Will Smith gives his two keys to success in life, and they’re gooders. It’s a short video. Make sure to watch it.
Of course I love this video because I both run and read, and Will Smith just validated a good percentage of my existence. But still…
Even as an entry level runner, I’ve learned that running is as much a mental game (more?) as a physical one. First you overcome the voice that says “Its hot. It’s raining. My knees hurt. I want to sleep” and you lace up. Then as your legs grow rubbery and your lungs burn up in your chest, you shut up the ‘make the pain stop’ voice by saying, ‘I’ll run to the next corner,’ and then, ‘to the next corner’ until you’re home. When you finish a run, you build confidence and credibility with yourself. You did what you said you would. You conquered yourself. That compounds on itself. The negative voice becomes weaker as you continually shut it up. Conversely, it becomes louder as you let it win.
And you can do this all while wearing very tight pants.
Smith’s second key to success is reading. I doubt he means novels, though a solid novel can teach many lessons. You can learn almost anything by reading. I have a natural advantage here–reading comes easy. If you say ‘I can’t read,’ consider this. Tim Marks is a two-time best selling author, business leader and multimillionaire. He has dyslexia. He says, “When I read to myself, I would read it, and a moment later, I couldn’t remember what I had read. I couldn’t understand why the words looked as if they moved around on the page. I would struggle with the same word over and over.” As he entered the business world, his mentor, Orrin Woodward, told him he would have to begin reading or he would never make it.
So Tim began to read. He would read the book out loud to himself, and then summarize what he read, until he made it through the whole book. Eventually it became easier, still he says, “Three decades later, when I preach or speak at a leadership conference, I have to read from notes, and I still need to practice several times in advance to make sure that I understand the words so that they don’t jump around on the page. My reading still isn’t where it should be, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it was!”
Reading is a learned skill. As a bookworm, I had to train myself toward heavier reading. But reading from a wide range of books stores up a bank of knowledge: financial wisdom, people skills, technical knowledge and inspiration can all be found on the page.
So you can absorb the wisdom of Dale Carnegie or Plato while sitting on the toilet. Been there, done that.
Do you agree with Will? Would you add any other keys?