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Arnold Schwarzenegger – Actor, Politician
Well, thank you very much.
Hello, everybody. What a great introduction, what a wonderful thing. What a great, great welcome I’m getting here, so thank you very much.
I mean, I haven’t heard applause like that since I announced that I was going to stop acting.
But anyway, it is really terrific to see here so many graduate students and undergraduate students graduating here today. I heard that there are 4,500 graduating here today, undergraduate students, so this is fantastic. There are 2,200 men, 2,300 women and five have listed yourselves as undecided.
So this is really a great, great bunch of people here, I love it.
But seriously, President Sample, trustees, faculty, family, friends and graduates, it is a tremendous privilege to stand before you this morning.
There’s nothing that I enjoy more than celebrating great achievements. And I don’t just mean your parents celebrating never having to pay another tuition bill, that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about just celebrating the great accomplishments. So let me congratulate the Trojan class of 2009 on your graduation from one of the finest universities in the world.
Let’s give our graduates a tremendous round of applause. What a special day, what a great accomplishment!
Now, this an equally special day, of course, for the parents, for the grandparents, siblings and other family members whose support made all of this today possible.
And let’s not forget, of course, the professors, those dedicated individuals who taught you, who came up with exciting ways to share their vast wisdom, knowledge and experience with you.
And I must also say thank you to President Sample for honoring me with this fantastic degree. Thank you very much. Wow, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Doctor of Humane Letters! I love it.
But, of course, I noticed that it wasn’t a doctorate in film or in cinema or in acting. I wonder why? But anyway, that’s OK. I take whatever I can get.
But maybe now since I’m the doctor, I can go back up to Sacramento and maybe now the Legislature will finally listen to me.
But anyway, I stand before you today not just as Dr. Schwarzenegger or as Governor Schwarzenegger, or as The Terminator, or as Conan the Barbarian, but also as a proud new member of this Trojan family.
Now, some of you may know that my daughter just completed her freshman year right here. One of the most exciting things for me has been to learn about the great traditions that make this university so wonderful and so special.
My daughter told me all about, for instance, the Victory Bell. She sat me down and she told me it weighs 295 pounds and how the winner of the annual football game between USC and UCLA takes this bell and gets to paint it in the school colors.
And I stopped her in the middle of talking, I said, “Wait a minute, Katherine, back up a little bit. UCLA has a football team?”
Now, of course, my daughter’s journey here at USC is just beginning, and yours is ending. I know that you’re a little bit stressed out right now as you start this exciting new chapter in your lives. Some people say it is scary to leave the comfort of the university and to go out into the cold, hard world.
But I have to tell you something; I think this is a bunch of nonsense because after all, this is America. This is the greatest country on earth, with the greatest opportunities.
It is one thing if you were born in Afghanistan or in Swat Valley in Pakistan where you’d be forced to join the Taliban or be killed. Now, then I would say yes, that is a little bit scary.
But this, this is going to be a piece of cake for you, trust me. You live in America and you’re prepared for the future with this tremendous education you have gotten here at one of the greatest universities in the world. This is going to be exciting, it’s a great adventure and this is a new phase in your life. This is going to be awesome.
Now, of course, this journey is not going to be without any setbacks, failures or disappointments. That’s just the way life is. But you’re ready and you are able, and you would not be here today with your degrees and with your honors if you wouldn’t be ready.
𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗪𝗔𝗥𝗭𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗚𝗚𝗘𝗥’𝗦 𝗦𝗜𝗫 𝗥𝗨𝗟𝗘𝗦 𝗢𝗙 𝗦𝗨𝗖𝗖𝗘𝗦𝗦
So now, of course, to help you along the way, I thought that the best gift I could give you today is to give you a few of my own personal ideas on how to be successful. And parents, I just want you to know, maybe you should close your ears, you should plug your ears, because maybe there are a few things that you maybe won’t like in what I have to say.
But anyway, I can explain how I became successful and who I am today by going through what I call Dr. Schwarzenegger’s Six Rules of Success.
Now, of course, people ask me all the time, they say to me: “What is the secret to success?”
