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.
Tim Ferriss & Arnold Schwarzenegger Interview
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Daily Routine
In the words of the Governator – Who do you want to be?
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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