In this post, you’ll find collected quotes from Will Smith’ book: Will, with page numbers.

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In this post, you’ll find collected quotes from Will Smith’s book: Will, with page numbers.

The Wall

“Some of the most impactful lessons I’ve ever received, I’ve had to learn in spite of myself.”
— The Wall – Page IX


“We choose the behaviors that we believe will deliver safety, stability and love. And we repeat them, over and over again. In the movies, we call it a character; in real life, we call it personality.”
— Fear – Page 14


My first impulse is always to clean up the truth in my mind. To make it better. To shine it up a little bit so it doesn’t hurt so much. I redesign it and replace it with whatever suits me. Or really, whatever suits you.
— Fantasy  – Page 17

“Never argue with a fool, because from a distance, people can’t tell who’s who.”
— Fantasy – Page 20

“Comedy is an extension of intelligence. It’s hard to be really funny if you’re not really smart.”
— Fantasy – Page 20

“[…] one man’s fantasy is another man’s lie.”
— Fantasy – Page 21

I didn’t lie about my perceptions, my perceptions lied to me. I would get lost; sometimes I would lose track of what was real and what I had made up. It became a defense mechanism—my mind wouldn’t even contemplate what was true. I would think, What do they need to hear to be OK?!
— Fantasy – Page 21

While this somewhat skewed perception of myself would often end in ridicule or getting my ass kicked when I was young, on many occasions throughout my life, it served as a superpower.
— Fantasy – Page 24

Living in your own little world with your own rules can be an advantage sometimes, but you have to be careful. You can’t get too detached from reality. Because there are consequences.
— Fantasy – Page 25

The bigger the fantasy you live, the more painful the inevitable collision with reality.
— Fantasy – Page 27

We all delude ourselves a little bit around the things that scare us. […] We concoct entire narratives about other people’s lives when in fact we have no clue what they’re thinking or feeling or struggling with. We invent these stories to protect ourselves. We imagine all sorts of things to be true about ourselves or the world, not because we’ve seen evidence for it, but because it’s the only thing that keeps us from collapsing back into fear.
—Fantasy – Page 29


[…] everywhere I go, I try to make everything I touch better.
— Performance – Page 42

To me, love was a performance, so if you weren’t clapping, I was failing. To succeed in love, the ones you care for must constantly applaud.
— Performance – Page 49


In order to feel confident and secure, you need to have something to feel confident and secure about. We all want to feel good about ourselves, but many of us don’t recognize how much work that actually takes.
— Power – Page 69


Hope sustains life. Hope is the elixir of survival during our darkest times. The ability to envision and imagine a brighter day gives meaning to our suffering and renders it bearable. When we lose hope, we lose our central source of strength and resilience.
— Hope – Page 97

[…] advice at its best is one person’s limited perspective of the infinite possibilities before you. People’s advice is based on their fears, their experiences, their prejudices, and at the end of the day, their advice is just that: it’s theirs, not yours. When people give you advice, they’re basing it on what they would do, what they can perceive, on what they think you can do. But the bottom line is, while yes, it is true that we are all subject to a series of universal laws, patterns, tides, and currents—all of which are somewhat predictable—you are the first time you’ve ever happened. You and now are a unique occurrence, of which you are the more reliable measure of all the possibilities.
— Hope – Page 99 to 100


We punish ourselves for not knowing. We always complain about what we could and should have done, and how much of a mistake it was that we did that thing, that unforgivable thing. […] But here’s the reality—that’s what life is. Living in the journey from not knowing to knowing. […] venturing forth is how we gain the knowledge.
— Ignorance – Page 113 to 114


Both of us were wildly deficient, but together we made one really capable person.
— Adventure – Page 131


You can stop a homicide, but you can’t stop no suicide.
— Destruction – Page 158


No paralysis through analysis!
— Alchemy – Page 187


Things can be perfectly useful and absolutely necessary during certain periods of our lives. But a time will come when we must put them aside or die.
— Adaptation – Page 193

A threat is one thing; violence is something else. […] when you group up in violent environments, your mind adapts to perceive threats everywhere. You reason that you cannot afford to get caught slipping, even once. You begin to respond to a perceived threat and to actual violence equally, even though they’re very different things. There’s an old adage: I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.
— Adaptation – Page 198

It’s amazing how skewed your vision can become when you see the present through the lens of your past.
— Adaptation – Page 202


There’s a difference between talent and skill. Talent comes from God—you’re born with it. Skill comes from sweat and practice and commitment. Don’t just skate through this opportunity. Hone your craft.
— Adaptation – Page 207

There are only two human problems: (1) knowing what you want, but not knowing how to get it; and (2) not knowing what you want.
— Desire – Page 213

