I’m Not Afraid to Die on a Treadmill

I’m not a runner, not a real one at least.  Real runners have snappy shoes, track every tenth of a mile ran, have a strict training schedule and goals for performance.  Oh, I used to run cross country in High School (many years ago) and have ran a few 10K’s, but I don’t consider myself a real runner; I’m just a guy who likes to exercise.  And don’t get me started on treadmill running… at least when you go running outside you can get some fresh air and sunshine, but running on a treadmill is like being a hamster stuck on it’s wheel.  No thanks!

As much as I’m not a fan of the treadmill, I came across a great quote from Will Smith that uses them to teach a lesson:

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.  I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories.  But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.  It’s really that simple, right?

You’re not going to out-work me.  It’s such a simple, basic concept.  The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball.  The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle.  It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities.  I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

Hustle… now that I can get behind!  Think about this quote and what it implies:

  • Success is not only for the highly educated (certainly doesn’t hurt though)
  • Success is not just for those that come from wealthy families
  • Success is not something you are handed

Success comes to those willing to work harder than everybody else… period.  Some say, “work smarter, not harder” and to those people I say “good luck with that, let me know how it works out.”  I am all for efficiency and effectiveness, but there is simply no substitute for hard work.

If you want to step up your hustle, here’s a few tips:

  1. Learn to live without 8 hours of sleep a night – It’s hard to be great if you sleep away 1/3 of your life, sorry.  Start setting your alarm 1 hour earlier everyday, and then treat yourself to 1 catch up day of sleep over the weekend.  Unless you have medical reasons to do otherwise, make this a habit.
  2. Always be networking – Go new places, meet new people, find a way to add value to them and they’ll reciprocate that.
  3. Find mentors – Learn from those smarter than you who have found success already: take them to coffee, ask questions and listen with all your attention.  If you don’t have a person to mentor you yet, start with the ones you can find in books… there are literally millions of pages of wisdom written by the worlds brightest minds, so go learn from them.
  4. Have a bias for action – Talk is cheap… you have to back it up with relentless, purposeful, value-creating action!  Take a step forward, everyday, and before long you’ll be miles from where you started.
  5. Set goals & keep them – Create a simple list of 3-5 stretch goals (ones you have to really work for), post them where you can see them, share them with people who will keep you accountable.  Then work-your-tail-off so that you can smile with joy when you cross them off as completed.  When you complete one goal, add another.

I still don’t like the treadmill, but it is my new favorite metaphor.  Whenever I am pushing myself to work on something really difficult, there’s a good chance you’ll hear me say, “I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.”

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear from you!

Work hard,



2 thoughts on “I’m Not Afraid to Die on a Treadmill

  1. I love that Will Smith quote and was really happy to be reminded of it this morning. In fact, I sometimes watch the youtube video of him saying that when I feel I am lacking motivation. Thank you for the inspiration today!

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