One of the world’s foremost entrepreneurs once said, “It’s not about putting up with discomfort; it’s about refusing to put up with comfort.”
Everyone wants to be comfortable, but what we don’t realize is that comfortability kills our drive, our vision, and ultimately our potential for greatness. Comfort seems like a safe place, but we don’t accomplish anything great by staying safe.
The same entrepreneur also said, “A life of greatness is like an endless boxing match.” Notice that word — “endless.” Greatness is not something you achieve in a moment so that you can sit back and relax. It’s a commitment to fight harder, to make more impact, and to live out your dream as loudly and boldly as you can.
Believe it or not, those two quotes come from comedian and actor Kevin Hart in his new audiobook, The Decision, Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success, which is available exclusively on Audible. That’s right, one of the biggest superstars in the entertainment world is tapping into the magic we make here on The School of Greatness.
I was lucky enough to talk intimately with Kevin this week about so many things that were just eye-opening, inspiring, real, and relatable. We talk about self-doubt in his early career, mistakes he’s learned from, the perspective he gained from his nearly fatal car crash last year, and what winning in this life really means.
Kevin Hart is a hugely successful comedian, actor, and producer who began his career by sizing men and women for footwear. In his spare time, he would run over to a Philadelphia amateur comedy club to try his hand at standup. In his early career, Kevin Hart underwent his fair amount of struggle and criticism, but after dedicated practice and performance, he quit his salesman job to fully pursue comedy. He began performing full time, launching a legendary career as a comedian and actor.
In 2009, Kevin released his first standup album, titled I’m a Grown Little Man, and has released 4 additional standup albums since then. He’s also put out several comedy specials and documentary series on television, including Seriously Funny and Irresponsible. His most recent series, Don’t F**k this up, is guaranteed to make you cry laughing, and you can check it out on Netflix (after you listen to this episode!).
As if having an extensive career in standup wasn’t enough, Kevin is also one of the funniest actors working in Hollywood. He’s starred in many movies, some of his most popular features being Think Like a Man, Get Hard, and Central Intelligence. Most recently, he’s branched out into voice work, lending his talent to The Secret Life of Pets and The Secret Life of Pets 2 as well as starred in the hilarious new Jumanji movies.
Not only is Kevin Hart one of the world’s favorite comedians and actors, but now he’s also your life coach. He just released his new audiobook The Decision, Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success, which is exclusively available on Audible. In his new audiobook, Kevin gets real and raw about the lessons and skills he’s learned and how they can help you create the life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s not only empowering, but also hysterical — Kevin Hart is truly a life coach like no other! This is what Kevin Hart had to say about his mission behind the new audiobook:
“So many people are getting in their own way, you know? And it’s because of the judgment. It’s because of the fear of what you think what people think … But it’s in your own head … through all the ups and downs, I’ve been able to realize that [there are] some things you just can’t change … you can only get past [them] and attempt to do better moving forward … And this doesn’t mean that I’m at some amazing place and standing on some amazing mountain and screaming down below. It just means that I have information that I think is valuable and that I think some people may want to hear.” – Kevin Hart
I cannot stress enough how amazing it was to have this interview with Kevin Hart and hear his perspective of what greatness truly is. You obviously know Kevin as a superstar comedian and actor, but he’s actually one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, with deeply insightful life-changing advice.
You’d imagine that a celebrity, comedian, and actor such as Kevin Hart has zero self-doubt. But when he was beginning comedy, things looked a lot different from how they do now. He struggled to get auditions, laughs, and affirmation from the comedy community. He’s also a foot shorter than basically all the other male comedians (he’s 5’4″), so his height didn’t add to his confidence either.
In his new audiobook, Kevin Hart discusses how he has conquered self-doubt and accepted that not every person is going to like him.
“I felt like everybody was supposed to like me. Man, I’m a nice guy. I’m a lovable, nice guy. Why wouldn’t you like me? What I found is like, look, everybody’s not gonna like you. And you can’t change that. You can’t control that. So, it’s my job to be happy with my intent. And what it is that I’m trying to do. That’s my job … as [I performed] at said shit-hole or said small environment, I realized that each one of those opportunities was a way for me to work on me, my craft. And I’m supposed to take something out of that moment that’s good. Whether it’s two laughs, whether it’s 20, whether it’s 100, I have to take something away from this experience. And basically, hold on to it and improve off of that.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin looked at each moment of struggle as an opportunity for growth. When you struggle with insecurity, you can let those moments define you, or you can use those moments to propel you forward. Kevin found a way to search for the good, even in the really shitty moments of being booed or ridiculed. As he puts it, he developed a “high level of shoulder shrug.”
