31 Mar, 2022Life Lessons from Will Smith
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr
To quote, “My actions were not indicative of the man that I want to be. I am a work in progress. There’s no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
There are several lessons that can be acquired from what has happened to Will Smith. Wisdom can help you work towards your goal of who you want to become, and I shall discuss this in this episode.
✅ It is important to stop and reflect on experiences for it is when learning happens.
✅ Oppressed people always discover ways to convey themselves either disapprovingly or constructively.
✅ People have the ability to decide where they want to be and how to go about improving themselves, but the greatest hurdle is their own, since they are afraid to leave their comfort zones. But if people are not able to attune themselves, then they will just be living an empty life.
✅ Obstacles in life must be met with offensive positivity.
Some important stories in the episode:
✍🏼 (6:34) Anecdotes on suppression and discrimination
✍🏼 (9:40) Will Smith’s ways of expressing against repression
✍🏼 (13:57) Will Smith apologizes to the academy, nominees and highlighting important people
✍🏼 (17:39) Offensive positivity is a way to overcome struggles with one’s own self
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Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.
Pete Cohen 0:01
Happy beautiful amazing day, it's Pete Cohen. Yes, yes, yes, it's the Future Self podcast. today's podcast is called a Life Lessons from Will Smith I'll see you after the theme tune.
Pete Cohen 1:57
So I don't know how many of you have seen the Pursuit of Happiness. But I've seen it a few times. And I don't know how many episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. How many films I've seen? How many times have actually listened to this song. In fact, we want to play the beginning of this song right? This is just I love the beginning of this song
Pete Cohen 2:35
You know a song that defies generation.
Pete Cohen 2:39
I'm feeling quite emotional. It's a bit strange, isn't it? I remember the first convertible car I had at a stop oh wow, silver stop. And I'm sure there's a verse on it but I did the roof off you know and to think how influenced I was by this person. And most people not everyone in the world. You know, we live in this crazy world right now when someone does something that our world knows about it. And obviously what's happened over the last few years. It really has put a spotlight on many things, obviously, but COVID Now what's going on? In the Ukraine, and then Will Smith Will Smith punches. Someone on the stage and the whole world knows about the whole world stops. But what's really interesting for me is it's made me stop as well. I think it's one of the most important things in life to do just sometimes everyday. I think we should just just stop. And it's very easy to look at this from a black and white perspective, or a good or bad or what's right or wrong. And I don't want to go too too much down that road. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I'm sure Smith will get the repercussions of what he's done. I would imagine I don't know Will Smith, but I know people who do know him. And I would imagine that he's struggling with this as well. But the reason I decided to do this, you know, it's so easy to get on the bandwagon of things right. I'm not getting on the bandwagon of anything and this there's something in it that I think is important. And I think Will Smith has already done so much for the world in terms of entertaining people inspiring people make a lot of people become a better person. There's no question about that and he's made me become want to be a better person. So it's not just in the films it's you know, a lot of what he actually says. But the reason I decided to make this podcast and put it out there, because hopefully people will listen to this long after I've gotten and maybe they'll also be able to take something from this because as a truism for me we don't learn from experience we learn from reflecting on experience and I think what's happened is giving a lot of people an opportunity to reflect on what happened and have their opinion about it. But for me, it's had the a different effect. It's made me reflect on myself on who I am the impact that Will Smith Will Smith has had on me and where I want to go in my life. So many of you heard the statement. And there was one line and how many of you read the statement. There was one line in that that made me think you know what, I have to do this. We had a meeting yesterday, and we were discussing it.
Pete Cohen 5:21
you know, he says violence. This is what he said right? I won't read the whole thing but basically said violence in all forms is poisonous and destructive my behavior is unacceptable inexcusable. jokes at my expense expense are part of the job but joke about Jada Jada, her medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally I would physically I'd like to publicly apologize to Chris I was out of line I was wrong. I'm embarrassed and my actions. My actions were not indicative of the man that I want to be. Again, I am embarrassed and my
Pete Cohen 5:58
actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. I am working progress. There is no place of violence in a world of love and kindness.
So it was that line of not indicative of the man I want to be and I do actually believe that Will Smith knows who he wants to be. I really do. And any of you know my life is completely I'm obsessed with everyone's relationship to their future. And I was reflecting on this.
