Hello, this is Olivier Roland and I’m about to share an extraordinary autobiography with you, literally the best biography I’ve ever read, called “Total Recall”, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography that was published in 2012, subtitled “My Unbelievably True-Life Story”.
Recently, I put together three videos for you, based purely on biographies: why it’s great to read them, how it allows you to live other people’s lives, to dip into the lives of famous people.
At that time I had only just bought “Total Recall”; so I hadn’t read it at that point, so I made no mention of it. Incidentally, a number of you said to me: “Oh, but Olivier, you didn’t tell us about “Total Recall”.
But it’s a superb book! I literally devoured it, I think I read it in 4 days, something like that, even though it’s a big book. And to be honest, it’s absolutely extraordinary.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life is already a great success story. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his life story; he was born in a small village in Austria, with little money and no prospects.
In the book, he tells us that in the early days, he didn’t even have running water in his house. He was raised in a poor family, not homeless, but with very little money, and turned into one of the most famous stars in the world, one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood, and of course, Governor of California.
So, it’s quite an extraordinary journey.
He describes his childhood in Austria: how he was introduced to life, how he started to lift weights and then bodybuilding. How from a very young age, he had this desire to go to America, to the United States, to realize his dreams.
It was a dream he had held from his teenage years. Arnold explains this to us in a very clear and intelligent fashion, how through his competitive nature, his eagerness to train and an intelligent approach to life, he became world bodybuilding champion four times and even achieved the titles of Mister Olympia, Mister Universe, etc. He realized his dream to go to America due to the way he approached life. He started to act in movies.
I should point out that he was already a millionaire due to his real estate portfolio, before his film career took off. The movie that brought him to prominence was “Conan the Barbarian”. From that point onwards was when he started to earn serious money in the film business. However, he was already a millionaire due to his real estate investments because when he started off in the movie business, he told himself:
“I can’t rely on the movie business to support myself.
Too often I have seen other people, bodybuilders like me who are well-known in their field; try to get into movies, they only get small parts and that’s not enough to support yourself.”
So he wanted a source of revenue outside of this line of work.
His story is something quite extraordinary. I mean, he’s a very clever person. He’s actually very frank and very honest. I don’t think he tells us all there is to know. There may well be some things he doesn’t reveal to us in this autobiography. Maybe, in time, a biographer will inform us about this. But there you have it, it is written in a very straightforward style. You can’t help but get attached to the character because he is so likeable. He talks about his faults, his weaknesses, his failures, but also tells us of his victories and how, in each case, he achieved them. At the end of the book, there is something of great interest because he gives us some advice, not too much, but some advice that he believes was the basis for his own success.
One of the things he said was that it is very important to have a vision and to do everything that you can to achieve it. He always had a vision to go to America and from there to achieve fame and become rich, though he makes a point to say that for him the money was never his priority.
In fact, he estimates that when he was governor of California, he lost something like 200 million dollars, because in his two terms of office as Governor, which was 8 years, he could not shoot a film. So in terms of fees, it was a significant cost, a lost opportunity, not to mention all the personal money that he invested in his political campaign.
He also advises us to transform disadvantages into advantages.
He says: When I tried to get the lead roles in movies, the impresarios I consulted told me to forget about it. My body, my name, my accent were too unique.
I chose not to listen to them, instead I worked on my accent and my acting ability. I had worked on my body in order to be the lead man. With “Conan” and “Terminator”, I managed to break through. All of the things that agents had portrayed as handicaps actually turned me into an action hero. As you can see, a point of great significance.
Another message it gives you: When you are told no, hear yes. Impossible is a word I loved to ignore when I was Governor. The only way to make the impossible possible, is to tackle it. And he says something quite apt: If you fail, it doesn’t matter because everyone told you that was what would happen – you were told you wouldn’t succeed – but if you succeed, you will have moved the world forward.
Another bit of advice he gives is: Never follow the crowd. Go where there is nobody else around. As they say in Los Angeles, avoid the main roads at peak hour. Take the side streets. He says: When I saw all the wannabe actors in a struggle to get small parts in movies, I aimed for the lead roles. All politicians start their careers in local offices, I went straight for the Governor’s office. It’s easier to get out of the pack when you shoot for the top. Another good observation.
