Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 10,000 hour rule of success

A challenging new role for the terminator? Read on.

What’s on tap next for the former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California?

On Monday morning (9-23-12), I heard Leslie Stahl talking about the former California governor’s new “tell all” book, Total Recall. With the book raising a bit of a controversy among family members and others, CBS This Morning co-hosts Charlie Rose & Nora O’Donnell were both asking, “Why in the world is he doing this? Why dredge all of this old news up again? What’s in it for him?”

Leslie responded, “He’s looking for a fourth act.” She then noted that he’d reached the world class level in three totally different fields of endeavor: bodybuilding, acting and politics—although one could argue that the last two are quite similar. She also mentioned the 10,000-hour rule, made famous by author Malcolm Gladwell, who claims that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

4th Act? At this point I was thinking, maybe Arnold’s fourth act could be tackling the world-saving task of helping to lead the human race back to the natural diet for our species. For our health, for the cost of health care, for the environment, for the critters and for the longterm sustainability of the human race. So, I am thinking:

“Why don’t we hire the Terminator for the world’s most important task?”

When Leslie Stahl mentioned a “4th act” for the governor, I immediately thought of one.

But does he have the 10,000 hours of experience and what does he know about the natural diet for our species? Let’s take a look at the second question first.

A brief internet search reveals that he probably knows very little about what we really should be eating. He’s probably not read The China Study and he probably believes that our most important nutrient is protein—from animals.

But, after reading a handful of books and visiting with a few people like Bill Clinton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tony Gonzalez, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish—the terminator will know all he needs to know about the optimal, whole foods, plant-based diet for humans. Like me, he will probably experience a blinding flash of the obvious fairly early in this orientation phase—at which time, he will probably say, “Oh my God, we’re eating the wrong food!”

But what about the 10,000 hours? He doesn’t need to have 10,000 hours of training in plant-based nutrition to be the leader; he just needs to “get it,” regardless of how few hours it might take. Primarily what he needs he already has: leadership skills, international recognition and the ability to sell his ideas to others. Leslie Stahl, who just interviewed him for 60 Minutes said that he was one of the most charming, interesting and witty people that she’d ever met.

As the “Terminator,” he is probably one of the most recognizable faces in the world.

The Bottom Line. We need an internationally recognized person who is ready to take the lead and make this Harmony Project the number one priority in his life. He will then recruit other leaders who will help in spreading this world-changing message around the globe.

FYI, the Harmony Project is what I call the collective process of rapidly moving the human race in the direction of living in harmony with the rest of the planet. And the single most important step that we can take is moving rapidly in the direction of a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Maybe someone who reads this blog can get it in the hands of the former governor. Maybe he’ll “get it” and maybe he won’t, but it’s worth a shot. If he’s looking for a fourth act that will dwarf the combined significance of his first three, this one could be it—and it would certainly enable him to fulfill his most famous promise:

I’ll Be Back!

If so, welcome back Mr. Governor. It will be fun working with you as we all work together to lead the world in the implementation of the simple truths found in this handy kit. Hasta La Vista, Baby!

Consecutive daily blogs. (No endorsement of the product; just acknowledging their providing today’s numerals.)

One more thing. As for the 10,000 hour rule, I believe that I am there in my new career. After almost ten years of studying, writing, speaking, blogging and coaching—I proclaim to have reached the 10,,000 hour level today—with the posting of my 600th consecutive daily blog.

That works out to only 2 hours, 47 minutes per day since I started in November of 2002. I also believe that my 10,000 hours in this new career exceeds the combined total time invested in earning my engineering degree and my MBA.

As for The Harmony Project mentioned earlier, a tour of these earlier blogs will give you a good idea of the kind of international leadership that is needed—urgently. Okay, maybe Arnold is a long shot. Maybe not. Will someone please forward this blog to someone who knows Arnold? And tell him we’ve got an idea for his 4th Act.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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8 Responses to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 10,000 hour rule of success

  1. Here is progress re McD’s lowering health insurance costs in the past:

    Dr. McDougall, Why Do You Act That Way?
    . . . . . Etc. . . .
    Other McDougall Programs

    But, I had run the McDougall Program many times without them. Between 1999 and 2001 I ran my program in Minneapolis, Minnesota for Blue Cross Blue Shield—the medical insurance company. During this three-year period, with three different groups of their employees, I was able to show the same remarkable health benefits we were getting at St. Helena Hospital: weight loss, reduction in cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugars; relief of indigestion, constipation, arthritis, etc. This time I was also able to document a 44% reduction in healthcare costs for each of the three groups based on the insurance company’s own claims data. I had had a similar experience in Lakeland, Florida caring for some of the employees of Publix Supermarkets. Both of these remote programs were run out of local hotels. I can set up a 10-day McDougall Program in any city in the US within 72 hours. I still can’t understand why anyone would think the McDougall Program would depend upon anything other than sensible people looking to regain their lost health and appearance.

