I never did know the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger beyond his huge on-screen persona. Hence, reading his rags-to-riches story was very refreshing and inspiring. I have reproduced an extract of his compelling story here as a fine example of a life striving forward in accomplishing one’s dream.
Arnold wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do, but he knew it wasn’t following his father’s footsteps in law enforcement. It wasn’t for a lack of trying to find his dream. he had ambition. In fact, one thing he did know was that he wanted to be the best in the world at whatever he chose.
He loved athletics, but in his mid-teens, he still hadn’t found the right sport. He tried many; ice curling, boxing, running and field events such as javelin and shot put.
For five years, he played soccer but no strong passion for it. Then one day his soccer coach asked the team to start lifting weights once a week to improve their conditioning. It was then his dream began to take shape.
“I still remember that first visit to the body building gym,” he recalls, “I had never seen anyone lifting weights before. Those guys were powerful looking. And there it was before me- my life, the answer I’d been seeking. It clicked. It was something I suddenly just seemed to reach out and find, as if I’d been crossing a suspended bridge and finally stepped off onto solid ground.”
At age fourteen, Arnold Schwarzenegger had found his passion in gymnasium. But not everyone understood his dream- certainly not his parents or friends he grew up with.
“I could not have chosen a less popular sport,” Arnold explains, “My school friends thought I was crazy. But I didn’t care. I found the things to which I wanted to devote my total energies and there was no stopping. My drive was unusual; I talked differently than my friends; I was hungrier for success than anyone I knew.”
In his relentless pursuit of his dream, Arnold began working working out for hours at a time, six days a week. His dream was to become the best built man in the world.
At the age of eighteen while he served his mandatory year in Austria army, he won the Junior Mr. Europe, his first major competition. The next year he won Mr. Europe. He moved to Munich and kept working and obtained part of ownership in a gym there.
Later in 1967, he won the Mr. Universe amateur contest in London. He was only twenty years old, and his victory astounded everyone. When he called his parents to tell them of his success, they were less than excited.
Despite the lack of support for his career choice, Arnold went on to win every major body building competition in the world, including the prestigious Mr. Olympia contest an incredible seven times, the last in 1980.
But becoming the world’s greatest body builder- an amazing accomplishment in itself- was not Arnold’s only dream. Many people were shocked when he was able to turn his body building prowess into a successful movie career. Years later, they were flabbergasted when he ran for governor of California- and won.
What many people didn’t know that Arnold had dreamed of such things since his early days in Austria. At age twenty, he told his friend, “I want to win the Mr. Universe many times like Reg [Park, his idol]. I want to become a billionaire. And I want to go into politics.”
Arnold has lived his dreams. He became Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia many times. He’s made many movies, with his films earning more than $1.6 billion! He’s been a highly successful businessperson. Since the early days in the United States, he’s been disciplined saver and a wise investor in real estate, stocks and businesses. (He’s not quite a billionaire yet; it’s estimated that his net worth is only $800 million.) He is a political leader.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has owned his dream, and as a result, he has been highly successful.