When you know what you want, it clarifies what you don’t want. And even painful decisions, though not easy, become simple.
— Desire – Page 216

We tend think of our personalities s fixed and solid. We think of our likes and our dislikes, our beliefs, out nationalities, our political affiliations and religious convictions, our mannierisms, 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. […] What you think of s your “self” s a fragile construct.
— Desire – Page 226


To me, the heart of all successful human interactions is we look at each other and we know we’re about to attempt something that is difficult/impossible.
— Devotion – Page 237


What we call “memory” and “imagination” are essentially just stories that we program into our minds as a survival mechanism to protect ourselves and to help us thrive.
— Boom – Page 269


[…] in the confusion of yesterday, I created so many unnecessary messes.
— Inferno – Page 280

[…] here’s the harsh reality for everyone who loves a dreamer: Everything comes second to the dream.
— Inferno – Page 285


I’d rather see a sermon than hear any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. The eyes’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, Fine counsel is confusing but example’s always clear.
— Purpose – Page 301

[…] dreams are built on discipline; discipline is built on habits; habits are built on training. And training takes place in every single second and every situation of your life. […] You either do your best all the time or you don’t.
— Purpose – Page 302

Training is for the purpose of habituating reactions to extreme circumstances. When situations get hot, you can’t rely on yo’ thinkin’s mind. You must have habituated reflexive responses that kick in without the necessity of thought.
— Purpose – Page 302

I had experienced the magnetism of fame, I knew well the allure of celebrity, the attraction of money, but this was my first dose of the power of purpose and the radiance of service.
— Purpose – Page 306

Purpose and desire can seem similar, but they are very different, sometimes even opposing forces.
— Purpose – Page 314

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. […] Purpose has a way of contextualizing life’s unavoidable sufferings and making them meaningful and worthwhile.

— Purpose – Page 314

It’s impossible to build something that is of a higher quality than the quality of the people around you.
— Perfection – Page 318

When you have nothing, you suffer the fear and pain of grinding to achieve your goals. But when you have everything, you suffer the brutal recurring nightmare of losing it all.
— Perfection – Page 318

There’s only one fear worse than the fear of not attaining the object of your desire: and that’s the fear of losing it.
— Perfection – Page 318

Witnessing my parents’ struggles branded me with the impression that financial stability was an imperative for love and family to have any chance whatsoever to thrive.
— Perfection – Page 320

I’d conflated being successful with being love and being happy. These are three separate things.
— Perfection – Page 318


When people are too worried about how they feel, they’ll never feel how they want to feel.
— Mutiny – Page 342

Feelings are extremely valuable tools for maneuvering and manifesting in the world. They are like fire—they can be used to cook and heat and cleanse. But when extreme emotions go unchecked, my experience has been that they will incinerate your dreams.
— Mutiny – Page 342

There’s nothing more important than feeling how we want to feel. And people determine whether or not you love them by how well they feel you honor their feelings.
— Mutiny – Page 344

You broke my heart, and you never even told me why.
— Mutiny – Page 349


[…] I did not know how to stop, or be still, or be quiet, or alone. I’m addicted to the approval of others, and to secure their approval, I became addicted to winning. And to guarantee and sustain my stream of massive victories, I became addicted to working, to grinding, and obsessively pursuing perfection.
— Retreat – Page 367

[…] the most perturbing aspect of my need to fill every second was that it kept me from having to feel.
— Retreat – Page 367

Memory is not a flawless recording of what actually happened. It’s not a video of your experience. It’s not even a photograph. It is your psychological, artistic rendering. It is more like an abstract impressionist painting of what happened than it is a pure, unfiltered depiction. And it’s not fixed—the painting morphs, it fades, or expands over time. Sometimes you add colors to a memory that wasn’t there a year ago, or five years ago, or even collapse multiple memories and paint them into one.
— Retreat – Page 370

I might break my promise to you, but I’ll never break my promise to me.
— Retreat – Page 374


As long as you are twisting and contorting and selling yourself out for the affection of others, you will always be untrustworthy.
— Surrender – Page 379

Explore. Experience. Experiment. Expand.
— Surrender – Page 384

“Surrender” to me no longer meant defeat—it was now an equally powerful tool of manifestation. Losing could be equal to winning in terms of my growth and development.
— Surrender – Page 387

Act when the universe is open, and rest when she’s closed.
— Surrender – Page 387

[…] we kinda used each other to crash-test our theories about life. We knew the other would never easily agree, so when an idea got past, we knew it was a keeper.
— Surrender – Page 388


[…] bravery does not mean the absence of fear. Bravery is learning to continue forward even when you’re terrified.
— Love – Page 404

The Jump

[…] the rebound can never be as high as the initial fall.
— The Jump – Page 409

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