Pete Cohen 6:34
I was reflecting on this, you know sometimes I don't know if you're the only one but sometimes I feel self conscious about talking about things that are very sensitive subjects. But this morning I was thinking about why are in my life and Will Smith being one of them. That people that really are my heroes. But why Michael Jordan if anyone knows me again, I was just looking to see if I've got any Michael Jordan on. I can see something over that Michael Jordan. I was obsessed with the guy and learn everything I look and learn about him. Bob Marley Marvin Gaye, Will Smith Muhammad Ali, and Luther King. And I've often think to myself, well, you know why? But what is it what's going on here? And this is my opinion, that I'm a big fan of suppression in terms of what people do with suppression because once something is suppressed and you push something down and people it's going to come out.
Pete Cohen 7:36
Why do I relate to that? Well through my genes perhaps that you know my ancestors will work suppress. You know, I come from the Jewish tribe. I know the abuse that my forefathers my great grandfather had when he came to this country they were they were they experienced a lot of anti semitism. I've experienced anti semitism. I've been suppressed. I was suppressed in a system of school. And I love it when people rise up above something that is difficult and black people there's no question about it. That was one of the things which came out with the whole black lives matter. A lot of people was going what's going on here? Well, if you suppress people long enough or an individual something is going to happen. Something is gonna snap if we look
Pete Cohen 8:23
at where black people have been discriminated Well, where do you want to start? If you want to stop,
Pete Cohen 8:32
let's just talk about industry. Let's talk about football. I when I grew up, there was so much racism in football in literally there were no black captains. There were no black managers there were no black goalkeepers. It was like this is the stereotype. And the stereotypes have been broken down. But this is the evolution that evolutions unfortunately, seem to take time. But I think everyone has that desire to express the greater part of themselves. And I think Will Smith that's what he wants to do. He wants to express the greater part of themselves. And I think we all do I just think we all need help. And if you don't let people express themselves they will find a way to do it. But how to some people that might be it's in gangs, that they get to express themselves they get to be someone they get recognition for a sport or it's music, and that's where a lot but it's a lot of black people. have found a way to express themselves. And if you look at
Pete Cohen 9:40
Will Smith's story, you know, like many other people's story, you will see it's a story of well, you know, his father was a violent manufac fathers beat his mother he you know, he saw that I mean he's not perfect, nobody's perfect. But he found a way to express himself and the way that he was able to express himself was to make people laugh. And the way he expressed himself was through music, and then through and then through being on television and then being in the movies. There's so many things that I think we can learn from him. And I'm confident that good things will come out of this of what's happened. I'm confident that people will rise up once again and say this is not acceptable. That's how I choose to look at things but there's a few things that he says which I just really want to highlight he says that most people see see the present through the through the lens of the past and whether we like it or not, we are past and I remember
Pete Cohen 10:45
in the Smith in the sorry in the Smith in the book well, he talks about when he just knew that his his girlfriend was cheating on him. He knew that and when it came out he completely he he thought he should lose it. And he did lose it he picked up a big iron rod from a fireplace and smashed a hole over windows. Now I don't know how many of you in your life have ever has either LASIK. How many of you have in your life you've behaved in a way and you seriously regret doing it. You know, I most definitely have done that. Have I done what you know what he's done? No. Being very close. I remember many years ago, being in a gang was so close. I mean, literally was in there was my friend's 18th birthday. And this big fight started. And this guy smashed a glass over my friend's head right in front of me. And I saw my friend reacted and then these guys got split apart. We went outside and this guy came out with a hammer and start hammering my friend in front again in front of me. So I rugby tackled the guy picked up the hammer and threw it just threw it into a bush and for a split moment I literally thought I'm going to get that camera and I'm going to hammer him on I remember thinking it and I remember almost feeling compelled to go and get it that this my friend was bleeding. And I just in that moment. Thankfully, there was a part of me that was perhaps a little bit more rational. That basically kicked in. And this is what I believe right? So the reason I'm making this podcast is because of what he said right? I'm embarrassed by my actions and they were not indicative of the man I want to be Who do you want to be? And in becoming someone different to who you are? How do we do that? How do we become someone better? How do we rise? How do we grow? This is something I just I love to have those conversations with people. What's that process?
