WE ARE NOT SELF-MADE

This forward by Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans stopped me in my tracks. If I read nothing else in Titans but this forward, then I’d still be pleased that it was money well spent.

As traders engaging in social media to better ourselves, we can all benefit from this profound wisdom. Here is the full forward, edited for brevity and focus:

I am not a self-made man. I got a lot of help.

It is true that I grew up in Austria without plumbing. It is true that I moved to America alone with just a gym bag. And it is true that I worked as a bricklayer and invested in real estate to become a millionaire before I ever swung the sword in Conan the Barbarian.

But it is not true that I am self-made. Like everyone, to get to where I am, I stood on the shoulders of giants.

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 lfe 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 with my homework (and smacking me when I wasn’t ready to study), 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.

I couldn’t. And odds are, you can’t either.

We all need fuel. Without the assistance, advice, and inspiration of others, the gears of our mind grind to a halt, and we’re stuck with nowhere to go.

I have never been shy about seeking wisdom from others to pour fuel on my fire.

Whether it is a morning routine, or a philosophy or training tip, or just motivation to get through your day, there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t benefit from a little outside help.

I’ve always treated the world as my classroom, soaking up lessons and stories to fuel my path forward. I hope you do the same.

The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough.

Never stop learning. Ever.

You know that wherever you are in life, there will be moments when you need outside motivation and insight. There will be times when you don’t have the answer, or the drive, and you’re forced to look beyond yourself.

You can admit that you can’t do it alone. I certainly can’t. No one can.

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger