Commonly referred to as “The Terminator”, this specific Hollywood acting role was what eventually meant the big breakthrough for legend Arnold Schwarzenegger on a global scale. The U.S-Austrian climbed the career ladder in many ways and managed to receive recognition especially in the United States, which became his home turf after he moved there in the late ‘60s.

From physical body image to standing his ground in Hollywood and eventually turning his focus towards the political sphere, Arnold Schwarzenegger – the man with the unpronounceable name – has, despite controversies, been perceived as an example of the real “American Dream”. Mr. “I’ll be back” created his very own legacy and changed society’s perceptions along the way.

Not Just a Physical Embodiment of Strength

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Schwarzenegger’s strength depicted on a house wall in Venice Beach, USA

Muscle Beach in quirky Venice, California – who hasn’t heard of it? It’s where Arnold Schwarzenegger began his career in bodybuilding in the 1970s, which would also lay the foundation for his future path in the light of the public. Bodybuilding was far more advanced as a sport in the U.S. during the ‘60s and, still being in Austria at that time but getting involved in it, “Mr. Body” got his inspiration from U.S. magazines. At only 19 years of age, Schwarzenegger won his first (out of five) Mr. Universe competition as the youngest contestor. Throughout his career would follow seven additional Mr. Olympia awards.

The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Many just looked at his body image – and might still do so -, but “Arnie” always had the determination in him, earned from his strength building that involved a greater, stronger mindset than people might have initially assumed. He applied his success at the gym to his achievements and ambition away from the bench. Only a combination of strong physical and emotional components could be elements to push further in life.

Challenging People’s Perception

As a legend, Schwarzenegger did not only physically embody strength, on the contrary. Since he understood early on that the mind needs to be engaged in physical achievements to make it far in the bodybuilding field, he carried this strength on to further aspects of his life. It was exactly his openness regarding his training procedures and the psychological aspect involved in “growing muscle” that eventually helped him change the overall image of the sport of bodybuilding, which gained more appreciation. One person can, indeed, have the power to change a society’s perception.

IFBB Hall of Fame honored his achievements back in 1999. This was just two years after Schwarzenegger received an artificial heart valve. It further symbolizes his physical and emotional strength that he, undoubtedly, carried throughout life.  

Example of the “American Dream”

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Terminator Wall – Schwarzenegger’s most famous acting role marking his global breakthrough – Las Vegas, USA

Regardless of, for some people, questionable personal choices, professionally, Schwarzenegger climbed the ladder in many realms. His career as an athlete was only the beginning. Having grown up under the strict watch of his parents and, eventually, coming to America, his life continued to be a turbulent one, to say the least.

Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. – A. Schwarzenegger

He was determined to become an actor, as he’d always had a thing for action movies. Under the pseudonym “Arnold Strong”, he embodied the hero “Hercules” in his very first movie Hercules in New York. Due to his ambitious, determined personality and impressive physical appearance, Schwarzenegger has frequently been compared to the mythology of Hercules. Fitting.

Regardless of the success rate of certain movies he appeared in, one role brought him international fame: “The Terminator.” Even his accent, which soon became his trademark and shows that strong, personal uniqueness and staying true to yourself can bring you far, didn’t keep him from pursuing his acting career. He ultimately became one of the most famous action heroes of all time. As a former immigrant, people could now see him in supernatural size on billboards and walls of buildings, such as in Las Vegas, shown in the photo above.

Achieving Anything, Changing Perspectives

“Arnie” became the prime example of living and creating the American Dream for himself as a former immigrant – now U.S. citizen. The face of a man who embodies physical, psychological strength, as well as a lot of willpower. Despite many critics’ opinions, people could see it everywhere. He challenged their, oftentimes stereotypical, thinking.

If you work hard and play by the rules, this country is truly open to you. You can achieve anything. – A. Schwarzenegger

After 2002, Schwarzenegger stepped it up a notch and attended fully to politics. As the 38th Governor of California, he was at the peak of his diverse career, from 2003-2011. Noteworthy is his approach to green thinking and protection of the environment.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – a true epitome of striving for and living the American Dream as a former immigrant. He is a prime example of the fact that determination and ambition, a strong mindset and personality, can lead to a successful life. Even more so, to positive actions that impact one’s legacy and encourages society to look deeper, behind the surface.