I’ve been reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography aptly titled ‘Total Recall’.
It’s a fascinating read, whether or not you agree with his personal ambition, philosophy or politics. He has certainly courted controversy in his life and made some major mistakes he later regretted.
One thing that strikes me about his early life was his determination to get far from his village in the postwar Graz area of Austria. This is understandable given the relative hardship of the times and the ever-present tension of the nearby Iron Curtain. His father always told him: “Be useful. Do something.”
As a youth Arnold was more interested in the power of his body (and his wallet) than his mind, which saw him dominating the nascent sport of bodybuilding, and in turn led to his film roles and rise up the social ladder to become part of the US political elite. There was no limit to his bravado in achieving his early goals. But as he matured, so did his thirst for broader knowledge, firstly of business and politics and subsequently more esoteric areas, such as art.
Where does this leave any lessons on the ‘Governator‘?
It’s a bit like watching the film ‘An Education‘ or the new TV series ‘Educating Yorkshire‘. These portray young people with plenty of charisma (which is a major asset in life), who think they know all about the world and find out that they aren’t so wise after all, with inevitable regrets.
The key to life is to be useful by doing something, perhaps even a bit risky, but at the same time avoid irretrievable mistakes.
Know when NOT to say “hasta la vista, baby”.