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The Myth of the Self-Made Man

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Arnold Schwarzenegger on being a self-made man:

“I came over here with absolutely nothing. I had $20 in the pocket and some sweaty clothes in a gym bag. But let me tell you, I had this one little apartment and on Thanksgiving, the bodybuilders from Gold’s Gym came to my apartment and they brought me pillows, dishes, silverware, all of the things I didn’t have. None of us can make it alone. None of us. Not even me, who’s been the Terminator and went back in time to save the human race. Not even me, that fought and killed predators with his bare hands.

“I always tell people that you can call me anything that you want, but don’t ever, ever call me a self-made man. It gives the wrong impression, that we can do it alone. None of us can. The whole concept of the self-made man or woman is a myth. I would have never made it in my life without the help. I want you to understand this because as soon as you know you are here because of a lot of help, then you also understand that now it’s time to help others. That’s what this is all about.”

Even though I write a lot about independence and self-reliance, I also try to be aware of other factors that allowed those values to foster and develop, at least in my case. I was fortunate to have parents who cared for me. I also had various privilege—racial, gender, socioeconomic, citizenship, etc.

And then, of course, I had a lot of help… which is why, like the Terminator, I believe that now is the time to help others.

Link: “No One Can Do It Alone”

Image: Paulo

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