I’m a bit late but I’m sure he won’t mind.
A lot of guys like me cite Arnold as their inspiration for first picking up a weight or choosing a career in fitness.
Others more thoughtful view Arnold as the ultimate example of the American dream: the peculiar immigrant with the even more peculiar accent taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded to him by a generous nation to achieve astounding success and wealth.
As a young man fooling around with plastic weights I absolutely loved Arnold — his success, his charm, his confidence, and of course his physique.
But then, the unthinkable happened. Arnold got old.
Gone were the shirtless scenes in summer blockbusters. Suddenly he was in a suit and running for Governor—and won!
As amazing a feat as that was, my younger self felt a little let down. Because my Arnold was a 7-time Mr. Olympia turned action hero, not some talking head doing stump speeches from an office in Sacramento. My interest waned and drifted elsewhere.
Then I happened upon a classic quote from Muhammad Ali:
“A man who sees the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
I became an Arnold fan again. I realized he was never “my Arnold,” the hero my teenaged self wanted him to always be.
He’s just a smart, hard working man who understands one of life’s most important yet difficult lessons:
Knowing when to let go and move on.
Arnold LEFT bodybuilding for Hollywood before he was even 30, when he was on top. He would later leave Hollywood for politics (for the most part) when his star was waning but still one of the most bankable box office draws in town.
And now as a former governor, he’s dabbling in green energy initiatives, lobbying against gerrymandering, and supporting all kinds of charitable organizations including the current fight against COVID-19.
In short, he’s changed direction constantly.
And even though he doesn’t really lift anymore, he’s never stopped growing.
Now is this a HIGHLY positive spin on his life? Absolutely. The dude is flawed, to say the least.
But aren’t we all flawed? Yet how many of us have never stopped evolving?
I know I’ll never look like Arnold or achieve even 5% of his financial success.
But if my time on this planet can be filled with that much personal growth, I know I’ll have lived a life worth living.
Happy Birthday Arnold.