What I Learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger

TAGS: elevate others, health and fitness industry, 2017 XPC Finals, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Olympia, dave kirschen, success, powerlifting

COACH

Most of you know by now that I competed in the XPC Finals recently and that it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Not only did I break some PR's, but my already great day was capped by a handshake from the one and only Arnold following my second attempt pull. In the grand scheme of things, there isn't much to a simple handshake, and it's generally not the type of meeting you take much away from, except a feeling of "hey, that was pretty cool", which it certainly was.

In retrospect though, Arnold taught me a lot in the few seconds I interacted with him, and it's a lesson I think is worth passing on because it's the reason I believe he is as successful as he is. Let's be honest, his best acting sucks, and there have been way better bodybuilders than him, even in his own era. So what got him to the top?

Relentless hard work? Sure.

Laser-like focus? No doubt.

But after meeting him, I can tell you that there's something else, and it's something you rarely hear mentioned in those cheesy "how to be really f*cking successful" clickbait articles that pop up all over Facebook.

First, let's go into a little background about the dude.

Arnold has been associated with the health & fitness industry for over 50 years. In addition to winning multiple Mr. Olympias, he has written books on bodybuilding, owned gyms, served as Chairman of the Presidents Council on Fitness, and is the figurehead for the biggest bodybuilding/fitness expo in the world.

He has seen some of the strongest men and women in the world lift and was even there when Eddie Hall set the all-time strongman deadlift record.

What I'm getting at is the guy has seen a lot of dudes lift a lot of weight in his time. He certainly shouldn't be impressed watching some guy he's never heard of deadlift a little over 600 pounds. I'm not even impressed with it and it was MY deadlift.


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And yet, when he was standing there in front of the stage, watching us pull, you would never have thought the guy had ever seen anyone lift weights before. Seriously, Arnold was cheering for and applauding us like a 5-year-old at the circus. If he had just hung out there and politely acknowledged us, it still would have been amazingly cool, but this guy looked like there was nowhere else on earth he would have rather been.

And this is his true talent. He knows how to make people feel good. And in that moment, he knew that the best way to make a bunch of meatheads feel good was to act so impressed by our lifting we started to impress ourselves. People like winners, but they LOVE winners that make them feel like they're winners as well. When I went out for my deadlift, I knew there was no way I would miss it. It just wasn't possible.

The lesson I took away from the experience is this...

If you really want to be successful in life, your #1 goal should be to elevate others.

While the vast majority of us don't have anywhere near the same capacity to this as Arnold does, think about all the opportunities we DO have on a day to day basis. Everyone is better at something than someone, and if you are a regular reader of this site, you are probably more informed about, and likely better at lifting weights than the majority of those around you.

When was the last time you acted super-impressed by someone you knew wasn't on your level? And if you passed on the opportunity to, why?

Lifters are competitive by nature, and we are typically tight-lipped with positive feedback because most of us approach this endeavor with a tough-love approach to those below us. But just imagine what you could accomplish if we tried building people up rather than break them down.

By the way, I am NOT advocating an "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. This approach won't work unless there is a real accomplishment to recognize. Believe me, If I walked out there and pulled a hamstring with a light opener, Arnold could have ripped his jacket off to reveal a "Kirschen is Numero Uno" t-shirt and it wouldn't have done shit for me because I would have known I had failed.

But if you see someone who looks up to you accomplish something that you think may be a big deal for them, try making a huge f*cking deal over it. See a skinny kid hit his first 135 bench? Make a huge f*cking deal over it. Remember how it felt the first time you could reach for the "big" plates?

See a former fat kid show up to the gym noticeably less fat one day? Ask him/her how they did it, and let them know that they accomplished something that most people really want to but can't.

Do this every chance you get and see where it gets you in life.

They say that success is contagious. So imagine how it could impact your life if you make everyone around you feel successful.

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