In 2009, I was living on my friend’s futon, my bank balance was overdrawn by about $200, and I was surviving on PB&J’s every day. I was 24 years old and had nothing to lose.
A year prior, I had quit my job to start an online business. I was blogging on the side and after a brief spurt of early success, by that second summer, the opportunities had dried up.
It was around this time that a viral video of Will Smith was getting passed around the blogosphere. The video was a loose edit of some of Will’s interviews over the years—a smattering of soundbites and inspirational or funny stories. He talked about motivation, perseverance, work ethic. He talked about love and having a passion for life. He talked about out-working everybody, about “being willing to die on the treadmill.” These were well-worn topics, but he talked about them in a way that electrified you when you heard him speak. It was inspiring.
I remember thinking to myself, “Damn, I never knew Will Smith was such an amazing guy,” and then dutifully got back to work.
I’m not going to lie and say that video changed my life …