Be Useful #2: Never Think Small

Learn why you should cut your sweatpants, Arnold's Mantra, and how to think big in 3 minutes

Arnold’s Mantra: Wenn Schon, Denn Schon

I might just have to get Arnold’s mantra tatted on my neck. Wenn schon, denn schon is German for “if you’re going to do something, go all the way with it

In Arnold’s world, good enough isn’t acceptable, you have to aim for perfection. And if you’re going to get there, you need the ability to focus on the big things and the little things. Take bodybuilding for example, where you aim for four big things:

  1. Mass

  2. Proportion

  3. Definition

  4. Stage Presence & Posing

These four big things are made up of a thousand little ones. When Arnold lost a bodybuilding competition in Miami, he realized he missed a big thing- definition. Arnold failed here because he was missing the little things. In this case, his abdominals and calves.

My favorite part of this story is that Arnold stops wearing sweatpants to the gym. He cuts the legs off all his pants so he’s forced to look at his legs in the mirror daily. Also, who knew they didn’t sell shorts in the 70s.

Next, Arnold changes his routine and starts hitting his calves first in the gym instead of last. A year later, he went on to win the first of seven Mr. Olympia Titles.

This is what makes Arnold an absolute monster. Think about the power of bringing your weaknesses out for everyone to see and then endlessly working to change them into a strength.

Take a second to think of how you could do this in your own way for your goals. What’s your version of cutting the legs off your sweatpants?

What are your big things and little things?

Once you have your vision, it’s time to identify what your big things are that you need to focus on. Then, start to find the little things that drive the big things.

For example, if you’re a sales rep, it’s no surprise that your #1 goal is revenue. The little drivers to your revenue goal could be product knowledge, sales acumen, prospecting, call volume, conversation rate, email volume, follow-up process, and more.

If you miss your number (the big thing), it’s because you’re missing out on the little things. You need to find out what the most important little things are and put in the work to change them.

Ignore the Naysayers

Naysayers are a fact of life. That doesn’t mean they get to have a say in your life. It’s not that they’re bad people. They’re just not very useful to someone like you. They’re scared of the unfamiliar and the unknown. They’re afraid of taking risks and putting themselves out there. They’ve never had the courage to do what you’re trying to do.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The common theme I see successful people deal with on their way up is that they’ve all dealt with naysayers. Arnold dealt with this when people were telling him he couldn’t act because of his thick Austrian accent or when he was making a transition from action-star to politician.

Imagine if he listened to the people who told him he had no chance. We wouldn’t have heard “I’ll be back”, there would be no “Governator”, and most importantly, millions of people wouldn’t have been inspired by Arnold’s story.

My takeaway here is that if someone hasn’t done any of the things you’re trying to do, why would you listen to them? For some of us, this could mean not listening to the people who are closest to you. Block out your naysayers or better yet, use them for motivation like Arnold did.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that you’re the sum of the five people you’re closest to. Who are your five people? Really- think about who you surround yourself with. Do you truly want to be like them? Are they helping you move forward, backwards, or keeping you in the same place?

If you’re going to surround yourself with people and listen to their advice, you should find people who have already accomplished what you want to do. If you can’t find these people in your personal life, find them in books (or my newsletter 👀), podcasts, or Youtube.

My personal favorites are Alex Hormozi or the My First Million Podcast with Shaan Puri and Sam Parr. There’s a wealth of knowledge online and successful people who share their frameworks to help you follow in their footsteps.

When I’m hitting my morning workout, I love having a one-way conversation with a successful person by turning on my favorite podcast or Youtube video and learning how they think, speak, and act.

Even if it’s just for ten minutes on the stairmaster or on a treadmill- it’s a daily practice that gets me in the right mindset. Give it a try instead of blasting the heavy metal in your airpods and email me back with how you felt afterwards.

Breaking Records

Have you ever wondered why Elon Musk doesn’t just sit around and drink pina coladas on a beach even though he’s one of the richest people in the world (and could use a tan)? I know I have.

However, people who think big and find groundbreaking success almost always keep pushing and striving.

How I imagine Elon Musk looks at the beach

You don’t just stop after you complete something difficult. Instead, that should give you the confidence to do something new and to keep pushing. Have you ever found success in something before?

If you have, you know success is incredibly addicting. It’s that combination of the feeling of accomplishment and realizing that you’re surpassing your potential that keeps you coming back for more.

On the flip end, this is why videogames can be so addicting-players are addicted to the feeling of success for winning a difficult game.

The downside here is that there isn’t a payoff that impacts their life, unless they’re a streamer or playing competitively. You need to choose which game you’re playing wisely and make sure the juice is worth the squeeze.

My challenge to you is to find something difficult to complete that also has a payoff that’s aligned to your vision. Once you complete that, move to the next thing, and the next. That’s how you find momentum and break records.

There is nothing more magical than watching someone with a crazy goal give it everything they have and succeeding. This is why we idolize the Michael Jordans or Tom Bradys of the world.

Now ask yourself, do you want to be the fan watching greatness or do you want to create it yourself? It’s time to start thinking big, taking on the difficult tasks, and building momentum today.

Action Items

  • Write down four big things that are core to your goal

    • Write down the little things that will impact the big things and start working on them

  • Cut the legs off your shorts. Slow down quadzilla, I mean metaphorically.

    • How can you bring the little things you need to change into the front of your mind? My recommendation is to write down the little things on a post-it note and to stick it somewhere you’ll see everyday

  • Audit the five people closest to you. Find a podcast, Youtube, or Newsletter that’ll push you towards your goals and vision.

That’s a wrap folks. Feeling amped up and ready to take action?!

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