Will Smith has been one of my role models for years. But the content available on his secrets to success was only enough to fill a small cup.
For years online, there were only two main sources. The first was a 2010 video compilations of a few interviews on success he did. He spoke on the importance of hard work, talent versus skill, work ethic, priorities, and belief.
You can throw in the interview he did with Oprah under this source too. On there, he admitted that he would fly back from China every weekend when he was filming there, a 12+ hour flight, to watch his son’s football games. So admirable. That’s true dedication.
The second source was his films. You had to learn from his implications and storytelling because it’s not his direct words or advice but what his characters go through.
His drive to succeed shines through some of his movies, like the Pursuit of Happyness and I Am Legend.
But recently, that’s changed. Will has finally started an Instagram and YouTube channel. And they’re stunning. He’s a natural creator and I had underestimated just how creative and talented he was. He’s been posting skits, well-shot vlogs, mini-raps, and Instagram stories with life advice.
While his success advice is still limited to a fraction of his content, it’s enough to keep me going. His discussions on self-love, relationships, and discipline put a fire in me. This is one of the first times a successful, enduring A-list celebrity has come forth to talk about these self-help concepts. We’ve heard about them from random gurus but don’t ever fully believe it usually — until now.
Will’s one-minute YouTube channel trailer video struck me to my core more than most of his other content. It raised in me a flurry of beautiful emotions for weeks. I couldn’t put my finger on why until I started typing to try to articulate my thoughts.
See the trailer for yourself first. It’s magnificent:
Here’s what I think spoke to me:
Tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and jokes.
If you want to sum up Will Smith’s personality, these characteristics are a good start.
I had no idea how often Will joked around until he started posting Instagram pictures and videos. I love how he enjoys his life with simple pranks and jokes that anyone can do even if you’re not famous. It’s a reminder about the secrets of how life delivers happiness.
It’s amazing how someone’s mere presence can positively impact you.
Brendon Burchard, a high-performance coach, says that all top performers have lots of enthusiasm for what they do.
As a shy introvert, I wouldn’t be my true personality if I tried to copy the loud extroversion of Will Smith. But I want to inject more enthusiasm into how I live every moment of the day in my own way. Maybe a little more at a time.
I may do it in more of my reserved way, but maybe not. Sometimes, I just want to shout just like Will, but I’m scared, not because of my introversion, but because of my shyness and fear of being made fun of. I’m scared of dancing and singing along to a song I like even though I want to because I know someone will look at me weird and think I’m a loser. I know I have to get over this.
Will Smith’s unbridled lion’s roar towards life reminds me that there’s more enjoyment and love out of life that’s possible when you don’t just hold it in.
Enthusiasm equates to investment, love, fun, and passion. You enjoy what’s happening. You’re invested in its success. I want more of that.
Likely, Will has silent, pondering, meditative moments in his life too. My goal is not to become a loud party animal 100% of the time. It’s to have a life filled with more of that absolute passion. The way Will yells “YEEEEHAHHH!” or when he says “This is living” in the video encapsulates it all.
The closest I’ve been to that recently is when I yell “WHOOO!!” in the middle of a ridiculous CrossFit workout when I’m feeling the most drained. The enthusiasm I express when I should be complaining or groaning is what powers me through and resonates what I’m capable of and how a successful person should think.
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?
You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” -Will Smith
You may not have Will’s enthusiasm or work ethic (yet), but one key to finding it is to find your passion. Will said he never did anything for money. He says when you do things for money, you make bad choices. When you do what you love, you’ll find ways to make money. If you have to choose between a job you love and a job you don’t like as much that pays more, go with the job you love.
He enjoys life so much.
“I love living. I think that’s infectious. It’s something you can’t fake. And I think that the camera can feel that I’m happy doing what I do and it’s something that gets inside of people.” -Will Smith, 60 Minutes
That’s what I want. I want to dance like a madman because I enjoy my life so much.
But loving life is such a simple yet uncommon concept. Most people are fed up or bored of life. Often, it’s because they hate their jobs, which make up most of their living hours.
Every now and then, I’ll see someone who blows away the myth that you have to be rich to enjoy your life. Recently, it was a dancing old lady greeting people at Sam’s Club.
That got me wondering, how can I love every moment of my life too?
First, I realized that even Will Smith likely has moments, personal and professional, he doesn’t enjoy. Instead, focus on improving our daily enjoyment total.
Second, he revealed that it’s important to live to improve others lives. It has to be greater than yourself.
“What is the difference between to depression and joy? I think it’s purpose … To live in service, not to you, but to live in service to humanity, to your family, to your church, to your country, to the world. Living in service — I feel like that’s the purest form of joy.” -Will Smith, Seven Pounds interview
Žydrūnas Savickas, the most successful strongman in history, revealed in the 2017 documentary, Born Strong, that if your goal is selfish, you can become a champion once. But to become a champion year after year, you must do it for something greater. He does it for his family and country.
Third, it may have to do with surrounding yourself with more joyous people little-by-little every day. Gary Vaynerchuk said, “If you listen to your dad all day about how the government sucks, you’re not going to love life. You have to audit your inner circle.”
He still has so much he wants to do, so much more to grow.
“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.” -Will Smith
Will has achieved so much and seen so much at the age of 49. Yet he says he still has so much more stuff he wants to cross off his bucket list, more stuff he wants to say, more stuff he wants to create and do. He’s still trying to build who he wants to be despite already building so much, even saying that trying to maintain being “Will Smith”, the actor persona was overshadowing this until he realized this and cast it off.
