#1676 Be Useful

Arnold’s Seven Tools for Life

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fascinating human being.

Unless you’ve been in seclusion in the Himalayas for the last fifty years, you know who Arnold Schwarzenegger is. The young Arnold dominated the bodybuilding world then he became a leading man in Hollywood before serving for eight years as California’s 38th governor.

In his new book, he tells us about the seven tools we need to use to create a life of deep meaning and purpose and to, in short…


I watched Arnold’s inspiring documentary on Netflix so when I saw he released this book, I immediately got it, read it, and loved it. I highly recommend it.

(Check out the Notes here and get a copy of the book here.)

Today we’re going to chat about Arnold’s #1 tool for a good life: “Have a Clear Vision.”

In the first chapter, Arnold GOES OFF about how incredibly clearly he could SEE himself achieving success at EACH of his significant phases of his life.


He tells us: “Before I go any further, I recognize that this sounds like a lot of woo-woo manifestation mumbo jumbo, like The Secret and all those law of attraction books being peddled by bull**** artists. This isn’t that. I’m not saying that if you visualize what you want, then it will come true. Hell no. You have to plan and work and learn and fail and work and fail some more. That’s just life. Those are the rules.”

Then he continues by saying: “What I am saying is that if you want your vision to stick, if you want to increase the chances of success looking exactly like you hoped it would when you first figured out what you wanted your life to look like, then you need to get crystal clear on that vision and tattoo it to the inside of your eyelids. You need to SEE IT.”

As you may know, Arnold is renowned for the power of his vision.

In fact, George Leonard actually quotes him in his classic book Mastery: “All I know, is that the first step is to create the vision, because when you see the vision there—the beautiful vision—that creates the ‘want power.’ For example, my wanting to be Mr. Universe came about because I saw myself so clearly, being up there on stage and winning.”

In the book, Arnold tells us about how clearly he saw himself becoming Mr. Universe. Then how clearly he saw himself as a Hollywood star. Then how clearly he saw himself sitting at his desk as the governor of California.


I love the way Arnold makes it VERY clear that we’re not talking about woo-woo Secret nonsense where we think that if we stare at our vision board long enough we’ll somehow “manifest” everything we’ve ever dreamt of.

Arnold’s wisdom and success is essentially the concrete expression of Gabriele Oettingen’s scientific wisdom in Rethinking Positive Thinking. Check out those Notes for what remains one of my all-time favorite books.

As Professor Oettingen says: “Based on two decades of research findings, replicated across a variety of research participants, contexts, and methods, you would be ill-advised to indulge in dreams about achieving your goals and then assume you’re well on your path to success. Life just doesn’t work that way.”

Her recommendation echoes Arnold’s...

START with a clear vision.

THEN rub it up against reality.

“You have to plan and work and learn and fail and work and fail some more. That’s just life. Those are the rules.”


What’s YOUR vision?


What’s your plan to make it a reality?

Get on that.


P.S. Although I didn’t tattoo my eyelids with my ultimate vision, I did, as you know if you’ve been following along, tattoo my left forearm.

Every single morning (and multiple times a day) I look down and say to myself, “Hero, I see a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by the year 2051.”


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