Episode 19 – Chris Rock and Will Smith – A Case Study Using the OUR Method

Episode Summary

In this episode, we discussed the Will Smith and Chris Rock slapping incident but with an analysis using the OUR method of interpersonal conflict resolution. We reviewed what they did right and what might have been done differently.

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All right. Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I am your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And at the same time, we are trying to figure out how to discover new levels of success and happiness and just optimize all those joyful, positive feelings in life. The podcast that I have is just one of a bunch of different resources. You can learn more about some of the others by checking out the Emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. That's E-M-B-U-F-F.com. Also, on the weeks on the website, you can sign up for my newsletter, which is going to have weekly Emotional Embuffination tips so you can continue to work on stuff outside of just the podcast. On today's show, we are going to be talking about something that I referenced in the last show. Basically, what the last show was about, I talked about the OUR method, which is a problem-solving tool that you can use to deal with things that are interpersonal in nature. That is to say, if you have sort of conflicts with another person, you can use this method to figure out how to effectively resolve your problems. So, if, you can listen to this show without having heard the last one, although it would be helpful if you go back and listen to the last episode where I described what the OUR method is because we're going to be doing in this episode a case study using the OUR method.

So, I'm going to run through kind of what happened in a situation, and then we're going to talk about how the OUR  method could apply to that whole analysis or how we're going to use an analysis of the situation using the OUR method. There is also just FYI, there's a download that I'm going to have available on the website. It will also be there's going to be a link to it, to the website page along with the where I release the podcast. If you're listening to it directly on the website, you'll see it there. If you're listening to it on any sort of podcast directory, you can just go to the website, you can follow the link that will connect with it. Or in the alternative, if you don't see that, you can go to the Embuffination website again, that's embuffed.com E-M-B-U-F-F.com. Go to the podcast tab and then find this episode and it'll be on the landing page for this episode and you'll have a download. It's a visual download that kind of explains the OUR method so you can kind of see what's going on there. Okay, we're going to talk about something that's a little bit older now, but it feels like it's been in the news again recently and that is something I think most of the world knows about. And so, I think this is going to be kind of fun, at least I personally think it's going to be fun.

We're going to talk about Chris Rock and Will Smith and what happened at the Academy Awards. And we're going to first talk about what happened and then we'll go back and use the OUR method to sort of analyze breakdown the whole situation. Now, I think most people know what this is by at this point, if anybody has been watching the news or entertainment news in any way. But I'm going to just do a recap of what I think are the relevant events of what happened. Just in case you've been living under a rock or don't know, or you're missing some of the details of this whole thing. So again, this took place a little over a year ago. It was on March 27th of 2022, at least a year ago from the time I'm recording this. So just a little over a year, it was the 94th Academy Awards. And during the Academy Awards, Chris Rock, who I'm assuming most people know who he is, he's a famous actor, as is Will Smith. Chris Rock was on the stage and he was doing a presentation talking about the award for the best documentary feature. Will Smith, another famous actor. Again, if you don't know who he is, you've been living under a rock. He is sitting in the audience along with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

And during the speech, Chris Rock made a reference to Jada. And he said, "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane Two. Can't wait to see it. All right," Jada, prior to all this, had lost her hair and was bald due to a medical condition that she'd been suffering from and dealing with, and hence the reference to G.I. Jane, who was also bald in the movie. The audience laughed. Will Smith laughed. There was a camera, there's some video footage of looking at Will Smith right after the joke is told. Jada rolled her eyes, so obviously she wasn't happy with the joke. After that, Will gets up from his seat, walks up to Chris Rock and smacks him. Chris says, "Oh, wow, wow. Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me." Will Smith says, yelling from having gone back to his seat. "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth." And I apologize for the language here, but this is what was said. Later that night, Will Smith ended up winning the best Actor, and he apologized to the Academy, but interestingly, not to Chris Rock. Following day, there was a lot of news about this. Press was going crazy, memes were going viral. Will Smith issued a public apology for his behavior. He sent that out through social media. He directly apologized to Chris. He said that what he had done was unacceptable, inexcusable. The whole world seemed to be super anti Will Smith at that point, everybody was saying what he was doing was inappropriate.

It was wrong. He made a mistake. He, lots of outrage against Will Smith. The Academy ended up banning him for ten years. Social media, like I said, went absolutely crazy. I just remember so many Will Smith memes coming out at that point. So, he was just wildly criticized. There was a lot of comments about Jada being kind of the one that was driving this and that he was essentially under her control and that he'd been manipulated by her into it. I heard a lot of people calling her a narcissist for driving him to do this. Will Smith was accused of having a hero complex. I saw a lot of people calling him a narcissist. I saw a lot of people saying Will Smith was being a victim. Et cetera. Et cetera. Other than that apology, Will Smith was pretty quiet for a while. In July of 2022, which was about three months later, he came out with a video in which he just kind of sat down and he said he'd been doing lots of thinking, lots of personal work. It was like a five minutes or so long video. In it, he said he'd reached out to Chris, he wanted to talk, was told Chris didn't want to talk. He said again directly that he was apologizing to Chris and that he was apologizing to Chris's mother.

