Most IRON MAN readers know Bill Dobbins as an innovative and passionate photographer of fit and muscular women, but as “ArnoldThink,” his revealing portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger, shows, he’s also an accomplished writer. If you’ve read my editorials over the years, you know I come back time and time again to Arnold’s wisdom. In last month’s editorial, which was part of our 60th-birthday salute to the Governor, I discussed a day I had recently spent with him and commented that I’d gotten a 12-hour crash course in effective management.
In “ArnoldThink,” which begins on page 92 of the Sep ’07 IRON MAN, Bill draws on his own 30-year working relationship with Arnold to highlight the unique combination of attributes that have marked his success. While I’ve made my own observations about that subject, Dobbins’ piece gave me new insight into the way Arnold uses reality and self-criticism. In Bill’s description of the process, I’m reminded of the world’s greatest golfer, Tiger Woods. Tiger’s approach to self-criticism —that you be critical of your performance but not destructively so—is a huge learning advantage. As one of Tiger’s coaches replied when asked how a certain poorly played round would affect Tiger’s game: Tiger sees every experience as a learning experience.
Arnold’s realistic view of the world, which lacks the destructive aspects that usually accompany self-criticism, is one of his greatest strengths—maybe even his greatest. An objective, constructive analysis of the situation gives both Arnold and Tiger an incredibly clear picture of what they need to do to accomplish the goal at hand. That’s the reason they’re both at the top of their game—because they live in the present and know how to keep reality in focus.
I’ve known Arnold since 1969, and I can see that the attributes Bill talks about were present in his approach to life even back then. If you’re interested in what makes Arnold tick, I believe that this is the best single analysis of the traits that have informed much of his success. It could be a daily read to help inspire you to reach your goals and get the most out of your life.
How did Arnold “learn” all of this? Did he learn it at all, or was it simply innate? My next step is to sit down with the Governor and ask those very questions. IM