Taking responsibility and being an ideal – what does that mean to you?
I am a huge advocate of taking responsibility and taking action. Everything I have accomplished has been a result of taking action and my drive to make things happen. Every facet of my career from bodybuilding to movie making to politics has been built on this foundation. I learned at a very young age that you must go out and forge a path for yourself.
Trust yourself, dig deep down and ask yourself: ‘who do I want to be?’. Not what, but who. Not what your parents or teachers want you to be, but you. Figure out for yourself, what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to some people.
We have so many rules in life about everything – – break the rules! It is impossible to be a true original if you are too well-behaved. You have to think outside the box. What is the point of being on this world if all you want is to be liked by everyone. The only way that I ever got any place was by breaking some of the rules.
And with anything that I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, success will come.
How many times have you heard: you can’t do this, you can’t do that. It has never been done before. I love it when someone says that no one has ever done that before, because if I do it, that means that I am the first! Pay no attention to people that say that it can’t be done.
Another key to success is leaving no stone unturned. Muhammed Ali, one of my greatest hero’s had a great line when he was asked: ‘how many sit ups do you do?’. He said: ‘I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, that is when I start counting, because then it really counts, that’s what makes you a champion’. That’s the way it is with everything, no pain, no gain.
Finally, whatever path that you take in your life, you must always find time to give something back. Give something back to your community, give something back to your state or your country. Reaching out and helping people will bring you more satisfaction than everything else you’ve ever done.
I believe the challenges we face require role models to give us inspiration and a path forward. Leaders like UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, for example, who is committed to tackling many of the world’s problems; and. Sargent Shriver was a great role model for me. He launched the Peace Corps, the Job Corps and among other things served as the President of the Special Olympics for many years. He was passionate about serving others and I have drawn much inspiration by his examples.
Like every chapter in history there are great challenges and great leaders to face those challenges. For me personally, I am committed to taking action and serve as a role model in our fight against one of the greatest challenges we face – climate change.
Serving as a Role Model in Protecting the Environment and Policy Reform
As Governor of the state of California with the help of my dedicated and brilliant staff I was able to establish California as a leader in protecting the environment and promoting clean energy. But California only became a worldwide leader in addressing climate change when I worked across the political aisle to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (known as “AB 32”), which made California the first state in the nation to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. AB32 was just one of several groundbreaking initiatives we enacted and promoted while I was in office, always reaching out to people of different views and backgrounds and getting them to be a part of the solution.
Recognizing that there was still more work to be done to build sustainable, low-carbon economies around the world and at the urging of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, since leaving office I co-founded the R20 Regions of Climate Action a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and implement low carbon projects at the sub national level that are designed to produce local economic and environmental benefits in the form of reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; strong local economies; improved public health; and new green jobs. Through its members, partners and observers the R20’s activities connect more than 560 subnational and local governments around the world in order to create clean energy projects that are effective in protecting the environment and the health of our people.
In addition, in August 2012, the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy was launched to provide students an opportunity to focus on the responsibility of leaders to transcend partisanship in order to implement policies that most benefit the people they serve. Its five priority areas of focus are education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic policy, health and human wellness, and political reform.
In the last year I have had the privilege to speak to groups all over the world about the work that I’m doing – both on climate change and my other passions including education and health – the feedback I receive is not surprising – people are recognizing that they can be a part of the solution for whatever challenge we face.
Serving as an example of what is possible brings me great satisfaction. I am living proof that with hard work, dedication and vision you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Along with making movies I am more dedicated than ever to further the causes I am working on. In particular, I’m extremely optimistic that we can solve the climate crisis and in doing can build a truly sustainable global economy. It’s my next crusade and I hope that my work will inspire others to take action themselves.