It was not received well by the public. It was widely attacked as him being insincere. Just there were a lot of criticisms that Will Smith's apology was only like the first minute or so. And the rest of the four minutes plus of the video was just him talking about how much pain it's caused him. So, a lot of people didn't receive that well because they thought it was more just Will Smith being a narcissist. It was kind of the theme I was hearing in social media. So we didn't really hear much else from Will Smith until about November of 2022. He appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and in that, the whole incident about the Academy Awards came up. Will Smith said, "That was a horrific night. As you could imagine. There's many nuances and complexities to it, but at the end of the day, I just lost it. I guess what I would say is you just never know what someone's going through." That was kind of all that was said there. So Chris, Chris Rock at the same time, he was pretty quiet for a while. About a year later, this is still pretty recent as of the time of this recording, Chris Rock did a standup special through Netflix and it was entitled "Selective Outrage." And I watched through this whole thing. It's I forget how long it is, but it seemed like it was a little over an hour.

It's essentially just Chris Rock doing a standup routine. And the more or less the theme of the whole show is, I mean, it kind of varies into different topics, but it seems to be about kind of people playing victims, people doing things that don't make sense to him, you know, that sort of thing. In it right at the end, like kind of his closing part of this whole Netflix special, he kind of goes on a rant attacking both Will Smith and Jada. He kind of attacks their relationship. He's clearly making fun of them. He makes comments about essentially that Jada had done all these things to hurt Will Smith. He talks about the whole entanglement issue that was out in the press a few years back. He says, in essence, like his analysis of this whole situation, is that Will Smith was very hurt by that and was therefore lashing out. And the whole reason that Will Smith decided to do this whole thing in the first place is that he was upset about Jada and he was much bigger than Chris Rock, so he knew he could take him. That was what I gleaned from what Chris Rock was saying in the Netflix special as to what happened in his analysis. So, he basically just attacks Will Smith. The reports this wasn't official, but there were some some murmurings at least that Will Smith said he was embarrassed and he was hurt by the standup routine.

A year later at the 95th Academy Awards. So, this is the following year of the Academy Awards. Jimmy Kimmel was doing a presentation and he made a joke that the Academy had imposed strict rules to prevent violence. And he said, "If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point in the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19 minute long speech." And then he proceeded on to make some more jokes about Will Smith without saying Will Smith's name. It was very obvious it was Will Smith. Everybody laughed. There were additional reports about Will Smith suffering depression following the slap incident and kind of seeking out help, and that he was kind of dealing with all this. And that brings us to the present. So that is our backdrop. Now, let's let's kind of jump into the analysis of this whole thing. Again, you don't have to go back to the previous episode to know how this works. I'm going to give you a real quick bullet summary, although it will help as we're going through if you've listened to the previous episode and you kind of know how this this model works. The model that I've offered is called OUR, which is an acronym. It's O-U-R. It stands for the three steps in the process. And they are own, understand, and resolve. And the acronym, I'm using it in such a way that you can say things like this is a way to protect, preserve, extend, resolve problems in "our" relationship. So, OUR, O-U-R. Own, understand, resolve. Own is all about getting a grip on your own emotions, getting a grip on understanding what it is that's going on inside of you. What things you are doing as a reaction to stuff and why you are doing those things. Getting an understanding of you, in essence and getting control of you.

That's what OWN is. Understand, step two, is all about getting an understanding, a legitimate and accurate understanding of what is motivating someone else. So it's a way that we can look at another person and essentially psychoanalyze break down, figure out what's motivating them. Because if we know that we can not only speak to those drives, but we can also not just make the assumption that what they're doing is because they're evil incarnate or they're a narcissist or whatever crazy negative label you want to put on there. And if you legitimately understand them, that softens up the way that you react. And if you soften up the way that you react, that in and of itself is going to change the dynamic because people feed off of your anger. And if you're feeding someone negativity, it's going to come right back to you. So whatever we're doing, even if it's with a complete enemy, you want to come in with understanding.

