There is no better example of a champion’s mindset than that of the legendary bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. His first published book, Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder is one of the most motivating books I have ever read, and I have read it many times over.
My last experience was on a cruise ship sailing through the Caribbean islands. I purposely took the book with me because I wanted to read something that would keep me motivated and hungry, staying keen to my physical development and physique goals.
The thing about cruise ships is that they are fertile grounds for the mediocre and are essentially full of those lost souls that have all but ceded to a life of absolute emptiness. Many are old, at the twilight of their lives, but many are young, hellbent on endless hedonistic pursuits. Many of them are girls, and foreign, which is why I even allow myself to be caught up in such an environment.
Carrying Arnold’s book helped to keep me focused because Arnold was perhaps the most focused person that anyone could ever read about. Even at a young age, he maintained a steadfast vision for greatness.
“I knew I was going to be a bodybuilder. It wasn’t simply that either. I would be the best bodybuilder in the world, the greatest, the best-built man.”
Once he discovered bodybuilding, he became relentless in his pursuit to become the world’s greatest. It was an internal mindset that drove him to do things ordinary people wouldn’t do. He was able to dream bigger, to set his sights on massive goals that would cause everyone around him to flinch when said aloud.
The litmus test for a great vision is to see the shock and awe of mediocre people when you explain to them exactly what you plan on doing. The clarity of purpose alone will be enough to stupefy most aimless wanderers.
You’ll often hear, why? Doesn’t that cost a lot of money and what if you don’t get it? That seems like a lot of unnecessary sacrifices, why don’t you just focus on living life? But Game of Thrones is on tonight and its the best part of my sad life, I can’t miss it.
Arnold’s story is motivating because of his response to the naysayers, many of which were his own family, and then his unyielding internal belief in himself and his abilities to make it happen.
“I remember certain people trying to put negative thoughts into my mind, trying to persuade me to slow down. But I had found the thing to which I wanted to devote my total energies and there was no stopping me. My drive was unusual, I talked differently than my friends; I was hungrier for success than any one I knew.”
Arnold understood the power of being different. He recognized that there was a certain feeling of being great, that people will eventually come to respect you once you have proven them wrong. He used bodybuilding to transcend normalcy, a vehicle to the top of the world.
Once he mastered the champion’s mindset through bodybuilding, he turned it onto every single thing he did. He was always chasing more success, in business and then eventually as a movie star and then as the Governor of California.
Wait, a kid born in Austria that struggled to speak clear english became the Governor of California because he was good at lifting weights?
Yes, but it took a mindset that most people just don’t have.
“The model was there in my mind; I only had to grow enough to fill it. My dreams went beyond a spectacular body. Once I had that, I knew what it would do for me. I’d get into the movies and build gymnasiums all over the world. I’d create an empire.”
That path to reach this pinnacle point was not an easy one. Arnold had to endure hours upon hours of training, pushing his body past perceived limits, crushing the ideas of what was possible. He did this in almost every aspect of his life.
That is what builds the champion’s mindset. A strong and relentless pursuit of a vision; it becomes the central focus of a person’s life, blurring the line of basic human understanding.
“I knew I was a winner. I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way— I hope it never will.”
For a normal person, it won’t make any sense. Waking up early when you don’t have to. Working out for several hours, inventing new ways of lifting based on an uncanny feeling of your own body, all for a prize that wont reveal itself until many years later. It is beyond human understanding;it doesn’t jive well with a pursuit of comfort. And it doesn’t quickly impress anyone.
It is the champion’s mindset.
In Pursuit of Excellence
Read More: Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder
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