Tim Ferriss Podcast: Arnold Schwarzenegger Net Worth – 15 Strategies to Emulate

Arnold Schwarzenegger Net Worth

People spend so much time being nosy and searching for things like “arnold schwarzenegger  net worth” and “jamie foxx net worth”. But what if instead of just getting the dollar amount, you could sit in on a private conversation they had about how they amassed their fortunes?  Well, if you are not listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast, you are missing out.  He has actually visited the homes of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Foxx for hours and provided his audience with tons of insight into their success strategies.  And since I love finding gems, I will dig into the podcast details and provide 17 strategies to emulate that helped build Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth of $300 million (celebritynetworth.com).

The Tim Ferriss Podcast is definitely on my top 5 list of all the podcasts that I listen to throughout the year.  In case you don’t know who he is, Tim Ferriss is the author of the New York Best Selling Book The 4-Hour Work Week.  In his own words, this is how Tim describes his podcast:

Each episode, I deconstruct world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.  This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.

If you don’t know anything about podcasts and want to learn what they are, check out this post What is a Podcast and Why I love them.

The Tim Ferriss Podcast Episode – Arnold Schwarzenegger

On the show notes page, Tim gives a description of what to expect from each of his interviews.  For this one he says:

In our conversation, we dig into lessons learned, routines, favorite books, and much more, including many stories I’ve never heard anywhere else.  I’m also giving away amazing goodies for this episode, so be sure to read this entire post.

As a starting point, we cover:

  • The Art of Psychological Warfare, and How Arnold Uses It to Win
  • How Twins Became His Most Lucrative Movie (?!?)
  • Mailing Cow Balls to Politicians
  • How Arnold Made Millions — Fresh Off The Boat — BEFORE His Acting Career Took Off
  • How Arnold Used Meditation For One Year To Reset His Brain
  • And Much More…

While all of this is true and he does discuss all of these items in detail, I narrowed in on something else: The strategies he used to beat the odds and how we can emulate them.  If you think about it, Arnold Schwarzenegger net worth was built because he is the king of making his dreams come true. He basically accomplished almost everything he set his mind to in life.  I mean if that is not something to learn, what is?  So here they are:

15 Strategies to Emulate that contributed to building Arnold Schwarzenegger Net Worth

1.  Confidence

Arnold says he always had confidence.  This confidence helped him believe in himself even when the odds were stacked against him.  It also gave him an edge against him competitors not only in sports but also in business.  Because he believed he was the best in sports and because his products were the best in business, he was able to make people around him believe it as well.  Please note that this was not idol confidence just believing he was the best because someone told him.  He had confidence because he worked so hard at everything he did and knew that very few others were willing to do the same.

2. Have a very clear vision

He says that his confidence came from his vision.

If you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is easier

Because of his clear vision, the pain of workouts and obstacles did not stop him. It helped him understand why he was experiencing pain and sacrificing time.  All of it was to get him closer to his early goal…Win Mr. Universe and he did!

3.  Perseverance

Imagine him on a train with very little money trying to get to his big Mr. Universe competition.  He didn’t have the luxury of taking the express train, he had to make every stop and try to avoid being asked for documents such as his passport as he passed through Germany. He said he would have crawled to Germany if he had to because he knew this was his opportunity and he was not going to let it pass him up.  So many people give up as soon as things get hard, but Arnold Schwarzenegger had a mindset that we all should emulate and it was to keep going no matter what.  He said in his mind nothing could stop him because he had the desire to prevail and reach his goal.

4.  Learn the psychology of people

Arnold learned the psychology of what makes people tick.  He wanted to understand why we operate the way we do and then he performed  several tests to see if he could use it to his advantage.  Learning does not come from guessing and assuming, it comes from trial and error.  Once he had enough data to confirm his strategies, he used it against his competitors in his sport to make them feel insecure or inferior. If he could get into their heads, his competitors would basically give him the win.  Arnold believes the mental side of sports is more important than the physical side and that is why he accomplished so much in the sport of bodybuilding.  He also used a slightly different version of this strategy in business.

