I’m Not Afraid to Die on a Treadmill

Relentless, Sickening Work Ethic

The video above is my favorite motivational video of all time. Towards the beginning of the video, Will Smith says, “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is, I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”

“Your family might come from privilege; your daddy might own a company. But you will not outwork me!” – Eric Thomas

I love the part in my brother Cory’s blog post, No Accident, where he talks about controllable factors. I think there are two things in this world that we have total, absolute control over: our thoughts, and our work ethic. It is my belief that the people in this world who master those two controllable factors, ultimately dominate in any field in the world.

There’s a story in Think and Grow Rich about a man who got gold fever during the gold rush, so he staked his claim and started digging. The man found a vein of ore, then covered up his find to return home to raise the money to buy the machinery needed to bring the ore to the surface. He raised the money, then traveled back to the site to make his fortune. The man started getting quite a bit of gold, but then, the supply of gold stopped. The vein or ore disappeared.

After digging for a while more, the man quit in frustration and sold his machinery to a junk man. The junk man hired a mining engineer to check the mine, and the engineer calculated that there was a vein of gold just three feet from where the man stopped digging. The junk man went on to make millions of dollars from the mine.

To me, “I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill,” represents a huge determining factor between the people who achieve success and those who don’t. you have to take on any endeavor knowing that it’s going to be a long-term process. Success is not going to happen overnight, so you have to have the will to outlast everyone else. People who are smarter, more talented, or come from better circumstances will crumble when adversity strikes. But it’s hard to beat someone who refuses to give up. As the great Jimmy Valvano once said, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Because you never know when you’re three feet from gold.


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