David R. Henderson  

Inspiration from Will Smith

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Here's a 10-minute collage of excerpts from various interviews with actor Will Smith. It's highly inspirational and the the whole thing is worth watching. You are unlikely to be bored because he covers a lot of ground.

My favorite two parts are at the 3 minute point (approximately) and the 7:30 point (approximately.)

At the 3 minute point, he talks about his father having him, at age 13, and his younger brother tear down a brick wall and rebuild it. They told their father that that was impossible. It took them 1.5 years but they did it. That reminded me of two things in my own life. The first was that, starting at about age 6, I helped my father every fall get one cord of wood from outside our basement into the basement. We had a coal-burning furnace for winter heat (in Manitoba) and we used the wood every morning to start the fire. My father would remove the tiny window to the basement, I would throw the wood in, and he would stack it. He would ask for a break about halfway through but I would insist on continuing until we were done. The main reward was not the dime he gave me at the end, which was a large amount of money for me at age 6, 7, and 8, but the way he bragged to my family about my work ethic (that wasn't the term we used) for the next day or two. It's a little sad that that was one of the few ways I could get him express appreciation in me, but there you are.

The other thing it reminds me of is when my late brother Paul and I (when Paul was about 16 or 17 and I was about 13 or 14) decided to clear our shore line at our Minaki cottage of the various bushes, branches, and moss so that we could have a beautiful flat-rock shoreline. My brother did the thinking and we both used brawn. He used various lever and fulcrum combinations he had learned in physics (he understood those but never got the math) to move big rocks out of the way. Within a week we had it done and, over 40 years later, it still looks good.

At the 7:30 point, Will Smith talks about making a CHOICE rather than being at the effect of things. He also later talks about various things that looked impossible but that people did. That reminds me of one of my favorite aphorisms, which I used to have on a magnet on my file cabinet:

The person who thinks it can't be done should not stop the person who's doing it.

HT to Bob Murphy.


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COMMENTS (13 to date)
burger flipper writes:

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Rebecca Burlingame writes:

I grew up too when many fathers generally did not spend a lot of time with children other than work responsibilities, so I can relate.

Great cabinet magnet...people love to tell us what we can't do, especially when we are young. I guess when we get older we can be as rebellious as we want, I certainly am.

guthrie writes:

David, I always seem to find your posts refreshing and insightful! I love how keyed-in you are to popular culture, more so I think, than the other guys (not that I'm disparaging them). Keep up the good work!

jeff writes:

he talks about his father having him, at age 13, and his younger brother tear down a brick wall and rebuild it. They told their father that that was impossible. It took them 1.5 years but they did it.

Seems to have a whiff of Keynesian pyramid-building about it.

David R. Henderson writes:

Thanks, Rebecca and guthrie.
BTW, Rebecca, I think my post was misleading about my father. He read to us three kids almost every night from when I was about 2 or 3 to when I was about 8.
Best,
David

Daniel Klein writes:

Really enjoyed the video, thanks.

Mike Moffatt writes:

Great post! Your father sounds a lot like my grandfather, which I guess isn't surprising given they likely had similar backgrounds (though rural SW Ontario instead of Manitoba).

Yancey Ward writes:

Burger Flipper,

Where are my fries?

Jacob Oost writes:

Is that a Scientology promo vid?

David R. Henderson writes:

Jacob Oost,
I don't think so. Scientology wasn't mentioned even once.

Josh Weil writes:

I found myself agreeing with most of his perspective. Will Smith thinks on the margin!

Seth writes:

Very nice. Thank you.

About 4:20 in: "If you are not making someone else's life better, then you're wasting your time. Your life will become better, you know, by making others' lives better."

I think most people will understand that to mean helping others only in charitable ways, but I understood it to also include the essence of Adam Smith's butcher/brewer/baker quote.

Ricardo writes:

"The person who thinks it can't be done should not stop the person who's doing it."

That strikes me as a very un-libertarian aphorism:

"The person who thinks government can't improve X should not stop the person who is using government to improve X"

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