“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will know how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.” - Will Smith
I am a huge fan of Will Smith and just not because he’s a rib-cracking-ly funny comedian or because I love to get jiggy with it. Will Smith is an inspirational man with a whole host of inspirational wisdom to share with those who love to listen and learn. His work ethic, his approach to success, his genuine desire to contribute to the world in which we live and his down-to-earth personality make him a very rare breed of man and an extremely talented one at that.
At Nickelodeon’s 2005 Kid’s Choice Awards, Will Smith shared the above advice with the children who voted for him to receive his award. Now, I’m not a huge fan of running, I’ll admit, exercise never having been my choice of pastime. But, I am in full agreement with his advice that running and reading are incremental keys to success in life, agreeing especially with his esteem of books and their role: “There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.”
Some Wisdom from Books:
Feeling pressured by your friends? Unsure whether or not to stand up for what you believe in? Take Professor Dumbledore’s advice, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”
When you find yourself in a situation where you feel the odds stacked against you and the only conceivable option seems to be to give up, think of Pi, from Life of Pi by Yann Martel. He spent countless weeks afloat the Pacific Ocean, in a tiny boat with an injured zebra, a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, an orangutan and a spotted hyena. But with faith and perseverance…
Knocked down? Ganged up on? Making mistakes? Take a leaf out of Steve Jobs’ biography: believe in yourself, don’t sell yourself out, push for excellence and don’t relent until you succeed.
Want to learn more about the power of positive thinking? Want to know how to turn the lead of your life into gold? Well, according to Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist, “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
These four books exemplify only a sliver of the wisdom and inspiration that can be found within the binding of a book. Will Smith is right; trillions of people have lived before us, made mistakes before us, triumphed before us and written before us. There are an astronomical number of books on our planet, written in every existing language and about every conceivable topic and, if we only took the time to read a little more, we just might find ourselves better equipped with the necessary emotional tools to survive any obstacles that lie ahead.
Shall I say it again? The keys to life are running and reading.