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4 Golden Nuggets from Pumping Iron

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So, I was just listening to a Livestream which led me to Youtube which led to me watching the entire 1977 documentary Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The movie follows Arnold and several other bodybuilders to the Mr. Olympia stage as Arnold defends his 6th title as Mr. Olympia.

There’s not a lot of talking during this movie and an exorbitant number of camera shots of ripply muscles. But that’s what makes the words that are said in the movie that much more potent.

I don’t see any of these quotes as just being about bodybuilding, they’re about mindset in general. They’re golden nuggets that can apply to all facets of life and every goal set. Here is a man who knows exactly what he wants, to the letter, and then makes them happen. He does not wait for any of his dreams to come to him.

He makes them happen.

Here were a few things he said that really stuck out to me:


I Don’t Have Any Weak Points


  1. Arnold just matter-of-factly states this in the movie. He’s so completely self-assured. The confidence comes off as arrogance to some, but I can see through that to the no-holds-barred mentality. He’s just got that mindset of, I’m the winner, and he completely embodies it, so he gets it. That is all.

Your turn: think about a goal that you have and what it would look like to reach that goal. Embody the persona of that person and watch how your goals start materializing from that place of complete certainty.


I Only Dreamed of Coming to America, and Being the Greatest, and Just Being Different Than Everybody Else

Pumping Iron quote Arnold: being different than everybody else

2. Arnold knows that he’s made for something bigger, something different than the norm and he lives it out. That tunnel vision and channeled determination turned him into the multi-talented actor/bodybuilder/politician that he is, in America. Everything he said he wanted to be, he made happen.

Your turn: do you know that you’re meant to be different than everybody else? Are you living your life in a way that keeps you honest to that?


I Called My Mother Already Yesterday and I Said I Won


3. Arnold called his mom the day before the competition and told her that he won and she said congratulations. His winning was non-negotiable. He had already stepped into the champion identity and claimed it as his own. And win, he did.

Your turn: take your goal and visualize yourself achieving it. Really experience it with all your senses and state out loud that “I won.” Then, continue on your way as though it’s already happened.


You Cannot Have Any Kind of a Negative Outside Force Coming In and Affect You


4. Arnold admits that when he’s in competition mode, he can’t be bothered by anything other than the competition, even if his car were to get stolen in front of him. That laser focus and pruning of negative energy gives Arnold a direct route to success.

Your turn: If you’re headed toward a goal, don’t spend any time on all the things in your way. Just keep your eye on your final destination and find your way through the obstacle course until you get there.


I just find this whole thing fascinating. Arnold just knows, believes and visualizes his successes and he achieves them! He does a few questionable things in the movie by messing with his competitors by giving them bad advice and the “I already won” and “you’re not ready speech,” which I don’t agree with. But his laser-focused mentality is something we could all learn from. So much more I could say about this, but I’ll just leave it here.


How about you?

Have you ever watched Pumping Iron? What are your thoughts on the Arnold Schwarzenegger mentality?

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