Doesn't mean that they're right. It doesn't mean what they're doing is right or appropriate, or that they're choosing the right actions. But we want to at least understand where they are coming from, accurately understand where they're coming from. And then the last step is resolve, which is the R. Resolve is figuring out what non non-retaliatory action you can take to address and solve the problem. And then if you're not able to actually solve the problem after you've decided on that action and tried to execute it, then you reassess. You go back and you try to figure out what else you can do, what's going to be a better step to resolving that problem. Remember, there's a visual on this. I think I said this. If you want to go to the website and download it, you can. It will help you kind of follow along the steps here. Again, not necessary, but you can do that. Just go to the website embuffed.com and you will find it. Also if you have other insights, because I'm going to go through the way I analyze this and if anybody has some other insights, things I'm missing, things you disagree with, let me know. Like reach out in some way. Leave comments. Wherever you find this, I'm very interested in hearing other things. I'm human. I miss things. Sometimes people have different interpretations and then I hear them and go, Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

So please reach out if you have different perspectives on this. But I'm going to run you through how I would analyze it using this OUR method. Now I'm going to break this into two parts because there's two two players here. And so one of them is going to be standing in the shoes of Chris Rock, and we're going to use the OUR method as it would apply from his perspective. And then I'm going to circle back and look at Will Smith's perspective. And that should be a little quicker because essentially the first two steps are the same thing, just in reverse. Like if I'm owning what's going on with me, the first step, that means that I'm having an understanding of myself, what's motivating me, getting control of my emotions, that sort of thing. Understand is about understanding what's going on with the other person. Now, if I reverse those, if I put myself in the shoes of the other person now you're essentially having to understand. The understand becomes the first step, if that makes sense. OWN now would become the second step because OWN is understanding you. But if you're standing in the other person's shoes, it's understanding the other person. So, in essence this should go a little faster, once we get to the second perspective, once we get to Will Smith. But let's go through with Chris Rock So, OWN. There's a number of different things that I've outlined as part of OWN.

The first one is kind of utilizing calming techniques in the moment. You're using tactics, strategies. I outline a bunch of these in the Emotional Embuffination book. If you're not familiar with that, I have it in various media. It's on Barnes and Noble, it's on Amazon, it's in e-book format. There's an audiobook. You can listen to it, so go check that out. I go into a lot more detail there. I don't use the actual OUR method, but I do talk about a whole bunch of different calming techniques. There's a lot of stuff. There's just kind of breathing exercises. There's figuring out how to walk away. There's managing your emotions in different ways, singing in your head, using pattern interrupts. I won't go into a ton of detail on them, but let's just look at what Chris Rock did in the moment. Now, I actually think he did a good job at that time in terms of like not reacting negatively. He was on the stage, he was in front of people, he had cameras on him. There was this crazy thing that was going on. Will Smith comes out of the audience, smacks him and starts screaming at him. And all he said was he just kind of played it off and said, This is one of the greatest moments in television history or something like that. He didn't react in terms of going back and trying to hit Will Smith.

He makes a comment in the Netflix special that he said something about not having I forget the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of he didn't hit Will Smith back because he was taught by his mama not to do that. And he kind of makes a joke about it and says not to do that in front of white people. But his analysis there is that he shouldn't have hit back and he didn't. And so I think he deserves some credit for that. Gratitude exercises. I don't get the impression he's done that. And gratitude exercises are very much about kind of turning around and saying, okay, I'm going to exercise gratitude because it's going to shift my mindset and the way I'm reacting to things. And the reason I say I don't think he's done that. I could be wrong here, but his attack in the Netflix special a year later to me just indicated if I'm taking it face value, what he's saying and that it's actually a reflection of how he's feeling and not just some sort of routine that he's putting out there to the world because he thinks that's what people are going to accept, which is very possible also. But let's operate in the assumption that what he's saying is truthful. He just goes on the warpath and he essentially says, Jada and Will are terrible people is the gist of it. So that to me is not a reflection of having exercised gratitude as a practice and sitting there saying, okay, what can I say that I'm grateful for about Will Smith and Jada, who I'm right now feeling very negatively towards? Well, they've just given me a lot of free publicity.

They've made me look like a good person here. It's taught me how to deal with conflict. It's taught me how to react. And it gave me an opportunity to react well in front of the world when something crazy was happening. So there's a lot of stuff he could have done here that I think would have altered the trajectory of what he was thinking. And it doesn't seem like he did that. Another step in the OWN part of this is meditating, and I don't know if Chris Rock does any sort of regular meditation. I didn't get the indication that he did. Again, his reaction in the moment seemed calm, so let's kind of bypass that one. Self-talk. I don't think his self-talk is on point here. Again, the major indicator I have from this is his standup routine, and much of the standup routine revolves around victimhood. And it's actually kind of interesting to me because, the, and this bleeds into the other issue here of the Drama Triangle, which here again, there's a prior episode. Go back and check this out. But it's like he's talking about how everyone's a terrible victim.

