Whether you like him or not, Arnold Schwarzenegger is an impressive human being.
No one in history has achieved his level of success in such a wide range of areas. Bodybuilding, acting, business, property, politics. He’s mastered them all.
In all of these fields, Arnold played the long game.
Consistently training, improving and refining until he was ready to compete, then winning 7 Mr Olympia titles between 1970-75 and again in 1980. Popularising bodybuilding and transforming the fitness industry as we know it.
Putting most of his money into property so he no longer relied on bodybuilding prizes.
Deciding to go into acting but not as a character actor; as the leading role. The headline act. Already having income and assets meant he could turn down anything less.
Then he gave everything to acting. Rehearsing, getting to know his characters, repeating lines, getting mentors, being curious on set to evolve his characters.
His movies were a hit and he became the highest grossing actor of the era, with film revenue surpassing $1bn and a film career that spanned decades.
Then, when he turned his hand to politics, he had a global fan base of voters. He honed in on his resident state of California and campaigned hard, getting to know everyone, speaking on every stage he could and hiring help to give better speeches and appeal more to voters. He won the title of governor of California and made politics in that role that were adopted nationally.
Arnold’s entire career is an example of the long game.
That’s his success system.
He can imagine the future, he can see his place within it, and that gives him the confidence to put the work in from the very start.
He doesn’t need instant gratification because he trusts the rewards will come.
But deviation from this path cost him.
Arnold was in a monogamous marriage and he had an affair. A short-term slip up where he forgot his success system. He didn’t consider what his actions would cost his future.
He has everything in the world, but no longer shares a home with the family he did it for.
He’d change it in a heartbeat, but there’s no going back.
Once you commit to the long game, you can’t straddle strategies. You’re playing in a different arena now. There’s a method to your madness and it’s going to pay off.
At every moment of temptation, remember Arnold’s story. Every time you prioritise today’s quick buck over next year’s valuation. This morning’s chocolate doughnut over next month’s six pack abs. A social media post that wins shallow likes over creating art that you’re proud of forever.
Welcome to the long game.
The destination is glory. The effort is the reward.