Will Smith is an American film producer, rapper, and actor. Smith has been nominated for an impressive number of awards, including 2 Academy Awards and 5 Golden Globe Awards. He has also won 4 Grammy Awards.
Like many other successful and well-known individuals, including entrepreneurs, actors and athletes, Will Smith had a set of rules that he applied to both his business and his life. Let's have a more detailed look at what drives Will and see have we can apply his principles to our own life.
It is interesting to note that when Smith set himself the goal of becoming “the biggest movie star in the world”, he studied the common characteristics of box office successes.
Improve Yourself and Others
For Will Smith, the concept of improving lives runs through the core of everything he does. He then realized that if he continually improved himself, this was a way in which he could improve the lives of others.
With that in mind, he feels that he hasn't fixed everything in the world yet every morning when he gets out of bed.
This also means that there is always something to do.
Will tells a story of reading an interesting quote from Buddha that had a huge impact on his life. According to this quote, Buddha said that good people had to get out of bed every morning and use a ladle to try and empty the ocean.
Although Will immediately knew that this was a profound statement, he at first didn't fully understand it because he didn't know what a ladle was. Only once he had figured out that a ladle was like a big soup spoon could he fully appreciate the impact of the quote.
Since then, his mentality when waking up every morning has been to try to do good in the world as if he was trying to empty the ocean with a ladle.
One way in which Will lives this rule of helping others is by donating to a wide range of organizations. In 2007 he donated $1.3 million to charities, including Christian ministries, Scientology organizations, a Los Angeles mosque, and other Christian-based schools and churches. In 2010, Will donated $1.2 million to a private elementary school that he and his wife have founded in Calabasas, California.
Will is driven by trying to elevate his mind continually, while also caring for my body and elevating his spirit. He also strives to love as many people as effectively as possible with the amazing life that he's been given.
Where You Are Isn't Where You're Going to Be
Will says that when he grew up, it wasn't with the sense that they were where they were going to be. They rather grew up with the sense that where they were didn't really matter as they were becoming something better.
This is an unusual, but exciting way to look at things. It will allow you to always be looking forward to your day and the week, months and years ahead to not only figure out where you are going, but also to make the right choices to help you to get where you want to be and what you want to become.
Make a Choice
Will Smith is very clear about the fact that he doesn't want to be an icon. He says that he would much rather be an idea. He wants to represent an idea, possibilities, and magic. That two plus two is always equal to four and that we're all in this universe.
He goes on to say that two plus two will only equal four if you accept that this is in fact true. Two plus two can in fact be whatever you want it to be. This is the power that making a choice has.
Rather than believing that you are simply a product of your environment and all the things that happen to you, you can make choices. You can decide who you want to be, what is going to happen, and how you are going to get to where you want to go.
Simply decide. From the moment that you've made a decision, a choice, the universe will simply get out of your way. The universe is like water that wants to move and go around things. For Will, he wants to represent possibilities and the concept that we can all really make what we want.
One of Will's favorite books is ‘The Alchemist', by Paulo Coelho. On the one hand, he describes the book as “real metaphysical esoteric nonsense”, but then goes on to say that he really believes the message in the book, which is essentially that we can create whatever we want to create.
The full title of the book is actually “The Alchemist, A Fable About Following Your Dream”. The book is described on Amazon as “Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery.”
Will says that although it is difficult to put it into words, if he can put his head on it right, study it, and learn the patterns, he feels very strongly that we are all ultimately who we choose to be. That is the power of choice.
Have a Purpose
Will believes that the difference between joy and depression is simply purpose. If you have a purpose, you wake up every day knowing that your life means something to someone other than yourself.
If you don't go out and do the things that you do, other people's lives will suffer. The purest form of joy is to live in service of others. He thinks that joy comes from this type of purpose, to live in service, not to yourself, but to humanity, to your family, to your church, your city, your country, and the world.
Will believes that greatness is something that truly exists in all of us.
