Talking, Walking, Thinking

Terrence HowardI love the movie Hustle and Flow. It’s definitely R-rated, and therefore not for everyone, but it’s all about overcoming your circumstances to grab at something better. And of course it’s about music.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the ambitious young pimp-wanna-be-rapper D-Jay (played excellently by Terrence Howard) is trying to persuade his old high school friend Key (who is by comparison highly respectable, played by Anthony Anderson) to help him cut a hiphop record. Key’s response:

There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, ’cause they walkin’. Now, people who talk the talk, when it comes time for them to walk the walk, you know what they do? They talk people like me into walkin’ for them.

The movie from then on out hinges on D-Jay’s ability to talk and Key’s ability to walk, and I won’t ruin how it ends up – but I recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it.

The reason this quote resonates with me is because I think it’s a lens through which you can look at your own life. Yes, I’m probably the only guy that watches Hustle and Flow and gets introspective, but bear with me.

How much of you is talk? How much of you is walk? I like to throw in a third category -“thinking” – because it’s something I personally love to do and it can sometimes keep me from walking or talking.

I think part of being good professionally (and probably personally) is balancing those activities. We’ve all met people who are “all talk” with little thought or follow-through, we’ve met the impestuous people who are “all action” seemingly without thought or communication, and we’ve met the “analysis paralysis” people who think all the time but don’t seem to say or do much. The key, in my mind, is not to try not to fall into one of those categories – being thought, communication, and action in equal or appropriate parts.

So if you don’t hear from me on this blog, talking it up, I’m probably too busy walkin’ (or thinking up my next post). Because as the theme song from Hustle and Flow says, it’s hard out there for a pimp.