Tim Ferriss, the man who experiments in lifestyle design and renowned for introducing the 4 hour work week to the world, started his own podcast only less than half a year ago. He managed to pull off the unexpected and was invited to visit Southern California to interview the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This podcast interview is just under 1.5 hours of pure gold, and gives you a chance to connect with Arnold through the interviewer’s incredible engagement ability.
Here are 10 lessons that open up answers on how one man can achieve so much in a short amount of time.
1. ‘My confidence came from my vision’
One advice you’ll find in many ‘self-development’ books without fail, is having a clear vision.
Tim mentioned about a very old photograph from the Junior Mr Europe contest, and noticed the confidence (even arrogance) on a young Arnold’s facial expression.
‘I wasn’t there to compete, I was there to WIN’
He had a clear vision, so he knew ‘why‘ training 5 hours a day, eating more food, doing 200 sit ups, plus the daily jobs in the military, was paramount and easier to persevere during the time in the trenches.
Arnold’s mind was set on being one step closer to winning Mr Universe, one day.
2. ‘That was my shot’
Going back to his first ever bodybuilding competition in 1965, the ‘impossible‘ was achieved by pushing through the barriers like there’s no tomorrow.
Sneaking out of the military camp (without a passport), to taking the cheapest train that stopped at every station…
‘There was this will(power) there, that no matter what it takes, even if I had to crawl to Germany…I had to be there”
He knew that was his calling, a once in a life time opportunity to stand on an international stage.
This was the beginning of his epic legacy.
3. ‘I felt that people were vulnerable’
The Art of Psychological Warfare. An interesting topic on how Arnold used it to his advantage to win over his competition in bodybuilding. By asking and commenting on their weak points, they would end up throwing themselves off by developing self-doubt.
Back then, he felt that any area of sport was not only a physical thing was also a mental thing which ended up being much more important.
His natural leadership skills and ‘success‘ comes down to being able to control any environment by exposing an individual’s vulnerability, and finding solutions instead of ‘beating around the bush‘.
He was curious about human psychology, the strengths and weaknesses of people and how to help build them up. One extreme example is mailing (fake) cow testicals to Politicians, for not being serious enough in life…
”10 years down the line we’ll look back at this day and laugh at it”.
4. ‘I never auditioned’
Referring to his humbling beginnings as an up-an-coming actor. It was clear he wasn’t gunning for regular spots, since being the ‘blonde guy in California…looking athletic and cute‘ was the opposite to his monstrous figure and persona.
Instead, Arnold wanted to calve out a niche that would bring back the 50’s and 60’s muscle movies.
Despite the criticisms, the movie ‘Conan’ earned Schwarzenegger worldwide recognition.
5. ‘And of course, there were the neysayers’
Ah, ‘neysayers’. The famous word you may have heard from Arnold’s ‘6 rules of success speech‘ that people all over the world listen to for inspiration.
A lot of big Producers and Agents would say that he is too big and muscly and wouldn’t make it in the movies. Throughout his multiple successful careers, there were always doubters and it’s obvious how little Arnold paid attention to it.
6. ‘He believed in me’
Both directors, Bob Rafelson (Staying Hungry) and James Cameron (The Terminator) saw something in the newbie Austrian actor.
Arnold’s looks and personality had the potential to work on the camera, and without Mr Cameron’s compliment, the Terminator and the well recognised phrase…’I’ll be back’…wouldn’t exist today.
7. ‘I did not rely on my movie career to make a living’
Again coming back, Arnold witnessed over the years, many people who he met in the gym and acting classes were all ‘vulnerable‘ because they didn’t have much money and took up any offers to make a living.
He instead made a wise decision to invest in real estate with money earned from bodybuilding shows, seminars, and even courses through mail orders to start off investing in an apartment. That quickly led to trading other apartments, buildings, offices and, ultimately became a millionaire before his showbiz acting career.
Being financially independent allowed him to star in other genres like the comedy movie, ‘Twins’ with Danny DeVito.
8. ‘Franco would play the bad guy, and I would play the good guy’
Franco Columbu was a dear close friend of Arnold’s who achieved many success stories in his own right. From powerlifting champion, boxing champion and bodybuilding champion, Mr Universe and Mr Olympic.
During the late 60s, the first business venture for Arnold was actually a bricklaying business, who he partnered with Franco and made a success through the pair’s savvy marketing and personalities.
Timely enough, the San Fernando earthquake in 1971 injected a lumpy cash-flow into the business. They were also training partners in Germany, and have remained in a very loyal relationship, even till today.
9. ‘I should keep the two apart’
Briefly mentioning about his upcoming movies, Tim was curious as to why at this day an age, Arnold doesn’t finance his own movies and become the sole owner.
Performing and investing is two completely different businesses, and Arnold believes everyone should play their strengths – that’s why he sticks with acting and allows other people who are better at the numbers to focus on finance.
10.‘Unless I have a passion for it’
The one exception when it comes to investing money in filming, is when it comes to projects that involve giving back. Like the ‘Brooklyn Castle’ documentary supporting after school programs to help children be smart (learn to play chess) and stay off the streets.
Having a real purpose, drives his decision making and we should take this lesson on board for future open loop opportunities.
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When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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