But then he also like at one point he even goes into this whole thing about how so many people are playing victims. So many people out there are just being victims when they shouldn't be. And he goes into a distinction that I really struggle with and I've advocated at other times never to do this. And in the Netflix special, Chris says something along the lines of, actually, I have the quote here. Sorry, "Everybody is trying to be a fucking victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims." To me, that's a real problem. And that conflicts with this idea of absolute responsibility, which is another one of the OWN steps. When you are saying that there is a distinction between people out there saying they're victims and actual victims, in essence, what you're saying is there's a time when I could legitimately be a victim and I'm allowed to complain and be a victim about it. If you're adopting the absolute absolute responsibility mindset, then the assumption is that even if you are a legitimate victim, even if you are the domestic violence abuse victim that is being beaten, you don't get sucked into a victimhood mindset. You still try to seek empowerment, you still try to figure out how to take control of the situation, take actions that are going to get you out of it, because the trap of victimhood is always to say, this is not my fault.

It's that other person's fault, therefore I'm oppressed. And what you do is you sit there and you get stuck. Nothing changes because you're not taking action to fix it. You're just sitting there blaming someone else, which actually makes it worse. When you say, well, there's legitimate victims out there, you've now incentivized yourself when things are most difficult, which is when it becomes most important to reject a victimhood mindset, to say, Well, this isn't actually my fault, this is someone else's fault. And then there's no real line between the legitimate victim versus the the people claiming to be victims. So, no matter whether or not someone is actually a victim, as a general mindset practice, I always advocate take absolute responsibility for it. It doesn't matter if it's actually your fault, it doesn't matter if it's the other person's fault. It does not matter. Own it and take control of it. You have to reject victimhood mindset. Now, the reason I'm bringing all this up is that he goes through and makes this distinction and also does this exact same thing because he sits there and goes on this whole rant about how everybody wants to play victim. But then at the end of the whole special where he's talking about Will Smith, he actually is saying I'm a victim because all he's doing there is blaming. In fact, he repeatedly says that he didn't do anything. He repeatedly says, I did nothing to Will Smith.

In fact, here's another quote. And this all bleeds into the Drama Triangle stuff, too, which is another part of the OWN. He says, quote, referencing Jada, he's talking about Jada on this and he says, quote, "She hurt him way more than he hurt me. Who'd he hit? Me. [A person, he says a different word. I'm not going to quote that.] He knew he could beat. That is some bitch ass shit. Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. Will Smith does movies with his shirt off. You've never seen me do movies with my shirt off. I'm in a movie getting open heart surgery. I've got on a sweater." There is zero ownership in that. And again, I'm not saying any of this, what happened at the Academy Awards was Chris Rock's fault, but it's clear that he's taking on a victimhood mindset on this. He's saying everything here is Will Smith's fault. Everything here is Jada Pinkett Smith's fault. None of it is on me. I didn't do anything. Now, the result of that is inaction and no possibility that he's going to change anything that might have contributed to the situation. So that is a victimhood mindset and he's acting that out, which means that he's immersed in the Drama Triangle. He's taking on a victim role. He's also simultaneously and remember the Drama Triangle, if you're not familiar with it, three points on a triangle. Starts with a victim.

The victim is someone who is one of the points on the triangle. The victim is someone who feels disempowered, can't solve their problems, blames someone else, sits there without any sort of action to fix anything. They're stuck. Persecutor is another point on the triangle, and that's someone who just lashes out. They say, Oh, this person did something wrong, I've got to fix it. And so they start yelling. They want to attack somebody else and they go crazy. The third point on the triangle is a rescuer, and the rescuer is someone who wants to come in, save the day, tell the world what a wonderful person, they want to save the victim. They want to protect them from harm. And the problem with the rescuer is that they do everything on behalf of the victim. They don't actually empower the victim. And so, in so doing, they frequently shift into persecutor mode where they start lashing out and everything just kind of escalates out of control and drama ensues. That's why it's called the drama triangle. Now, Chris Rock is clearly engaging in Drama Triangle behaviors. Everything there, and it's also an interesting element of cognitive dissonance, which he's not recognizing because cognitive dissonance, again, this is in the book, the Emotional Embuffination book, but cognitive dissonance, if you're not familiar with it, I think this is a pretty famous concept by this point, but it's this idea that your internal thoughts and the external events that are going on aren't in harmony, and so you try to bring those into harmony when you run into dissonant thoughts by either explaining something away or altering altering your underlying presumptions about how the world works.