Another thing that he regularly alludes to in his book, which I also bring up regularly on this channel, and I’m glad that Arnold does this: Whatever you do in life, you have to be able to sell yourself. That’s what he says. He says: You can be a great poet, you can be a great writer, you can be a scientific genius, you can be the best at your job, but if nobody knows that’s the case, what’s the point. So the main thing is to know how to sell yourself. It really is very, very important.
So, he also says: Every time he meets someone who has been successful; a high-profile person as he calls them, he always tries to figure out how they became successful. This is a characteristic often associated with very successful people. Ultimately, they learn to focus on how to become successful, to learn how to succeed; and above all, they research as many real-life examples as they can. So basically, as soon as they meet successful people; they will ask questions in order to learn exactly what strategic plans were adopted from the outset.
As he says: There are a thousand paths to success and I love to draw new rules based on my experience and theirs. That’s also something that’s very, very important. Always try to study others because unfortunately, too many people focus on the negative. They watch the news on TV, they think that the economy is in a terrible state, that everything in the world is awful, etc. They are surrounded by people who aren’t particularly positive. So you can’t really imagine how people with this sort of outlook can learn about success and know what to do; what actions to implement into their lives in order to be more successful.
As a result of this, he offers ten principles to be applied.
Never let pride get in the way. He cites Muhammad Ali as a positive role model. Something that interested me was that he says don’t think too much. I’m not sure if I would agree with that. He says: If you always think, your mind never relaxes. What is required is to let the body and mind float freely. However, on the other hand, he does have the edge on me, as he is, slightly, more successful than I am. So for now, I can’t be too critical of his approach. I actually think it’s quite the opposite, people don’t think enough. And in general, we don’t think enough.
There are so many people who have a goal in life but never, whatever happens, have a dream, an aspiration, for example, to quit the job that they hate and try to become a little more financially independent. They will never sit down at a table and make a plan of action, reflect for 5 minutes and say: Hey! Okay. Here, I have my job, one I hate, I need to change this, how can I achieve that; and make a plan of action to give that a chance, to adopt that attitude. My personal opinion is that people would benefit if they would think a little more.
Obviously, when I say that, I also mean: you have to take action. Think and act. But he thinks that people tend to think too much rather than take actions to change the situation, so maybe they should.
He thinks that over-analysis is a real handicap.
He has a point. You have to know how to stop and think and then make a decision.
Three, there is no plan B. So Arnold Schwarzenegger believes that you just have believe in your plan and follow through with it, whatever the consequences, don’t have a plan B. That’s not how I would do things, but it’s what he chooses to do, which basically means: since you don’t have a plan B, plan A has to work, as simple as that.
A good sense of humor can be a good tool to help solve the situation you’re in. He always tries to show his humor in the movies and also in his interviews, etc.
There are 24 hours in a day. That’s the fifth principle.
And repeat, repeat, repeat, that’s the sixth principle.
Seventh principle, don’t blame your parents.
Eighth principle, you need to have the guts and courage to change things. As an example of this, he alludes to Gorbachev, who had the courage to change a system that was obviously no longer viable, but which could have lasted for several more decades had it not been for someone who had the political courage to change things.
The ninth principle: take care of your mind and body.
And tenth principle: retain your hunger at all times.
So, as he says: You have to be hungry to succeed, hungry to make a mark; hungry to be seen and heard and have an impact. And as you move up and succeed, make it a point to always be hungry to help others. And it’s like Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford in 2004 when he said: Stay hungry, stay foolish.
So there you go. That’s what I wanted to share with you. To be honest, this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. I strongly recommend that you immediately put down the book you currently have and start to read this one. It is just so extraordinary, I lapped it up. There are just so many things to intrigue and engage you when you delve into the life of someone who has such a great story and who had such a strong desire to succeed at everything he did. Arnold wanted to be Mister Universe, he achieved it.
He wanted to be a movie star; he became one. Arnold wanted to get involved in politics and become the governor of a state that is as rich as France; as well as a population that’s almost equal to that of France, he achieved that too. So, it’s pretty extraordinary to be able to share the thoughts and life of someone and to be able to draw upon practical and straightforward advice from someone who has been so successful. Yet another thing I want to share with you. It’s so cool to pay 10 euros for a book and be able to access one of the greatest minds on this planet, in return.