Follow Schwarzenegger’s Advice to Put Fuel on the Fire

“Adversity causes some people to break, and other people to break records.” — Anon

The Governator

I think one of the most powerful motivations in my life is when someone tells me that I can’t do something.

In his autobiography, Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it this way:

Sometimes you have to appreciate the very people and circumstances that traumatized you. Today I hail the strictness of my father, and my whole upbringing, and the fact that I didn’t have anything that I wanted in Austria, because those were the very factors that made me hungry.

Every time he hit me. Every time he said my weight training was garbage, that I should do something useful and go out and chop wood. Every time he disapproved of me or embarrassed me, it put fuel on the fire in my belly. It drove me and motivated me.

What strikes me, is that it wasn’t the fact that Arnold was tormented that made him into the over-achieving force of nature that he became (warts and all), it was the the way that he used that ordeal as motivation to reach his goals.

Arnold’s motivational story:


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26 Responses to “Follow Schwarzenegger’s Advice to Put Fuel on the Fire”

  1. I love Arnold, warts and all. I’m not endorsing his immorality, or saying he’s an incredible actor. I’m say he’s an incredible entertainer and has achieved incredible things. Pretty much whatever he wanted to become best at, he did. He conquered bodybuilding, Hollywood, and he essentially gained the highest governmental role he could as a non-US born citizen.

    Also, thanks for the reshare!
    Todd – Fearless Men recently posted..10 Ways To Make An Impression On Your BossMy Profile

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  3. krantcents says:

    Thanks for the links, I am in good company.
    krantcents recently posted..How Are Your Soft Skills?My Profile

  4. Thanks so much for the mention Terry! Have a great weekend.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Friday: Posts That Ruled This Week, Where Did the Week Go EditionMy Profile

  5. Jason says:

    Thanks for the mention! It sounds like he wasn’t loved very much as a child. I guess it’s good he turned that into motivation…although it may also be the reason for his warts.
    Jason recently posted..How Do You View Your Money?My Profile

    • Terry says:

      That’s a good point. Those negative experiences might have been not only his motivation for good, but also the reason that he periodically shoots himself in the foot.

  6. It’s one of those things when someone says no you can’t or say you’re not good enough or I’m better than you that drives and motivates people. Not necessarily to say Ha, but to say this was my dream and I HAVE achieved it, I can achieve it and I’ll continue to grow. When people put us down or take away our dreams we have to fight for our own happiness. Arnold’s a good guy although his personal life doesn’t change the way I view him.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Mr.CBB’s Weekly Blog Post Picks Dec 14,2012- Tek Who?My Profile

    • Terry says:

      Yes, there are few things in the world that hardens one’s determination to do something than to have someone say that our dreams are beyond our reach.

      I also found it interesting, from watching the video, that Arnold modeled his life after Reg Park, who was a champion bodybuilder then went on to make grade B “sword & sandal” movies in Europe. It speaks to the power of having a crystal clear goal, and having a person that you can emulate.

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  9. Glad you liked the Guest Post I wrote at CBB ( The Celebrate Like Scrooge Christmas Gift Exchange ).
    Thanks for referring, and thanks to Canadian Budget Binder for the guest post opportunity.
    Derek @ Freeat33 recently posted..Rant; What is your legacy saying about you?My Profile

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  11. Untemplater says:

    Thanks for the mention. I find it motivating as well when someone says I can’t do something. I usually get fired up to prove them wrong. Sometimes they end up being right, but I have to see for myself and give it my best shot.
    Untemplater recently posted..The Benefits Of Using Aperture For Digital Photography AddictsMy Profile

    • Terry says:

      I agree.

      Even if the naysayers are right and we fail, as Teddy Roosevelt says, at least we are in the arena battling for what we believe in, and not just sitting on the sidelines criticizing.

      We score a moral victory just from the heroic effort of trying to do what may seem impossible.

      One of my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes is:

      Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.

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  15. Terry where have you been?! Haven’t seen you around the webs for a while.
    Todd – Fearless Men recently posted..Running for the Injured Man—How Barefoot Running Techniques Turned My Body AroundMy Profile

    • Terry says:


      Thanks for the note.

      I had a family member who was having some health problems, but that situation is improving now.

      I’m also channeling the energy that I would normally use writing one or two blog articles per week into putting the finishing touches on my new book.

      I should return to blogging again in the next few weeks.

  16. I think that you were right on with this article. Terry I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. I like this one Terry.

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