Will Smith’s Formula For Success in Just 10 Minutes

If Will Smith were to decide to stop acting, he could quickly find a job as a Success Guru. After listening to the video below I am convinced he knows the secret to success in life and has clearly used it to reach extraordinary heights. It is one of the most enlightening videos around from one of the least likely sources, or so I thought. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the video and then the video in its entirety.

On Being Realistic:

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? I’m going to do it. It’s already done. The second I decide it’s done, it’s already done. Now I just have to wait for all of you to see.”

“It’s unrealistic to walk in a room, flip the switch, and watch the lights come on. Fortunately, Edison didn’t think so.”

On Work Ethic:

“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.”

On Talent vs Skill:

“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. I’ve viewed myself as slightly above average in talent. And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working. While the other guy’s eatin’? I’m working. While the other guy’s making love, I mean, I’m making love, too. But I’m working really hard at it.”

On Having a Plan B:

“There is no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.”

On Doing the Impossible

One summer, his dad tore down a brick wall in the front of his business and told 12-year-old Will and his 9-year-old brother to rebuild it, a job they said was impossible. It took them a year and a half, but they did it.

“And he said, ‘Now, don’t you ever tell me there’s somethin’ that you can’t do.’ And walked right through that door, went inside. And me and my brother stood here and looked. And said, ‘Daddy crazy as hell, ain’t he?'” Smith recalls, laughing.

The wall is still there, and so is the lesson he learned from building it. “I just put my head down and lay the first brick,” Smith explains.

On the Universe:

“Make a choice. Just decide what it’s going to be, who you’re going to be, how you’re going to do it. Just DECIDE! And then from that point the universe is going to get out of your way.”


Nikolai De Leo is a Transaction Advisory Services Professional living in Miami, FL. When not working, he enjoys reading (his three favorite books are As a Man Thinketh, Atlas Shrugged, and the Picture of Dorian Grey), running (he has completed two half marathons and a triathlon in his favorite Vibram five fingers), and watching college football (he attended the University of Florida for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees).
  1. Daniel Reply

    Very inspiring!

  2. Christopher Howard Reply

    This is a side of Will Smith that I didn't know existed. I've always admired people who are talented (just innately good at certain things), but I recognize that these people didn't work for these gifts. Of course we can't hold this against them: who wouldn't want to be naturally talented? Still, I admire more a person who is less talented, but works tremendously hard to obtain their skills. The former comes from luck, and the latter is earned. However, when you find a person that is both talented AND has a strong work ethic, these are the people who change the world. These are the people who live up to their potential.

    • Nikolai De Leo Reply

      I think you make a great point. You hit upon a certain truth: it is those people who find their innate talent and work as hard as they can to foster its growth that change the world. I've always wondered why some people don't succeed and I do think it's because they haven't found their true talent. Once a person finds it, they will be motivated to make the most of it and change the world.

      We also have to define "changing the world". It does not necessarily have to mean affecting millions. Isn't changing even one life for the better considered changing the world? i think so.


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  4. Evie Clarke Reply

    I find will smith very inspiring!

  5. Will Mitchell Reply

    Inspiring stuff – his quote on dying on the treadmill always makes me feel like a loser when I am exercising 🙂

    • Nikolai De Leo Reply

      Haha you know I always think of the same thing every time I am exercising. It definitely pushes me to go further when I realize that I'm not even close to dying. I can always do that extra mile 🙂

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