Arnold Schwarzenegger Biography – Total Recall Book Review – MichaelPole.com

Arnold Schwarzenegger Biography – Total Recall Book Review – MichaelPole.com


Hi, so, this one is my book review, another
book review I’m doing for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography Total Recall. And so I just finished
reading the book, it took me about five days and I’ve been… it’s the first book I’ve
been reading using this, speed reading app. So, I’m gonna do another post on that but
yeah, great book and quite a lot to go through, so I just wanted to cover off some of the
things I picked up from there and share that. Obviously Arnold’s story is quite, quite
incredible. You know, he came from a very poor family in Austria post world war 2. His
parents were very strict, he didn’t have a lot growing up, families struggled to feed
themselves, that typical kinda poverty story. And then he went from that to being you know,
one of the richest Hollywood actors in the world and obviously governor of California.
So, multimillion dollar man and that’s… a lot of success. I didn’t really understand
his story properly from the newspapers until I read this book. So, it’s interesting to
get some extra insight into that journey along, along with various stages of his life. So, Arnie was a super driven guy, if you read
the book you’ll see that you know, bodybuilding was the first sort of passion that, that drove
him and he only really got into that when he was 13, 14. He started you know, seeing
these people who were successful in the sport and he kind of idolized them, so he’d put
up posters of all these people around him. All these people you know, he admired and
that kind of drove him to taking up bodybuilding and he would just relentlessly pursue that.
So, even when he was in military he snuck of the base to go and participate in the first
bodybuilding competition. And he won that and so he got in trouble but he was just always
willing to do whatever it took to you know, to reach his goals and reach his dreams. And
that kind of theme you see again and again in the book throughout his life as he transitioned
you know, to movies, he was just, he was not a good actor, he had no training, he had no
right to be in Hollywood but it was just his persistence and you know, he found the people
around him to train him, to mold him, give him tips, And he just, he just went on that
sort of mission, you know, moving through bodybuilding to making movies. Still doing lots of other things as well,
he wasn’t just a bodybuilder or a movie you know, a star but he, he had a real estate
empire and he had all kinds of investments you wouldn’t know about. So, he really was
not just the, sharp in terms of you know, his physical body and his training but he
was you know, very sharp in his mind. He was able to you know, do math in his head to work
out if a certain apartment, office complex is gonna be profitable for him based on the
square footage and asking price and the mortgage and payments and things like that, so. He
was super sharp and he was able to build up his successful real estate empire while he
was bodybuilding, while he was acting and then obviously you know, while he was the
governor as well, so. This is a pretty impressive story, it’s
definitely worth reading. It’s very inspiring seeing someone with no real formal training
and anything can, can be successful. I think the discipline that his parents imposed on
him, especially his father when they were young, making them to do push-ups before breakfast
and doing math drills before school started. I really… it really taught him to focus
and be disciplined. And he obviously carried that through you know, doing 5 or 6 hours
of bodybuilding a day, 6, 7 days a week. I mean that’s just a crazy, crazy amount of
discipline to have, so. In terms of focus he was definitely focused
on one thing at a time. It was bodybuilding to start with and then he got some money from
that, got into the business side of it. Obviously won some competitions and then he got into
investment. But throughout his life he’s done so many things that you know, he’s just,
he’s just had, he’s had relentless focus on one thing at a time, and is able to do
so much in one life, so. Now he’s maybe 70, 70 plus. And he’s obviously… I guess his
career’s winding down, he’s… I don’t know what he’s working on now, but… He’s not a perfect guy definitely you know.
