Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Success Story of The Governator

Photo by Steve Jurvetson / CC BY 2.0

In July 1947, Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria to parents of limited means. Schwarzenegger was just once a struggling first generation immigrant with a limited English vocabulary and a dream. By taking his particular skill set and tendency to gain muscles seriously he rose to heights of show-business, married into American royalty and even became a governor. Not only that, today the "Governator" is worth $400 Million. 

The Early Years

His alcoholic police chief father never paid him much attention and sometimes verged on outright hostility due to a suspicion that Arnold was the product of his supposed wife’s infidelity. While his parents both tended towards a typical strict, unemotional Austrian style of parenting that was common at the time, his older brother tended to experience much better treatment. Despite this, Arnold was always known as the cheerful one at school.

The Muscles

Arnold’s frame was deceptively slender early on in his childhood but he still possessed speed and strength. Having always had a knack for sports and physical activity, he began weightlifting seriously at age 14 and from early on it was clear he was a natural.

He looked up to the muscle-bound American actors he saw in certain films and they inspired him to push himself harder. It’s said that he would break into the gym on days when it was not open to the public rather than miss a chance at a workout.

His program was perhaps more intense than would nowadays be allowed for a child but it paid off and in three years he was able to compete officially. At 18, during his compulsory national military service he ditched his duties long enough to compete in and win the Junior Mr. Europe Competition.

Mr. Universe

Arnold’s hope was to win the Mr.Universe contest and use that as a springboard to fame, fortune and a better life in the United States. His first attempt was a close one but he was still unable to land the top spot at that contest which took place in London, 1965.

He may have narrowly missed first place but he managed to land the attention of a good coach under whose tutelage his weak points were systematically targeted and eliminated to ensure a better showing at the next contest.

His stay in Britain also gave him a chance to learn more English in preparation for the move to America that he had been dreaming of since childhood. The following year all of the hard work bore fruit and at the tender age of twenty he became Mr Universe. The next year he repeated the feat and by 1968 he was headed overseas to California.

Coming To America

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s immigration status was illegal at some points but this did not stop him from winning several bodybuilding awards including Mr. Olympia. He split his time between bodybuilding and education taking lessons in English and business to better prepare him for the next step in his career, acting.

The Movies

Arnold Schwarzenegger made heavy strides in popularizing body building as a sport in his new homeland and made a household name of himself through his first onscreen appearance in “Pumping Iron”, a documentary. He was drafted into Hollywood not long after and appeared in a string of films including, “Stay Hungry”, “Red Sonja” and by far his most remembered film, “The Terminator”. Within this stretch he found time to meet and marry, Maria Shriver, a Kennedy by blood if not by name.

Politics To Film Again

In a move that surprised many, Arnold entered and won California’s gubernatorial race in 2003. He held the post for over seven years before leaving to resume his career in acting with the film “The Expendables”. His current net worth is estimated at over $400 million.

Lessons From Arnold Schwarzenegger

From his very career, one can learn a few lessons

  • Don’t listen to naysayers
  • Work harder than your competitors
  • Don’t be afraid to branch out even after you find success

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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