I am coming straight out and telling all of you, Will Smith is one of favorite folks in entertainment, but he is more than just a musician and actor. There is a significant amount of hustle you can learn from Will, and his way of thinking truly adapts to how I see a few things in life. You may have seen his video on YouTube, and if not let me explain:

What does a treadmill have to do with Will Smith’s success as a musician and actor?


In the aforementioned interview that Will was having he was asked to explain his secret to his success. Everything he does turns to gold.

And to sum it up his reply was;

“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.”

You may think that some people you look at are just naturally talented at something. That may be true to a certain extent. You may see others that have specific skill sets in which they seem very natural. Take public speaking as an example. You can really tell when someone feels comfortable standing in front of crowds vs. someone who is anxious and nervous. However these skills which may also pertain to enhancing a talent, don’t just come like that. And that is what Will Smith is trying to dispense here. And I fully agree.

What it takes?

When you boil down the issue to the core, it’s all about your work ethic, your consistency and your mindset. You better not be getting off that treadmill first. Because if you want success, no one will hand it to you. In the case of Will Smith you might say he is a talented, charismatic, funny and good actor. This naturally means he’ll have success. Wrong and according to Will and his interview, he says the same. If you listen in, you’ll notice that he says that he himself considers his talent in certain categories slightly above average. The reason he still has success in numerous areas is not because he is naturally gifted, but because he has honed and perfected his skills that relate to perhaps what some may consider his talent. It’s his work ethic that he attributes his success too and the fact of the matter is, it’s true. It really is that simple.

I love the word hustle. I first heard this word over and over again from my great-uncle who is a very successful business man himself. When I was young, roughly 10 years of age or so I remember him saying to me; “Hermann, you gotta hustle in life. You hustle, hustle, hustle. You hustle hard because nothing is free.” I’d hear this often whenever I’d visit him, but at that time never really associated it to anything. Young and foolish. But it’s stuck with me. And to me hustle is work ethic.

I love the way Will puts it in another interview. He says “while the other guy is sleeping, I’m working, while the other guy is eating, I’m working…” and this needs to hold true for you if you really want success.

Popular opinion, and what I mean by that is what you and I hear from folks all the time in any setting is that successful people have risen to the top of their profession because “they were lucky” or “they were chosen” or “they are talented in this and that than everyone else.” Fact is we all pretty much have a similar playing field. Now I know you may argue that John, who is born into his father’s multi-billion dollar empire, and at the age of 25 takes over the business as CEO is successful and just “got it.” Well, my assumption is John still had some trials and tribulations. His path may have been shorter, but if he is not prepared for the task ahead of him and his work ethic is anything but great, watch where his father’s business will be in 10 years (unless someone is secretly managing the whole thing).

However a majority of us overestimate others and underestimate our own talents. The question is how willing are you in regards to honing and perfecting that talent. What makes certain individuals stand out is that they work harder. It really is that simple folks!

My way

I can fully relate to Will here and let me perhaps “brag” a bit here. I’ve been in the current corporate environment for just under 7 years and have gone from literally the bottom of the scale in regards to roles to executive levels within that period. My daily bread in the corporate world is dealing with executives day in and day out, among other things. What took me there? A heap load of work ethic. When others are sleeping, I’m working (I started writing this post at 1am). When others are wasting time, I’m improving. When others are scattering their energy I try practicing and what I call zoom focusing. That is what took me to where I am today in the corporate world. And I don’t have plans on stopping. It’s like a chess game. And I put in hours in corporate, in my personal business and projects, sports, my number one priority my family, travelling. I feel so blessed to be able to do all these things and I have the same amount of time you do!

People will call you crazy however I manage great with all the things I do. Yes I have failures and I fall flat down but I get back up and keep going. Because in the end I am not getting off that treadmill first. All of us have 24 hours. We all have the same amount of precious time. The question is what you do with your time.

My friend Filip

Let me give you another example. A very good friend of mine was an athlete all his life. A few years back we got into talking about endurance sports and pushing your body to the limits. I shared my experiences in things I have done and challenged him to do the same. The first book I ever gave him was on Triathlon’s. At first he was fairly hesitant, but roughly 3-4 years ago we said let’s tackle a super sprint triathlon together. We are talking about the shortest distance possible. He came through the finish line and the rest is history. Since then he has completed half-marathons, a full marathon, several triathlons and swimming competitions and recently crossed the line on his first ever Ironman 70.3. All this because Filip has a tremendous amount of work ethic. His mind is focused and set on his goal. His commitment, consistency and dedication reflect the hustle he has because he wants to prove to himself that he is more than capable to go beyond his limits and what he has known as his par the previous years. This guy is an inspiration and its only a matter of time before he does his first Ironman.

My key message here is that logically 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.

To close off

So in conclusion, what does Will Smith have to do with you?

The whole shebang!

If you want to take make stride in your career, in your personal life and take the “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 is no short-cut and that goes for everything from making money to becoming CEO. 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.

The question you should ask yourself every morning – “am I willing to pay the price?” I know you are!

Whatever you want to change in your life, the time has come. Get your hustle on.

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