So we see that in this idea that there's a difference between people claiming to be victims and just playing out victimhood versus people who are legitimate victims. Because if you go out and you say, well, all those people out there are just playing victim and they're not real victims, now you're creating this rule that you have to figure out how to work around. And so you say, well, it's different for me because I'm not actually playing. I really am a victim. That's an example of cognitive dissonance that you resolve because you've now conflicted with that internal rule by even saying you're a victim. But you explain it away by saying, Well, it's different in my case. He also says as kind of a further exemplar of that, here's another quote from him "Even me getting smacked by Shug Smith. I went to work the next day. I got kids." So he's sitting there talking about how incredibly brave he is because he put on a good face and kept going to work and didn't complain. But now in this special, he's sitting there complaining. He's exemplifying the exact thing that he's condemning. So, in my mind, Chris Rock is clearly caught up in the Drama Triangle.

And probably doesn't realize it. It's an easy way to stand on the side of righteousness, and it's a real problem. Absolute responsibility. We kind of talked about that just a second ago. It seems very obvious to me that Chris Rock is not taking accountability. Again, he says over and over again that he did nothing wrong to Will. And if we look at the underlying incident, I mean, think about it. If you if you get rid of this idea that everything is just Will Smith's fault and you instead come from a perspective of absolute responsibility and you're standing in the shoes of Chris Rock, you have to say something I did allowed this to happen. Something I did contributed to what was going on. What could I have done differently to change the outcome? Now, if we look at it from that lens and you go in assuming that there's something that could be different, and I like this approach because it forces you to go back and fix things so that similar things don't happen in the future. Or if they do, you have more control over them. You could say something like, Well, maybe he shouldn't have been making fun in front of millions of people, making fun of a man's wife who was suffering from a medical condition that she'd been struggling with. Maybe that's a good starting point. He's not taking that perspective, and I think it's really important to do that.

Okay. Let's shift into step two, which is Understand. So, this means that we have this we have to have this understanding of what Will Smith was doing and where Will Smith was coming from. Now, the only thing we've really heard from Chris Rock is from this Netflix special. And he essentially says that he his analysis is that the problems with Will Smith's wife and he talks about the entanglement thing and his lashing out at Chris Rock was because Will Smith is way bigger and better shape than Chris. And Will Smith is upset and wants to lash out because of Jada Pinkett Smith. That makes no sense to me. If you kind of sit down and think this through, it was very clear that Will Smith was reacting in a very momentary way. He was not sitting there going, Huh, I'm very upset about something my wife did years ago. So, who's the smallest person here that I can just blow up and punch or smack or whatever? That doesn't make any sense. He wasn't planning this out. This was obviously an action that hit something very triggering to Will Smith and so, the other problem with this analysis that Chris Rock is offering is that it's essentially just another way of kind of saying, well, he's a jerk and he's insensitive. He's a narcissist. Whatever. I did nothing wrong. Which again, part of the Understand step is to try to figure out what's motivating them so that you can understand them.

And nine times out of ten, even if the action is malicious, it's coming from a place of pain and it's coming from that persecutor role as a Drama Triangle. Most people aren't just lashing out because they are pure evil. Now, a few people like that exist and I make some reference to that in one of my books. Finding the Door is the name of the book. It's a fictional story. It's got a bunch of symbolism. And one of the symbols that I deal with is kind of how do you manage people that seem to be coming from a place of pure evil. Very often, even then, that pure evil that's coming out is either some sort of real severe psychological damage that may be physiological in nature or it's coming from a place of intense, intense pain. And that pain is what's prompting injury to everybody else. I mean, there's this expression that I fully agree with that, "Hurt people, hurt people." When you're in pain, you find ways to lash out and the more pain you're in, the more likely you are to spread that pain around and do things that are going to hurt other people because you become like this caged animal that's been poked and you do that long enough, you let the animal out. It's going to lash out and bite and go crazy. And that's kind of how people are, too.

So if you come in with just an assumption that even if somebody is doing something malicious to you, which is effectively the angle that Chris Rock was coming from, that it's just because they're evil, they're a narcissist, they're jerk, they're a monster, they're just, that's who they are. They're a bad person. It doesn't serve you, especially in the interactions with that other person. Now, another point on this is that just because we're trying to have some understanding does not mean that what they did was right. You know, I don't think anyone disagrees with the idea that Will Smith getting up and smacking Chris Rock was right. Will Smith has repeatedly come out and said he was in the wrong and he shouldn't have done that and it was inappropriate. I think we all universally have accepted that was the wrong action. Doesn't make it right, but we can still have understanding for what's going on. Same thing with like a domestic violence abuser. You know, we I never would say that some man punching his wife is right. We can still gain enormous amounts of information that we can work with in interacting with this person in analyzing why they did that. Very often, even like sex abuse victims, frequently, if you have a man that is sexually abusing a child, that man was probably sexually abused when he was a child. And it's become normal from him for him. And there was enormous pain that was coming out of his childhood.

