By Rochelle Soetan
None of us can be what we are not. But all of us can pretend. Sometimes, when you pretend, something very strange happens. You suddenly realize that you are not pretending anymore. You are living and breathing the very role that you stepped into so nervously or reluctantly.
This comparison strikingly reminds me of a movie role assumed by actor extraordinaire, Will Smith, who was asked to play Muhammad Ali in the 2001 American biographical sports drama film, Ali. It was a role that he had turned down a summative of eight times before accepting. Given the intricacy of the film it was rumored that Smith supposed no one else could successfully replicate Muhammad Ali’s exceptional skills and charisma. Once he took on the role, he trained relentlessly to master the skills needed for the movie and went to great lengths to seeking the approval of the man, Ali, himself. But he didn’t stop there.
Since that role, Smith has seized lead roles in films such as Flowers for Algernon, Bad Boys II, I Robot, Hitch, Seven Pounds, Men in Black 3, After Earth, Focus, Concussion, Suicide Squad, Collateral Beauty, and too many to count. His dramatic performance in Enemy of the State landed him an ever-deserving Oscar Nomination. From the very beginning of his dream, rapping at the age of twelve to having a career in Hollywood, Willard Carroll Smith, Jr. (aka “Will Smith”) has shown up with the fortitude of a front-runner, the mind of a great achiever, and the spirit of a survivor. His Germanic personal name, Willard, meaning “will”, “desire”, “brave”, and “strong” defines the very height of his undertakings and career, and there is no pretending there.
In a past interview, Smith noted, “Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, illusive, God-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste. It’s something that exists in all of us. It’s very simple. This is what I believe and I’m willing to die for it. Period.”
The “Will” in all of us has to be determined enough to succeed, insightful enough to see the beauty in our lives, faithful enough to honor our gifts, and strong enough to run the race for the long haul. Our will has to be stronger than our weakness. We must be flexible enough to adapt to change for growth. We must be willing to give life all we’ve got, because life will give us, in return, all it’s got. When we fall down, we must stand back up. We must not quit. We will survive.
An uplifting quote was conserved from Will Smith’s role as Chris Gardner in one of the most inspiring films of all time, The Pursuit of Happyness.
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something; not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it; Period.”
Our will lights our way forward.
love and light for your Tuesday!
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