There was an example in the podcast where he played good cop bad cop with his business partner in front of a customer;

  • First, he gave the customer a high price
  • Then when the customer complained about the outrageous price, he says he will try to negotiate with his partner who was the expert.
  • They fake argue in German over the price
  • Finally Arnold comes back to the customer with a much lower price, but still high
  • The customer was so happy with the discount that he thanked Arnold for being such a terrific human being and I”m sure he sent him many referrals.

He understood his customer so well that he could adapt to their needs. This helped him get what he wanted from each transaction while making the other party feel good about it.  When we emulate this strategy, it is not about making people feel inferior as he used it in the bodybuilding competitions.  It is to understand how the people around us operate so that we can make the most of each opportunity.

5.  Carve out a niche

Have you ever heard the saying that goes “the riches are in the niches”? Well, obviously Arnold Schwarzenegger did. First, we all know him as an actor, but he never auditioned for roles. Why do you think that was?  It was because he didn’t want to be like everyone else.  His goal was always to stand out from the crowd.  So when everyone (including all the agents) were telling him that he was too big and had too many muscles to be a star, he paid it no mind.  It didn’t matter that the new popular guys were small and that he was being told his muscles were outdated.  In fact, he was so successful at figuring it out, that later some of the producers of movies like Terminator and Conan the Barbarian said they would have had to create someone for the role. But instead, Arnold was already ready with big muscles and a voice that sounded like a machine due to his accent.  His plan worked!  The very things that others said would be an obstacle, became an asset.

6.  Emulate a success model

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.  In several of Arnold’s stories, he mentioned the names of people he modeled his approach or strategy after.  He did not come up with some new way that had never been tried before, he looked at people who had already achieved success with a similar method and applied it to what he was doing.  This is why he was not worried when people told him he was too muscular for Hollywood.  He already had in his mind examples of people with muscles that had achieved success.  Even when I came to bodybuilding, he looked for people who were stronger than him in an area and then sought out their mentorship.  He did this even after he had already achieved success.  So it was very easy for him not to get discouraged when he ran into roadblocks (as we often do) because the things he was attempting were modeled after the winning strategies he chose to emulate.

7.  Identify Trends

The trend is your friend.  Arnold’s ability to identify trends prevented him from experiencing the vulnerabilities other actors had due to lack of money.  Tim Ferriss describes this part of the podcast as “How Arnold Made Millions — Fresh Off The Boat — BEFORE His Acting Career Took Off“.  He was already a millionaire from real estate before he started getting major Hollywood roles.  In the 1970s, inflation was high and Arnold identified this as a great time to buy apartment buildings.  He knew that he could buy it with a relatively small amount of money and continually trade up to bigger and better properties. Within 3 years he made 300% on some deals, simply amazing. It’s easy to identify a trend in hindsight, but Arnold understood it was a rare decade and he made sure to take advantage.

8.  Marketing

Magical Marketing

Tim Ferriss asked a lot of questions regarding the tactics Arnold used in different areas of his life.  One pertained  to the brick laying business  he started during his early years in Los Angeles.  Arnold noticed a trend that Americans were excited about anything foreign such as European this or Japanese that.  So he formed a brick laying business and put an ad in the LA Times that focused on his own special “European style” of laying bricks and how it was the best!  These ads were used to market his services.  Even though he was fairly new to this country, he identified the power of marketing and used it to his advantage.  I can picture him studying all the successful ads in the newspaper as he chooses which ones to emulate.

9.  Choose friends wisely

Arnold developed friendships with people he had something in common with.  Usually, there was something special about them that provided value to the friendship.  Tim Ferriss asked about one friend that was also a well-known bodybuilder.  Arnold says at the time that friend did not train as hard as him, so he just used several training partners.  But there was something really special about this friend and they were able to work together as the friendship developed.  Arnold mentions that his friends were very supportive to each other.  He trained for bodybuilding with one friend, started a bricklaying business with another, and I believe he had a mail order business with a 3rd friend. All of them seem to have had different strengths than he did and they are still friends to this day.  Like the late Jim Rohn said, “You are always the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.  So, who are you spending your time with?

