There is No Maybe

By Jim Smith

Earlier this year, it was announced that Arnold was accepting a position at Muscle & Fitness and FLEX magazines as their new executive editor.  I started considering why Arnold would take on this new role, especially with his hectic work schedule.  I didn’t have to think about it long before it came to me; he was reconnecting with his passion

Fitness and bodybuilding have given Arnold passion, direction, belief in himself, and strength of body and mind.  Ultimately, Arnold had a blueprint for his life that was fueled by his early struggles and early successes.

In fact, Arnold’s successes in life – bodybuilding, movies, and politics – were all driven by the power of his mind.  He believed in himself when no one else did.  He did another repetition in the gym, when the pain caused others to quit.  He took acting and speech classes when everyone said he couldn’t make it.  He set goals, hit them, and kept driving forward. 

Where Did the Passion Go?

Deep down, it is passion that drives all of us.  Or at least, it used to drive us, when things were much simpler.  As a child, our possibilities seemed endless and there was no limit to our dreams.  We marveled at every new experience and we gave freely with our hearts.  We had passion for all things.

We could be and do anything we wanted.

But reality smacked us in the face and kept the pressure on as we moved into adulthood and all of the responsibilities that come with it.  Our belief systems changed, subtlety, and without us knowing it. 

We substituted passion with ‘safe and practical.’  We bought things and got jobs to pay for them.  We got comfortable in the daily grind of our 9-5 jobs because it was secure.  We forgot about that child and their hopes and dreams.  We grew ‘comfortably numb.’

We became afraid of the unpredictable and found security in repetition.  We became cynical and angry with those who seemed happy all the time and chalked it up to their naivety. 

We turned inward and became selfish. 

We began to only think of our needs and wants because satisfying them gave us temporary relief from our current situation.  We silenced that child inside of us, too afraid – like Bukowski’s Bluebird – to show weakness and expose our true selves.

But all is not lost.  There is hope.  There is always hope. 

Real strength can come from being honest with yourself and stating the truth.  The strength needed to change your life – in an instant.

We can rekindle that passion again; we just have to break the pattern.

Pattern Interrupt

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The amazing thing about your life is that you can change it literally overnight just by changing how you perceive experiences and by developing a relentless mindset. 

You can wake up and say, “Today I will be different.”  You can decide that things are going to change and you are going to be the person you always wanted to be; no matter how many obstacles you have to overcome.

You can say:

Today, I will replace “maybe” with I can, I will.

Today, fear will not drive my actions.

Today, I will listen to others and show kindness to strangers.

Today, I will quit complaining about my job, my car, others' actions – and I will focus on myself and what I need to do to make my life better.

Today, I will set goals and work toward them relentlessly.

Situations happen to everyone every day.  Our perception of these situations determines if they are good or bad, positive or negative, opportunities or obstacles.

We can reframe any experience that we initially identify as an obstacle into an opportunity and use this opportunity to keep driving forward.  Maybe it wasn’t the path you imagined, but you have to keep moving.

Creating a new and positive mindset can change everything.

Champion of Your Life

To illustrate this point, let me tell you a story.

I found an interview where Arnold was reminiscing about doing seminars all over California at prisons and institutions, talking about what it takes to become a champion.  When he asked the attendees what they wanted to do with their life, someone would inevitably answer, “Someday, maybe I could pursue (insert goal here).”

Arnold’s response? 

There is no maybe.

Arnold continued, “You have to get up and say, ‘I want to be a champion and I will do whatever it takes.’  You have to create a goal and go after it.  If you don’t see it and you don’t believe it, who else will?”

“You have to visualize and that creates the will.” 

In my experience, if you give yourself this ‘out’ by thinking ‘maybe’, then you’ll never make it.  Trust me, if you think maybe you can do something, a lot of doors open up to quit when things get hard.

Maybe is not going to cut it when the only time you can work on your passion is after your 9-5 job is done for the day and you’re tired as hell.  Yes, for now, if you want to change your life, you are going to have to continue to work at the job you have while you work on your passion during your free time.  And when you’ve built up your passion and eliminated the excess in your life, then you can move to your passion full time.

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it is going to be worth it.

Rest assured, when you are absolutely sure of yourself and where you want to go, you will not let anything stand in your way. 

You can become the champion of your life by living like there is no tomorrow.

The time is now.


Jim is a proud Dad, strength coach, and entrepreneur.  Co-author of the best selling Athletic Development Training system and co-founder of the CPPS certification for coaches, Jim has been recognized as one of the ‘most innovative coaches’ in the fitness industry.  Jim is regularly featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness.

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