And this is something else I say a lot I don't believe we live humans learn from experience. I really don't I really don't believe I think we only learn if we reflect on experience. You know Shane warm, also one of my heroes who isn't black for that matter. He was someone who massively inspired me as well. And when he died, I felt compelled to get the story out about him. And it's like it's so sad that I only really really really appreciated him through his passing. But at least I took the time to do that. And you know,
Pete Cohen 13:30
maybe we all have an opportunity here to reflect on our own experience, rather than to judge which a lot of people will do and he will be judged for what he's done and I'm sure he'll be punished for it and he's punishing himself and we can talk about it to the cows come home. But I wonder what you're going to take away from the experience. Now most of you have probably heard, you know what he said, but I just want you to take a moment to just listen to what he's saying. Right here. About a month. Tire tire for your family
Pete Cohen 15:19
life imitates life that for those of you haven't seen the film, but you know I know the story of The Venus, the the Williams sisters. Again, I've idolized them I've watched that story and how can a sport like tennis have to black women dominate can a sport like golf? Have Tiger Woods dominate? You keep people down. They're going to come up fighting. Fighting for what? Personally
Pete Cohen 16:05
I would imagine that Will Smith will become a better man because of this because he will learn from reflecting on the experience and we tend to just put people on pedestals and think Hang on a second. The guy is a human being just because he's got more money than most of us will ever have. And he's got an Oscar they might take that away from him and he's got Grammys, you know people just think these people are perfect. There is no perfect human being. And this to me is a sign that him just like me and makes me reflect the work I need to do for me to become a better human being. The three areas the three life that means that I'm interested in what about you who's interested in being a better person who's interested in becoming more as again think about what he said you know, I was out of line I was wrong. Embarrassed.
Pete Cohen 17:04
My actions they were not indicative of the man who want to be Who do you want to be? Do you want to dominate
Pete Cohen 17:14
because it's any there's not too many people on earth that's probably as obsessed as I am about that. And finding out about you about where you want to grow because the point I'm making here is there anything that wants to grow in advance?
Pete Cohen 17:26
It's going to be challenged.
Pete Cohen 17:28
You choose your life. You choose the path that you want to take you choose, you know where you want to progress and talk about life's purpose. Well listen to this
Pete Cohen 17:49
do you think about you know that's what his life's mission you know, that's what he wants to do. But if that's what you want, you're going to come up against opposition.
Pete Cohen 18:00
I think the greatest opposition that we often face as many of you know, it's opposition inside us the person in the world that I wanted to be no matter what people said and it was started off with positivity. Drive like I wasn't gonna be
Pete Cohen 18:37
fascinating, right? Again, did you hear that? Should we just play that that first little bit again listen?
You hear that being the person I want to be staying the course choosing your path. So if you choose a path to take, don't expect it to be easy. Expect things expect the unexpected. And if you listen to Will Smith story and you listen to him tell the story. That's why I love his book because it's affordable books. If it's not the person who's written it speaking, I'm not really that interested to be honest. And you hear him tell, you know, tell the story and it's no surprise that there's a part of him that
Pete Cohen 19:29
is alert to violence and cease threats everywhere. Because of his experience and everybody his work in progress. Do you not agree that we're all just work in progress, but where are we progressing? Where do we want to go? And that one question which I love to ask is How can I help you get that? So I just want to highlight a few things here, which I think when we talk about life lessons from Will Smith, just a couple of things that I just think are really, really, really important. And I want to share this with you.
Pete Cohen 20:06
When we look at why Will Smith does what he does. Why do you think he does what he does?
Pete Cohen 20:14
So he tells the story.
