Five Inspiring Lessons From Oscar Winning Actor Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is a global phenomenon. Through his talent and hard work he has become one of the most recognizable actors of our time. He’s has won two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and is worth over $150 million. But few know how he has risen like a phoenix from his own ashes. Today I’m going to share with you five inspiring lessons from Oscar Winning Actor Denzel Washington.
Denzel Washington has quite a legendary acting career in Hollywood, consisting of many memorable roles and two Oscars, among other accolades.
But aside from being acknowledged as one of the greatest actors of our time, Denzel Washington still commands an audience and impressions online. No matter how many pieces we do on the handsome actor, readers can’t get enough of him. He is a powerful influencer and has had a very successful career spanning decades.
Denzel Washington doesn’t equate accolades with happiness and success, but rather living out his purpose and helping others.
Though Denzel Washington has received many accolades, he said they aren’t how he defines his success. While he is grateful for having a successful career that has afforded him fame and fortune, it is not the end all be all. Washington is no stranger to helping others. He is a highly regarded alumnus and the spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He and his wife have also been involved with fundraising for Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles for over 20 years.
So, there’s your five simple yet valuable lessons from Mr. Denzel Washington.
Denzel Washington has continuously amazed even the toughest critics, just when you think you have seen him at his utmost potential, he comes out superior once again and tops off his last performance. Below you will find the top five lessons that are greatly credited to his success, which you can apply to your own life as well.
Lesson #1: Don't Chase Money
Denzel Washington told how lame greed is. You can not take money to your grave. In his commencement speech at Dillard University, he said, “You’ll never see a U-haul behind a hearse. The Egyptians tried it. It didn’t work.” So don’t just live for money. Live for something greater than yourself. For that will determine not only how you live, but also how you die. And nobody wants to die with regret in their heart.
The most destructive aspect of an unbridled accumulation mindset is that there is no finish line.
There is no point where we say, that’s enough. I don’t need to accumulate anymore. This causes us to make physically and mentally crippling decisions. When we don’t have some indication of when to stop, other than a nebulous “retirement age”, we humans have a tendency to run ourselves into the ground, without ever feeling a true sense of accomplishment. It’s like chasing a butterfly. It would always elude you. You have to grow your inner capacity as a person, and the income that you are worth would be attracted to you.
Money is like a shadow, when you try catching it, you can’t, but when you move forward, it follow you.
It’s effortless to get your priorities out of alignment when the world you live in is focused on bigger and better. You strive to “keep up with the Smiths and Jones” as it’s socially acceptable. However, chasing money will never buy you any happiness. In other words, stop chasing money, be creative, start adding value and money will start pursuing you. Put your focus on being content, being kind to others, and loving your family. All the rest will be just bonuses from the universe.
You can get a head-start by starting with passion and purpose to begin with.
I’m not saying that you should never take any money. Money is good. I am simply saying that while you are reaching and moving towards higher and higher goals, you should always have a sense of independent fulfillment, that doesn’t depend on more money for your levels of happiness. True happiness arises from within, not from without. Happiness is a matter of perspective and attitude. It is not a goal that can be attained by simply purchasing an expensive item, but it can be found inside you by embracing gratitude and optimism.
With a passion, you have something that is with you no matter where you go.
Passion stays with you. No matter how tough your day is or if you have a lot of money, you always know that your day will mostly be filled with enjoyment because you love what you do. On the other hand, if you only have money, you don’t know how the rest of your day will turn out. In fact, your day could be completely horrible most of the time because you are at a job that you absolutely hate going to and every moment is driving you insane.
Lesson #2: Fall Forward
Yes, take chances, take risks. As cliché as it seems, you got to follow your passion. It doesn’t necessarily mean quit your job. Or find that dream job. Sometimes your passion doesn’t have to make you money. Sometimes it’s just something you do because you love doing it. Don’t stop working on yourself- whether it’s your career, relationship, spirituality, money or health. Keep working, keep failing, keep learning.
Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nothing.
I know. It’s tempting to follow the trends and chase what is comfortable and familiar. How many times have you wanted to do something, but you let fear creep in and you didn’t give it a shot? Tons I bet. Well you need to let this fear of failure or fear of embarrassment go and instead be afraid of dying without really trying anything. Let that motivate you to do something. Let that motivate you to try new things and sure you might make a fool out of yourself and sure you might fail, but at least you KNOW it didn’t work out and you do not have to deal with all the “what if’s” down the road.
Sheer persistence and patience are surely the secrets to the fulfillment of goals.
To achieve big, you need to constantly chase your dream and work deliberately. One of the most vital elements in the roadmap of success is taking risks in life. Without risk, all other elements which you focus on may become ineffective. This is since, without risk, you cannot go further in the path of success. Taking risks in life is a vital component for success. Risk-taking ability brings you close to your destination. One of the key benefits of taking risks is it explores new possibilities. You may not have envisaged what more you can accomplish unless you take the risk.
