See why Arnold Schwarzenegger refuses the label 'self-made.'

It's hard to think of someone who's made more out of less than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The 69-year-old actor, philanthropist, bodybuilder, and former governor of California was born in a house with no plumbing in Austria — a country was plagued by food shortages at the time.

Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images.


Like all great people, though, Arnold didn't become successful by himself. He had help from teachers, mentors, and motivators — and he'll be the first to tell you so.

Schwarzenegger shared a poignant note on Facebook dispelling the myth that he is an entirely "self-made man."

Written originally as the foreword to Tim Ferris' book "Tools of Titans," Schwarzenegger's post began by explaining that whenever someone calls him a "self-made man," he gives thanks for the compliment but rejects the notion:

"It is true that I grew up in Austria without plumbing. It is true that I moved to America alone with just a gym bag. And it is true that I worked as a bricklayer and invested in real estate to become a millionaire before I ever swung the sword in Conan the Barbarian."

He thanked the people in his life who helped him achieve his dreams, saying he "stood on the shoulders of giants" to get there.

"But it is not true that I am self-made. Like everyone, to get to where I am, I stood on the shoulders of giants. My life was built on a foundation of parents, coaches, and teachers; of kind souls who lent couches or gym back rooms where I could sleep; of mentors who shared wisdom and advice; of idols who motivated me from the pages of magazines (and, as my life grew, from personal interaction)."

Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International.

Arnold went on to describe some of the most meaningful interactions he's had with the people who helped him get to where he is today.

From seeing bodybuilder Reg Park on a magazine cover and hearing about how he transitioned to a career in acting to Joe Weider coaching Schwarzenegger through his first years in America.

He thanked iconic actress Lucille Ball, who gave Schwarzenegger his first break in Hollywood. He also shared his gratitude for people like Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, and Andy Warhol, who he counts among his personal influences and heroes.

Finally, Schwarzenegger wrote, he owes his political career to the 4.2 million Californians who elected him governor in 2003.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

"So how can I ever claim to be self-made?" Schwarzenegger asked in his note. "To accept that mantle discounts every person and every piece of advice that got me here. And it gives the wrong impression — that you can do it alone."

Schwarzenegger's message is a powerful reminder that being entirely self-made is nothing more than a myth. Everyone who achieves success had help from someone else, and how they show that gratitude can speak volumes about their character.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Schwarzenegger didn't achieve success by himself — because no one can. We all have to lean on each other and offer our help to others when they need it.

As Schwarzenegger wrote, "whether it’s a morning routine, or a philosophy or training tip, or just motivation to get through your day, there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t benefit from a little outside help."

So next time someone you admire uses the phrase "self-made" to describe themselves, think of Schwarzenegger. Whoever you're talking to or about — a favorite actor, an entrepreneur, or even a president — remember that no matter what they say, they've had lots of help to get where they are. It's not about knocking them down — it's about recognizing that we're all in this together, and none of us can do it alone.

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

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