And I give them always the short version. I say, “Number one, come to America. Number two, work your butt off. And number three, marry a Kennedy.”
But anyway, those are the short rules.
And now today, I’m going to give you the six rules of success.
But before I start, I just wanted to say these are my rules. And I think that they can apply to anyone, but that is for you to decide, because not everyone is the same. There are some people that just like to kick back and coast through life and others want to be very intense and want to be number one and want to be successful. And that’s like me.
I always wanted to be very intense, I always wanted to be number one. I took it very seriously, my career. So this was the same when I started with bodybuilding.
I didn’t want to just be a bodybuilding champion, I wanted to be the best bodybuilder of all times. The same was in the movies. I didn’t want to just be a movie star; I wanted to be a great movie star that is the highest paid movie star and have above-the-title billing.
And so this intensity always paid off for me, this commitment always paid off for me. So here are some of the rules.
𝗥𝗨𝗟𝗘 𝟭: 𝗧𝗥𝗨𝗦𝗧 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗦𝗘𝗟𝗙
The first rule is: Trust yourself.
And what I mean by that is, so many young people are getting so much advice from their parents and from their teachers and from everyone. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourselves, who do you want to be? Not what, but who.
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And I’m talking about not what your parents and teachers want you to be, but you. I’m talking about figuring out for yourselves what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.
I was lucky growing up because I did not have television or didn’t have telephones, I didn’t have the computers and the iPods. And, of course, Twitter was then something that birds did outside the window. I didn’t have all these distractions and all this.
I spent a lot of time by myself, so I could figure out and listen to what is inside my heart and inside my head.
And I recognized very quickly that inside my head and heart were a burning desire to leave my small village in Austria — not that there was something wrong with Austria, it’s a beautiful country.
But I wanted to leave that little place and I wanted to be part of something big, the United States of America, a powerful nation, the place where dreams can come true.
I knew when I came over here I could realize my dreams. And I decided that the best way for me to come to America was to become a bodybuilding champion, because I knew that was my ticket the instant that I saw a magazine cover of my idol, Reg Park. He was Mr. Universe, he was starring in Hercules movies, he looked strong and powerful, he was so confident.
So when I found out how he got that way I became obsessed, and I went home and I said to my family, “I want to be a bodybuilding champion.”
Now, you can imagine how that went over in my home in Austria. My parents, they couldn’t believe it. They would have been just happy if I would have become a police officer like my father, or married someone like Heidi, had a bunch of kids and ran around like the von Trapp family in Sound of Music.
That’s what my family had in mind for me, but something else burned inside me.
Something burned inside me. I wanted to be different; I was determined to be unique. I was driven to think big and to dream big. Everyone else thought that I was crazy. My friends said, “If you want to be a champion in a sport, why don’t you go and become a bicycle champion or a skiing champion or a soccer champion? Those are the Austrian sports.”
But I didn’t care. I wanted to be a bodybuilding champion and use that to come to America, and use that to go into the movies and make millions of dollars.
So, of course, for extra motivation I read books on strongmen and on bodybuilding and looked at magazines. And one of the things I did was, I decorated my bedroom wall.
Right next to my bed there was this big wall that I decorated all with pictures. I hung up pictures of strongmen and bodybuilders and wrestlers and boxers and so on. And I was so excited about this great decoration that I took my mother to the bedroom and I showed her.
And she shook her head. She was absolutely in shock and tears started running down her eyes. And she called the doctor, she called our house doctor and she brought him in and she explained to him, “There’s something wrong here.”
She looked at the wall with the doctor and she said, “Where did I go wrong? I mean, all of Arnold’s friends have pictures on the wall of girls, and Arnold has all these men. But it’s not just men, they’re half naked and they’re oiled up with baby oil. What is going on here? Where did I go wrong?”
So you can imagine, the doctor shook his head and he said, “There’s nothing wrong. At this age you have idols and you go and have those — this is just quite normal.”
So this is rule number one. I wanted to become a champion; I was on a mission. So rule number one is, of course, trust yourself, no matter how and what anyone else thinks.