Had some challenges balancing everything in his life. I think he was with Maria Shriver
for most of his life and she was a very career minded woman, so I think it was a good match
for him. They were able to support each other a lot, she was very savvy in the politic world
and so that helped him out when he ran for governor. And she was obviously a very good
ally for him, so I think that they, they helped each other a lot, they were able to make each
other successful. And he’s divorced now, I think that something came out that he fathered
a child with another… with the maid of their house and that came out like after 14, 15
years. So, he only covers that briefly in the last chapter. And that’s you know, that’s
I guess the side everyone’s gonna look on and pick on and say, look at all his flaws. So yeah, so he’s not perfect but there’s
a lot of inspirational stuff to take away from the book in terms of his attitude and
his focus. And this is relentless pursuit of being the best at whatever he wanted to
be. He would just, he would just do an endless amount of preparation for you know, all these
contests, all these Mr. Olympias, all these bodybuilding. Even acting you know, he just
rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed. And then when he was the governor giving speeches you
know, doing debates, he would just rehearse everything so he was just super prepared for
everything. And even if you, you know, even if you start out you know that good and you
rehearse 10,000 times. Well you’re gonna be pretty good at the end of that, so. I think
that’s a take away that he was just about, he calls it it’s just about reps, so it’s
just about practicing, practicing. You do 10,000 reps you’re gonna have you know,
huge, huge muscles. You do 10,000 reps and rehearsing anything else and that’s gonna
pay off for you. So, he just took that approach from bodybuilding and applied it to everything
else he did in life, and that’s quite inspiring to see how that worked for him. So, definitely check out the book, I would
just look at the last chapter, he’s got these Arnold rules and principles for success.
So the first one he mentions… this is at the end of the book, is turn your liabilities
into assets. So, he says that you know, when he started out in Hollywood everyone told
him that it’s not gonna work because he has a weird sounding name, his accent is really
weird, he’s too big to play in the movies. You know, no one’s gonna really understand
him, it’s gonna be too weird. And then he basically, he did work on his accent to soften
it a little bit but he looked for these leading roles to you know, roles like Conan the Barbarian
and Terminator. And he used his body to his advantage, so he became this kind of you know,
action star and was able to you know, get paid very well for that. So, definitely you
can think about what people receive as your liabilities but I would say you don’t have
to change yourself to be successful, you can use your, your unique signature strengths
to your advantages and try and play off those. Then the other one he says is when someone
tells you ‘no’, you should hear ‘yes’. So that basically nothing’s impossible,
you don’t listen to people when they tell you you can’t do something but if your belief
is strong enough you will be able to overcome anything. And so, the example he gives is
when he’s in politics and obviously in politics a lot of people say you know, you can’t do
this, you can’t come in here and, and change up everything in four years. But he didn’t
let that stop him, he would just keep pushing and pushing. And he had mixed success in politics
but I think he did achieve a lot, making you know, climate change and renewable energy,
a massive focus in California. So they now, I think they have the most solar power generated
in the United States. And he had, he had some infrastructure projects that he wanted to
you know, rebuild the city into a more modern city that’s able to accommodate more people.
So he did a lot and I think anyone in his times is gonna be super challenged you know,
going through a massive global recession like, 2007 and 8. There’s just no one that’s
gonna be able to have you know, just 100 % success in that kind of environment. It’s gonna
be super challenging, everyone’s gonna hate you, you have to cut spending, you’re suddenly
everyone’s worst enemy, so. He kind of covers on some of those things. But basically you
know, his vision was stronger than other people’s doubt and I think that’s the key take away
and if your vision is stronger that the people’s doubt, it’s just that relentless persistence
that’s gonna get you where you want to go in life. But if you’re letting other people
talk you out of things and let them talk you down then, then you’ve lost before you even
started. So, that’s definitely a good principle, I like that one. He says that next one is never follow the
crowd, go where it’s empty. So, he talks about when he started investing in property
he chose an area that was really unpopular and people saw it as a bad investment, which
meant you know, he could get it under, under the value of the general market around the
area. So he always tried to do what’s the opposite of popular and I think you can apply
that to investing, you can apply that to lots of things you know, if you’re in a business
with… If you’re in a business with tons of competitors that are all doing exactly
the same thing you know, how do you differentiate, you end up competing on price, you end up
going to you know, a horrible business model, so. You wanna be able to try and do what not
everyone else is doing or do it a way that you know, is hard for people to copy you.
