About 10 years ago, the GOAT of the industry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, came to my gym. He walked in, and instantly saw a picture of himself hanging over the dumbbells. I asked him if he recognized that guy. He gave me the head nod as to say, “Yeah, motherfucker, I know who that guy is." Very GOATish.
What followed was one of my most legendary interviews of my career.
Nothing tastes as good as being a champion
One of the things he said in that interview that stood out was the response he gave when I asked him about him cheating on his diet and how to stay disciplined. He said, “Cory, nothing tastes as good as being a champion.” He said that pie or bread doesn't taste better than winning does.
I’ve experienced my own version of this multiple times throughout my career. When I was so dialed for a magazine cover or show, I used to have similar thoughts. I never wanted to think, “Well, if I wouldn’t have cheated two weeks ago, I probably would look better in this moment.”
I was so deeply absorbed in the discipline that I was willing to do whatever it took to be the most prepared. I would especially think about these things on the days that I was struggling to hold it together. I remember literally walking into my pantry and looking at all the food I wanted to eat, then walking back out and saying to myself, “Cory, nothing tastes as good as being a champion.”
That’s the self-talk I’m talking about. We all need it.
Compete against your old self
Look, I know you’re probably not trying to be a seven-time Mr. Olympia Champion like Arnold. Chances are you’re not trying to compete in bodybuilding.
But you should compete with your old self to be better. You should compete with yourself to be healthier. You should compete with yourself to get that promotion at work or grow your business. You should compete to build out a more confident version of yourself.
What did Arnold say?
If I do this, is that better than feeling the sense of accomplishment? Because that's what that is.
Is eating that whole bag of jalapeno potato chips on Tuesday night going to taste better than having a lower body weight this Friday than last Friday? Think about when you put your t-shirt on and look in the mirror and instantly feel more confident because of what you see.
Now, think of the carryover effect of this confidence. You’re now feeling more confident and walking a little bit taller when you walk in for your business meeting. You’re ready to blaze that motherfucker.
Think about these things before you act purely on emotion. Don’t cave in so easily. You’ll be amazed at what happens.