Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Businessman


The main purpose of bodybuilding is to increase muscle mass, decrease fat and then to be pitted against your peers in a competition to see who is the biggest, most defined individual. Being as competitive as the sport is, it pushes those who practice it to be dedicated, motivated and disciplined. Things like a precise diet, strict training schedule and a specific workout plan are part of any serious bodybuilders arsenal and Arnold was no different.

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Now, you’re probably wondering why someone who works at a marketing agency is harping on about bodybuilding?

Well, for years this devout form of exercise has empowered men and women to become very successful entrepreneurs, but why is this? Well, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from bodybuilding that directly translate into business (and life). Take Arnold Schwarzenegger for example; a prized bodybuilder, crowned Mr. Olympia 7 times, who then went on to become an actor, the Governor of California and a successful businessman.

But how did Arnold Schwarzenegger use what he learned in bodybuilding, and apply it to the world of business?

We must first look at what happens in bodybuilding training to understand how it benefited Arnold. You see, to increase muscle mass, you must break down the muscles. It sounds counter-intuitive, but that is what is happening when weights are lifted. Each rep causes a micro tear in the muscle, which is then rebuilt with more muscle when the body repairs it. You are punishing your body, over and over, to come back bigger and stronger.

Usually, bodybuilders take the last set of each exercise to purposely fail. Why?

Because you come back stronger from failure. This is to say, that bodybuilders are conditioning themselves to love failure. It drives them. It motivates them. It is the foundation for discipline to want to get back in the gym, to lift more reps, to add more weight to the bar, to become bigger and to become better. Imagine the power that entrepreneurs or business owners would possess if they were able to see a business in the same way.

Often those who are just starting out in business never really take any risks because they are too scared to fail. They play it safe. While they might make some gains, they’re never going to reach the peaks that those who are willing to fail will. A bodybuilder who never pushes the limits will never reach his full potential, so there has to be devotion to the cause, trust in the process and a willingness to fail.

Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes:

“Just like in bodybuilding, failure
is also a necessary experience
for growth in our own lives,
for if we’re never tested to our limits,
how will we know how strong we really are?
How will we ever grow?”

This then begs the question, what risks have you avoided because you were scared of failing? Could you have worked harder? Given more? Did you fall short because you felt like you didn’t have the mental fortitude to blaze onwards?

Business is a lot like bodybuilding. With each failure, we get tougher. We get more determined. With more and more failures under your belt, your foundation will continue to grow stronger. Next time you’re faced with the risk of failure, don’t shy away from it, run towards it.

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