In the course of writing Will together, I ended up spending dozens of hours with Will Smith, both observing him while he worked and in private conversations.
Aside from sharing great content for the book, he said a number of things that influenced me personally.
I’ve included three of them below.
1. “The Trick Is, You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew… Then You Chew It.”
In 2018, I was writing three books at the same time: my book, Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope; the Audible original, Love Is Not Enough; and doing research and interviews for Will’s book, Will.
It was 12-hour days, every day, for about nine months straight. I was a mess.
In the 90s, Will used to simultaneously do a film, an album, and a TV show, every year, for six straight years. So one day I asked him, “How the hell did you do it? I’m doing three books and I feel like I’m about to die over here. How’d you keep it up for so long? I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here”
He smiled and said, “The trick is: you bite off more than you can chew… and then you still chew it. Your mind always believes it can do less than it actually can. It will tell you it’s too much, to stop, to take a break, to cancel this or that. But your mind will lie to you to keep you small.”
Today, all three books are out and successful. And I feel as though I can chew more than ever before.
2. “There’s No Such Thing as ‘Just Business,’ Everything Is Personal.”
If you ever spend enough time with Will, eventually you will hear him go on a rant about people saying, “It’s just business.” Nothing is “just business,” he would yell. “There’s no such thing. Everything is personal.”
That employee you’re letting go has a family, has friends, has insecurities, and an identity that you’re disrupting. That film script you’re passing on has years of someone’s hopes and dreams attached to it. That friend you’re too busy to call back is relying on you, they care about you.