You must have surely come across this picture on the Internet –
Then you see so many likes on it, so many jealous netizens venting their frustration as to how a man who cannot even pronounce English well, became such a big deal?
Then we come across the ridiculing, the way Arnold says “Get to the Choppa!” and “Get down!”. It is almost the stuff of every comedian’s routine – to make fun of Arnold’s seeming lack of intelligence and”dumb” accent.
If you look at his movies, he is not a great actor, he is maybe not even a mediocre one, but there is a reason he got to the top of Hollywood and stayed there for more than two decades.
There is a reason that he became successful as a Governor even without any political experience whatsoever.
The reason is his will to become the best – to have a good life and a deep-seated ambition with a will to follow it to till the end.
1. His father used to be abusive towards him and made fun of his dreams of becoming a bodybuilder
Arnold was of a gangly built and was bullied by his father and brother in his childhood. His father was partial to his brother and Arnold faced child abuse.
But that did not deter him, even at such a young age.
2. He didn’t have enough money to join a gym, so he equipped his old home basement with weights at the age of 14
Lack of money never deterred him from his dreams. We all know that gym memberships are expensive. They were especially expensive back then, when gyms were just starting to become a trend.
It did not hold back Arnold though. He started working out on his own with weights in the basement.
3. He joined the Austrian army but then went absent without leave to compete in a bodybuilding competition
Austria had conscription at the time – compulsory military service over the age of 18. Arnold joined too, but when there was a bodybuilding competition, he skipped and went to participate and eventually win.
He was jailed on return, but his priorities in life seemed sorted at that young age.
5. By the age of 20, he was the youngest Mr. Europe and Mr. Universe in the World
He had an impressive physique and was admired throughout Europe.
6. He wanted to move to America to realize his dreams of getting into movies and learned English religiously
Arnold did not know how to speak English, but that did not deter him from going to America and becoming the highest paid stars in English Cinema.
7. He moved to the USA in 1968 and by 1977 he made bodybuilding a major sport
He had already won the Mr. Universe title, but now he wanted his hands on the Mr. Olympia title, which he did win – SEVEN TIMES.
Not only that, he made bodybuilding a popular sport in the USA. They even made a documentary about his religious commitment to the sport.
“This is a man of bottomless ambition,” said George Butler, producer, and director of Pumping Iron
8. During his early days, casting directors called him too weird, with a funny accent and made fun of his long surname
He wanted to get into Hollywood, but his accent was foreign and his surname was not exactly a pronounceable or a “star” name. He would get ridiculed and not get casting calls, but he kept on doing what he wanted to do.
One day, he got in.
9. James Cameron wanted him to play Kyle Resse in Terminator but he said he wanted to play the Terminator himself
The terminator was a negative role, and James Cameron tried to convince him of that. He kept telling Arnold that the character of Kyle Reese had more dialogues and more importance, but Arnold wanted to play Terminator.
He told James Cameron, “Trust me.”
10. Became a blockbuster star and didn’t stop there. He went on to become a governor of California, despite being an immigrant and married a Kennedy
He called himself a New American. People laughed at him when he stood for elections. But he won.
11. Then stayed in office for the second term too and refused to take the salary of a governor
He never took the salary that he was supposed to get as a Governor. Why?
Because he had more than enough money left over from his acting career. He moved around in his personal jet, and never took a penny for his service as a Governor.
12. When on vacation, he saved a drowning man in Hawaii
The man was cramped up and hanging on to his life when Arnold spotted him. Then he swam to the man and swam back a full 100 meters – essentially rescuing him as a lifeguard.
Then he stayed back with the man on the beach until he was sure that the man was ok.
He was 56 years old at the time.
13. He actively supports special Olympics and maintains that underprivileged kids deserve good education
He probably does that because he himself did not get the facilities he wanted when he was a kid himself.
14. Unlike other politicians from his Republican party, he accepts that Climate Change is a problem of our times
Which is quite a surprise – since the attitude of Republicans is always that of ignorance.
Most of his childhood friends recall that Arnold always spoke about the three things we wanted to accomplish in his life – go to the USA, marry a Kennedy, become a movie star.
He achieved all the three goals and more – from a small town of Thal in Austria to becoming a Hollywood star to getting elected to public office – Arnold has done it all.