It is not an elusive, esoteric, wonderful, God-like feature that only a few individuals will ever experience.
Greatness is actually quite simple. It is knowing who you are, and that is all you need to know. From there, you simply focus on doing what you need to do.
Will adds that he thinks we tend to make the situation much more complicated than what it has to be.
Don't Chase Money
Like many other successful individuals, Will Smith is very clear about the fact he never did anything for the money.
He says that in his experience, when people do things for money they make bad choices.
He believes that everyone should find what they love to do, and that this will enable them to learn how to make money doing that thing. When he changed careers, from first being a rapper, to starring in the NBC television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, to start acting in films, these changes were never made for money. It was changing to something he loved doing more.
To him, this is the only way to keep the passion alive.
To illustrate this point, Will uses the example that if you have the choice to do bowling for a living or to play the piano, and you can make more money playing the piano but you love bowling more, you have to go into bowling.
If you don't choose to do the thing that you love most in life, you will tear yourself apart. Will adds that for everyone, there is something that they love more than anything and that you know what it is right now.
This thing that you love like crazy, has to be the one thing that you have to dedicate your life to, no matter what it takes.
Don't Be Outworked
Will feels that the only thing that he knows that is noticeably different about him versus other people is that he not afraid to work hard. He states categorically that he will not be outworked. End of discussion.
Although other people may have more talent than what he does, may be smarter, or even might be sexier, that does not matter. Other people might be all of these things or many more, but if you decide to get on a treadmill with Will, only one of two things will happen. You will get off the treadmill first, or Will is going to be dead first. For Will, it's really that simple.
Will goes on to say that in any situation where he wants to achieve something but gets blocked by other people, there are only two options: he will get back in, or he'll be dead. Nobody will outwork him, it's that simple.
The person who is willing to hustle the most will be getting the loose ball. Even if the ball goes out of bounds, the person who hustles the most will save it and get it back in.
Most of the people who don't get to the places they want to be or don't manage to achieve the things that they want to achieve don't have the commodity of outworking others. Any business is based strictly on the hustle and on outworking others. To become successful and be the best, you can't afford to miss out on crucial opportunities. Will constantly says that if you manage to stay ready all the time, you'll never have to get ready.
Work On Your Skills
When people are working to try to excel at their dreams, they often misunderstand the concepts of talent and skill. Talent is something that people get naturally. Skill can only be developed by spending countless hours honing your craft.
There are no shortcuts and no easy way around it. Irrespective of how much talent a person has to start off with, that talent will eventually fail them if they are not skilled.
You will never be successful if you don't study, work really hard, and dedicate every single day to become better at what you do.
Let Fear Motivate You
When I first read the title of this rule, I thought that it was a type and that it should be something like “Don't let fear overcome you”.
Will however explains that fear motivates him, or more accurately, he is motivated by fear of fear. He hates being scared of doing something. He hates the feeling, and says that he was very scared before he had a meeting with Quincy Jones.
The meeting was actually with Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and Jeff Polly. The concept for ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' actually came from Jeff.
Will hated the fact that he was scared and he didn't even want to go to the meeting.
During his first year as a rapper, there were various opportunities. The people in ‘The Cosby Show,' including Bill Cosby had seen Will's music video and asked him to come and try out for the show.
Every time a screening was however set up, Will could for some reason never make it.
Will hated the fear and he hated the fact that he was scared to do something. During his early days, this fear and the fact that he hated it helped him develop the attitude to start attacking anything that he was scared of. This is letting fear motivate you, rather than paralyze you.
Will understands that for him to get to the level of success that he wanted for himself, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to do multiple things and still become world-class.
So, he made the decision that he wanted to be world-class. To excel at the level that he wanted to make movies took obsessive, desperate focus.
When Will was young, he watched ‘Star Wars' in the movie theater. He was amazed and couldn't believe that a movie could make him feel like that. He was stunned and floored by the creativity.
He then realized that to be able to move and touch people in that way, he really had to focus with all of his creativity, all of his heart, and all of his fiber.