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What It Takes To Succeed According To Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger, holding the chair of the ‘R20 Regions of Climate Action’ attends the ‘R20 Austrian World Summit’ on climate change in Vienna, Austria on May 15, 2018.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was a teenager, he started lifting weights in the Athletic Union in Graz, Austria.

On the wall next to where they lifted weights, each athlete listed exercises like “Dead Lift,” and “Bench Press.”Others included “Clean and Jerk” and “‘Shoulder Press”’among others.

The athletes chalked a row of hash marks next to each exercise, each mark representing a set.

After athletes completed the reps comprising a set, they marked an X through the first line.

To finish a session, the athletes, including Schwarzenegger, had to mark an X through each of the five or six lines. In his autobiography, Total Recall, Schwarzenegger wrote, “This practice had a huge impact on my motivation. I always had the visual feedback of ‘Wow, an accomplishment. I did what I set out to do. Now I will go for the next set, and the next set.”

The Discipline Of Consistent Practice

Schwarzenegger applied this mentality of completing reps and sets to find success as a bodybuilder and later as an actor and politician.

Terminator 2 features a famous scene where Schwarzenegger’s character drives down a Los Angeles drainage canal on a Harley Davidson.

He pulls out a shotgun, fires it, spins and recocks the weapon, fires again and so on, until he reaches a chained gate with a padlock. Then, the Terminator shoots at the padlock and drives through.


He worked through his reps and sets so much that he injured his hand. He wrote,

AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 11: Actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is interviewed for the Politico podcast Off Message during SXSW Interactive on March 11, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

“I couldn’t wear a glove because it would get stuck in the gun mechanism, and I tore the skin off my hand and fingers practicing a hundred times until I mastered the skill.”

“It all sounded great in the script, and it was doable — just a matter of reps, reps, reps.”

Schwarzenegger used the same mindset during his career in politics too. While governor of California, he prepared for a big campaign speech by renting a studio.

He visualized his audience and practiced repeatedly. Schwarzenegger delivered his speech over and over for three days. Each time, he marked his reps on the front page of his speech.

How To Apply Schwarzenegger’s Mindset In Business

Schwarzenegger bled into his stunts, and you can bleed into your minimum viable products or business ideas.

For example, if you write more blog posts to promote your business, you’ll increase your web traffic and gradually learn what posts connect with your audience.

If you validate more business ideas, you’ll find more profitable fits for your leads faster. And if you make more sales calls, you’ll covert more of them into customers.

Putting in reps consistently and tracking this hard work will help you improve your skills and find success, as will learning from failure.

In 1979, Schwarzenegger played a supporting role in The Villain alongside Kurt Douglas.