Arnold Schwarzenegger Total Recall
I normally do brief little book reviews, but this book is so important and so applicable to what I talk about here that it more than warrants its own post and own review.
Arnold’s autobiography is a long book, almost 700 pages. In a way, it’s actually three separate, very different books. The first third is about him going from a nobody to a world-famous bodybuilder. This part of the book is by far the most important.
The second third is about his movie career. This part is entertaining if you grew up in the 80’s like I did, but not very informative.
The final third is about his political career. That part is pretty much a puff piece about all the things he’s accomplished as governor while avoiding any of the bad stuff. Very, very sadly, “Governor Arnold” is the standard modern-day politician who is under the mistaken impression that the more things government does the more it helps people. 90% of the time the exact opposite is true if you view things from a long term perspective, but in the modern area few people want to hear that, and Arnold is no exception.
I consider the first third of this book, which is the rags-to-riches bodybuilding, business, and real estate investing parts, required reading for any man wanting to succeed in life and/or pursue an Alpha Male lifestyle. It’s that good. I will be re-reading that first part soon. The remaining two thirds are optional. (There are a few nuggets from those portions but the meat of the book is in the first third.)
A few key teaching points from the book:
– Arnold was a true high sex drive player from the very beginning. He fucked lots of chicks. Tons. He tries to downplay this in the book, but if you read between the lines this bastard was fucking mountains of women, way before he ever became famous in any way, starting back in his high school years.
– Arnold was an avid goal-setter and set goals exactly the way you’re supposed to, with specific numbers and dates. He would write down, in chalk on the wall of the gym, his weight lifting goals for the day and cross them off as he hit them. He would also write down his goals once a year on 3×5 cards. Things like “Buy an apartment building” and “Win Mr. Olympia” and “Learn English”.
– Just like I did and still do, he put up pictures all over his room of exactly what he wanted. He visualized himself as already successful. At one point his mom was worried he was gay because of all the muscular men he had all over his wall, but he wanted to be these men, to be like them and achieve what they had achieved.
– He uses the concept of “reps” from bodybuilding throughout his entire career. For example, when he made his speech to deliver at the United Nations as governor, at the top of the speech he put “55 reps”, just as if he was doing reps in the gym. Then he “delivered” (practiced) the speech 55 times, in a row, so he nailed it perfectly when the time came to actually give the real speech. In his words, “Unlike in the movies, with speeches you only get one take.”
– Something he repeats several times is that there’s 24 hours in a day, so why the fuck (and he says “fuck” constantly throughout the book…it’s awesome) would be you be complaining that “Boo hoo, I work 12 hours a day!” His response is “Only 12 hours? You’ve got another 12 hours in a day you pussy!” He says he only sleeps six hours a day, so that leaves 18 full hours a day to get shit done. Even then, he often says that while he was in the heat of bodybuilding or making movies, he “literally hated going to sleep”. Now that’s a guy with a Mission.
God I love this stuff.
– As an example, at one point he was working out five hours a day in the gym and learning English and laying chicks and taking business courses at the local college and running two different businesses (a mail order business and a bricklaying business). Sounds similar my life. If you’re motivated, healthy, focused, and manage your time well, you can do as many activities as this. I do.
– He says, “It’s harder to stay on top than it is to get there.” Why? Because all your motivation is gone. Once he won all of his Mr. Olympia titles, he found it much harder to maintain that status because he already had it. Staying hungry, staying in the heat of pursuing a goal, made it easier. That’s why he always looked for his “next mountain to climb” once he hit a major life goal.
I had this same experience when I hit all of my major life goals by the time I was about 29. I meandered for a few years because my motivation was gone. This is why it’s so critical to have a Mission in life that goes well beyond any single goal; something that covers your entire life (or most of it) rather than just a few years. (This is one of the things my book is going to describe in detail.)
– In all areas of his life, he always focused on sales. “Selling was my favorite thing to do,” he says.
