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Fuel Your Mind Friday

The Will Smith Dilemma: Overcoming the Insatiable Hunger Within You

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

Week 374 (brendan@brendanbarca.com)

Here's your weekly dose of Fuel Your Mind Friday where I share business building ideas, lifestyle design hacks, and inspirational content to help you thrive in your work and find purpose in your life.

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PSA: My wife, Pema Sherpa, and I have another blog called The Mindful Minute! Check it out here.

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THE WILL SMITH DILEMMA: OVERCOMING THE INSATIABLE HUNGER WITHIN YOU

"Freedom isn't secured by filling up on your heart's desire but by removing your desire." - Epictetus

Will Smith is one of the most prolific and profitable entertainers of his generation. He first rose to fame in the late 80s as one half of the hip hop group, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. By the early 90s, he starred on his own hit sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And finally, he made his way onto the big screen with movies like Independence Day, Men In Black, and Ali.

Smith has won Grammys and Golden Globes. He's broken records at the box office. He's worked with Steven Speilberg, Quincy Jones, and Russell Simmons. His estimated net worth currently sits north of $350 million. And, to cap it all off, his wife, Jada, and their three children are all successful entertainers in their own right.

And yet, despite all of this, Will has never truly felt satisfied. As he explains in his memoir, WILL, even as he rode a streak in the early 2000s of releasing eight consecutive #1 movies (which had never been done before), Will remained unsatiated. No matter what his movies grossed at the box office on opening weekend, he found himself wishing it grossed more. One time, Will Smith's manager, James Lassiter, even hung up the phone on him when Smith wondered out loud why his world-record-breaking numbers weren't even higher.

In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a mythical creature, known as the Hungry Ghost, that encapsulates Will Smith's never-ending struggle to achieve more. The Hungry Ghost is depicted as having a huge stomach but a tiny throat in which food can only pass through very slowly. As such, the Hungry Ghost has a huge appetite but can never eat enough food at one time to feel adequately full. In the end, this insatiable hunger tragically prevents the Hungry Ghost from enjoying what they already have.

While it may be Will Smith's insatiable hunger that drove him to great heights in his career, it has also been his Achilles heel. He admitted in his memoir that even as he was making $20 million per movie, he found himself in a "poverty mindset."

Though it might be easy to look at Will's dilemma and not feel distant from it, it may be worth asking ourselves if we too suffer from the "hungry ghost" mentality. Do we have an appetite for success and money that never feels satiated?

I'll admit, I have a bit of the hungry ghost within me. Each time I get to one level of success, I find myself looking for the staircase to get up another flight. I don't sit down to rest. I just keep climbing. And worse, the more I achieve, the hungrier I feel.

While I don't yet have the answer to solving the "hungry ghost" mentality, I do believe the first step is creating awareness around it. That's where I'm at today. And from that awareness, I hope to slowly start shifting my mindset so I don't go mentally hungry like Will.

As stoic philosopher, Epictetus said, "Freedom isn't secured by filling up on your heart's desire but by removing your desire."

Can you identify the Hungry Ghost within you?


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Until next week,

- Brendan

Let's connect on LinkedIn!

brendanbarca.com

Don't miss our newest creation, The Mindful Minute -> Check it out here!

Fuel Your Mind Friday

Brendan Barca - Entrepreneur | Speaker | Blogger

Helping busy professionals create space through mindfulness, level-up their mindset & design a life with purpose.

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