So, that’s definitely something I would say that that’s… is worth thinking about.
Now how can you differentiate yourself, either your business or your investments and try
and do something that not everyone else is doing. If you’re you know, if you’re buying
the stock market at the top after it’s run up you know, doubled in value then, then that’s
a sure way to kill yourself in the long-term, so. Definitely don’t follow the crowd, look
for what opportunities people are scared of and then as long as you’ve done the math
and you do your due diligence, you should, you should follow your gut, you should yeah,
you should try not to follow the crowd. This one, next one I like the most, because
it applies to the whole of his life and all of his achievements. He says no matter what
you do in life, selling is part of it. So, he talks about all the different achievements
he’s made but it’s not just doing it and then you know, laying back on your achievements,
resting on your laurels but… He gives an example that in movies most… what most people
do is they put a lot in their acting, the actors do a lot of preparation, they shoot
the movie and they feel great and they think their job’s done, they let the studios,
the distributors plan all of the marketing. What he would do is actually get involved
in all that side it as well. So postproduction he, he saw that as his main focus, it’s
not just shooting the movie. He was able to you know, get involved in that process, look
at the focus groups, obviously the focus groups give reviews of the movies and then they tweak
the movie and then you know, try and increase, increase the popularity before they go live
to increase the chances at the box office. So, he saw the whole business side of it,
because he was into the real estate empire, he wasn’t just an actor, he saw the numbers,
he wanted to get involved in the business and he saw that setting was super important.,
so I guess that starts with you know, him having to set his body and bodybuilding and,
and hit all the right poses and you have to really be able to save yourself and be confident
in yourself in that sense. Then he got into some sales jobs, he started
his own business in construction in America. So, he had sales experience and he just kind
of carried that through and, and understood that the job is never done, you can’t let
other people sell for you because sometimes you know, like Total Recall they shot a great
movie but the marketing team put together a horrible traders and it was coming out with
terrible reviews from the focus groups, so it’s going to be a complete flop, and he
said, ‘ Look, we can’t let these guys do it, let’s go hire outside marking firm
and get them to rebrand the whole thing’. That they managed to lift the reviews massively
before they went you know, before they released the movie and it was a huge hit. So, if he
hadn’t done those things, all the acting in the world wouldn’t have helped, movie
would have flopped. It’s really that first, first impression, the perception people get
is to how far a movie can go. And so you need to be selling, always selling yourself and
you can’t get away from that, it’s always a part of life, so. If you’re not, if you’re
not good at selling, you definitely need to be partnering with somebody who is really
good at selling. So, I guess that’s a challenge for businesses is to find that person who’s
a good match or to improve themselves to be able to sell better and I think that just
comes with… definitely comes with confidence and knowledge of what you’re talking about.
If the more knowledgeable I am about something, the more comfortable I feel to talk about
it. And then you know, you’re always selling whether you’re aware of it or not you’re
always selling yourself. Even when you have a conversation you’re selling your ideas,
your beliefs to someone else, so either you’re selling them or they’re selling you. And
that’s kind of a popular expression I heard, so it’s either you’re selling or you’re
being sold to and that’s how, how we go through life. So, if you wanna have success, you always
have to understand the importance of selling and don’t just think your job is done after
you know, half way through. So that’s some of his success principles. Let me see, if
there’s another one here. He has these 10, sort of, rules: never let pride get in your
way. So, I mean I think it’s easy for that to happen to all of us we, we all have this
ego and this, this, you know, being proud about something that we, that we like. But
it’s the humility I think Tai talks about that too, Tai Lopez in his 67 Steps program.
You need to have the ability to recognize what you don’t know and seek out people that
do know more than you and that’s all about finding mentors and being humble. So, if you
let pride get in your way you might stop learning, you might think you know everything, you might
think, ‘Oh, I don’t need to read this guy, what does he know’. You know, I probably
ran into Schwarzenegger before, this is just some dumb bodybuilder who got lucky in politics.
And I might have thought I don’t need to read his book, what will am I gonna learn
from him. So that would, so that would have got in my way of learning a lot of, a lot
of the things I pulled out of the book. So you, you got to remember that you really can
never know everything about anything, I mean you can’t learn everything about everything,
you can know a little bit about some things and you should always look to increase your
knowledge you know, whatever area you’re trying to, trying to improve, trying to grow. He gave an example that Mohammed Ali let him…
challenged him to like a contest just to see who was stronger and he wanted to see how
strong bodybuilders were, so he let Arnold push him up against a wall in front of his
friends. And he didn’t mind you know, being seen as weaker because for him it wasn’t about
pride, he was just trying to learn something. So never let pride get in your way, always
look, look to people that can help you and help you grow and don’t be afraid to go for
them and ask for help, and obviously offer something of value for that. So, never let
pride get in your way, I guess it’s quite an obvious one but we, a lot of us do it.
He says don’t overthink and this I guess you know, is a way that we talk ourselves out
of doing something sometimes. We have, we have something we want to achieve and then
we start to think about it, we start to analyze it over and over again and we start to doubt
ourselves or we start to raise all the negative points that things could go wrong. He says
a lot of time people would come to him in real estate and point out the more things
that could go wrong with this investment. And he just you know, he’d done his research,
so he was sure enough that he wanted to do it and if you people keep me overthinking
and overthinking it you end up with paralysis, you don’t take any action. So, I guess there’s
a fine point between doing your due diligence and then overthinking something but just try
and get out. And I’ve heard this from other people before, you can never be a hundred
percent ready for something, if you want to be a hundred percent ready, probably someone
else had already got ahead of you and started the idea, so. When you know, even 30, 40 percent
ready, you learn by iteration, you learn by doing, you learn by testing and improving
as you go and you can never be a hundred percent prepared or ready for something. So, I guess
that’s what it means by not overthinking. So, that’s his second point and he gives some
examples again, yeah in property. The third, the third one he says is forget
plan B. So, this is I guess you know, burning, burning your bridges, if you don’t have any
alternatives, you’ll be so committed to what is your primary focus. He did a lot of
that in politics, where you know, it’s always compromise, compromise, between you know,
Democrats and Republicans, for what you want to achieve you have to compromise to get anything
done. But he was very, very firm about you know, this is our plan A, this is what we’re
pushing for. If you have a plan B it means you’re not gonna commit enough to plan A.
So, I think that you can… it’s not like you’re stuck to something, if something’s
not working you can always change it, but if you, if you give yourself an easy option
out, like a plan B then maybe you’re not gonna be focused enough on what is the primary
goal or the primary focus. So, you can apply that to business, you can apply that to sell
strategies, you can apply that to any kind of decision or goal you haven’t… you want
to achieve in life. But to have 1, 1 focus and not to be, not to spread yourself too
thin to say you know, let’s focus on this plan B. So that’s you know, that kind of
explains his really persistent focus because he only had one plan, he only ever had the
plan A and he had no plan B and that’s why he was able to achieve so much he says. So,
don’t have that fallback plan, ‘cause that gives you an easy way to escape or not to
do what’s difficult. His fourth one is quite funny because it’s
kind of his character, he says you can use outrageous humor to settle a score, he was
quite famous for putting his foot in it a lot when he came out with political speeches
you know, just off the cuff things that were very insulting. So he did the make a few gaps
but his humor, people loved it, he was able to use it you know, to get people to like
him not as an acting, but in politics. And he would say things to defuse a lot of the
tension, so he was able to use that humor, if you have that in your character. He was
you know, he was bigger than life kind of guy, so he had this outrageous humor and he
was able to use it to his advantage. And he was able to win a lot of arguments so you
know, yeah, it made people like him that way. So, if you have a humorous character then
you can definitely use that in your favor. See what the next one is here. He says the
day has 24 hours and that means that you know, he… this guy was on the go all the time,
