Yes, You Can Become Your Own Brand

When Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America, he could barely speak English.

He soon landed a role in 1969’s Hercules in New York. They gave him only a few lines – because that was all he could pull off.

The film turned out so badly that not even Schwarzenegger himself likes to talk about it, except in a dismissive way. However, he was determined to make it as a movie star. He went into bodybuilding so that he can become an actor.

1. The Rough Start

His success in the world of bodybuilding turned him into an overnight success. People loved seeing his big muscles and commanding posture.

But, that’s about all they wanted from Arnold. No one considered casting him for any dramatic roles.

When he told movie producers that he wanted to be a leading man, they outright laughed at him.

Producers explained to Arnold that this was highly unlikely, if not impossible. The early 70s brought new names to the movie scene, such as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Woody Allen.

They were little guys with tiny voices. Those were the new leading men, the new sex symbols. Those were the giants of the day.

According to the Hollywood producers, no one wanted to see an overdeveloped bodybuilder with a German accent (well, an Austrian accent, but they didn’t care for specifics).

So, the best thing Arnold Schwarzenegger could hope for was the role of a Nazi officer or a prison gang member, at best. They were willing to help him with those roles.

There was just one small problem…that was not what he’d planned for himself.

2. Not Willing To Give Up

Arnold kept on going, determined to make it. Audition after audition. Rejection after rejection.

But, he kept going.

He starred in the acclaimed bodybuilding docudrama Pumping Iron, for which he got The Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.

But it wasn’t enough.

Because Schwarzenegger’s dream was to get to the top – and stay there. Though, it wasn’t all about money – it was about the principle of a man achieving his dream.

He became wealthy through real estate. Even becoming a millionaire in the early 1970s, around the age of 25. For most people, this would have been – it. They would have felt as if they had made it. But not Arnold.

He kept on going, because all along – his dream was to become a movie star. And there was no backing down.

At this moment, Arnold had been living in America for over a decade. He had won the Mister Olympia competition several times, earned a Golden Globe for a docudrama, became a real estate millionaire, and had been a guest on Johnny Carson.

3. Success Long Overdue

Everybody thought that there was nothing more to achieve. He had done everything a non-native could do in the US.

Until the day he got a role in what was to become one of the best movies of the 80s, and a groundbreaking achievement for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conan the Barbarian.

It was the only logical choice. No one else had such a commanding figure, except Arnold.

He didn’t have to play Conan.


He was Conan.

The movie was a smash hit. As a result, Arnold’s career sky-rocketed. He went on to land role after role. Hit after hit. He reigned supreme for two decades, until he decided to pursue a new challenge.

Becoming the Governor of California – and he succeeded.

Had it not been for Arnold’s hope, faith, and persistence, he wouldn’t have become the Schwarzenegger we know today. Before him, there were no roles for him. But, once he entered the stage, the game turned upside down.

4. Case In Point

Sometimes, there is no path. It literally may not exist. You have to make one.

It’s the same in business.

A niche may not exist at the moment, but you can create one, given enough talent, drive, and self-innovation. You can become what you want to pursue.

But here’s the catch – you can create your own path by being yourself.

It’s important to have role models and to compare yourself with others. But only up to a point. After that, you’re on your own.

If it feels scary – good. Because it can be the adventure of a lifetime. Just like it was for Arnold. He started by being mocked and ridiculed. But, then…he created his own niche. He redefined the action genre.

And became the highest paid action star ever, with the legendary Terminator 2.

Remember – everyone told him it cannot be done. But he didn’t listen to them. He knew it could be done.

All you need to do is be aware of the fact that – you can be your own brand. You can be original by being you. And change the world in the process.

So, what will your story be?

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