Denzel Washington is one of the best actors that the world has ever seen. With his filmography dating back to the early 1980s, the New York native dedicated thousands of hours to perfecting his craft, growing his fanbase and becoming an international success.

But he didn’t get to where he was by complaining, making excuses or feeling sorry for himself. See, Washington committed fully to each task in front of him. He viewed every struggle and failure not as a roadblock, but as an opportunity for growth.

As a result, the thespian won countless awards and raked in millions of dollars. However, as you’ll soon learn, none of those accolades were what mattered to him the most. The legend’s most valued accomplishment was, and has always been, his impact on others. Through his achievements, Washington has inspired and uplifted those around him.

So, if you’re feeling unmotivated or lacking inspiration, consider these pieces of advice from one of the greatest talents of all time. Most of these wise words come from powerful sit-down interviews where he detailed his journey in the industry, while a few are drawn from the actor’s iconic movie roles.

1. Without commitment, you’ll never start, but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.

Having a passion and a purpose these days is rare but necessary. Without the two, it’s nearly impossible to begin working toward your mission. But if you’re not persistent, then passion and purpose don’t matter. You must be willing to get up and put in the work every single day, no matter the circumstances or hard times. Crossing the finish line depends on how much you show up.

2. It’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better.

In his book “A Hand to Guide Me,” Washington shared stories about the people in his life who helped him make it along his journey.

Being that so many individuals impacted him in a positive way, the actor feels that it’s non-negotiable for everyone else to do the same. The true value of life should not be measured by just possessions or achievements. Instead, it should be centered around how your efforts influenced those around you. Are people becoming a better version of themselves by being in your presence? That’s what it’s all about.

3. You have to take what you’re given and do something with it. The easiest thing to do is complain.

Not everyone was granted the resources or tools needed to achieve their goals, but everyone has the same 24 hours. So, will you spend those minutes making excuses or finding solutions? Complaining is often a natural response to frustration, but it gets you nowhere. The choice is up to you.

4. I’m leaving here with something. I’m from around the way.

One of Washington’s most popular quotes came from his sit-down with acclaimed actor Jamie Foxx. While the conversation was comical, there was also a deeper meaning.

You should try to find the good in every situation even if you don’t get the results you desire. Didn’t get past the first-round interview of a job you wanted? You still were able to network with industry professionals. You weren’t granted the raise you felt you deserved? Well, you’re still employed and making income.

Shifting your outlook on things will help you remain humble and intentional with your plans, so that no matter where you are or what situation you’re in, you leave with something.

5. Dreams without goals are just dreams, and they ultimately fuel disappointment.

Everyone has dreams, but not everyone is willing to put in the work to make them come true. Planning is essential. If you go through life blindly, not knowing what your next move will be, then you’ll never prevail the way you think you should. Ultimately, you’ll be wasting your time pondering on what ifs. So be sure to write your objectives down and create an outline that will keep you on track.

6. To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.

Always be willing to take risks and do what makes you uncomfortable. Staying in the same place will only render the same outcomes. So, what if you’re afraid that you won’t come out on top? Do it scared. And if the results aren’t what you hoped, at least you learned something along the way that can help you later in life.

7. When the devil ignores you, you’re doing something wrong… When the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because you’re trying to do something right.

Facing adversity can sometimes be a good thing. If there are no challenges or opposition in your way, it might indicate that you’re not doing anything meaningful. There would be no need to attempt to stop you in your tracks if you were not contributing to anything. On the other hand, encountering difficulties could signify that you’re onto something good, and there are forces trying to stop it.

8. It takes talent to make money, but it takes brains to keep it.

Initial success is indeed based on one’s skill and abilities. However, in order to maintain wealth and grow your brand, it takes intelligence. It takes wise decision-making. It takes critical thinking. Your talents will only get you so far in the game of life. If you aren’t willing to do more than what’s required of you, then you’ll be stuck in the same place.

9. I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to be good at what I do.

For Washington, the camera, lights and attention weren’t necessary. He cared more about freedom. The freedom to love his career. The freedom to wake up and do whatever he wanted to do. The freedom to provide for his loved ones. It’s not always about receiving recognition or validation. You have to chase your aspirations for you and you alone, no matter who is watching. If not, your definition of success will strongly depend on the opinions of others.

