Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most impressive and fascinating people I have read about. He came to the United States of America from Austria and then become the greatest bodybuilder of all time, revolutionizing the industry.
He then became interested in real estate and bought property. He also started an European construction company with his friend and became a millionaire way before his movie career.
He then stared in many movies and became the action film icon of Hollywood. He then became the Governor of California which is one of the largest states in the United States of America.
The stories and lessons through the book were really interesting throughout.
🚀 High Level Ideas
When someone tells you “no”. You should hear “yes”.
Never follow the crowd
Turn your liabilities into assets
Forget Plan B
What’s the worst that could happen
👶 Who Should Read It?
Everyone should read this. You will start thinking big after reading this.
🍀 How the Book Changed Me?
This book made me realize that you can change your liabilities into assets. Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger was not the most movie friendly name and his huge strong body was not perfect for Hollywood, he used his body to his advantage and played roles in huge movies without ever auditioning.
📝 Notes + Summary
Arnold is a legend. He has the whole last chapter dedicated to his top advice. Here are those plus a few others.
Never let pride get in your way
If you think all the time, the mind cannot relax. The key thing is to let both the mind and the body float. And then when you need to make a decision or hit a problem hard, you’re ready with all of your energy. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use your brain, but part of us needs to go through life instinctively. By not analyzing everything, you get rid of all the garbage that loads you up and bogs you down. Turning off your mind is an art. It’s a form of meditation
Forget Plan B
To test yourself and grow, you have to operate without a safety net. If you’re anxious, instead of making fallback plans, think about the worst that can happen if you fail. How bad would it be? You quickly find out it’s really nothing. If you fail at running for governor, you may be humiliated, but that is the worst that can happen. Think of all the presidential candidates who bow out. People understand that’s how it works. I thought that if I lost the election for governor, I would just go back to being in movies and making a lot of money. My standard for misery is the guys who worked in the diamond mines in South Africa when I visited in the sixties. The mines were something like 1,400 feet down and it was about 110 degrees and the workers were getting paid a dollar a day and were allowed to go home to their family only once a year. That’s being in deep shit. Anything better than that and you’re in good shape.
The Day has 24 Hours
The day has twenty-four hours. I once gave a talk in a University of California: “as a student I’d trained five hours a day, gone to acting classes four hours a day, worked in construction several hours a day, and gone to college and done my homework. And I was not the only one.”
Reps, Reps, Reps
No matter what you do in life, it’s either reps or mileage. If you want to be good at skiing, you have to get out on the slopes all the time. If you play chess, you have to play tens of thousands of games. On the movie set, the only way to have your act together is to do the reps
Don’t Blame Your Parents
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.
Change Takes Big Balls
Take Care of Your Body and Your Mind
Hearing them talk about the need to disconnect and refresh the mind was like a revelation. “Arnold, you’re an idiot,” I told myself. “You spend all this time on your body, but you never think about your mind, how to make it sharper and relieve the stress. When you have muscle cramps, you have to do more stretching, take a Jacuzzi, put on the ice packs, take more minerals. So why aren’t you thinking that the mind also can have a problem? It’s overstressed, or it’s tired, it’s bored, it’s fatigued, it’s about to blow up - let’s learn tools for that.” They gave me a mantra and taught me to use a twenty-minute meditation session to get to a place where you don’t think. They taught how to disconnect the mind, so that you don’t hear the clock ticking in the background or people talking. If you can do this for even a few seconds, it already has a positive effect. The more you can prolong that period, the better it is.
Change Your Liabilities into Assets
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name and his muscular body and his thick accent were not particularly good when going into Hollywood. But he changed that into assets and played roles that he could dominate in. E.g. Conan and Terminator.
Never Follow the Crowd
Go where it’s empty. When every immigrant I knew was saving up to buy a house, I bought an apartment building instead. When every aspiring actor was trying to land bit parts in movies, I held out to be a leading man. When every politician tries to work his or her way up from local office, I went straight for the governorship. It’s easier to stand out when you aim straight for the top.
Arnold has never gone for Auditions
They wanted me to play a Nazi officer, a wrestler, a football player, a prisoner. I never took jobs like that because I would say to myself, “This isn’t going to convince anybody that you’re here to be a star”. But I felt that I was born to be a leading man. I had to be on the posters, I had to be the one carrying the movie. The only way you become a leading man is by treating yourself like a leading man and working your ass off.
I always wrote down my goals. It wasn’t sufficient just to tell myself “lose twenty pounds and learn better English and read a little bit more.” No. That was only a start. Now I had to make it very specific so that all those fine intentions were not just floating around. I would take out index cards and write that I was going to: • get twelve more units in college; • earn enough money to save $5,000; • work out five hours a day; • gain seven pounds of solid muscle weight; and • find an apartment building to buy and move into.