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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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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