Now, that again, that doesn't mean that what he's doing is right. And in fact, socially, we would say it's extraordinarily wrong. And there are definitely times to control that. You know, we have law enforcement that will come in and stop people from doing that or put them away if they have been doing that so that they won't do it again. It doesn't mean they're right, but we can still understand them. And I talk a little bit in the book also about situations where you're dealing with someone in a situation where they've sexually abused another person like children. And our impulse, I think, is just to think that they're evil incarnate and we want to hurt them, but nothing really good comes out of that. The example in the book I give, I go through a case study where they were dealing with a man who was just refusing to admit any responsibility for the sex offenses that he committed against a number of different children. And there were people that were trying to work with him to get him to go through some training to make sure that once he was released because he had a release date, he wasn't going to do something like this again. And so they had to get through this wall of him just saying, no, no, I didn't do this, I didn't do this, I didn't do this. And they have to understand him.

So the same thing is here is true here as part of this Understand step. You want to make sure that you're trying to eliminate the presumption that what they're doing is just born of evil. Okay. Sorry. I've talked about that a little bit. But I just I think it's an important point and it's one that's not very intuitive. Let's turn to Will Smith here. So, we're trying to understand Will Smith rejecting the idea that he's just an ass and that's why he's doing this. What do we know about Will Smith? Well, in his apology video to Chris Rock, he says, quote, "Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down." That seems insightful. Here's another little piece of information. So, prior to the Academy Awards incident, Will Smith had released his autobiography, which I listened to on an Audible. Really interesting if you have any interest in Will Smith. Well, put together. The book is called Will. And in the book, one of the things that he makes reference to is when he was a child, his dad regularly physically abused his mom. He was his dad was abusive. And Will Smith hated this. He watched this for years and later felt an enormous amount of guilt, and this, I think, is tied to this whole central trauma thing about not being able to protect his mom. And so he started carrying around and he says this in the book, this idea that he needed to protect the people that were close to him and it was his job to be the protector. And if people out there got injured that were close to him, he'd failed. Coincides perfectly with this comment about the disappointing people as being his central trauma, right? Let's think about what happened in the incident for a second. The camera footage that we have, Chris Rock tells the joke. Will Smith laughs. His wife seems unhappy. And then Will Smith flips from laughing to jumping up on the stage and engaging in physical violence. Seems pretty clear that the gravity of the comment suddenly hit him. He sees his wife disapproving, having had suffered from this thing for so long. This is a loved one when he's already got this childhood-based trigger that he has to be the protector. And if he's not protecting the people around him, if they're getting hurt, he's failed as a man. He's failed as a human. That is right at his core. And he snaps, jumps up, runs up, snaps Chris Rock or smacks Chris Rock. In the emotion model that we described in the Emotional Embuffination book, we go through this model that describes an external event, a primary emotional reaction, and a secondary emotional reaction, which leads to kind of internalized rule generation. Using that model, then we can say, All right, Will Smith had an internalized rule about the importance of being able to protect his loved ones from harm.

He failed to do so, so he was a failure. The second he turned around and saw his wife looking upset at the fact that somebody had just publicly attacked her in front of millions of people, Will Smith instantly thought, subconsciously, I'm a failure. In fact, one of the things that he says in his later the apology video is that he was trying really hard not to think of himself as a piece of shit. That's the phrase that he used in there. He felt like he'd failed. He snapped. That's the emotional reaction. That's the behavioral reaction as a result of the emotion, just like we have in the emotion model that I described in the book. That cuts right to his core. It's anger. It's a primary emotional reaction spawning from this central trauma that he's been dealing with his entire life since his childhood, when he saw his mom getting beaten by his dad and he did nothing and therefore felt guilt over it. Guilt takes over, leads to the secondary emotional state. And then he goes on and does all these things that he could think to do. He's apologizing. He's going out publicly and saying, I was wrong. He's there were some reports that he was going and trying to talk to a life coach to kind of work through all this stuff. He says repeatedly that he'd been doing a lot of introspection and self work and all this.

I think those things are appropriate. I mean, he's he obviously recognized that there was a this was connected to what he called his central trauma, which it was. Clearly this was a trigger to him. So, I would actually say that to a certain extent, Will Smith was doing the right thing in terms of understanding. And now we're standing in the shoes of Chris Rock. We need to recognize the true dynamic of what was going on. This is not just Will Smith was some narcissist asshole that decided he wanted to pick on somebody small. This was something that hit the core of what Will Smith was and what he was triggered by. Going back to his childhood. Doesn't make it right. Doesn't mean that he should have gotten up and hit Chris Rock or that anything about that was appropriate. But it is very important to understand that this was not just coming from a place of I'm going to be a bully because I'm a jerk. This was coming from a place of him having seen his mother beaten up and him learning the message that it is his God-given duty to protect the people that he cares about and he failed. That's where that was coming from. So now let's jump to the last step, which is Resolve. So, from Chris Rock's perspective, what could we have done to solve the problem? Well, as I said before, I think in the moment he did the right things.

