Sometimes it takes an unusual event to change your perspective on life.
Jay Shetty invited Kevin Hart to discuss how his life changed after having a near-death experience. Hart is a well-known comedian, entrepreneur, and best-selling author. In addition, he is a Hollywood box office powerhouse who has grossed more than $4.23 billion in global revenue and opened 11 films at number one at the box office.
Jay Shetty was intrigued by Hart's latest book, Monsters and How to Tame Them, stating that he had not been so engrossed in something for a long time. He admired how the comedian made it relevant and accessible to talk about flaws in a way he had never seen before.
Hart believes that when you are winning and succeeding, perfection is expected. Only when you are in that position do you start to see the problems and flaws present themselves. He identifies his "monsters" as different levels of himself, with good and bad qualities. Hart emphasizes the importance of growth and correction and how he has embraced it. He explains to Jay Shetty that he has learned to control his monsters, putting them where he can tell them to sit down when they're not needed. He is excited to have grown so much and evolved into a different person from what he once was. Through this journey, he has learned to be proud of what he sees in the mirror and is okay with checking himself.
Kevin Hart reflects on his childhood memories and how they have shaped him into who he is today. He told Jay Shetty that a reflection in the mirror doesn't show your trophies or wins but rather your true self. Hart recalls being complacent and okay with being a subpar student as a child. He didn't embrace challenges and was content with not giving his all. Instead, he would take shortcuts, cheat, and get over things instead of doing the hard work required. It wasn't until he got a reality check that he realized why hard work was necessary and how he was cheating himself by not giving his all. The comedian credits his mother for constantly instilling in him the values of hard work, effort, activity, and engagement. Yet, when he got older, he genuinely understood their importance. He recognizes now that his parents were providing him with a world of opportunity and trying to keep him occupied.
Hart admits to Jay Shetty that he wasn't aware of his complacency then and that it was a considerable loss. However, he is glad he can now look back and see his flaws, as it fuels his hard work and the 100% he puts into everything he does today. He appreciates the lessons his mother taught him and now lives by them. His difficult childhood memory is that he remembers himself as a slacker who looked like he was doing things but never really was, except when it came to basketball, which he loved.
The Father's Role
Hart opened up to Jay Shetty about his father's struggles with addiction and how he reconciled with him after he became sober. Despite the difficulties in their relationship, the comedian chose to focus on solutions rather than problems. He did not hold grudges and instead believed things would work themselves out in the end. Their relationship improved after his father embraced the opportunity to be a grandfather.
Similarly, Jay Shetty was grateful to his mother for pushing him to do his best. He quoted a saying, "The day you realize your parents were right, your kids are telling you that you're wrong." Hart's father recently passed away. Though their relationship had a lot of ups and downs, he has focused on his father's decision to get clean and turn his life around. Hart loved his father simply for being his dad and does not hold onto grudges or regrets.
Hart told Jay Shetty that he and his ex-wife were able to move past their differences and focus on their children. They were able to do this because they realized it wasn’t about them anymore but about making the best choices for their children's future. "It's about us trying our best to do things to create change, to move ground, shift the gear so that they have a much better opportunity than what we did," the comedian explained.
Hart also talks about the danger of holding grudges, calling it a "monster." He believes letting go of grudges requires real strength and courage. So often, we hold on to something, whether it's a grudge, feeling, or emotion. We don't realize they are, in turn, holding us back. Being able to walk away from it requires strength and courage.
Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of having a higher purpose in relationships, whether a commitment or a value that supersedes the relationship itself. With a higher purpose, both parties can look in the same direction rather than against each other. He also cautions against comparing yourself to others.Hart agrees many people struggle with their version of success or their relationships because they compare themselves to others. However, he advises listeners to embrace their reality rather than trying to live up to someone else's standards.
The Road to Happiness
Despite the struggles he faced in his past, Hart is proud of the person he has grown into and the knowledge he has gained. He encouraged listeners to see failure as an opportunity for growth and to set new goals constantly. He also believes in passing on this mindset to future generations, particularly his children, to create a new level of opportunity and achievement.
Success is not just about reaching a specific destination but the journey and the person one becomes along the way. Jay Shetty explains that the people we surround ourselves with can significantly impact personal growth and development.To Hart, teamwork and collaboration are the primary critical skill to pass on to the next generation, as "nothing is done by one individual." He believes understanding the value of working with others is crucial to achieving success and positively impacting the world.
Friends with Competitors
Kevin Hart believes that the harmful mindset of pitting people against each other is prevalent in society, and has affected those in the entertainment industry, especially people of color, who were often forced to compete with each other. However, he and his friends, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle, also comedians, do not view each other as competitors. Instead, they have a supportive and loving relationship that recognizes each person's success has nothing to do with the other.
Hart believes that while there is nothing wrong with competition or striving to be the best, it should not come with malicious intent. He explains to Jay Shetty that success is success and you should only be in the game to achieve the success that checks your own box. Therefore, he advises against focusing too much on what others are doing because it causes individuals to miss their own accomplishments. Hart acknowledges he was once a young comic who felt frustrated and wondered when his turn would come. However, he has since learned the importance of being ready for an opportunity when it comes.
Jay Shetty expresses that seeing people compete and battle for the crown can harm younger generations. It may cause them to view their peers as competitors rather than potential friends. However, competition can be a positive force when used correctly. Hart points out that the camaraderie among the USA men's swim team during the Olympics exemplifies how healthy competition can drive individuals to excel while building solid relationships.
The comedian emphasizes that true champions are happy with their teammates' success. They view their accomplishments as fulfilling personal goals rather than beating others. Hart admitted to Jay Shetty that it could be challenging to appreciate success when it does not match previous achievements. However, he acknowledges the importance of perspective and realizes that lightning does not strike twice in the same place.
Jay Shetty also notes a study that found bronze medalists are often happier than silver medalists due to the latter being so close to first place.
1 The addiction to being number one can be overwhelming and may overshadow the accomplishments of those still achieving success.
The Accident Aftermath
Kevin Hart shared with Jay Shetty how his near-death experience changed his perspective on life. He acknowledges that he was always a transparent and authentic person. However, his accident changed him significantly, and he is still evolving. He said nothing is more humbling than being in a quiet room and realizing what is necessary for life. The comedian expresses gratitude for his life and the opportunities he has been able to embark upon. Yet he gained much more appreciation for life after it almost ended abruptly. He now truly appreciates his toes, fingers, movement, joints, vision, and smell. He thinks about how lucky he is and how important it is to have gratitude for everything.
Hart emphasizes that fame and success are great, but they are not the only things that matter. What matters most in life are his closest people: his wife, brother, kids, friends, and people who love him. He believes his approach to working on himself must be different because he often contradicts himself. Now, Hart wants to slow down and give his family more time, but he is constantly battling whether he is doing enough. The comedian also acknowledges he is a workaholic. Still, he needs to ensure that he gives enough time to the people who matter the most.
The accident made Hart realize that personal evolution is crucial. This is still the most significant battle for him. He talks to himself constantly and tries to figure out the yin and yang of good and evil. He believes that always doing right is the most significant battle, but he also knows he will get it wrong sometimes. Therefore, he constantly tries to evolve and improve and thinks the accident made him a better person. Hart told Jay Shetty he is grateful for his life and wants to do everything possible to live it to the fullest.
Getting Better Every Day
Hart told Jay Shetty that saying you are a good dad or boss does not make it so. It instead takes continual effort and engagement to earn that perception from others. He acknowledges the importance of operating with both his perspective and that of others, being open to feedback, and being willing to adjust and improve. He also recognizes that assumptions can be a crutch and lead to misunderstandings, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and communication.
Monsters and How to Tame Them examines the impact of fame on Hart’s life and how it made him feel invincible. The comedian candidly talks about getting caught cheating and how it was a wake-up call, which didn't fully wake him up. He emphasizes the importance of honesty and understanding that you are not unbeatable. You need to work on yourself and always be aware of your flaws.
Jay Shetty believes pain and suffering aren't necessary for personal growth. Hart expressed that while mistakes are inevitable, not all errors have deep meaning or layers to them. He emphasized the importance of being grounded in reality and making logical decisions. He also acknowledged that sometimes it takes consequences to realize the foolishness of your actions.
Hart believes there should never be any excuses for wrong actions. He expressed frustration with people who try to rationalize their behavior by claiming they didn't think through their actions. Hart explained to Jay Shetty that everything you do, in your mind, has a piece of logic attached to it. You can make anything make sense if you want to.
Monsters and How to Tame Them
Kevin Hart opens up to Jay Shetty about his motivation for sharing his struggles and flaws in his audiobook. Beyond his fame and success, the comedian wants to make an impact and create opportunities for change. Specifically, he wants to address financial illiteracy and the need for more motivation in some households. In addition, he aims to provide simple information and inspiration through his battles. He believes if he can inspire and motivate others to have self-confidence and belief, they can achieve their goals and succeed.
Hart also discovered his passion for speaking and motivating others, which he found through his battles and experiences. He wants to create doors for himself and others to have an impact and inspire positive change. The comedian believes it is crucial to be authentic and share one's true self with others, which he feels is lacking in Hollywood. By being honest and vulnerable, he hopes to encourage others to be confident in who they are and strive for success with humility.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Kevin Hart ON How to Conquer Your Fear of Failing & Processing the Obstacles of Forgiveness, Love, and Loss” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
1Hedgcock, W. M., Luangrath, A. W., & Webster, R. (2021). Counterfactual thinking and facial expressions among Olympic medalists: A conceptual replication of Medvec, Madey, and Gilovich’s (1995) findings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(6), e13–e21. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000992
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