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"Get to the Chopper," or Fatherly Wisdom from the Terminator

The Governator shares advice on clearing your vision

Man looking forward on top of glasses

As part of the Kelce craze, I have listened to a few of the “New Heights” podcasts—a very cool project for the two Kelce brothers, Ohio-natives who have both had successful NFL careers. With Jason Kelce now retired, it will be interesting to see where his career goes. After tuning into a recent episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it sounds like Jason may have opportunity in movies and film.

Arnold was promoting his new book called “Be Useful” (which I have not read yet). It is an autobiographical collection of seven rules that helped the fitness legend, Hollywood icon and former California governor live life to the fullest—including becoming Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia, the latter 7 times, as well as the highest paid actor in Hollywood for a while and the governor of California. Arnold has had a career like no other, defining the action movie genre with the believability of his physique. Who else could play Conan the Barbarian?   

But what does he attribute his success to? Arnold boils it down to advice he received from his father: “Be useful.”

Being useful and the seven tools for life

In the podcast and Arnold’s Netflix docuseries, “be useful” became a way of life for the Governator. After a near lifetime of reflection, Arnold “focuses in” on how he has taken steps toward being useful throughout his career, arguing that the following “Seven Tools for Life” will keep you inspired and taking action towards your dreams.

  1. Have a clear vision.
  2. Never think small.
  3. Work your ass off.
  4. Sell, sell, sell.
  5. Shift gears.
  6. Shut your mouth, open your mind.
  7. Break your mirrors.

Arnold breaks down the “Seven Tools for Life” in the podcast with the Kelce brothers and now has me hooked to go read the book. In the interview, Arnold talks about the first rule, which seems to be the most important—both for personal and professional success.

With one of my sons finishing up his freshman year of college and another graduating from high school, the father in me always looks to provide wisdom and guidance. Technical Glass Products (TGP) also has a new sales team member starting who is eager and ready to learn. “Have a clear vision” can mean a few things and can help most of us achieve, whether that’s finishing a semester in school or starting a new career.

How to have a clear vision

Having a clear vision for your goals can seem like having everything figured out, but it does not necessarily have to. Arnold has talked about starting broad and narrowing focus. For him, that meant living in America, a dream which he focused on through bodybuilding, breaking into Hollywood and having a political career.

I think about this advice for both my sons. They’re figuring out what to study and which career paths they want to go down. What did they love as kids? What kind of person do they want to be? How can these broad interests be focused and refined with each successful semester? As Arnold says, he was always smiling in the gym because he knew each rep was one step closer to his dream. The same could be said about growing up.

Having a clear vision is also important for a career, especially in the glazing industry—no pun intended. With so many aspects to the business, understanding your goals and what drives you is massively important. And just like personal growth, having a clear vision does not need to be static. Focusing in and shifting gears when appropriate are part of the process.

Arnold is a key example of that—starting with bodybuilding, shifting to action films (and again to comedy) and pivoting to politics and now writing. While all these moves may seem like huge changes, they are all steps toward his ultimate dream. So whether you are 6 months or 60 years into a career, know what your goals are and be open to new paths to achieve them.

Finding wisdom in unlikely places

Who would have thought that I would be quoting or passing on advice from the Terminator to my sons, a new team member and the glazing world at large? But it fits and it is useful. It is impossible to know everything or to have it all figured out, so part of being a father and a mentor is finding wisdom wherever you can. For me, for this month, that wisdom comes from Mr. Freeze himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I’d like to end this blog on advice with a special thanks and shout out to my boss Barry Brisben. Barry has helped me become a better leader over the years and announced his retirement earlier this week. As Arnold says in Terminator 2, ”Hasta la vista, baby.” See you on the golf course in Pebble Creek.


Dave Vermeuelen

David Vermeulen

David Vermeulen is the North America Sales Director at Technical Glass Products (TGP), a division of Allegion that supplies fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. Contact him at 800/426-0279.