Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Will Smith on Work Ethic and Separating Talent from Skill

Want a great video for your students to motivate them to work hard at developing their skills? Show them this collection of clips by actor/rapper/film producer Will Smith. I've transcribed some of it below the link with an introduction you could use for the video.



Will Smith - successful rapper, actor and film producer - has achieved such a level of success that Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor on the planet." He has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammy Awards. You may have seen him starring in Men in Black, I, Robot, Hancock, Hitch, Bad Boys, Pursuit of Happiness, The Wild Wild West and other hit films.

So is he just one of these naturally talented guys who can rehearse a couple of times and whip out a great performance? Not according to Smith. Listen to what he has to say about developing his skills.

Quotes from Will Smith

“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.

I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping, I’m working. While the other guys’ eating, I’m working.

There’s no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled. If you don’t study, if you don’t work really hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day, you’ll never be able to communicate with people - with your artistry - the way that you want….

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me; you might be smarter than me. But if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die.
It’s really that simple."

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