We fear failure, fear rejection, and fear looking foolish when trying new things.
Many of these fears are ego-based: What will others think of us, or what will we think of ourselves if something goes awry? Ego-related risks hold people back in everyday working life. But the fact is anyone can take risks in life — to learn, to discover, to achieve their ambitions. You can find dozens of reasons to take risks, and then take little ones every day. Then you have the benefit of learning from them if they work out. And even if they don’t, you have inoculated yourself against the fear of failure.
The level to which we’re willing to take risks often corresponds to the level of success or reward we get in life.
Risk equals reward. The more risks we take, the better our chances of achieving what we want. Be okay with something not working out. This will require a lot of mental strength because not everything we undertake in life will go the way we want it to. Failure is inevitable in life. Sometimes we have to laugh at ourselves if we don’t succeed at something, but have the understanding we have learned something valuable. The worst thing that could happen is we remain where we are or go backwards.
Lesson #3: Goals Matter
Life is easy when you’re just a dreamer. There are no repercussions. Goals are what really cost you time, money, blood, sweat, and tears to try and accomplish. They are the actions you take that lead you to dreams you dream. You can dream the dream of becoming a paid screenwriter well into your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, but unless you set some goals and deadlines, you’ll never see any results.
Dreams are the inspiration that gets you up in the morning. Goals are the dedication that can finally pull you closer and closer to seeing that dream come true.
Goals stretch you. They enhance your skills, abilities, and qualifications — and they mold you into not just who and what you want to be, but who and what you will become. Dreams are great. In fact, dreams are necessary in life or no one would ever go anywhere! But a dream without a goal, and without action, has no opportunity to come true. Goals serve as an anchor to your dreams. If you reach one goal at a time, you can create breakthrough change. Goals help you make decisions too. Whenever you have to make choices, you can choose the one which is more aligned with your goals. As Denzel Washington says, “dreams without goals are just dreams.”
Many people want to achieve personal success in life, whether it’s in their business, family life, or hobbies.
However, it is only a select few that realize that it is having the right goals in life that will carry you towards the dream of having your best days in front of you. Goals provide you clarity. We all know that when we have a clear vision or desire, taking the proper action is easier. When you have to put the pen to paper, only the truth comes out. Whatever is written becomes real. Writing down goals helps you define who you really are. Goals are tools that help us navigate foggy situations. When a goal is in place, the standard has been set. The destination made clear. Even though the route may change, the objective has been determined. The goals are a lighthouse. They might not tell you where to go, but they let you know where you should be.
Pursuing your goals is the real money-maker because it builds confidence; it develops yourself as the type of person who can have a plan and execute for future success.
Confidence seems like a small factor compared to other practical factors, but it is a vital component to overcoming any challenge. Your self-esteem and confidence have a major impact on different aspects of your life, from relationships to career and personal growth. You have set certain goals for a reason, and those reasons are yours alone. Trust your gut, and be empowered in your choices to become more confident. At times, you’ll be faced with the criticism of others who won’t understand the risks you are taking or decisions you’re making. Criticism must be handled, or it will make you question yourself.
If you’re serious about being successful, you need a plan in place to help you achieve your goals.
And yes, this should be a big plan. A big huge goal that reflects your wildest dreams, and you can work towards it every day. But a dream-big mindset will only get you so far. You also need to keep track of your progress towards a successful life. And to do this, you’ll need a detailed plan that sets out how, when, and what you’re going to do on the journey. Goals can only be achieved by discipline and consistency. You need to respect your dreams enough to have discipline. The hardest workers work 100+ hour work weeks. Because they love what they do.
Lesson #4: Stick To Your Guns
Denzel Washington says that we all can change each other’s lives in some way or the other. Even the garbage man is changing your surroundings to make them habitable. So listen to the voice that speaks to you. What does it say? How can you change people for the better? Are you a music lover who can melt hearts with his words? Are you a painter who creates jaw-dropping art? Who are you really?
Talk to your inner voice every single day. And I promise you, you will know the greatness within you.
If you compare your size to the size of the universe, you almost don’t exist. Yet, you are capable of much more than the things a thousand times bigger than you. That’s because of your energy and your ability to think. You can breathe. You can think. And that’s why the world needs you. That’s not an invitation to take a huge burden of the responsibility you have towards the world. It’s a calling and an opportunity to give back to the world.
To be yourself, you must understand and create yourself.
Stick to who you are and take no shame in doing what you stand for. It’s okay to change your values throughout your life but don’t betray yourself at any point in life. When you betray yourself, you feel it. You get hurt as you lose a part of yourself. Find who you are and who you want to be. Then, take a conscious effort to stay true to yourself and take steps towards who you want to be. You have gifts combined with your unique personality. Don’t take your skills and talents to the grave.