I asked Kevin how he’s learned to build confidence over the past several years, and he explained that it was a long process:
“Everybody’s story is different. And what I find is that it takes time for everyone … Even the easiest road is still met with some degrees of difficulty … There are no easy roads. So, when I was coming up, and I’m not getting any auditions, or I’m not gettin’ the opportunities, I had to say to myself, it’s going to come. If I put the work in, it has no choice but to come.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin’s hard work came to fruition. Building self-confidence takes commitment, especially when you’re in an environment when people are constantly evaluating you and sizing you up. Comedy is one of the most critiqued professions in the world, but through all the hard times, Kevin reminded himself that it was about the craft. If he nailed the craft, then the money would come later. And it did.
Through his massive success, Kevin Hart gained a crazy amount of freedom. But with more freedom, there are often heavier consequences for your actions. Wealth, fame, success – these can all be wonderful things, but they’re serious things that require a lot of responsibility to handle. In our interview, Kevin shared intimately about how his fame had a lot of consequences.
“There’s nobody that’s gonna get thrown a curveball of success, fame, money, popularity, and not fall victim to any of the consequences. You eventually will … [there’s] no way around it, especially if you’re younger, you will. And after you fall victim to whatever consequences, and there are so many different variations of ’em, you know? Consequences can be spending money and, you know, not realizing the things that came with making money, and blowing that load. It could be drugs. It could be being mean and ignorant to people. It could be infidelity.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin admits freely to his mistakes and doesn’t try to sugarcoat them. He also doesn’t try to dismiss them but sees them as stepping stones to a brighter future. Because of his past mistakes, including infidelity, Kevin has learned what he could only learn from experience. You need to be an idiot sometimes so that you have perspective, and you also have to accept that mistakes happen all throughout life, not just in the beginning stages.
“You don’t know what you’re gonna do … You have no idea. It’s your job to try to do your best to grow and to set up whatever you can for those around you.” – Kevin Hart
You can’t assume that once you learn from one mistake, you’re all set. Because like Kevin says, you don’t know what your life holds. You don’t know the struggles that are going to test you in the future. For celebrities, their mistakes are announced to the world, highlighted in magazines and featured in headlines. In reality, they make the same mistakes as we do, but something called “Cancel Culture” emerges. It’s basically when people shame a person or a group for a mistake that they’ve made and don’t give them a chance to recover.
“I say all that to say that you have to experience some down to know why you’re gettin’ up … this whole thing of cancel culture and the consequences being so severe for so many — it’s f**king ridiculous. Do I think that there should be consequences for people’s actions? Absolutely, absolutely. But are you telling me that you should never be able to recover from a mistake?” – Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart isn’t interested in repeating the past but is committed to building a better future for himself, his wife, and his kids. Through every mistake and every future mistake, Kevin Hart continues to press forward and treat every slip up as a lesson. He’s not perfect, but neither are we. And it’s not about being perfect — it’s about being better.
In 2017, Kevin Hart was caught in a cheating scandal, and in our interview, he shared intimately about how he and his wife have rebuilt their marriage. He calls his wife “the strongest person in the world” and says that “her understanding for reality versus false reality is so crystal clear.”
Not only did his wife experience a lot of emotional turmoil, but she also experienced pressure from the public, telling her that she should leave him. Kevin says that they had a talk, and he told her that he would be supportive of whatever she decided to do — whether that meant leaving him or not. This was her response (in Kevin’s words):
“She came to the amazing conclusion of the fact we have a family, that we have a household, and I like the fact we now got a job to do to get better. And that’s what you owe me, you owe me to get better. And it held me accountable. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was her understanding that we don’t let the outside world affect our inside.” – Kevin Hart
During our interview, Kevin overflowed with praise about his wife. His respect for her is so apparent, and I could see how committed he is to making their marriage work. This is what he has to say about his wife, and what he admires most about her:
“If a pregnant woman went through what she went through, delivered a healthy baby, an amazing mother to not just her child, but my two kids when she acts as a step-mother, stepped up on so many different levels while taking one of the biggest punches in life, what the f**k, I mean, I don’t know what’s stronger. You know what I mean? Like, you’re supposed to break.” – Kevin Hart
Life isn’t perfect. We all make mistakes that have consequences and hurt other people. What matters most though is what we do after the mistake — how we care for the people we hurt, whether that means leaving their life or holding on.
Kevin Hart is very public about his lifestyle and his growth mindset. I wanted him to share some of the non-negotiables that he does daily — not only the physical work he does but also the message he tells himself.
