.
  • His belief in his ability to learn anything led him to immerse himself in various lessons to improve his skills, especially for movie roles.
  • Arnold's approach to learning and personal development aligns with the idea that the best jobs are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets.

"At 26 years old, he now owned income bearing real estate. And so even though now he added real estate to his job, it says he maintained his rigorous training schedule." "If you erased his motivations to succeed, he would rather die." "He could learn anything, anything that he wanted to if he put his mind to it, he could learn it." "The best jobs are neither decreed nor degreed. They are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets."

  • Arnold's commitment to his personal goals was so strong that it affected his relationships and led to an emotionless demeanor.
  • His motivation was not just about succeeding but also about the process of learning and personal growth.
  • The quotes reflect Arnold's relentless pursuit of success and the sacrifices he made in other areas of his life to achieve his goals.

Arnold's Influence and Relationships

  • Arnold's singular focus on his goals led to a strained relationship with his partner, who felt neglected and struggled with his lack of emotional availability.
  • His partner became increasingly desperate and resentful as Arnold continued to prioritize his career over their relationship.
  • Despite the decline in their personal relationship, Arnold's professional life was rapidly ascending, causing a mix of resentment and admiration among peers.
  • Arnold's success led to jealousy and gossip among his former friends, highlighting a common human tendency to resent those who outgrow their social circle.

"Conditioned to endure an emotionless, increasingly self centered robot. I dreaded competing for his time." "He was not motivated to merge our separate dreams." "Our frequent phone calls, meaning people that are no longer in Arnold's life or no longer on the same path as him, traded nasty gossip."

  • The quotes illustrate the emotional toll Arnold's ambition took on his personal relationships, particularly with his partner who felt overshadowed and unappreciated.
  • The dynamic between Arnold and his peers demonstrates how success can alienate individuals from their original social groups.
  • The quotes emphasize the struggle between personal ambition and maintaining relationships, as well as the negative reactions from others when one person's success outpaces their own.

Arnold's Learning and Adaptation

  • Arnold was committed to learning new skills and adapting to various industries, including real estate, acting, and business.
  • He studied past examples of successful individuals to model his career transitions.
  • His charisma and ability to learn from experts contributed to his success in crossing over from bodybuilding to acting.

"He immersed himself in accent removal sessions, acting classes, and fiddling lessons." "He craved the interaction with each new expert and remembered every tip." "He kept focus on past crossovers like Steve Reeves, Gordon Mitchell, and Reg Park."

  • Arnold's dedication to self-improvement and skill acquisition is evident in his willingness to take classes and learn from others.
  • His strategic approach to career development involved studying successful predecessors and applying their lessons to his own path.
  • The quotes highlight Arnold's proactive attitude towards learning and his understanding of the importance of mentors and role models.

Arnold's Legacy and Impact

  • Arnold's relentless pursuit of success led to a lasting impact on those around him, even after the end of personal relationships.
  • His former partner grappled with the realization of his ascent to stardom and questioned her own judgment for not foreseeing his legendary status.
  • Arnold's story serves as an example of the transformative power of ambition and the ability to become a formidable individual.

"I watched Arnold's film credits mount throughout the became stupefied over his success in Hollywood." "I found it steadily strange to realize I had known him prior to such staggering fame and wondered if I should have been smarter or wiser in being able to predict his legendary outcome."

  • The quotes convey a sense of awe and disbelief at Arnold's achievements from someone who was intimately familiar with his journey.
  • Reflecting on Arnold's trajectory, his former partner acknowledges the difficulty in predicting the scale of his success.
  • The quotes underscore the theme of underestimating individuals with exceptional drive and the surprise that follows their achievements.

Supporting the Podcast and Further Learning

  • The podcast promotes a book about Arnold's life and encourages listeners to support the podcast by purchasing through provided links.
  • The podcast also offers a private AMA (Ask Me Anything) feature for listeners to engage with deeper lessons and support the podcast.
  • The podcast emphasizes continuous learning and the sharing of knowledge through listener interactions.

"If you want to buy the book, actually, I'll leave a link to this book and the other two books he's written two autobiographies, one when he was 30 and I think one when he was 70." "Make sure you sign up for founders AMA. Once you sign up, you get access to a private email. I read every single one of those emails personally."

  • The quotes suggest ways in which listeners can engage with the material and support the podcast, highlighting the value of interactive learning.
  • The AMA feature provides a platform for listeners to ask questions and receive personalized responses, fostering a community of continuous learners.
  • The quotes encourage listeners to take action to gain further insights and contribute to the podcast's mission of education and personal development.

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