We all have our individual gifts. Your purpose is to find what those gifts are, then share them with the world.
When we have something — a talent or gift — that gives us an endless flow of creativity, sense of peace, freedom or empowerment, it serves as a clear sign that others could benefit from it too. When we make the decision to share, we support the potential for the endless opportunities our gift affords others. We each have our own way of expressing and using our abilities which oftentimes serves as inspiration, motivation, empowerment or encouragement for others. Sharing your gift is a way to give back to the world not because you have to but because it gives others an opportunity to learn, grow and advance in ways they have yet to experience.
Be you and live your life. We are only here for a short time.
To keep your gift trapped inside of you does not serve you. Why would you want to die with your gift unshared? You have the ability and the power to cheer someone up, help someone to realize their own dream or goal, inspire others and build your self-confidence. So many people are afraid to share their gifts because they think they aren’t good enough or smart enough or they think that others are better than them. We are all good, excellent even, at what we do. You are absolutely perfect at what you do and your gift is fantastic. Share it. Spread it, inspire and empower.
Lesson #5: Work Hard
A lot of people are miserable at their jobs. They believe that the reason why they are miserable is due to some external factor. Although this may be the case, most of the time it’s due to the lack lustered effort they are putting up.
In order to succeed you have to give it your all. No matter what it is you are doing.
Become the greatest and watch yourself get rewarded for it. If your a garbage man aim to become the greatest garbage man. If you flip burgers, aim to become the best burger flipper. If your a pilot, aim to become the best pilot. Strive to make it in the upper 20% rank. Become apart of the 20% club at the top of each profession and you will be rewarded greatly. Whatever it is you do just be the best at it. Master your craft. Put your all into everything you do. Treat everything like it’s your first day on the job and that is how you will make it and become a success.
Successful people are not particularly gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.
Hard work requires a focused commitment to our talents, gifts and greatest strengths. It involves becoming a greater version of ourselves in pursuit of our goals. Success is the reward of a concerted effort. It is the prize for harnessing our potential and directing it towards our goals and dreams. You mustn’t think it’s impossible to achieve your goals from where you are now, since you may be starting out or midway through the journey. Therefore, your perception may be incomplete based on your assessment.
On the road to success, there are no shortcuts. Some people are so keen to “taste success” or “get a job done” that they eagerly welcome any shortcut they can find.
Taking shortcuts conflicts with the outrageous effort needed to be successful. The idea that you can realize your wildest dreams without a passionate investment of mind, body, and soul is just ridiculous. You can’t get more from your life by doing less. I don’t care who you are. If you don’t put in the time, don’t expect to get a dime. When you slow down and cheat yourself out of the self-investment necessary to build a kick-ass destiny, you just won’t ever find yourself where you want to be. To be successful, you have to work so hard your eyes have blisters.
It’s funny when you think about the word “success.”
We all define it differently and we all have different ways of getting there, but no matter what – we all know one thing – there are no shortcuts. When it comes down to it, no matter our definition, finding that sweet spot known as success takes dedication, hard work and a passion to achieve our goals. For many of us, success is a lifelong quest. While for others, it’s more concrete. No matter who you are, it means setting your eyes on the prize and going after it. Wake up every day ready to tackle it, achieve things and be the best version of yourself you can be. Why be anything less? Why not value each moment and each day in the best way possible?
At the end of the day, you are solely accountable for the constraints you impose on your abilities and the fears you allow to rule your life. Be self-assured and confident in your talents. You may pursue your dreams and go all in to make them a reality, just like Denzel Washington did.
Live for something greater than yourself.
For that will determine not only how you live, but also how you die. And nobody wants to die with regret in their heart. Why? Because we’re not here to just be here. We’re here to use our lives to make the world a better place, to contribute to the world. When we are able to grasp the impact that living for something bigger than ourselves can have, we then realize that our lives are not just about us. Instead, it’s about our using our lives to inspire or help others.
You may have bad times, failures, times when things don’t go our way.
The key, Denzel Washington expresses is that when these things happen, we have to fall forward! When we have our goals defined, when we know what we want, we sometimes have to take risks. When we fall, and we often fall. The key to our success is to fall forward. Thus, move a little closer to our goal. Falling forward means that you are still progress. It means that you are learning. And it means that you can pick yourself up and keep on going.
Your calling can be thought of as the urge to share your gifts with the world.
When you express your gifts for the sake of others, you often experience the joy of being fully alive. You will never make it if you are always concerned about what others think of you. So screw what people think about what it is you do. We let society dictate our lives too much. Let all that negativity go and just do what you do and do it to the fullest.
Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference!
After reading the article, tell me, what lesson resonates with you the most? What action step are you willing to do? What are some of your favorite Denzel Washington lessons? Don’t forget to comment below!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.