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There is no Such Thing as a Self-Made Man

Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up in a poor household in a small town in Austria and dreamed of becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

When he was fifteen, he started weightlifting, and became the youngest ever Mr. Universe when he was only twenty. A year later, he moved to America with just a gym bag, having little knowledge of English, determined to make his dream come true.

He was told by casting people that his body was 'too weird', that he had a funny German accent, and that his name was too long and that he had to change it. Everywhere he turned, people told him that he had no chance.

After years of persistence, he landed a role in the movie Conan the Barbarian that became a big box office success. A couple of years later, he played the starring role in The Terminator.

The Terminator turned him into an international star, and despite all odds, he became one of the biggest Hollywood actors in the 90s.

Arnold says that he is often asked the question, “as a self-made man, what’s your blueprint for success?” He usually replies by saying, “I am not a self-made man. I got a lot of help.”

To quote Arnold,

“My life was built on a foundation of parents, coaches, and teachers; of kind souls who lent couches or gym back rooms where I could sleep; of mentors who shared wisdom and advice; of idols who motivated me from the pages of magazines (and, as my life grew, from personal interaction).

I had a big vision, and I had fire in my belly. But I would never have gotten anywhere without my mother helping me with my homework....without my father telling me to “be useful,” without teachers who explained how to sell, or without coaches who taught me the fundamentals of weight lifting.

So how can I ever claim to be self-made? To accept that mantle discounts every person and every piece of advice that got me here. And it gives the wrong impression — that you can do it alone.”

Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, widely regarded as the most influential scientist and physicist respectively, also openly acknowledged the impact others had on their work.

Newton remarked “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”.

Einstein said,

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving."

The thoughts echoed by Schwarzenegger, Newton, and Einstein stand true not only in the case of achieving success — but it's something that's applicable to all of us, throughout our lives.

Every single day, we benefit from the hard work of countless people we will never meet in our life. Whether it’s the food we consume, the technologies we use, our material possessions — virtually all of these things were made by other people.

And that is a good reason as any to be always grateful and give back to society in whatever way we can.

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