In a recent edition of his newsletter, The Pump Daily, actor and legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his thoughts on what it takes to find happiness in life, and revealed the “one sure path” he would recommend to feel joy.
Schwarzenegger was prompted to open up about his own life philosophy in response to a recent study, which appeared to find that people generally seem to be happier in life the more money they have. Which certainly makes sense on the surface of things; the more financially secure you are, the fewer immediate worries you will have, such as food, housing, and access to healthcare. And to an extent, Schwarzenegger agrees.
“It always drives me nuts when rich people tell other people that ‘money can’t buy you happiness.’ It can definitely buy you a lot of comforts, and it can make life much easier,” he wrote. “But I also don’t think that comfort or ease is the same as happiness. You can be the most comfortable person in the world and still be completely depressed.
“I think that all of you should try to make as much money as you want,” he continued. “But if something is missing in your life, and you find that the money and the comfort it buys you don’t make you happy, my guess is you need to find a purpose. You need to be useful. I’ve known a lot of miserable, angry, rich people.”
Schwarzenegger went on to recall how, when he was first starting out in bodybuilding, he would work as a bricklayer with his friend Franco Colombu in between classes and training, and didn’t have much money to his name at all. “But I did have a vision,” he said. “I think that’s the key to happiness.”
Of course, pursuing your goals and trying to achieve your vision can often be the work of an entire lifetime. If you want to feel fulfilled in the here and now, Schwarzenegger has a recommendation.
“There is also one more thing: if you have tried to find happiness and you just can’t, one sure path is to help someone else,” he wrote. “I still remember in the late 70s, when I went to train Special Olympics athletes for the first time in Wisconsin, I went back to my hotel room just feeling fantastic. I’m talking pure joy. I sat there and thought, ‘Why am I so happy? I didn’t make any money today. I didn’t win any awards.’ I’d given back. I felt useful. That’s true happiness.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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