Photo: Will Smith’s InstagramA few years ago I heard this quote from legend Will Smith and it became my life mantra.
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right? You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” – Will Smith
After that, my motivation was unstoppable. I’ve always had a burning desire to achieve big things. Goals that people said were impossible but I saw possibility. I went the extra mile to exceed expectations because if you want it bad enough you have to make it happen. That passion and force inside of me hasn’t been easy to materialize. I fought the good and bad fight and lost at times. Many times. Relationships ended, careers stalled and I even had to give up everything I owned just to survive day-to-day. When you lose everything discipline and self love become two of the hardest things to maintain.
This year all of my hard work blew up in my face: I lost my dream job due to my company’s insufficient funding. I spent years convincing myself I can fulfill my passion projects while maintaining a 9-5 job. Which proved to be no easy feat. When things hit rock bottom I replayed Will’s quote and rebooted, reset and started again. It wasn’t (and isn’t) easy though. I get down on myself and forget the biggest lesson of all: Self love. It was then that a good friend of mine knew what I was going through and sent me a message with another Will Smith quote. Apparently other people’s daily dose of inspiration is Will Smith, too! The quote wasn’t enough though, I wanted more. Okay, I might have watched every video on his Instagram feed for inspiration but he is the real deal!
It was midnight and I couldn’t put my phone down. Every video highlight Will had posted applied to me: Self love, Discipline, Happiness, Fault, Failure. Each message had a lesson and valuable takeaway for living a healthy lifestyle and being proud of yourself. Who knew so many beneficial lessons were wrapped up in this little social media tool?! It was then that things began to change. All the things Will spoke of I had already known but had let slip away in the tough times. His messages were a reminder that reignited the go-getter inside of me.
If you don’t follow Will on Instagram join the the 16.2M of us that do. His IG account is encouraging motivation guaranteed to inspire you with his uplifting “real talk” and his The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sense of humor. The most valuable lesson I learned from Will’s Instagram is the importance of self love though. An easy concept we all know but often forget. Loving yourself and behaving in a way that reflects self love and respect from others. Will reminded me of the discipline it takes to maintain happiness and believe in yourself.
Though it is a simple message we oftentimes neglect our potential and beat ourselves up. The way we treat ourselves is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and how others see and treat us. Release any negative thoughts or doubts you have about yourself and be kind to yourself. Take time to love yourself. Practice self love daily; say affirmations. Love yourself because YOU matter! You are amazing!