10. I blame no one. I look in the mirror.

Oftentimes, it's easy to hold other people accountable for a lack of success. It is no one else’s responsibility to make your dreams come true. It all starts with us. Therefore, it’s imperative to look internally whenever issues arise. Start asking yourself, “Where did I go wrong with my finances?” or “What more can I learn in order to dominate my industry?” and even “How can I be better than my competitors?” You must become comfortable with facing your issues head-on because no one is coming to save you.

11. I don’t want to “fall back” on anything. If I fall, I want to fall forward.

When your mind is set on something and you’re willing to put in the work, there is no need for a plan B. If you think that things are going to fail, then they will. Instead, hope for the best. Hope that once you prevail, more doors will open, and you’ll be so engulfed with opportunities that the thought of switching paths disgusts you.

12. Don’t confuse movement with progress because you can run in place and not get anything done.

Just because you’re always busy or have a lot going on doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making moves. After all, real progress leads to real results. Make sure that you’re using your energy and time wisely, as you’ll never be able to get it back. Create and complete objectives that directly align with your goals and will push you forward.

13. Don’t just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.

Money will come and go, but your legacy lasts forever. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to think when your name is mentioned? Every day that you wake up, you are given the chance to impact the world around you. No matter how big or small you might feel, you and your words are valued. Pour into others and watch how the universe repays you.

14. Fall down seven times; get up eight.

Throughout his life, Washington has remained resilient. From dealing with the divorce of his parents as a teenager to regretting missing out on movie opportunities, the film star has had his fair share of downfalls.

Nonetheless, he still got back up. Everyone will get knocked down once or twice while on their journey; it’s inevitable. The real challenge comes when you have to decide whether you’re going to lie down and suffer or rise and take your dignity back.

15. Remember to have an attitude of gratitude and humility.

Maintaining a positive attitude isn’t as easy as many people may believe. From dealing with family drama to enduring a toxic work environment, it can be easy to let the stress from the world invade your thoughts. However, in those moments, it’s best to let gratitude sneak in. Remain thankful for the opportunities presented before you.

16. I never look at things as problems; I look at them as opportunities.

Turning challenges into growth opportunities leads to more constructive outcomes. If you keep an optimistic mindset, then nothing is ever a loss. Seeing the potential in every situation will only make you more successful. You can’t change anything that happened in the past. But you can take the lessons you learned and apply them to the future.

17. Small minds discuss other people... gossip. Good minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.

The tongue is one of the most powerful things that one possesses. It has the ability to make or destroy your plans. Therefore, it should be used wisely.

Washington paraphrased Eleanor Roosevelt here to show that individuals who often indulge in other people’s personal matters don’t have much to offer most of the time. Those with the highest intellect discuss how they can be intentional about shaping the world. Decide which one is best for you.

18. It took me 30 years, but I finally am doing what I wanted to do when I started.

Many people want a six-figure job and luxury lifestyle, but for most, that doesn’t occur at the rate that they would like. And that’s okay!

Washington is one of the most iconic and trailblazing talents that the world has ever seen; yet, he didn’t reach the pinnacle of his career until after age 30. Life is not a race. Everyone is moving at their own pace. Stay the course and enjoy the journey – it’s the most important part.

19. So what?... Give up? If you’re looking for an excuse, you will find one… You can’t live like that.

Here, Washington challenged the idea of giving up. Sure, it would be easier to not be so consumed with the thought of being successful all the time, but this type of thinking only normalizes defeatism. It makes you feel like inaction is okay. Instead of succumbing to the art of excuse-making, adopt a more constructive mindset that leads to productivity over problems.

20. When you pray for rain, you’ve got to deal with the mud too.

New levels bring about new devils. Each time you move up the ladder, you can expect there to be an increased level of difficulty. But you shouldn’t let that deter you. After all, if you don’t encounter issues and problems, then that means you’re not progressing.

21. One doesn’t have to be a slave to one’s environment. One can pull oneself out, and evolve, and grow and search for truth.

Growing up in a rough neighborhood, being raised in a toxic household or not receiving proper education are all unfortunate experiences. But there is always room for redemption. Through resources like therapy and support groups, it’s possible to gather the confidence it takes to overcome trials from the past.

Once you find strength, turn it into hunger. Force progression and be the version of yourself that you’ve always dreamed of.