    Enjoy his whole history article on “Why he acts that way!” Note the ’70s haircut.

  2. Jim – This is a ponderous .pdf :

    Click to access Towers-Watson-NBGH-2012.pdf

    An extract:
    Most Implemented by Consistent Performers in 2012

    The consistent performers took a number
    of significant steps in 2012 to improve the efficiency of their health care programs
    (Figure 29). In particular, the most successful companies extensively used data and metrics to evaluate their programs and, over the last year, increased their analysis of care gaps and use of independent estimates of savings and ROI. They also optimized plan and PBM efficiency through audits and fee renegotiation. In addition, 13% of consistent performers added an account-based health plan in 2012 to help manage costs and to further develop a workplace culture where employees are accountable for managing and improving their health.

    Low levels of employee engagement in their health management programs is a persistent challenge for many companies. The most successful companies are boosting their program communication by actively managing vendor-prepared materials and expanding communication to include spouses. Consistent performers are also investing in communicating health messages through new technologies, such as social media tools, and promoting friendly team competitions among employees, which can add significantly to a healthy workplace culture.
    Readers who want to look further, here is the search:

  3. Kyrena says:

    My “Outliers” just arrived yesterday 🙂

  4. Jim – Re Corporate client promoting health — years ago Dr. McDougall worked with some companies and greatly reduced health care costs. I just goggled but did not yet find that story on the McD website. In the meantime, here is Dr. McD’s good, more recent article on the problem:

    The Long-term Solution Is a Fit American Workforce

    The downhill spiral for the American worker must be stopped, and there is no better place to start than at the dinner table. Replacing the current animal-food-based diet with a starch-based diet will return workers to a productive state of health, almost overnight. You, personally, do not have to wait to be saved by another government-sponsored stimulus program. Take control, get back your health, get off medications, and away from frequent visits to doctors, laboratories, and hospitals. Switching from beef and butter to beans and barley will cut your personal food bill too, from $14 to $3 a day today. That would mean a $44 a day savings for a family of four, which equates to an extra $1,300 a month saved on food alone.
    President Obama has asked Americans to make sacrifices. Healthy delicious food is no sacrifice. Americans forfeit nothing when they lose excess body fat, stop unnecessary medications and surgeries, and regain their strength. They do, however, avoid illnesses, disabilities, and the likelihood of premature death with this simple change. In order to have this option, people need to be told the truth and to receive a little guidance on switching to a starch-based diet.

    The pessimist can take some consolation in the observation that the exportation of the American diet is leveling the playing field to a new low. Sickness and obesity are escalating in China, Korea, Japan, India, Argentina, and the rest of those countries that have recently acquired the jobs once held by Americans. The right approach for America is to take a giant positive step forward to a starch-based diet in order to return productivity and prosperity to our workforce. In the process, American leadership in nutrition-based health will raise living standards worldwide.

  5. Linda201 says:

    The China Study (T.Colin Campbell) has been on the New York Times bestseller list for years. Eat to Live (Dr. Joel Fuhrman) has been on the New York Times bestseller list and the Amazon best seller list for years, also. Forks over Knives (the DVD and the original book) is selling VERY well. More and more regular people ARE reading/learning about the plant based diet. Hopefully, more and more people will make big changes as a result.

  6. Anne says:

    Arnold? You’ ve got to be kidding!

  7. Sal Liggieri says:


    Why do you think any one person can make a difference? And why Arnold, his image is already tarnished. Even if the government issued a proclamation: Plant Foods Now! What would change-nothing.

    All the plant foods doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, what has been their impact-minimal.

    How many books on plant food diets written by knowledgeable doctors, have been sold? I’m sure the number is negligible. And that is the problem, people don’t care to change their diet until their health betrays them and for most even that won’t do it.

    I would say that Atkins has sold more books on diet than all the plant foods books combined. That does say something about change doesn’t it. I think Dr McDougall said it: “People want to hear good things about their bad habits.”

    And so the beat goes on: Change, where is thy sweet touch.

    Sal Liggieri

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Sal, Good questions—as expected. I have been blogging now for 600 consecutive days about the need for global leadership. We need someone to step forward and make “dispelling the protein myth” and restoring harmony on this planet their number one goal. We need a big, internationally recognized name—like a Bill Clinton, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates—or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

      Yes, Arnold’s image is a bit tarnished, but Bill Clinton has been there and managed to come back. The point it that no one has stepped forward to lead this urgently needed revolution. Arnold has risen to the world-class level in three different arenas—and Leslie Stahl said he’s looking for his 4th act. I said it was a long shot—but I don’t see anyone else stepping forward.

      As for myself, I am searching for my first big corporate client to start promoting health for all of their employees. When a Fortune 100 company starts posting health care cost reductions, the world will take notice and “60 Minutes” will come calling. Who knows? This corporate vehicle might turn out to be how the world learns about these simple, yet powerful, world-changing truths.

      Thanks for your interest and support. Sincerely, Jim

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