Arnold Schwarzenegger on his rules to live by

Arnold Schwarzenegger on his rules to live by

I recently listened to an excellent YouTube Video from the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger (here’s the link if you are interested).

Arnie’s Wikipedia page is a thing to behold, listing out his incredible feats and accomplishments, yet even this doesn’t do justice to the man. He is articulate and outspoken, capable of drawing a crowd and I am quite sure he has pissed more than a few people off along his incredible way. People who make a difference rarely don’t annoy someone.  This is a man who is; a seven time Mr Olympia; Mr Universe at the age of 20; Conan the Barbarian; The Terminator; star of so many action and comedic films; and importantly, the former Governor (or Govenator) of California.  He is also tied to the most powerful political family in US history.

These are Arnold’s top tips for success as shared with a Sydney audience in 2017:

Find your vision, and follow it.

This is tougher than most people realise. When I first left the Bank, my vision was to make a lot of money, play a lot of golf and retire early. But that really isn’t a vision is it? A pipe dream – maybe. Distorted reality – probably. Stupid? Definitely.

It took me awhile to realise what my vision ACTUALLY was, both professionally and in my personal life. The tougher thing, I found, was finding people who aligned with my vision, who could understand and appreciate the lofty goals I had set. Once you do find those people, you invite them into your life. You work with them – you may employ them, you may do business with them and sometimes, on those rare magical occasions, you may marry them. Occasionally we walk the path alone as our vision isn’t shared by others, and that’s ok too.

Above all, we need to be dedicated to our vision and be consistent with working towards achieving those goals.

I am reminded of an old story from Les Brown, it’s been told many times but its core remains.  Picture yourself on your death bed. You are surrounded by ghosts who represent your unfulfilled potential, the ghosts of the ideas that you never acted on, the ghosts of the talents and abilities you didn’t utilise, the ghosts of the dreams you gave up on.

They are standing around your bed angry, disappointed, hurt and upset. They say ‘we came to YOU, because YOU could have given us life! Now we go to the grave together!’.  This story, while brief, forces us to ask ourselves: what ghosts of missed opportunity will be around OUR beds when the time comes?  Don’t let the music die in you.

Think big, play big.

No one will thank you for playing small. The only time you should ever think small is standing in line at the buffet table (yes…… I speak from experience). There is nothing wrong with small goals.  Many would argue they are essential steps to get to the bigger goal.

Everyone has heard the saying ‘small fish are the sweetest’- which is of course true, but you also need a lot of small fish to feed a family.

Have that big goal, those big visions and dreams, and use small steps to get to where you really want to be. ‘Big’ means different things to different people. Big may be to get out of debt, to buy a house, to become a leader of a global organisation or it might be to paint a picture, write a book, change a life. As much as ‘think big’ should be a mantra so too ‘fail big’ (and ‘fail fast’) should guide us.

It seems nothing in life is worth doing unless we take risks. People rarely remember the failures – they do however remember the successes.  As Steve Jobs once said: ‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’.

Ignore the naysayers.

Sometimes the biggest naysayers are family and those close to you. This is not always the case but often, friends want you to succeed – just not more than them – or they care so deeply for you, they don’t want to see you lose it all.

But as we grow older we tend to surround ourselves with those who lift us up, not drag us down. All our lives our parents told us to have a fall-back plan, to ensure if our venture doesn’t work then we have something else to go back to. I know University was often the fall back (at least when I was younger) – go to Uni, get a degree then at least you will have something to fall back on.

There is something to be admired in those who ‘burn the boats – they are fully committed, there is no plan B, no safety net, no other option but to persevere and move forward. There is nothing wrong with failing and there is no one who doesn’t fail at something at some stage. In business it can be said, as Mark Cuban aptly put it, ‘It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you only have to be right once’.  Never be discouraged. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your ambitions.

I have this quote from Bruce Lee on my office wall ‘Don’t fear failure. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.’

It is a constant reminder to be fearless.

Work your ass off.

This goes without saying.

This doesn’t mean shoveling dirt all day or even working long hours. Busier doesn’t always equate to better or more productive. What it means to me is that you are laser focussed on your goals. Spare time is not used mindlessly flicking through Netflix or scrolling through Facebook hoping you find something of interest, or living vicariously through someone else.

Working your ass off is ensuring your time is well spent on improving yourself, improving your business, your relationships and your life. And the best way, I have found, is to organise yourself.

Whatever we do, we need to give it everything we’ve got.

Give back and change the world – if not us, then who? If not now, then when?

For some of us we may have already changed a life, inadvertently or not. A refinance to stop a bankruptcy could have prevented, the loss of a family home, depression or worse. Opening a door may have restored someone’s faith in humanity. It may take the form of a kind word, a coffee, $10 to a homeless person, encouragement to a friend, sponsorship of a child, or a fundraising event for your favourite charity. I know of one broker who volunteers weekly at a soup kitchen – his way of giving back.

The world needs your talents and abilities, your compassion and empathy.

We all can create change. As Arnold says, “We don’t have to just work on me, we should also work on we”.

The world needs a lot, they need it from you, and they need it now.

Be open to life, accept new views, new opinions and be thankful for everything you have already achieved.