What does Arnold Schwarzenegger have to do with web development?

A couple of months ago while I was going over my Facebook feed I ran into this short motivational video of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently at some point in my life I had liked a motivational speeches channel and it has now come back to bite me up the ass. I was completely not in the mood for a motivational bullshit speech but my boredom got the best of me.

In the video you can hear Arnold, speaking over a collage of old workout videos of him pressing and lifting. Arnold starts by saying he “didn’t just want to be a bodybuilding champion, he wanted to be the greatest bodybuilder of all time”, whenever someone told him something can’t be done, he went out and got it. Arnold continues by saying “get out of the box and figure out what it is that makes you happy…” and then he starts going over all the things people told him he couldn’t do.

Everybody told him he couldn’t be an actor, his body looked more like a giant gorilla’s body then a human’s body and his accent was weird and well, very German. Guess who didn’t listen to the nay sayers and went out to become a movie star?  You guessed it. After getting his big break as Conan the Barbarian, John Milius, the director of the movie said he couldn’t imagine the movie without Schwarzenegger and his giant physique. When Schwarzenegger did the ‘The Terminator’, his line “I’ll be back” became one of the greatest lines in the history of movies just because of his weird/funny accent. Arnold keeps going, saying that if he had listened to the nay sayers he would still be at the bottom of the alps yodeling (apparently his funny too). “You never want to fail because you didn’t work hard enough. Work your butt off”.

At the end of the video, I was in complete awe of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had a completely new-found respect for the guy. It’s not that I ever disrespected him or anything but I never took the time to appreciate where he came from and how far he has gotten. To think that after being Mr Olympia 7 times(!) he had gone on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and then became the governor of California for eight years is unbelievable. It was apparent that Arnold was just setting crazy goals and then knocking them out of the park. I started to thinking to myself, when was the last time I ever aspired to become not only a great web developer but the greatest web developer of all time? When was the last time I went out and broke some rules? I couldn’t remember.

When I started digging deeper into it I realized I had been completely unSchwarzenegger like in my career approach. Here are 3 things I was struggling with that you might identify with:

Relying on natural gifts

When you have a certain talent it’s always a nice start, but when you rely on that talent you start getting yourself into trouble. Natural gifts and talent are wonderful things, but hard work is much more valuable. Try and be honest with yourself, are you a hard worker? there is no doubt you can be,  but are you working your butt off right now? i’m sure that if  Arnold was a web developer he would be at the computer writing code like crazy. Because he knows: while you’re out partying, someone out there is at the gym (or in our case at the computer). Never just relay on your talent. Embrace the thought that you are only measured by the time of work you put in to a project, not the outcome. If you will completely embrace the thought that you are just as good as the effort you put in to a certain thing you will magically be more productive and work harder. You are not born special, you make yourself special.

Not Aspiring High Enough 

Although trying to be the greatest web developer of all time might sound a bit funny (Mr WordPress 2016)  that is exactly what you should be aspiring to. Whatever project you are working on right now, stop and ask yourself, is this the best I can do? Am I proud of this project? Your answers should always be a resounding “Yes”. I’m not saying it’s easy, I know how tiring clients can be and how some time you just wish a project would end. For some reason it’s easier for us to think about a bodybuilder or an athlete and understand they have to work hard to get results, but the same rules apply to you. If you don’t work hard someone else will.

Not Daring 

Aspiring is nice, but if you don’t do anything about it you will never get to where it is you want to be. For me daring can be start with the small things, like learning a new coding language, trying to get a project that you feel might be out of your league or just plain doing something different, start small and feel it out, you don’t have to start making crazy plans just because you got inspired.

I hope this piece got you a bit more motivated about your work, and if it didn’t, just hit play and listen to Arnold, seriously this guy is crazy 🙂

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