He didn't blow up. He didn't react explosively or in a retaliatory way. He didn't punch back at Will Smith. He just kind of rolled with it and he kind of was on his feet on the stage. You know, he said things that he didn't even know what was going on. And he's still just kind of rolled with it. So, in the moment, I actually think Chris Rock did the right stuff. However, after the fact, I think that's a little bit different. He gets slapped, he receives a couple of different apologies effectively from Will Smith, publicly and otherwise. He could have done a number of things from there. He could have just left it alone and gone on about his business. He could have gone back and talked to Will again, made amends with Will. Now, there's a side note here. This is a theme that I have very often, is that apologies from people, you can forgive them or not. And especially if these are family members, it becomes or close friends it becomes very important to kind of figure out how you're going to interface with someone. The benchmark for me when somebody is apologizing is always is this a sincere apology? And if for whatever reason, I think it might not be, is there some indication that they actually are changing their behavior? Because that really is the driver. Because if I apologize to someone and then they just do it again and then they apologize and then they do it again and they apologize and they do it again, the apology is meaningless.

However, if they do something and then apologize and I have an indication that they're really working on themselves, they're truly trying to change. Then to me, it makes more sense to at least consider indulging in the the apology and forgiveness, because for me, the real test is, are you trying to fix it? And change is hard. It's really hard. It is monumentally difficult for humans to rewire how they're functioning, what they're thinking and doing. That's a challenging thing. If you can show me that you are legitimately trying and you are making an effort to become a better person and it's not otherwise toxic to keep you in my life, I may issue the apology and say, Cool, let's continue to be friends or acquaintances or colleagues or whatever family members, even. If you are not, however, if you come to me and you apologize or take no ownership of what's going on and then expect us to continue to be friends, that to me is more of a problem. I'm going to start creating boundaries and walls to make it such that you're not going to hurt me again. Now, Chris Rock can decide whatever he wants to do with that. I mean, he doesn't have to be friends with Will Smith, obviously.

I don't know how close they were before all this. I didn't get the impression that they really knew each other that well other than who each other was. But Chris Rock could do whatever he wants to. I mean, he could have accepted the apology. He could have ignored it. He could have just moved on with his life. But later, what he chooses to do is, in effect, lash out. And I think that was the wrong move because in effect, now he's creating more injury, He's creating more hostility for no real reason. To me, it makes him look bad. Up to that point, he looked like he was doing all the right stuff and now he's coming out and just trying to trash Will Smith. I feel like he's just sort of capitalizing on his own victimhood, and I think that's the wrong action. So in the moment, I think he did the right stuff later on I think he should have either let it go, ignored it, simply said, You know, I appreciate that you're trying to apologize, but I just can't let this go. Like that in and of itself would have been a better response, not gone out and tried to trash Will Smith in a comedy special. Now, as a side note, that could have been useful for purposes of making money as a movie star, but from our Emotional Embuffination perspective of reducing conflict and solving the problem, I don't think that gets you there.

So accept it. Accept the apology. Reject the apology, but don't lash out. I think those would have been the appropriate Resolve actions. So that's the whole angle from Chris Rock. Now let's flip it and this will go a little faster. Let's talk about Will Smith's perspective now, starting with Own. Clearly, the calming techniques is, I think, Will Smith's big failure here. So as part of the Own, what you're doing is trying to get control of yourself in the moment. Will Smith obviously didn't do that. Will Smith clearly had an issue and exploded. He needed to get control of his emotions and he didn't do that. So there's a lot of things he probably could have done there. He could have walked away for a minute. He could have gone into meditation mode. He could have started singing in his head. He could have done pattern interrupts prior to all of this. He could have, and I don't know if he does this, but he could have been working a lot on meditation. I suspect this is not a regular part of his routine, but he could have been doing that. And that in and of itself starts creating, creating a calming. The gratitude exercises. He did seem to express some level of gratitude in various ways. I don't know how he worked with gratitude, but that's another technique that you can always use, even in the moment.

You can stop and say, All right, this is helping us be stronger. It's giving us an opportunity to resolve problems. Et cetera. Et cetera. Self-talk is another part of the own. Part of this analysis. And self-talk is clearly an issue for Will Smith again in the apology video he references trying not to think of himself as a piece of shit. That's a huge problem. In the book. I have a chapter on self-confidence and, or self-love. Excuse me. And I think that is fundamentally important. And this is also an affect of a secondary emotional estate, secondary emotional state, I can speak, that shows he's sitting there ruminating and attacking himself. This is all about guilt. Now, guilt is another huge theme I think we need to address. Again, I'll make reference back to that Finding the Door book that I wrote. It's again a fictional work that discusses in significant part the dominant theme is guilt. And I believe that guilt is a very useful mechanism as an analytical tool because it starts to make us look back at something we've done wrong and say, I shouldn't have done that. How do I fix it? And the problem that we run into is people get caught up in this prison of guilt. I think that's what Will Smith was doing here. Remember, he says his core trauma was this situation of trying to run around and protect the loved ones that he has.

