The Arnold Phenomenon
Pele, Ali, Arnold. Seldom do we see mere mortals achieve such greatness that they can be immediately identified anywhere on the planet by first name alone. It takes a lot to be world class, but it takes an unfathomable mixture of skill, talent and raw drive to leave a legacy that resonates in the history of your sport.
So what is it about these people that set them apart? Genetics? Up bringing? Superior Coaching? It’s far too easy to say that “luck” was involved. There has to be some sort of interior factor that has somehow catapulted them to astronomical success.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most famous men on the planet. He has almost obliterated every field he has entered, ranging from Bodybuilding to acting to politics. He has quite literally re-written the rulebook on both limitations and success. What’s even greater about his achievement is the fact that he had to overcome adversity to succeed. Possessing a thick Austrian accent and coming from humble rural roots, the furthest thing imaginable for a person in his situation was a glittering Hollywood film career.
What’s even more astonishing is that the sport of Bodybuilding was merely categorized as a freak show at the circus during his youth. Not only did he create a career, he molded a whole franchise that is now a global community.
So what was it? The muscles? The accent? The faultless posing routine? I disagree. Without stirring controversy I would argue that Arnold did not possess the greatest physique of his era. Yes he had a mammoth arms and devastating chest development, but quad development? Average in comparison to other. Abdominal definition? Far from it. Deltoid fullness? Arguable. I’m not saying he did not possess a quite God-like physique. I am merely saying there were others around him who were in fact better.
So what set him apart? How did he win the Mr. Olympia title, year after year, back to back, almost with ease. Well with one simple factor. Mindset.
When Arnold walked out on that stage it didn’t matter what condition his competitors were in. In his mind he was simply going out on stage to collect his trophy. He oozed unassailable confidence that alone was enough to intimidate his opponents. His body language, facial expressions, relaxed nature and stage presence were his real assets on stage.
The reason why he has set the benchmark and has become idolized by almost every weight lifting male on the planet is because he personifies belief. He had a goal and nothing could prevent him from reaching it. His whole mentality was based around hard work and an unreal self-efficacy that simply could not be measured up to by others.
So why will Arnold’s legacy live on forever? Because he exemplifies how you can achieve any goal you wish if you have the desire. And this is a far greater feature than genetics, skill and talent combined.
Written by Personal Trainer Chris Knott. Click here to view Chris' profile!