– Like me, he thought college was bullshit. He ignored all the bullshit classes students are required to take and took only those classes he specifically needed, like business and English, avoiding all the rest and not bothering with a degree (until later in life anyway). He made it very clear in the book that all the usual classes you’re required to take to get a degree are “a complete waste of time”. Amen.
– He was focused on his Mission. Quote: “I wouldn’t let any offer, or any relationship, get in the way of my goals.” He turned down numerous women, including ones he really liked, turned down jobs, turned down business offers, turned down all kinds of things if they interfered with his Mission. That’s an Alpha Male.
– Arnold is proof positive that a very extroverted guy can be very focused and very successful. Sometimes I’ll get guys who give me the excuse, “I’m a really extroverted guy and it’s hard for me to stay focused like you can.” Bullshit. Arnold is an off-the-chart extrovert of the highest order, and he was still able to set goals, focus on them, and get results. You can too, if you want it bad enough.
– He didn’t even try to to get monogamous in any way until he was 24 years old. Very cool. He fucked this up later of course, but at least he knew in his heart who he was, and who he was not.
– He says something I’ve been saying forever but no one wants to hear. Arnold was very clear that you do not want to settle down with a woman until you have accomplished all of your big dreams. He repeats several times how terrible he thinks it is when all these men get married way before they’ve succeeded in their careers. Amen again.
Arnold waited until age 37 to get married, on purpose. 37. Think about that, gentlemen. 37. From age 16 to age 37 for him, it was all about working his Mission, hitting his goals, and laying chicks. Sound good? How much sense does it make to get married at age 25 or 30 you dumbass?
(Or get married at all…but that’s another conversation.)
– In true Blackdragon OLTR fashion, when he married Maria he made sure there were completely separate finances, and that all the money she had from her family and her career was HERS, not HIS and not “THEIRS”. I’ve talked about this many times before. When they got a house he says “We called it ‘our’ house, but it was really mine.”
– Maria was totally focused on her career as a newscaster and wasn’t really interested in kids. Although one day she did a 180, suddenly demanding that Arnold have kids with her. Her age when she did this? 33. Sound familiar?
– Arnold waited until he was 40 before he started having kids. Let me repeat that, you bastards.
He waited until he was 40 to have kids.
He waited until he was 40 to have kids.
He waited until he was 40 to have kids.
What do I keep hearing from you guys? “But Blackdragon, I don’t want to be some old man who can’t play catch with his son and is old when he graduates college wah wah wah!” Then god dammit, take care of your fitness so that you CAN play catch with your teenage son when you’re sixty. I promise you that unless I get hit by a bus, I will be more than capable of playing football when I’m in my sixties and be a strong, healthy, vibrant, active man.
If Liam Neeson and David Hasselhoff and Sean Connery can do it, you can do it too. Stop with the fucking excuses. I’ve said this a thousand times and I’m going to say it again: If you want kids, wait as long as possible to do so. 35 is the earliest you should think about it, 40 or 45 is better. Be like Arnold. Don’t fuck this one up like I did.
– Constantly throughout his marriage he had to hide things from Maria so that she didn’t “freak out”. Even very big things like his heart surgery and his plan to run for governor he never told Maria until the day before. Simply because he didn’t want the drama. Yuck. Typical monogamous no-prenup marriage. Even Alphas fall for it. Sad.
– As I’ve said before, Arnold cheated on Maria a lot, not just with his maid, and Maria knew it. More proof of this from the book: Maria asked him if the maid’s son was his son several years ago. He lied to her and denied it (again, because he didn’t want the drama; isn’t monogamy nice?), but the point is that as long as “years ago” Maria knew he was fucking the maid and did nothing about it until the news of the lovechild became public.
As I’ve said many times, women married to Alpha males aren’t stupid. They knew damn well their husbands are out fucking around.
– One of his final points is that a man must take care of his body and his mind. That means really good-looking or muscular men must go out of their way to study, read, learn, and be informed and educated. And, men successful because of their wit or intelligence should be working out daily, losing weight, building muscle, and getting fit. Too many men, he says, focus on being successful in one area while completely ignoring the rest.
Hm. Does any of this stuff sound familiar? 🙂