I found this video a while back in its short form and recently came across the long version and realised that there was more impact when the video was placed in context. This was Arnold Schwarzenegger's now legendary "Life's 6 Rules" speech, originally used during the Governor's 2009 USC Commencement Address.
Watch the video below for the full effect.
In this video he talks about his six rules of success which are:
- trust yourself
- break the rules
- don't be afraid to fail
- don't listen to the naysayers
- work like hell
- give something back
This blog post I wanted to tell a story about how these rules applied in my life for me to get the small amount of success I've had.
When I first started out I had nothing, I was in debt by the tune of £20,000 and I didn't know how to begin. When I encountered the new ideas and articles around internet marketing and affiliate marketing I knew that there was something in it, even though I had no knowledge of the industry and no skill or experience. I had to trust myself that I could make a sensible assessment and throughout the years following 2001 into 2002 and 2003 when I made no money, I had to continually trust myself and believe in myself that it would work out. It eventually did, but only because I also applied the other rules of the 6.
Break the Rules
Arnie is right, you don't want to live your life only in a certain box and never jump out to experience everything that is out there. Life is not about boxes but about what's beyond those boundaries. I did not break the law, I bent the rules to make things work for me. I got back into work to pay the bills but at the same time I worked on my new venture. Throughout the years between 2001-2004 when I went full time, I was bending and breaking the company rules (the company I was working for at the time), working on my business during work hours and using company resources. Eventually they found out and took me to one side to have a chat! I thought they were going to fire me, but what happened instead will be something I remember forever.
I decided to fight them and say that it's ok that I do personal stuff in work hours. I justified it by saying that everyone does personal stuff in work hours and quoted many examples as such. I furthermore offered then a solution which was that I would not work on my business on the company computer, but I would bring my own to work on. I would only work on my business during lunch hour which was technically my own time. I also ensured they understood that whilst I was at work, work priorities would always come first.
Do you know what happened? They agreed and allow me to work with that plan!
Don't be afraid to fail
Throughout the early years, failure was not an option. I could have quit in 2002 after 18 months without a single penny of income from my business, but I didn't. It was precisely because I tried and tested many hundreds of different online marketing strategies and tips and hints, and failed many many times that eventually I found all the ways which didn't work, which left me with just the ways which did!
If I had let any one of those failures stop me from moving forward each time, I would never be here today talking about it all. I talk a lot about this notion in my book and I call it failing upwards. I believe that each time we fail we must actively seek the learning lessons so that the failure is instantly turned into a upward learning lesson.
Never be afraid to try something just because you might fail, give everything a go and make sure that you learn the lessons which present themselves if you don't get the results you wanted. Somewhere in those lessons are the nuggets of wisdom that will ensure your next attempt goes much much better.
Don't listen to the naysayers
We get this all the time, you can't do this, you can't do that. I've had it all my life. My parents would often say to me
- "you won't get ahead in a western company because you are chinese"
- "you can't do that because you aren't clever enough"
When I started my business full time in 2004, even though I was already earning double from my business than my previous salary, friend and family still would say things like:
- "it won't last, you can never build a business doing that"
- "no one wants what you are doing"
- "sooner or later you'll lose it all"
I can honestly say that I must have heard thousands of negative comments and all I can say to that is, each time they say those things, it only makes me stronger. If I had listened to any of these comments, taken it to heart and stopped in my tracks I would have been disobeying rule 1 which was to trust myself. Lesson here is to never listen to people who say you can't and only listen to yourself and say to yourself that you can. I did, and I made it.
Work like hell
Boy did I. In my early days throughout 2001-2005 I worked full days at work and then when I got home I worked through on my own business till 1am every single night for 4 years. I toiled and did not stop. I worked harder than I had ever done before because everything I did mattered. Every piece of energy I could afford to invest was invested and I didn't stop until I had felt I earned the right to stop.
No one ever made it without lots of hard work and I believe in that completely. I've been lucky enough to have met many successful entrepreneurs in my business life now and the one thing which all of them exhibit as a trait is that they are absolute workaholics and they love it.
Even to this date I work any waking hour I can because I love it and I know that whilst other people are out there partying, getting drunk or emptying their brains of their weeks of mundane work, I'm here working hard, getting smarter, getting ahead and I'm happy doing this because I know it makes me happy and that I'm doing something that matters.
Work your butt off. You don't want to look back on your life and realise that you failed because you didn't work hard enough.
Give something back
It wasn't until my later years that I would embrace this idea of giving back. Right from the start I had always wanted to give back, but I wasn't happy with just giving £5 a month to some charity, I wanted the resource and ability to give a really large sum to a charity that I felt passionate about to make a big difference. I haven't yet had this opportunity, however I do have a lot I do give.
I'm now a patron of Peace One Day as well as a sponsor to several children in Africa. I've also given a lot of time back to various societies as a way of help others to get what they want in life. I've also given back a lot of my knowledge and spent a lot of hours coaching people from a life perspective as well as in the capacity of a business coach.
All this giving has its side rewards and somehow it has resulted in more opportunities and more joy than I could have ever imagined.
Arnold was right, you do feel more joy and satisfaction than anything else when you give back selflessly to others.
So there's my story of how in my own way, those principles played their part to get me to where I am. This is only the beginning, I'm only just entering my 11th year in my own business, so there's a lot more to come. What I'm sure about is that I will hold true to all these rules and so should you if you want to achieve a lot in your life.