I loved this so much I couldn’t stop, and read in one sitting for 8 hours straight. I love autobiographies that distill lessons from their success. Similar to “Total Recall” by Schwarzenegger. I love reading the mindsets of the super-ambitious. Knowing Mark Manson’s writing so well, it’s fascinating to notice where it subtly changes voice from Will to Mark. Great insights. Really an ideal autobiography.
There is no wall. There are only bricks. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly. Then move on to the next brick. Then lay that brick perfectly. Don’t worry about the wall. Your only concern is one brick.
The difference between a task that feels impossible and a task that feels doable is merely a matter of perspective. Are you paying attention to the wall? Or are you paying attention to the brick?
Pissed off? Lay another brick. Bad opening weekend? Lay another brick. Album sales dropping? Lay another brick. Marriage failing? Lay another brick.
In school you get the lesson, and then you take the test.
But in life, you get the test, then it’s your job to learn the lesson.
Venturing forth is how we gain the knowledge.
Choosing the city you live in is as important as choosing your life partner.
Always do your best.
Imagine you were to secure a title fight against Mike Tyson in his prime. Fearful for your life, you hire legendary trainer Freddie Roach, you commit to the perfect diet, the perfect training regimen, you do everything within your power to prepare yourself to face Iron Mike. You step into the ring in impeccable physical and mental condition, and Mike destroys you within fifteen seconds. You did everything you could possibly have done, and still lost. You’re just not as good a fighter as Mike Tyson.
That is a bearable loss; that is what I’m calling natural destruction.
But if you were lollygagging during training, didn’t really eat right, and let your boy Pookie train you - and then Mike knocks you out in fifteen seconds - now you have to face an unbearable loss. You have to live the rest of your life not knowing what might have happened had you done your best.
In the back of your mind, forever, you will know that you didn’t only lose to Mike Tyson, you lost to yourself.
The fight wasn’t you versus Mike - it was you and Mike versus you.
It’s two against one: it’s you and the universe versus you.
It’s respectable to lose to the universe.
It’s a tragedy to lose to yourself.
(On his character’s name in Prince of Bel Air.) Give your character your name. Because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life.
There are only two human problems:
(1) knowing what you want, but not knowing how to get it
(2) not knowing what you want.
Knowing what you want gives direction to your life - every word, every action, every association, can be accurately chosen and harnessed to precipitate your desired outcome.
What you eat, when you sleep, where you go, who you talk to, what you allow them to say to you, who your friends are, can all be corralled and launched toward your wildest dreams.
We think of our personalities as fixed and solid. We think of our likes and our dislikes, our beliefs, our nationalities, our political affiliations and religious convictions, our mannerisms, our sexual predilections, et cetera, as set, as us. But the reality is, most of the things that we think of as us are learned habits and patterns, and entirely malleable.
The characters we play in a film are no different than the characters we play in life.
Will Smith is no more “real” than Paul - they’re both characters that were invented, practiced, and performed, reinforced, and refined.
If quitting is a possibility, everyone will pick that.
If quitting is an option, you’ll never finish anything hard.
The only way an imperfect mind can be forced to achieve is by removing all of its other options.
A film that might only earn $10 million in Spain could easily earn $15 to $25 million if you go to the country, do a premiere, a day of press, and a couple of fan events.
I saw school as getting in the way of me having time with him to teach him the real shit.
I wanted him to see the entire world as school, and every person as a teacher, every place as a classroom.
Training is for the purpose of habituating reactions to extreme circumstances.
You either do your best all the time or you don’t.
If the behavior has not been trained and practiced, then the switch will not be there when you need it.
Desire is what you want.
Purpose is the flowering of what you are.
Desire tends to weaken over time, whereas purpose strengthens the more you lean into it.
Desire can be depleting because it’s insatiable. Purpose is empowering.
I am a dreamer, and a builder. I picture grand visions, and then I build the systems to make them real in the world. That is my love language.
If I could wake up and start an hour earlier than everyone else, and stay an hour later than everyone else, and work through my lunch break, I would be gaining fifteen extra hours every week on the competition. That works out to 780 more productive hours in a year than the next guy - that’s the equivalent of one month. If you give me a one-month headstart on anybody, they’ll never catch me.
If they need their weekends and vacations, so they can get their beauty rest and recover and maintain their little punk-ass “work-life balance,” then they will always be looking at my taillights.
Jada wasn’t actually playing Monopoly. She was bonding and connecting and enjoying family time. Apparently, I was the only person who was actually playing Monopoly.
Why am I not concerned about feeling good?
My priorities: Food Shelter Security Intelligence Strength Productivity
1. I care that you eat every day.
2. I care that you have somewhere to live.
3. I care that you’re safe.
4. I care that you are intelligent, and your mind is trained to solve the problems of your life.
5. I care that you’re strong, because the world is hard.
6. I care that you’re productive - I want you to contribute to the human family.
If you have all of those things, they will add up to you feeling great.
If I take care of one through six, number seven will take care of itself.
This is not something I just apply to you: I don’t even care how I feel.
Many of my feelings have been enemies to my dreams and to our prosperity.
I don’t feel like running five miles at 5:00 a.m.; I don’t feel like working eighty hours a week.
A Freestanding Man is self-aware, self-reliant, self-motivated, self-confident, and utterly unswayed by people’s approval or disapproval.
He knows who he is, he knows what he wants.
And because of this, he surrenders his considerable gifts into the service of others.
It was excruciating trying to stop saying yes when I meant no, and to stop saying no to things that I actually wanted.
A dying person will fight and struggle to stay alive if they don’t have the sense that you are going to be OK without them.
Know your ending.
When you understand the emotional, philosophical, and moral conclusion of your movie, you can better craft everything that leads up to it.
Reverse engineer a more resonant and enjoyable journey for the audience.
The end of a film is similar to the punch line of a joke - you want the meaning to erupt in the hearts and minds of the audience.
Inner peace or fulfilment is generated through output. It’s not something you get, it’s something you cultivate through giving.