Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father wanted him to become a policeman like himself. His mother wanted him to pick up a trade. But Schwarzenegger was very clear that he didn’t want to do any of that, because both of those paths led to limited fame and riches. From a very young age, Schwarzenegger was clear that he wanted to be uber rich and famous. And to achieve that, he had to compete and do things that very few people could.
And so, at the young age of 14, Schwarzenneger decided to become the world’s best bodybuilder. While most people would do a couple of sets of exercise, Schwarzenegger did a seemingly endless number of sets! One time, he challenged his friend to see who could do more sets of squats. And he ended up doing 55 sets! He couldn’t walk properly for a week.
Shwarzenegger joined the Austrian army at the age of 18 to fulfill his mandatory one year of service requirement that Austria had at that time. But during his time there, he went AWOL and disappeared for a week. Why? Because the Mr. Europe contest was scheduled and he just had to take part in it. Shwarzenegger won the bodybuilding competition and then went and spent a week in the military prison!
Paying the price to succeed
Shwarzenegger realized that he had to pay for his success. Dreams are easy to dream up. But to make them a reality, you have to pay the price. Who amongst us would be willing to spend time in prison just to participate in a competition?
With a funny accent and an unpronounceable name, Shwarzenegger became a huge movie star. Because at every step of the way, he figured out what he had to pay for success. And paid it without hesitation.
To win bodybuilding competitions, Shwarzenegger spent more time in the gym than anyone ever has. He trained twice a day in the gym and spent multiple hours during each session! And thats the reason why he won Mr. Olympia a record 7 times!
When he signed up for Terminator, Shwarzenegger spent hours at the shooting range for a whole month. He mastered stripping and reassembling of weapons and became so good that he could do it blindfolded.
To improve his screen presence, Shwarzenegger started learning ballet for christ sake!
Why do people hesitate in paying the price?
There are a few people who don’t know the price that they have to pay to succeed. But thats easily solvable by studying history and other people’s successes and failures. And by getting a mentor who can guide you.
The harder reason why people don’t pay the price is success is not a sure thing. Schwazernegger was not bound to win the bodybuilding competition he skipped military camp for. He would be imprisoned whether he won or lost! And most people can’t deal with that uncertainty.
Uncertainty makes people uncommitted.
So how do you commit without certainty? You’ve got to make it a game to collect losses. People who succeed 100% of the time are not people who are growing. They will remain in their small pond and won’t go far.
To stretch your abilities, you’ve got to be uncomfortable. And do things that’ll make you lose from time to time. Losing is a requirement to becoming better.
Dan Coyle, the author of the book Talend Code, says that there is a sweet spot of failure. If people succeed 80% of the time in their tasks, they won’t grow fast. But if they fail more than 50% of the time, they will lose motivation. The sweet spot of failure for long term and fast growth is between 50 to 80%!
You’ve got to change your mindset to accept failing. And you’ve got to be willing to pay the price for attempts made, and not for surewire wins. Because if you aim for 100% winning rate, you’ll be moving excruciatingly slowly.
- There is a price to pay for success. Find out what that price is. And then pay for attempts made.
- Make attempts that are hard enough that success is not guaranteed. Because otherwise, you won’t grow quickly.