Will Smith Quote of the Day

I've never viewed myself as particularly talented. I've viewed myself as…slightly above average in talent. Where I excel is with a ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy's sleeping, I'm working. While the other guy's eating, 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!

That's from Will Smith in an old 60 Minutes interview.

I once heard Jay Leno say something similar. Leno apparently hasn't taken a vacation in more than 20 years and he says whenever he sees Letterman ("the other guy," to use Smith's phrasing) on vacation, he keeps on working.

Smith and Leno see their work ethic as relative to their competitors.

102 Responses to Will Smith Quote of the Day

  1. Jackie D says:

    Leno also only sleeps three or four hours a night. But seriously, who would you rather be: Leno or Letterman? Will Smith or a serious actor? I’m not saying either of them sucks (well, Leno does), but working smart often counts for more than working hard. (Not an original thought, I know.)

    Reply
    • positivedrive says:

      I know this is an old discussion; but I just want to comment that the above “Will Smith or a serious actor?” is such an ignorant comment. That’s a redundant question because Will Smith IS a SERIOUS actor who makes some SERIOUS bucks because he takes what he does so SERIOUSLY that he is a 2 time academy award nominee and a golden globe winner ; and if you don’t believe that Will Smith is a serious actor than you really don’t know a thing about Will.

      Reply
  2. Ben Casnocha says:

    Agreed re: working smart. But it's interesting that Leno and Smith talk
    about working hard relative to their competitors, rather than as an ethic
    in and of itself.

    Reply
  3. nic says:

    You don’t try to build a well, you don’t set out to build a wall, you don’t say I am going to build the biggest baddest wall that has ever been built, you don’t start there, you say I am going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid and you do that ever single day until you have a wall.

    ~ Will Smith

    Reply
  4. “Will Smith or a serious actor?”

    What? 🙁

    Reply
  5. Steven says:

    Ben, who’s your “other guy”?

    Reply
  6. Ben Casnocha says:

    Good question. Will have to think about that. 🙂

    Reply
  7. AnnMaria says:

    You left the part that it is easier to work ridiculous hours if you enjoy what you’re doing (which Smith & Leno clearly do). When I was a competitor, I trained three times a day and I was the first American to win the world judo championships. A second difference between me and my competitors (which really enabled the difference in work ethic) is I loved working out. Many of them viewed it as a chore.

    Right now, I’m sitting in my office, looking out the window at the flowers and listening to the birds singing. It’s a lot easier working in this environment than when I used to sit in a cubicle for hours. The fact that I have my choice of projects, to a great extent, and choose what I find interesting, with potential payoff both for me in learning, my company for profit and society for good (yes, I actually consider that) helps me enjoy working these hours and thus makes it easier for me to have that work ethic.

    Many corporations want to push the work-at-the-expense-of-all-else line but squeeze every dime out of their budget for decent working conditions and micro-manage their employees.

    Reply
  8. Naveen says:

    Similar but more direct Will Smith quote about the treadmill at the end of this clip:


    People knock on him – but if you look at his success and dedication over the years it’s inspiring. What I like the most is how he moved from Fresh Prince to Blockbuster superstar – it’s a reminder not to be self conscious or worry about what people think – but to work at your craft and improve continuously.
    Naveen

    Reply
  9. Ben Casnocha says:

    totally agree.

    Reply
  10. Will Smith is awesome. Really, he’s a very talented actor.

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