He says he feels awakened and like he’s found his voice with social media. He’s able to express more than he ever has when before, a lot of ideas died on the creative fine during 18 months of filming.
It’s a reminder that life is long, to be patient, and to realize that if you’re a lifelong learner, there’s a lot more fun, lessons, and amazing experiences yet to come.
Creativity through resourcefulness.
“Creating is the way you get in sync with the universe.” -Will Smith
My gut reaction was to say that I couldn’t do the stuff Will does in his videos because I’m not rich enough to travel across Australia, sail in water boats, fly drones, and visit cool museums and art murals. But the beginning and end of his video disprove this point. A lighter, some dynamite, and a golf club. Anyone can get those ingredients.
The Brothers Green Eats, a popular cooking YouTube channel, has emphasized how restrictions breed creativity. They stumbled upon it by accident while restricting themselves with gourmet meals for $3 a day challenge.
They found that they created more delicious, innovative, and fun meals than ever before when they had a limited rather than large budget.
Will’s inspirational video was a reminder that I don’t need anything I don’t already have to express myself to my potential and eventually reach my dreams. I live in the land of opportunity. No more excuses.
When Will ignites his lighter and says, “This is the whole point. Now, watch this shot.” I felt like I experienced something philosophical I couldn’t fully comprehend.
I naturally create quite often, but I never thought of it as a way to get in touch with the universe. Nor do I fully agree with the point.
But I do understand that to Will, this is his whole purpose. To build something. To build more. To leave a legacy of impact. To inspire others. To represent an idea. Without always coming out and explicitly saying it, he’s got across his message. I think I get it. And I love this idea and it inspires me so much.
There’s something so clear and expressive about Will Smith’s behavior and mindset. It’s quite opposite from me, who has been filled with self-doubt, insecurities, and such. But maybe little old me can get somewhere amazing internally one day. To Will Smith’s level. Maybe beyond. To be my own version of Will Smith. To be the Will Chou.
Turn negatives into positives
“Make a choice. Just decide what it’s gonna be, who you’re gonna be, how you are going to do it. Just decide. And from that point, the universe will get out of your way.” -Will Smith
Okay, this one comes from another video of his. He recounts how he went from an all-white middle school to an all-black high school.
His anxiety caused him to act boisterous, which resulted in getting attacked. These actions resulted in the bully getting expelled. From that moment on, he realized how his actions and words can have a huge effect on someone else and he vowed to only do stuff that would inspire and help others from then on.
These deep, authentic stories are the magic of YouTube. Will gets it. And we can relate. I’ve been in situations where I was the only Asian in the room and I had to get over that feeling of discomfort. I’m amazed at how Will took that incident. I would’ve taken it negatively and dwelled on how I was mistreated, but he saw the other people.
All this time, part of me has been searching for some other secrets because I couldn’t believe it could be that simple. Humans love to over-complicate because we’re too smart for our own good. More than anything, Will’s social content has reminded me about life lessons you need to live a fulfilled, thriving, vibrant life. I feel rebirthed me as a creative. I feel like I’m blooming once again.
Just like Warren Buffett, he’s taught me that an average person, like you or me, can achieve greatness too. It’s not restricted to the genetically blessed.
How to live your dream life
“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, godlike feature that only the special among us will ever taste, it’s something that truly exists in all of us.” -Will Smith
So what about you? What are you going to do? How are you going to change your life?
Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins were both working minimum wage jobs with little education and no future. They have two exercises that changed their life. The first is to ask yourself “what if I could chose to live my life, what would it be?”
Imagine as if you had chosen your parents and how you were born. With this mindset shift, the blame and excuses end. You start moving towards being the controller of your life rather than the victim.
It’s not perfect. To use a poker analogy, people are given poor hands. With horrible economic, parental, or financial situations, it’s an uphill battle. Most people are filled with excuses that hold back their potential. Rather than complaining and wasting your life, take that time and make the most of your situation.
From now on, you are in full control of your life. No one will hand it to you. You have to go make the life that you want. As a child, you are dependent and constrained by what your parents want. But there comes a time when you come of age that it’s your responsibility.
The second exercise they use is to tell themselves, “Today, great things will happen.” Say it multiple times a day in the morning with enthusiasm. Nothing was accomplished in life without emotion and enthusiasm.
This will act as a self-fulfilling prophecy as you start to look at life through a positive lens rather than a bitter, cynical, or neutral lens. Rather than overlooking opportunities, you appreciate and acknowledge them more. A further level to this mindset is that you start bringing into your life incredible opportunities because your new attitude, perception, and behaviors get you to seek out more success.
“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon, you have a wall.” -Will Smith on Charlie Rose
Will Smith’s keys to success in life (just two)
During a Kid Choice Award, Will Smith’s keys to success were revealed. He said the key to life is running and reading.
Running trains your willpower every day by helping you do something you don’t want to when times get tough. Reading helps you learn how to solve your problems because there have been countless people who have lived before you with these problems, no matter how unique you think they are, and have written down how to solve them.
In summary, Will Smith’s arrival on social media has impacted me immensely on a creative, fulfillment, life goals, and inspirational level.
His secrets to success include:
- Enjoy living
- Live in service of others
- Turn lemons to lemonade
- Outwork your competition
- Fail early, fail often, fail forward
- Always choose passion over money
- Read every day to improve your wisdom
- Run every day to improve your discipline
- Everything great is on the other side of fear
- Decide on your goals, make a plan, and do it
- Believe the impossible and unrealistic can be achieved
What’s your biggest lesson from Will Smith?
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