motivational speech on success

Great Motivational Speech on Success by Arnold Schwarzenegger

by Kyle Kirschbaum

motivational speech on success

There’s no doubt that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a champion, a star and political powerhouse. However, back in his bodybuilding days as an immigrant from Austria, there were endless hurdles and obstacles he had to defeat to become the successful person he is today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely has some secrets to success, but most of us have only heard his short version, which is, ““Number one, come to America. Number two, work your butt off. And number three, marry a Kennedy.” That’s Arnold Schwarzenegger tongue-in-cheek explanation for his achievements, but he has also delivered a seriously motivational speech on success at a graduation commencement for the University of Southern California. In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s motivational speech on success, he breaks it down into 6 rules:

Step for Success 1. Trust Yourself

Arnold Schwarzenegger explains that nowadays, especially young people, get a lot of advice from their parents and teachers. The constant questions on their lips is “What do you want to be”? However, you have to dig deep down and ask yourself the question, “Who (not what) do you want to be”?

Back when he was a young boy living in Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger spent a lot of time alone trying to figure out what it is that would make him happy. He listened to what was inside his head and heart. An activity even Arnold Schwarzenegger admits was easier to do back then, since he didn’t have distractions like  cell phones, tvs, computers, Ipods and Twitter that people have today.

Finally, Arnold Schwarzenegger realized he wanted to go to America and the only way to do that was to be a bodybuilder just like his hero Reg Park, Mr Universe. He went home told his family and friends who all gave him an unsupportive response.

He didn’t care and went on working at his dreams to become a bodybuilder and move to the United States.  He bought some books and magazines of strongmen and bodybuilders to give himself some extra motivation and decorated his bedroom wall with posters of strongmen, bodybuilders, wrestlers and boxers. When Arnold showed his mother the posters on the wall, she broke down, cried and called the family doctor. She asked the doctor, “Where did I go wrong”? She expected Arnold to have pictures of girls on his walls, not oiled up muscle men. The doctor assured her that these men on the walls were his idols and that it was normal for someone that age to have heroes. And so this is rule number one, in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s motivational speech on success: trust yourself, no matter how and what anyone else thinks.

Step for Success 2. Break the Rules

In his motivational speech on success Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second rule was to break the rules. Arnold Schwarzenegger has never gone with convention. When the biggest actors of the day included Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen and Jack Nicholson, a big, bulky bodybuilder, with a strong European accent and an almost impossible last name to pronounce (Arnold Schwartzenschnitzel) didn’t stand out as the conventional action hero.

Agents and casting directors wanted to give Arnold Schwarzenegger small parts as a wrestler, bouncer and maybe because of his German accent, a Nazi officer in Hogan’s Heroes. Those were their rules, not Arnold’s. So he got to work, just like he did when he wanted to be a bodybuilder working out 5 hours a day, and started devoting his time the way successful people plan their day. He started to take acting, English, speech and dialogue classes. He even went as far as taking accent removal classes.

Some people might be thinking that Arnold Schwarzenegger should get his money back from those speech removal course, but he doesn’t regret taking them at all. And why should he, being the star of Conan the Barbarian and the Terminator? Breaking the rules, not the law, has been a rewarding experience for him.

Step for Success 3. Don’t be Afraid to Fail

Arnold Schwarzenegger was always willing to fail. When he started in the movie business, he would pick up scripts that he thought were winning, but ended up total failures. Has anyone seen, Last Action Hero, Red Sonja and Hercules in New York? Point taken. But at the same time he has made memorable and loved movies such as Terminator, Predator and Twins. Arnold’s rule,

“You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail.”

Step for Success 4. Don’t Listen to the Naysayers

For his second step in his motivational speech on success, Arnold Schwarzenegger remembered when his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics in 1968. She had many experts tell her it can’t be done. People with disabilities won’t want to participate in sports, they will hurt themselves and each other. Today, the Special Olympics is one of the most celebrated organizations, in 164 countries, committed to people with disabilities. Arnold Schwarzenegger never listens to those who tell him he can’t, instead he listens to himself and says, “Yes, I can.”

Become inspired: Read about other Inspirational Athletes by Kyle Kirschbaum

Step for Success 5. Work your Butt Off

A motivational speech on success doesn’t seem complete without a reference to the necessity of hard work. As Arnold Schwarzenegger explained, there are two types of people in life: those who just coast through it and those who work hard. An important fact to remember when you are at the party, having fun, horsing around – there’s always going to be someone at the same time working hard. They are getting smarter and they are winning. It’s important to have some fun in life, but as Arnold Schwarzenegger points out, “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”

Step for Success 6: Give Back

For his last step in his motivational speech on success, Arnold Schwarzenegger follows the path of his father-in-law, Sargent Shriver who started the Peace Corps, the Job Corps and Legal Aid to the Poor. His belief was reaching out and helping people will bring you more success than anything else you’ve ever accomplished. As Arnold Schwarzenegger has experienced for himself, playing chess with an 8 year child in an inner city school brings him far more excitement than walking down a red carpet or attending a movie premiere.

Watch a montage to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s motivational speech on success, by Kyle Kirschbaum, below:

These six rules given in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best motivational speech on success are great tools to use to conquer the world, achieve your goals and become a better and more successful person.


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