Many years ago in a land far away there lived a poor boy who sought a better life. His dad went to work as a police officer and brought home a meager salary. His mother was a stay-at-home mom and so he had to work to earn money for the things that he wanted. It was common for most people to get jobs as a plumber or a carpenter, only to bring home an income that only provided a hand and mouth existence at best. I do not want to do that, he thought to himself. I want something better. The problem was he didn’t know what a “better life” looked like, at least for him.
One day, he came across a magazine with a picture of Italian star Reg Park. The headline of the story read “How Reg Park became Hercules by Winning Mr. Universe.” The article told of Park’s 3 Mr. Universe titles, which attracted him to Hollywood Producers for the part of Hercules. Park became an international movie star, and later built a gymnasium empire in South Africa. The boy, pleased with what he read, discovered a new vision for his life. “I want to go to America, to the land of opportunity, and this is the way I get there,” he said.
The next day the boy went to a gym and started working out. He immediately noticed that he was not dressed like everyone else. “I really need some workout clothes,” he said.
It just so happened that the boy lived near a lake. During the summer there were thousands of people around the lake swimming and soaking up the sun. On one side of the lake there was an ice cream stand, with a line of people that extended a long way back. You know, the boy thought, if the ice cream was closer to everyone, then people wouldn’t have to stand in line. So the boy approached the man working in the stand and said, “Why don’t you give me a bucket and I’ll try to sell this ice cream before it melts.”
After getting a bucket of ice cream, the boy proceeded to walk around the lake and sell ice cream to those he saw. He found one couple in some bushes making out. The boy didn’t let that stop him. He approached them calmly and confidently saying, “Excuse me, would you like to buy some ice cream?”
The man in the bushes, obviously just wanting to be left alone, said aggressively, “Alright!”
The boy went to every person, one by one, and did not stop until all the ice cream was sold. Eventually he had enough to buy a pair of gym shorts.
Every once in a while, others would notice the boy’s efforts and inquisitively ask what was driving him to do this. His response was often met with criticism, with comments such as: “What makes you think you can do that!” or “You can’t do that. It won’t work.”
Through the years, the boy continued to work and save his money. By now, the boy had become used to others almost daily criticism. But his diligence had paid off. At the age of 21, he became the youngest person to ever win the Mr. Universe Title two years in a row.
His accomplishments got the attention of Joe Weeder, the guy who started the bodybuilding sport. At the personal invitation of Joe Weeder, the boy whose name is Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America with $27,000 to his name and went on to not only play Hercules, just like his hero, but also become one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, but not without enduring more criticism.
This time he was told, “No one with an accent has ever become a leading man.” “How can someone with a last name like yours be a movie star” and the laughable “You’re too overdeveloped to work in movies.”
John Milius, who directed the Conan movies, provides the best response to the scoffers and naysayers. Commenting on the casting of Arnold for the role of Conan, he said “If it weren’t for Schwarzenegger, we would’ve had to build one.”