Monday, June 22, 2009

Will Smith's Secret to Success

He's not superhuman, but he's got what it takes...

What does a treadmill have to do with Will Smith’s success as a movie star and actor?
When asked by an interviewer to explain his success, he responded:
“I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. You may be more talented than me. You might be smarter than me. And you may be better looking than me. But if we get on a treadmill together you are going to get off first or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple. I’m not going to be outworked.”
But what about his talent you might ask. After all, he is charismatic, funny and a great actor. Isn’t that the reason for his success? Not according to Will Smith. In fact he considers himself to be slightly above average in the talent category. Rather, he attributes his success to his work ethic.
You may be surprised to hear this because popular opinion says that successful people who have risen to the top of their profession got there because “they were lucky” or “they were chosen” or “they were born with more talent than everyone else.” We overestimate their talent and we underestimate our own.

In my research for Training Camp I found that people such as Will Smith are not super human and they don’t have some mutant gene that makes them better. What makes them stand out is that they work harder. It’s really that simple.

When others are sleeping, they are working. When others are wasting time, they are improving. When others are scattering their energy they are practicing and zoom focusing.
Of course talent is necessary to excel at something but natural ability will only take someone so far. The key is to infuse one’s talent with hard work, passion and a drive for excellence.
So what does Will Smith have to do with you?
If you want to take your career or “game” to the next level you must be willing to pay the price that greatness requires. You must be willing to work harder than everyone you know. There’s no easy shortcut. Hard work has been, is and always will be the key to anyone’s success. To be your best you must invest all that you are to become everything you wish to be. Will Smith knows it and now you know it.
Are you willing to pay the price? Let’s hop on the treadmill together!

This essay by Jon Gordon appeared in Guideposts magazine.

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