Five main lessons from Chapter 1 of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Be Useful: 7 Tools for Life’


In his new book Be Useful, Arnold Schwarzenegger offers a compelling exploration of life lessons that extend far beyond the realms of bodybuilding and politics. 

From facing adversity with resilience, as he did during his tenure as governor, to the significance of having a clear vision and plan, Schwarzenegger presents a multi-faceted approach to success and personal growth. 

Here, we bring you an audio version of the introduction and first chapter of the book, including the five main lessons you will learn that you can apply in your life and business.

Resilience in adversity

Schwarzenegger discusses the challenges he faced during his tenure as governor, particularly during the global financial crisis. 

He emphasises the importance of resilience and perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles, demonstrating that even successful figures encounter significant hardships.

The real estate application

Real estate is often thought of as a glamorous profession, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. 

Agents need to cope with economic downturns, difficult negotiation processes and, as recently seen, global pandemics.

Resilience is a character trait that can be developed and built upon. 

Agents can also create a series of strategies to maintain motivation and adapt to changing market dynamics, to ensure they can continue to deliver excellent service to clients even in tough times.

Impact of vision and planning 

Schwarzenegger highlights the crucial role of having a clear vision and plan in life. 

He shares his experience of setting and pursuing goals, whether that be in bodybuilding, acting, or politics and how this lesson underscores the importance of having clarity in your objectives and your dedication to achieving them.

The real estate application

Having a clear plan is also essential for success in the real estate industry. 

This could involve setting specific sales targets, increasing your GCI or the number of doors under management or refreshing your brand identity. 

A well-defined plan helps you navigate the competitive landscape of real estate, keep you on target, and pull you back if you stray from your goals.

Value of experience and adaptation

Schwarzenegger also reflects on his various roles and experiences, spanning the gamut from bodybuilding to acting and politics. 

He says learning from each experience – both successes and failures – helped him develop personally and professionally.

The key to enjoying the positives and overcoming any negative experiences was to remain adaptable. 

The real estate application

The diverse experience that Schwarzenegger highlights can be mirrored in real estate by embracing various market segments or adapting to new technologies and trends. 

Real estate professionals can learn from each transaction, client interaction, or market change, using these experiences to refine their approach and services. 

Adaptability in techniques, such as virtual property showings as were required during Covid, or the switch to digital contracts can help agents streamline their processes but also help meet a more diverse range of client needs.

Importance of being useful and impactful 

As the title suggests, the concept of being useful is a central theme in Schwarzenegger’s book.

He reveals his efforts to make a positive impact on society through initiatives like fitness festivals and political reforms. 

This lesson conveys the idea that personal fulfilment and success also come from contributing positively to the community and making a difference in the lives of others.

The real estate application

Connecting with the community is also a critical strategy in real estate to both give back and for agents to build their brand. 

From turning the snags at a school fete to offering workshops for first-time buyers or lending their skills to events such as charity auctions, agents can build a strong reputation for ‘being useful’.

Self-reflection and personal growth

The final lesson Schwarzenegger conveys is the importance of self-reflection, understanding yourself, and personal growth. 

He champions looking beyond superficial goals and understanding your deeper motivations and aspirations, which can lead to more meaningful and fulfilling achievements.

The real estate application

In the world of real estate, applying this lesson could involve turning your gaze inwards to assess or reassess your prospecting skills or listing presentation. 

It might involve practising your negotiation skills with a trusted mentor and regularly completing training to grow personally and professionally. 

Growth not only enhances your capability to serve your clients better, it also contributes to greater career satisfaction and success.



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