10.  Take calculated risk

Every time I hear the term calculated risk, it makes me think about a Tai Lopez video on  THE ONE WAY TO STAY POOR where he talks about people who put their whole life savings into a business idea and then he ask them a question “Have you done this before?”.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was not one of these people, he recognized the value of finding the best people in a given field to assist him when he wanted to try something new.  After years of action movies, Arnold wanted to try to make a movie that displayed his humorous side.  There were many examples of people who had tried and failed despite being fairly funny in their personal lives.  In an attempt to avoid this, Arnold sought out the best director who had successfully accomplished a good comedy.  At that time, it was the director of the very successful Ghostbusters franchise

In an attempt to avoid this, Arnold sought out the best director who had successfully accomplished a good comedy.  At that time, it was the director of the very successful Ghostbusters franchise Ivan Reitman. Ivan was a smart choice because he was known to be patient, which was perfect for an actor in transition to a new genre.  Instead of betting the farm and saying “I’m a movie star and I’m funny, so I can do it without help”, Arnold decided on taking a calculated risk.  He partnered with the best director, took a risk to make money on the back-end instead of upfront, and to date, Twins is his most lucrative movie deal ever.

11.  Focus on Strengths and Passions

As Warren Buffet quotes in this video “you only have to get rich once” (15:03).  During the interview, Tim Ferriss is curious as to why Arnold does not finance movies with his own money now.  Arnold basically says that there are people much better than himself and that he never wanted to mix the two. Looks like it worked out for him financially.  He decided to act in the movies and let someone else finance them.  The exception was if it was a documentary that he was very passionate about. I’m sure the documentary budget is a lot lower than the movies he starred in.  So he always focused on strengths and passions.

12.  Give back

As a foreigner, Arnold Schwarzenegger recognizes and enjoys the opportunities America has to offer.  Life has been so good to him and he enjoys giving back.  After school programs and helping kids avoid the danger zone – The after-school hours — between 3:00 and 6:00 pm — are what I call the “danger zone,” the time when kids are most likely to commit crimes or become the victims of crime.  As governor of California, he helped pass an initiative that provides $500 million for after-school programs at every high school and middle school in addition to the ones he started.  He wants kids to have an equal shot at success like he did because he had parents at home showing him love and giving him time every day.

His ability to look at what factors in his background were an advantage and try to give back by helping other obtain the same is just magical in my opinion.  People so easily forget what small things contributed greatly to their successes.  Having mentors to emulate, good parents, safe environment, and other can account for a huge portion of people’s success, but they usually just take it for granted.  Arnold is appreciative of his advantages and is passionate about making a positive impact on the youth with his After-School All-Stars organization.  It is a great cause and I recommend contributing if you can!

13.  Meditate

If you spend your time listening to podcast episodes and watching YouTube videos about successful people, you will start to see some trends.  One of them is finding a way to meditate or think.  Arnold did an intense version of this in the 70s. He was able to recognize that he had a lot going on in his life. Movies, Competitions, Training, and Real Estate deals were pulling him in lots of directions.  Aware of the great opportunities, he sought out a way to separate things out instead of clustering things into one big problem.  Today he has developed many forms of achieving the sanctity of mediation and relieving the pressures in life.  One way he avoids feeling overwhelmed today is breaking up his task that requires ultimate concentration into 45-minute sections, then do something fun.  Also, his workouts are used as a form of mediation.  It is all about finding what works for you so that you can achieve the results you seek!

14. One challenge at a time

We hear the stories of all the things moguls have. You know, the 5 streams of income and so on and so forth.  Even in this episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast, we hear about Arnold’s bodybuilding, acting, and real estate business.  But he did not start all of these at the same time.  He built one thing up, then started the next.  The trick is taking one challenge at a time is what he tells Tim. He just concentrates on one thing even in the gym.  During a bicep workout, he would put such focus on the bicep that he didn’t even think about anything else.  So stop with the multitasking and focus on just one problem, just one solution, just one opportunity and emulate the success of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

15. Read, Read, Read

This one seems so basic, yet so many people fail to do it.  A very very high percentage of successful people read.  Arnold was not only reading his scripts but he references several books during the interview to help make his points.  I mean his wisdom was just pouring out.  After listening to this podcast, it should inspire you to grab a book and take over the world.  You can start with his book Total Recall.


Hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the Tim Ferriss podcast with me singling out the 15 strategies that helped to build Arnold Schwarzenegger net worth.  Make sure to listen to this episode.  If you emulate his model spelled out for you here, increased success and happiness will follow.

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Wow, I didn’t realize he Arnold did all of that before he was a movie star