And if he doesn't do that, he's a failure. That's what caused him to lash out. And now that he had a failing in that, he's turning around and thinking of himself as a piece of shit that that reflects this self-confidence that's going to be spawning out of his self-talk, because that means he's necessarily told himself some very negative things about what happened here. The Drama Triangle from his perspective, definitely in the moment he was acting as a persecutor because he was obviously lashing out. He's yelling at Chris Rock, he smacks him. We tapped into one of his internalized rules that prompted anger. However, afterwards he clearly toned things down. I think that he did a much better job after the fact. And granted, there was social pressures that probably prevented him from doing otherwise. But at least outwardly, and I can only assume inwardly because all I see is the outward stuff. I can assume that he's at least taking responsibility for what's going on here. Now, I think there's a bit of a victim role in this that he's playing, so he's getting slightly sucked into the Drama Triangle, but he's at least owning it. So that's that's important. Let's step to the Understand part of this. Understand means that we're trying to understand what Chris Rock was doing. Now, Chris Rock has made a career out of kind of being kind of offensive. I mean, that's sort of the humor style that Chris Rock promotes.

It's kind of, "Hey, you're stupid," which is a comedic style, and he was effectively doing that. So, he's up on the stage in front of millions making fun of someone else for humor. Now, there was clearly nothing malicious underlying that. It also seems very obvious when we see the aftermath that Chris Rock is coming from a place of victimhood. So, we have to kind of recognize that in terms of the Understanding. He goes on the persecutor role while simultaneously playing victim. So that's some of the Understand component of this. Now let's jump to the last step, which is Resolve. From the perspective of Will Smith, in the moment, I think this is probably the biggest thing that Will Smith needed to work on was figuring out a different response. Clearly, everybody agrees on this, including Will Smith. He should not have jumped up and smacked Chris Rock, should not have been screaming, which would have been by itself an improvement. But he shouldn't have been screaming at Chris Rock. He needed to take a different action and he didn't. So getting control of his emotions and learning techniques to deal with that better, I think is a great action step. In the aftermath, I actually kind of think he did the right things. He might have waited a little longer because everyone was perceiving this as being insincere, given the time frame at which it came out. I recognize there are probably some other pressures here that he may have had that might have made this seem more insincere, like he was releasing his movie a little while later.

So, he might have been trying to clear up his name in the public eye. I don't know. But if I ignore all of that stuff for just a second and kind of take at face value what he's done, I think he kind of did the right things. He came out, he apologized. He purportedly was doing introspection. He was going to this life coach, meaning he was working on the underlying issue. The biggest problem he's facing right now is the public perception and and his own anger issues. And so, I think really all he can do, aside from trying to apologize and otherwise make amends, which he's doing, is to deal with the fallout from what happened and work on his anger, work on his what he called core trauma and deal with those underlying issues. That's the Resolve of this and that's it. So that's my analysis of both Chris Rock's perspective and Will Smith's perspective using the OUR method. As you can see, if you use the OUR method, it kind of results in slightly different outputs than what people are doing out there now. I think this is a really fun exercise and it's super useful in the moment when you're trying to figure out what to do and whether you did the right thing or the wrong thing or somebody else was doing the right thing or the wrong thing.

It's incredibly useful to me. To me, some of this step, because I've been studying it so much, has become almost second nature. But the only way it's going to be is if you practice it yourself. So please try out this OUR method if you are not already doing that. Also, if you again, if you have a different insight on any of this, please let me know. Like reach out, leave a comment somewhere, shoot me an email. Just something because I love hearing other kind of spins, other interpretations, other things that I might not be hearing or tell me if I'm wrong. If you disagree with what I'm saying, let me know that too. But that's going to bring us to the end of today's episode. I hope that you find this useful. Again, go back to the website embuff.com. E-M-B-U-F-F.com. You can get the download for the OUR method kind of get the visual of that. There's also lots of other stuff you can If you do that, you'll also be signing up for the newsletter. There's or if nothing else, just sign up for the newsletter, which you can do anywhere on the site. Remember, keep becoming more emotionally embuffed At the end of the day, I want you to be emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, "The struggle is real," to saying, "What struggle?" Thank you all for listening. I hope you've enjoyed this. I hope you have a great week and I will see you in the next episode.