“No day starts without me working on myself, which is a workout, you know. My workouts just have a meaning, and that meaning is self-improvement … it’s about knowing that I’m getting up and putting some effort and energy into me … making sure that my wife and my kids know that I love them on a day to day basis. You don’t know what life has planned, so there is no day that should go by without communication.” – Kevin Hart
It’s so important to invest in your present because your present fuels your future. Kevin is committed to living every day better than the one before and doing it for the good of himself and his family as a whole. The future is bright because he wants it to be bright, and he’s willing to put in the work to make that happen.
I asked Kevin what he dreams about for the next 10 years of his future, and he said that his biggest goal is “[his] business surpassing [his] celebrity.”
“Well, a lot of people think it’s just the money. Like I was saying, I want to be a billionaire. And it’s not just about the money that comes with being a billionaire, it’s about the story attached to my name. You know? It’s about where I come from, what I did, and about the younger kids that go, wow, it’s possible. Right? It’s achievable, it’s possible … So, if I can get in that world and show the blueprint as to how, along the way, create jobs and change lives, then that’s an amazing moment.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is currently 40 years old, and he’s looking at potentially retiring at 50 — not necessarily retiring from comedy, but just slowing down. Quarantine life has allowed him to spend more time with his family, and he says it’s been a nice feeling.
“At some point when you get on the side of life, for me, I wanna slow down to enjoy that other side, you know? The first half, come out of the gates.” – Kevin Hart
In this latter part of life, Kevin Hart is preferring solitude over the hustle and bustle. This doesn’t mean he’s ready to stop working (if you read his Twitter bio, it says in all caps, I WORK HARD), but he’s seen the value in slowing down and appreciating the world and people around him.
You’ve probably heard about this from the news, but about a year ago, Kevin was in a terrible car wreck. Kevin was riding around with a couple of friends when the driver lost control of the car and crashed. Thankfully the crash was not fatal, but there were major injuries. Kevin and his friend Jared were taken to the hospital with back injuries, and they needed some pretty intense physical therapy to fully recover.
At the time of the wreck, Kevin was promoting Jumanji: The Next Level, but he really needed some time to recover from his injuries. He pulled back from all the Hollywood craziness as much as he possibly could, and he started spending a lot more time alone or only with his family.
Obviously, this marked a pretty low point for Kevin. It’s hard enough to be recovering from severe injuries, but as a comedian at the height of his career, Kevin was leading a hectic life. But through such a tough time, Kevin managed to recover physically and pick up some great wisdom along the way. This is what he learned:
“This just shows you that you’re not in control, you know? … Like at any point in time, this can be over. It can all be over. So, make sure that you just take time to let those closest to you know what they mean to you.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin’s words are so true — it is important to make sure the people you love know how much you care about them. Isolation and solitude can be a great opportunity for that. When we step back from all the business of our everyday lives and really slow down for a while, we can take the time to value what’s really important in life.
During this pandemic, many of us are spending a lot of extra time isolated with only our families. Our lives are running a little slower, and we’re getting (maybe a little too much!) quality time with the people closest to us. But like Kevin, maybe we can use this time of isolation to really show our love and care for those people.
It’s hard for me to put into words how much I loved this interview and how much I admire Kevin Hart for his authenticity and boldness. His work ethic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and the humor he brings into this world is pure gold. He sets an example of an imperfect person who keeps showing up to put in the work to make themselves and their world better. And I know that when people see that, it inspires them as well.
In his new audiobook by Audible, The Decision, Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success, he talks about his methods for overcoming self-doubt, learning from failure, and creating a brighter future. It’s hilarious, inspiring, and relatable all at the same time. It’s usually hard for me to get through audiobooks, but I couldn’t stop listening — it’s perfect for anyone who listens to the School of Greatness. So make sure you go to Audible, download it, and tag Kevin on Instagram, letting him know you heard about it from The School of Greatness.
My last question for every guest is, “What’s your definition of greatness?”, and this was Kevin’s answer:
“My definition of greatness? Happiness within what you do. That’s what I would say. That’s a nice definition of greatness. If there’s happiness within what you do, you’ve achieved a high level of greatness, because that’s what a lot of people are searching to find – that thing that makes them happy. So, if you’ve found that and you’re doing that, [I] take my hat off to you … And to those that haven’t, [I’m] just telling you that one day you will. Use the thing that you’re doing now that you may not be happiest with to get you to the place [where] you will find joy.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is all about winning, but as he says in this interview, it’s a bigger win when you allow other people to come through that door with you. Then those people open up more doors, and more people can experience the joyful and fulfilled lives they’ve always dreamed of.
Are you still reading? Trust me, watching the interview is even better. Join me on Episode 956 to learn how to overcome self-doubt, learn from mistakes, and embrace your greatest potential with the one and only Kevin Hart!