Pete Cohen 20:18
The book well, of a monk, he goes down to a river and it's rainy season and the river is just it's powerful. And the monk knows that he has to cross the river. It's the only way for him to survive. He can't stay where he is. So what is he doing? He builds a raft. he navigates across the river and gets to the other side and he's like wow. But now he starts another part of his adventure. And the next part of this adventure is he has to go through a forest with lots and lots of trees, tight spaces, and obviously he wants to take a raft with him. But as he's moving through the raft bits of it gets caught in trees and twigs and leaves and it's hindering him. And it's almost pulling him back. And he gets to that point where he realizes you know what, I'm going to have to leave this I'm going to have to leave this this vessel
Pete Cohen 21:20
something that once served, you could you know, it could kill you. And I think one of the biggest challenges that we face is to leave behind is what I take away outdated ideas to leave behind old excuses. When you look at his story, you know, I mean his story is still got a long way to go. When you look at his story, and
Pete Cohen 21:44
you realize that he also had the ability or has the ability to see the future. Some people know this, maybe you don't but the first record that they made some 3 million he didn't know how to anything about money just let was the same to me when I made money made a lot of money. I didn't know what to do with that printer lost it all. That he went from being a millionaire to losing it all. To then literally Quincy Jones, another hero of mine through optic the other hero of mine, Michael Jackson, who you know is to me, one of the greatest. So in concert in 99 for three massively influenced my life and then finding out how much Michael Jackson actually influenced other people's lives. Getting to know his former bodyguard, Matt, Fidesz and realizing the vulnerability of Michael Jackson, about how much he gave and how much people like Will Smith give to the world.
Pete Cohen 22:42
Will Smith's favorite book is The Alchemist. You know that story in the Alchemist of the main character with sells his flock to basically go on a hunch to go on a feeling that the realization that he can transform and when Quincy Jones basically gave, Will Smith the opportunity to start in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Wilson Smith started to realize well I know this story is gonna repeat itself that this will have a time and then eventually this will run out. So what's next and at that point, he realized the next thing would be movies. You know, I really like that he obviously has this ability to see the future. He tells the story of when he got the opportunity to be on on that program. He tried to get a couple of his friends to come but they didn't want to let go. They wanted to stay where they were. But he convinced them.
Pete Cohen 23:37
That's like me and I'm trying to convince people you don't have to be who you are. You don't.
Pete Cohen 23:43
You don't have to be your excuses. Your procrastination. You don't have to be your rumination. You can leave all of that behind. It's just a question of whether you want to. And as he says, you know if we don't adapt we die you know changes this one
Pete Cohen 24:00
thing that it's inevitable that so many people are scared you know to pivot or to adapt. And it's and I love what he says about that. It says if you don't you're gonna you will not enjoy being here. You won't enjoy life you'll just be existing that we have this ability, this capacity to adjust and improve. And it's not about again, you know, quoting him. There are so many people who wish they had rather than hang on. This is the hand that I've been dealt. I'm going to play this hand well that's one of the things I would just love you know everything that's going on in the world right now. If you want to use what's happened is your own fuel.
Pete Cohen 24:48
Could you learn what could you take away and we live in this world
Pete Cohen 24:55
where this crap it's, you know, I've never seen so much of this canceled culture right and wrong and good and bad. And can we just look at this from a neutral point of view? First of all and see the bigger picture you think
Pete Cohen 25:20
as he said, My mission is to improve lives by putting positivity into the world. So it definitely put something else into the world.
Pete Cohen 25:38
The other day maybe we could all just take a moment and reflect on that. Rather than looking at everyone else. Look at ourselves, who do you want to become? It's hard life is hard and
Pete Cohen 25:50
it's challenging. And I see they're making a gladiator too. I don't know how many of you have seen that perfect what they're bringing. What's his name back from the dead, you know, but people will watch it since the big since those things people would hail great people. But as soon as someone was brought up and held as great, almost this part of human beings, we pull them back down to earth again. And like I said, I'm not here to judge what he did. He will flip he'll face the consequences of his actions. But I believe that he will appreciate himself more appreciate others more, and he will be a better human being because of it. How else will we expect to learn you know what doesn't break us? It can make us I appreciate being able to share this with people.
Pete Cohen 26:49
I'm not here to say I'm right or I'm wrong. I just wanted to give everyone a chance to hear this from my point of view. What's your point of view? So I really appreciate you listening to this episode of the podcast life lessons from Will Smith. Ultimately, it's your life. You can change. You can be your future.
Pete Cohen 27:17
Self and let me finish on this. Why did I decide to do this? I did this because one of our team just said to me yesterday, did you hear what we'll submits it? I said no. He said I'll send it to you. Read it. I'm embarrassed that my actions
Pete Cohen 27:36
and they were not indicative of the man I want to be. I am work in progress. There's no place for violence in the world of love and kindness. Well at the more love and kindness of my heart today
Pete Cohen 27:52
What about you?
Pete Cohen 27:54
Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. I really appreciate you and have an amazing day.