he obviously he slept and he ate, but if you look at his schedule, the thing is he was
struggling, this guy was just nonstop boom, boom, boom doing one thing to another; family,
acting, Hollywood, bodybuilding, everything altogether and he, he didn’t find it stressful
because obviously he was passionate about everything he was doing. So, I think he could
never understand why people come to him and say, ‘Oh, I’m really stressed out, this
is a really tough life, how do I do juggle everything’ and he was like, ‘Are you
crazy’. You know, he, he didn’t have that problem, so. If you’re really passionate about
what you’re doing I think you don’t feel the stress as much, and he gives an example
of students who are complaining about their tuition going up and they had to get jobs
while they were studying and he was like, what’s wrong with that you know. He gave
an example of how he studied while he was bodybuilding, while he was working and he
was able to juggle all of those things, so he thinks that probably people, that most
people are too soft and we don’t take full advantage of all the hours in the day. So,
the day has 24 hours, you need to sleep 6, you got 18 hours left to hustle and get all
of those things done, so. He, he… I don’t think he ever had much downtime, he was, whatever
he was doing he was into a 100 % and he was really focused, so. You know, use that time
in your day, don’t just like complain the government’s not gonna support you, you
don’t want to get a job, so you want the government to pay for your tuition fees or
you know, pay for your way. So, don’t expect them to pay for you, use the time that you
have efficiently. The sixth point he has is these reps, reps,
reps. So, this is really about repetition and practicing and rehearsing for something,
you’ve got to refine your craft, you’ve got to own it, you’ve got to put in lot
of hours. For, for some of the movies you know, he would prepare, he’d be doing training
martial arts for months with all kinds of different people for Conan the movie. And
he would just be doing you know, stunt after stunt after stunt and they would maybe practice
it 10, 15 times before they would actually shoot it live for the cameras, for his movies,
so. He was very good at understanding the importance of that and, and obviously with
bodybuilding it’s all about reps. You spend five hours a day in the sun, in the gym bodybuilding
to get that kind of figure he does. So, you, you cannot expect results, he’d like to…
in the gym he’d like to have a list of all the reps and exercises he’s gonna do and
then he’d marked them off as he goes, so it’s like a game you know, you kind of reckon,
recognizing achievement and that keeps you motivated and that was one of his tips for
keeping you driven, otherwise you might go to the gym, you might feel tired, you might
not really have a goal for what you want to achieve and you give up or you leave early.
But this guy he spent 4 or 5 hours in the gym and obviously that was, that was how he
did it. So, that was quite inspiring, obviously it applies even for speeches, he would rehearse
before he gave a speech maybe you know, see here he’s got one speech he rehearsed like
50 times. So, by the time he delivers it you know, he’s fluent, he’s professional.
And people don’t see the practice that goes in, they just see the end product. So, they
think ‘Oh, maybe he’s a natural speaker’, but he could be the most nervous guy and he
just practiced 50 times. Next point he makes is you know, don’t blame
your parents, if they left you with problems they’re your problems to solve. And I think
that you know, it’s not just parents we blame but everyone, we blame you know, the
country we’re in, we blame society, we blame you know, other people, our boss and all that
blame basically it, it puts you in a position of being out of control of your destiny, of
your life. If you’re always blaming people then is out of your control to change that,
but if you recognize you know this is your life, this is what you have, this is where
you’re starting from and you have the belief in yourself that it’s up to you to improve
your life and no one else can really stop you, then suddenly you have this control back
in your life., so it’s really important not to blame other people, blaming your parents
for you know, whatever they did wrong to you. And the example he gave was that his parents
were quite tough to him, especially his dad. And you know, when he looked back on his life
it was the discipline that his father imposed on him, he thought at the time was difficult
and tough but it turned him into such a successful person. So the things we perceive sometimes
as being bad if you are traumatizing, that’s actually making you a lot stronger. And definitely
my life that’s very true as well that the hardship I’ve gone through has made me a
better person and in terms of more successful and more focused. It took a really shitty
job for me to you know, end up thinking about quitting my job and setting my own business.
