Arnold Schwarzenegger – Six Rules To Success

Arnold Schwarzenegger - 6 Rules To Success

Following last week’s post about sleep requirements, a few people have mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sleep related advice. When Arnold shared that now famous wisdom, he wasn’t just talking about sleep however. His comments on the subject were part of a longer speech about success. I’ve actually shared the speech before, but it is the type that never grows old. If you have a few minutes to spare, take a look at the video below and let his wisdom soak in.

Ridiculously Hard Work

Arnold’s comments about sleep come at approximately the 3:30 mark. As you’ll hear, the context of his advice isn’t just about sleep though. What he’s really emphasizing is the importance of ridiculously hard work.

Unfortunately, many people still seem to misinterpret the true meaning of hard work. For instance, following my entry about sleep, a few people expressed to me how difficult it was for them to function with less than 8 or 9 hours of sleep. One person even went so far as to blast me for suggesting otherwise.

I understand that feedback and criticism come with the territory, but I’m not here to argue with anyone about how much sleep they should get. As I mentioned before, I’m only sharing what has worked for me as a busy athlete, parent, and business owner. I’m not suggesting that you follow my lead, nor am I suggesting that it is going to be easy.

I’ll be the first to admit that working my ass off around the clock is hard. It would be much easier to sit around and sleep the day away. I’m not interested in choosing the easy path though. When I first began sleeping less, it was rough and it didn’t change overnight. I knew what had to be done however so I accepted the sacrifices that had to be made. I wasn’t going to give up on my dreams because I was tired in the morning. To put it bluntly, I had to suck it up and deal with it. I didn’t care if I was tired. I was always told that you don’t stop when you are tired, you stop when you are done. That’s become my philosophy for life.

Absorb What Is Useful

As I’ve said in previous entries, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. I’m also not suggesting that you copy Arnold Schwarzenegger. As Bruce Lee would say, absorb what is useful, discard what is not. Just don’t be so quick to give up on an idea because it is difficult.

When you embark on something that is new or different from the norm, it’s not unusual to face challenges that are foreign to you. It’s the obstacles that you overcome in life that often make you who are you. If you run from every obstacle you encounter, you’ll never build anything substantial. You’ll just blend in with the crowd and be like everyone else.

It may sound like common sense, but so many people seem to forget that separating yourself from the norm means doing things that normal people aren’t willing to do. I always remind myself that if it was easy, everyone would do it. And the last thing that I want to be is just like everyone else.

Therefore, the decision to sleep less and work harder is a no-brainer for me. It used to be difficult but it eventually became a way of life. I first made the habit, and now the habit has made me. I embrace the grind and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Related Entry:


“The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger


  1. Quality sleep can be difficult. It’s a constant battle for many of us. After reading your recent articles, I started looking at the literature. Many of the sleep studies out there are based on mental capability or how it affects the brain’s ability to absorb new information and retain it.

    And a lot of them seem to be targeted at children’, teenagers’ or university students’ ability to perform in school. Very little on blue-collared work or even office works.

    I know that my days go better when I get 8-10 hours of sleep, but with the tight schedule and what need to be done prohibits that from happening. Sorry, paycheques and deadlines come first. My bosses don’t care if I am getting an extra two of sleep, they still want those projects done on time.

  2. “I first made the habit, and now the habit has made me”.

    Nice way of putting it!

    A few friends and colleagues function better when they sleep less. Physically, their faces and eyes look more fresh and rejuvenated after sleeping longer, i think, but they complain of feeling slow mentally and generally lazier if they sleep more than, say, 6 hours. Perhaps they have just gotten use to functioning better on less sleep or maybe they have just found their sweet spots.

    Ross, speaking of Bruce Lee, as you are no doubt know, he encouraged orthodox fighters to adopt a southpaw stance. Do you encourage boxers to do likewise or would you rather see right-handed fighters in the orthodox stance? Perhaps it’s a case-by-case situation. I think a combination of Bruce Lee’s right-hand lead with the Philly Shell might be a great fighting style.

    1. @Peter – There have been countless world champions who put the dominant hand in front and behind. The key to doing either effectively is to develop the non-dominant hand. That’s where many beginners encounter problems. When your dominant hand is in front, it is used much more often (ex. the jab is the most commonly thrown punch). The non-dominant side doesn’t get as much use, so often isn’t developed adequately.

      If you can’t punch effectively with the rear hand, your opponent won’t respect that side. Therefore, if you box with the dominant hand in front, be sure to spend a significant amount of time working both sides.

      1. I cant help but think of this one guy at my gym who is a relatively successful boxer. He leads/jabs with his right, his strong arm. His left arm is also strong and accurate. He doesn’t throw his left too much but the fact that he has power, speed, and accuracy in that arm makes people respect him (which is key, as you said), and therefore they seem a little tense during hard sparring because they are worried about when he will throw his left. He grew up playing golf with his right side and batting baseball with his left side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *