Conan O’Brien asked Kevin Hart where his endless energy comes from. Hart got introspective. He said he only figured it out this year. On one hand, it’s external factors like his racial and cultural experience. On the other, it’s internal, and based on the same fears any of us might wrestle with.
Hart said he’s most scared of losing everything. He’s scared of losing the money, the career, the life, the family, and the fulfillment his work brings to himself and others. He doesn’t want to wake up one day and have people say, “He’s just not funny anymore.” He’s scared that at any point everything could be taken away.
His answer to his anxiety is his answer to where his energy comes from: he has to keep working to stay ahead, to grow what he has, and keep what he’s got. His only protection is to take control of as much of his own destiny as he can. And so he’s always adding new skills to his talent stack.
In his words, he works so hard, “So at the end of the day, I’ve built a brick house. And when you go to blow, this bitch ain’t gonna fall. You may break the glass, but this house ain’t gonna fall. How do I do that? Oh, I know how. I’m going to outwork everybody.”
To get even close to Kevin Hart-level-good takes hard work. Hard work takes energy. Energy takes motivation. Understanding the source of that energy isn’t essential to start, but we need to figure it out eventually. We’ve all got brick houses we want to build to keep ourselves safe. Like Hart’s, our drive is going to be based on why.
Listen to Kevin Hart’s interview on the Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend Podcast. There’s some great discussion within the episode about institutional racism and how Hart’s personally been processing and reprocessing his own experience.