This video came across my desk in the last couple weeks it is Will Smith telling the story of how he got the role of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air:
It is WELL worth the five minutes to watch - it is an amazing story and Will Smith is hilarious. But there is one section that made more of an impression on me than anything. This is starting at about minute three. Will is at Quincy Jones house and Quincy just handed him a script and said “in ten minutes, we’ll do an audition right here” (and I’m paraphrasing here):
“I’m not ready to do an audition in ten minutes”
“OK, what do you need?”
“Give me like, a week, and I’ll be ready!”
“Oh, ok - the head of NBC is out there. I’ll get him scheduled for a week from now. And you know what’s gonna happen? Something going to come up and he’ll have to reschedule”
“So three weeks from now, yeah, we could do three weeks, that would be good!”
“Yeah, three weeks from now would be good. Or you can take ten minutes right now and change your life forever”
“F*$& it then. Yes.”
He then proceeds to explain how Quincy got them to basically ink the deal THAT NIGHT in a limo outside his house. You probably know how the rest of the story goes - three months later they were shooting episodes.
How many projects have we all worked on where, in that same scenario, we decided to take a minute and make sure we were prepared? And the result was that three months later we were still talking about the project - not even CLOSE to shooting episodes. The world is so full of amazing projects and opportunities - connections, deals, ideas, partnerships - than any of us could ever get to. The fear of missing out is what kills most of them.
More deals don’t get done because the set-up and analysis kills them.
“No paralysis! Do analysis!”
What I found even more interesting was that this reminded me of a story about Andrew Carnegie that I saw on the Art of Manliness site years ago. The most striking thing is that these two stories took place something like 140 years apart - but the actions and drive were almost identical:
- Go where people are doing the thing you want to do
- Show initiative
I’m not the first person to comment on the importance of saying yes - but I think it is an important enough idea that it was worth repeating. So follow Quincy Jones and make things happen! But if you have ever been frustrated by things not “happening” for you, then you might be stuck in analysis. The truth is that so many of our choices come down to a choice. A choice that has variable outcomes and you can’t control or know what the results will be. The only way forward is to pick one and see what happens.
“Tell me your rap name again?”
“They call me the ‘The Fresh Prince’”
“Alright good, that’s what we gonna call the show”