Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls His Best and Worst Financial Bets

Great article in the WSJ on Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the article he talks about his various some of his best and worst investments. It’s worth sharing.

Schwarzenegger was a big influence on my life growing up. His story is unbelievable. He came from nothing. Really nothing. He had dreams, vision, and a plan.  For those not too familiar with his body of work and accomplishments, I highly suggest you read his book, Total Recall. I wrote a review here.

Below is the article from the WSJ.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls His Best and Worst Financial Bets
By Chris Kornelis from the WSJ

Arnold Scharzenegger has had one of the most impressive—and oddball—careers in popular culture, from two terms as governor of California to four (going on five) turns as sci-fi icon the Terminator. The financial bets he has placed have been just as diverse. Some have been high profile, like his ownership position in Planet Hollywood. Others have flown under the radar.
In 1970, for instance, when he was a young Austrian expat with enormous biceps, he read that an airport for supersonic aircraft was being planned for the Mojave Desert. So, he spent $15,000 on 10 acres of land that had neither clean water nor electricity.
“The idea was that within a short period of time they were going to come in and bring electricity and water and roads and subdivide it, and [there] was a whole plan for the area,” says Mr. Schwarzenegger. “So, we said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to make a lot of money. We’re going to become millionaires.’ ”
But soon after he bought the land, supersonic flight was banned over the U.S., and the airport never materialized. Recently, though, those 10 acres of barren land—which he still owns—have risen in value as a nearby town has developed. The last appraisal came in close to $1 million, he says.
Still, Mr. Schwarzenegger says his best and worst bets have had less to do with writing checks and more to do with investing his time and effort in getting ahead—as well as having a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve and preparing for a job.
INVESTMENT: Relentless training as a bodybuilder
GAINS: Millions of dollars, movies, the governorship of California
By the time Mr. Schwarzenegger was 15, his mom charged him rent to live at home. After seeing videos of the U.S.—“the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, the huge highways, the big Cadillacs with the big wings in the back”—he didn’t just want to leave his parents’ house, he wanted to leave his home country, Austria.
Mr. Schwarzenegger decided that his ticket to America would be through bodybuilding. He began to train. He joined the Austrian army and continued training, his sights always set on moving to America. After he won the Mr. Universe competition in 1967—at 20, the youngest champion—he got an invitation from Joe Weider, one of the godfathers of the sport, to train in the U.S.
“Coming to America opened up all the doors that I didn’t even think about,” he says. “My movie career happened, and then my political career, and the money, the millions that I made, it goes on and on and on. Everything that I have accomplished in life is because of America. So this was really the most important and the best decision that I’ve made.”
THE TAKEAWAY: Mr. Schwarzenegger says he made it to America because he had a vision. From the time he was a teenager, he could visualize himself onstage winning Mr. Universe and using his success as an entrée to a life in America.
“The No. 1 lesson of being successful is having a vision,” he says. “Because when you have a vision of where you want to go in life and what you want to be, then it is just a matter of doing the work to get there.”
As he diversified his professional goals—whether it was being an investor or governor—Mr. Schwarzenegger says he employed the same principle. It is one the things he tries to instill in young people today.
“There’s just too many people floating around and not having a vision, especially young kids,” he says. “They don’t know what they want to do when they get out of college, they don’t know what to do when they get out of high school, what kind of work should they do. Should they go intern somewhere? There is no goal.”
Worst Bet: ‘Hercules in New York’
INVESTMENT: Time and cultural cachet
LOSSES: Future jobs and cultural cachet
As a child, Mr. Schwarzenegger looked up to men like Steve Reeves and Reg Park, bodybuilders who parlayed their muscles into film roles like “Hercules Unchained” and “Hercules and the Captive Women,” respectively. So, when Mr. Weider called him in 1969 and asked him if he wanted to go for the title role in the film “Hercules in New York,” he went for it.
Mr. Schwarzenegger hardly spoke English, so Mr. Weider instructed him not to talk during the meeting with the producer. (Mr. Weider told him Mr. Schwarzenegger was “a German Shakespearean actor.”) Mr. Schwarzenegger got the job but had to talk to make the film. It didn’t go well.
“I just said [the lines], but there was no emotion there because I didn’t even know what I was saying,” he says. “I didn’t have any acting training, and even though the director complimented me, I knew I was kind of in a bit over my head.”
The performance was so bad that his lines had to be overdubbed. His phone stopped ringing. “It really took me back with my career of becoming an actor for several years because I didn’t get an offer or anything,” Mr. Schwarzenegger says.
THE TAKEAWAY: “You have to find the sweet spot between having courage and being confident,” he says, “but also knowing that you’re deep into it and you’re not ready for something.”
Mr. Schwarzenegger says he got so caught up in his initial success as a bodybuilder that he didn’t slow down and take care of the basics before he capitalized on opportunities. But he doesn’t think of the experience as a total loss. Looking back, it taught him an important lesson.
“We learn not only just from our success, but we learn actually more from our failures,” he says. “I really learned to never do anything that you’re not really prepped, overly prepped for. Just like in bodybuilding, don’t go in the competition if you haven’t done the reps. The same is with anything else. Don’t do it if you haven’t done the reps or if you didn’t put the mileage behind it.”
Mr. Kornelis is a writer in Seattle. Email him at
Appeared in the June 11, 2018, print edition as ‘Schwarzenegger Recalls The Good and the Bad.’



Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

Total RecallAs the title suggest, it doesn’t disappointed. What an incredible life story. I grew up on Arnold’s movies; Predator, Commando, the Terminator, True Lies, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall, and Twins. They are just as entertaining today as they were back then. I was looking forward to reading his book Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story .

He’s a poster boy for the “American dream”. Arnold wasn’t destined to have success. He really wasn’t. He’s from a poor family living in a “no-one know or care you exist” little town in rural post-WWII Austria. Not exactly the kind of place that comes to mind when looking for the next global icon. The story starts with no money, a sub-par situation, no connections, no higher education, no special privilege or access. All he had were clear goals, a plan, and determination. He believed in himself, worked hard, and surmounted any obstacles in the way. It’s really incredible how he just crushed everything on the way. He became Mr. Universe only 7 times, then became one of the biggest movie star in Hollywood, then he became governor of California, one of the top 10 economy in the world. He also married a Kennedy. And that’s just one life.

Each one of his accomplishment is normally somebody lifetime achievement. What I mean by that is once he became Mr. Universe, that could been a fantastic story on its own. A book could have been written just on that section of his life. But no that’s not enough, why not go to America and become one of Hollywood’s biggest star. I want you to grasp how insane that means. First he didn’t speak English. Even when he does speak English he has this massive German accent. It’s much better now but go back to Hercule in New York and they had to do a voice over. Go ahead and try to find a producer willing to take the risk. Second, he’s super massive. His body wasn’t camera friendly. Third what does he know about acting anyway? So there’s book number two for you. But I guess that’s not enough, let’s run for governor. He runs, wins, and governs for two terms without any prior political experience. There’s book three for you. That could have been three lives, three different stories, each extraordinary on its own.

His book his inspirational, funny, interesting and candid. The book is mostly about Arnold’s background and success but the book also covers his failures. Yep he happens to have flaws too. I don’t think millennials are into Arnold as much as I did, but you don’t need to be a fan to be use him as a source of inspiration. You don’t even have to like his movies and he has his share of flops. The point is that whatever you dream is you have to go for it a mad men. The key is to have a crystal clear goal and a plan.

The goal needs to be measurable and you need to be able to track your progress. And you need to know the ”why”. That’s important. Why are you doing this? The “why” is that thing that light up a flame inside you, it’s your passion and that force that drives you. Find out what is it you want, write that shit down, and go for it.

Enjoy reading,


Arnold Schwarzenegger: Life’s 6 Rules of Success

Really solid, inspiring and motivating. He has the track record to back it up. One drawback, the background cheesy music can get really annoying.

Here is the full version originally used during the Governor’s 2009 USC Commencement Address.


Six Rules on How to Be Successful

1. Trust yourself
2. Break some rules
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
4. Ignore the naysayers
5. Work like hell
6. Give something back.

Reposted from Opinisa
Arnold’s 6 Rules to Success:

1. Trust yourself

Many young people are getting so much advice from their parents and from their teachers and from everyone. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourselves, who do you want to be? Not what, but who. Figure out for yourselves what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.

2. Break the Rules

Break the rules, not the law, but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you’re too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That’s what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Anything I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. So you can’t always win, but don’t afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail.

4. Don’t Listen to the Naysayers

How many times have you heard that you can’t do this and you can’t do that and it’s never been done before? I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I’m the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can’t be done. I never listen to, “You can’t.” (Applause) I always listen to myself and say, “Yes, you can.”

5. Work Your Butt Off

You never want to fail because you didn’t work hard enough. Mohammed Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ’70s when he was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.” That’s what makes you a champion. No pain, no gain.
But when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. Now, if you want to coast through life, don’t pay attention to any of those rules. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.

6. Give Back

Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back, something back to your community, give something back to your state or to your country.

Remember these 6 rules. Trust yourself, break some rules, don’t be afraid to fail, ingore the naysayers, work like hell, and give something back.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Commencement Address
University of Southern California
May 15, 2009

Motivation Pictures to Get Your Week Started (Arnold & RGIII)

Last solid week before Christmas. Here are two pics to body slam this week and to plow through everything.


Arnold Motivation