So you got to think about the challenges you face and instead of blaming, look at what
can you learn from that, what’s the opportunity there. So, I like that one, that’s quite true
for me. A couple more here. The next one is ‘change
takes big balls’. So, he gives an example of Gorbachev that you know, dismantled the
Soviet Republic, because he can see the problems with the system and he’s asking Gorbachev
how did he do it. And so he is just basically giving examples of… If you want to tackle
something big and especially in you know, in government and politics you need to be
right from, from your convictions, you let people talk you out of things, you’ll never
gonna get anything done. And so, any kind of big change in the big scale, if you have
big goals is gonna take a firm, firm conviction. So, that’s, that’s definitely something
you see in the book again and again as well. The next one is take care of your body and
your mind, so obviously he’s really good at taking care of his body but people don’t
recognize how sharp he was in his mind, like I said before. You know, he was you know,
he was forced by his dad to do math drills, him and his brother. So, they were very good
at mental math, he always was like a sponge when he was exposed to something new. So,
when he became the governor, he surrounded himself with smarter people and basically
you know, they had briefings after briefings for debates and things where he wanted to
be super prepared. So he always understood the importance of training your mind, he was
super smart you know, mentally not just not, just physically. And, yeah that’s gonna
lead you to success, so you can’t neglect your mind and that’s all about this, this
challenge I’m doing at the moment, I’m trying to read more and learn more from, from
brilliant people, from successful people. You can never just, you can never stop learning
otherwise you’re going backwards. So and equally, if you’re super intelligent you can’t neglect
your body, your physical body because you’re gonna… you’re not gonna have a good life,
if you do that either. So, I think there’s one more here. It’s
just stay hungry, so you gotta stay hungry to be successful, if again, if you achieved
a lot you kind of rest on your laurels, you can get lazy. I think in my business I’ve
been quite lucky to automate a lot of it and so I haven’t had to put as much time in working
hours as I did in my job. And so I’ve used that time for other things but after a while
you start to think about you know, how can I go to the next level, what can I do. And
you gotta find something that’s gonna keep you driven and keep you hungry, so you…
I think the thing that is working now is, if you have a goal bigger than yourself and
you have a cause bigger than yourself. And Vishen Lakhiani talks about this in ‘Bending
Reality’, if you, if you have a cause bigger than yourself that’s going to be give you
drive to pull you forward, to have these big goals and help you stay hungry. But if your
vision is small, you’re just worried about yourself and your paycheck and your house
and your car and your… These things is a very small vision, it’s not gonna drive
you to achieve great things. So, he was obviously staying hungry throughout his career, doing,
wanting to do bigger things, better things., he had a goal to double his paycheck for every
movie he created, so he created like a game for himself, always trying to outdo himself,
so. In the end, you’re not just competing against
other people, you’re competing against yourself, because you can’t really judge yourself
against other people. But you can look at your progression as an individual, against
where you were and where you want to be. So, in the way you want to do for the world, how
you want to go into the world, where you want to contribute. So that, having a bigger vision
definitely helps you to stay hungry. And I think that’s great advice, so yeah so that’s
some of the, some of the tips, some of the things I learned. It was a good book and it’s
quite long, so quite happy to have speed read it, it didn’t take so long. But yeah, if
you, if you like to read about successful people, then I would pick up his book you
know, it’s very contemporary. So, he’s one of the, one of those people that’s been
around in my generation, it’s quite inspiring to see what people are able to do, and I think
I’m gonna be reading more biographies to fill my head with more inspiring thoughts
and so, I’ll share another book review soon. So, that’s it and, enjoy.

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