Denzel Washington is one of Hollywood’s most beloved and respected actors.
The incredibly talented actor’s career spans decades and in that time he has portrayed historical figures such as Steve Biko and Malcolm X to favourite fictional characters such the corrupt cop, Alonzo Harris in Training Day.
With two Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony, and many more nominations to his name – including People’s designation as the Sexiest Man Alive – Washington might seem like the poster child for success, but it wasn’t always like that.
Going through a rough childhood, Denzel struggled with school, falling so low in university that they suggested he “take a break”.
He didn’t. Instead, he persevered and went on to become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood today.
Below are 47 of the best Denzel Washington quotes to help inspire your success.
47 Inspirational Denzel Washington Quotes
1. “Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.” – Denzel Washington
2. “Success? I don’t know what that word means. I’m happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody’s eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.” – Denzel Washington
3. “Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.” – Denzel Washington
4. “I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.” – Denzel Washington
5. “So you never know who you touch. You never know how or when you’ll have an impact, or how important your example can be to someone else.” – Denzel Washington
6. “The chances you take, the people you meet, the people you love, the faith that you have. That’s what’s going to define you.” – Denzel Washington
7. “Got to be who you are in this world, no matter what.” – Denzel Washington
8. “At the end of the day, 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. It’s about what you’ve given back.” – Denzel Washington
9. “I think a role model is a mentor – someone you see on a daily basis, and you learn from them.” – Denzel Washington
10. “You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it.” – Denzel Washington
11. “If I am a cup maker, I’m interested in making the best cup I possibly can. My effort goes into that cup, not what people think about it.” – Denzel Washington
12. “If you have an enemy, then learn and know your enemy, don’t just be mad at him or her.” – Denzel Washington
13. “I’d be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I’d been given. I’d be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.” – Denzel Washington
14. “In any profession, it gets to be a grind.” – Denzel Washington
15. “Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.” – Denzel Washington
16. “The only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams are the stories you keep telling yourself that you can’t. Don’t wait – act now. Regret nothing.” – Denzel Washington
17. “Faith will get you to a point. Luck will get you to a point. But to achieve the kind of success you dream about, you need to work. There are no shortcuts, you can’t cheat life, just get to work and don’t stop until you reach your highest potential.” – Denzel Washington
18. “Dreams without goals remain dreams.” – Denzel Washington
19. “In order to change your life, you must change your thoughts.” – Denzel Washington
20. “If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.” – Denzel Washington
21. “Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.” – Denzel Washington
22. “Never compromise on who you are. You are born with the capacity to achieve greatness if you so desire. Learning to say no is a critical element to accessing that greatness. Your choices will define you; so make them the right ones.” – Denzel Washington
23. “When you do good, you get good! Fulfilment comes from serving others, not just hustling to serve yourself. On the path to success, there is always going to be an opportunity to help someone else be successful too. Take that opportunity, and be the kind of person who makes a difference in the lives of others.” – Denzel Washington
24. “Give other peoples opinions their right significance. Take advice if it is constructive, and learn from it. But do not build your life based around the opinions of others. Trust yourself and trust your choices.” – Denzel Washington
25. “Life is a melting pot of knowledge and experience, both your own and that of everyone around you. Don’t be afraid to learn from others mistakes, and take bits of useful information or ideas that help you get better at what you do. Wisdom is there at your fingertips, use it.” – Denzel Washington
26. “There is a lot of joy to be found in reflecting upon your experiences as you work towards your dreams. Learn to laugh at your failures, smile at your wins and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.” – Denzel Washington
27. “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.” – Denzel Washington
28. “You can’t break me because you didn’t make me.” – Denzel Washington
29. “I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me – spiritually and financially.” – Denzel Washington
30. “My mother used to tell me man gives the award, God gives the reward. I don’t need another plaque.” – Denzel Washington
31. “Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt by the heart.” – Denzel Washington
32. “Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out 2,600 times in his career – the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t either – because number 1,001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.” – Denzel Washington
33. “You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse…Now, I’ve been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can’t take it with me, and neither can you. It’s not how much you have but what you do with what you have.” – Denzel Washington
34. “I work hard for the audience. It’s entertainment. I don’t need validation.” – Denzel Washington
35. “My ultimate life dream project is my kids. My family.” – Denzel Washington
36. “I’ve worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It’s not that long ago. I like to think that I’m just a regular guy.” – Denzel Washington
37. “A wise woman knows the importance of speaking life into her man. If you love him, believe in him, encourage him, and be his peace.” – Denzel Washington
38. “Never help an ungrateful person get up on their feet. It’s like telling a wolf that you’re a sheep.” – Denzel Washington
39. “What are you doing extra? That’s what counts. That’s when you’re working hard — when you’re going above and over what’s expected of you.” – Denzel Washington
40. “Hard work works. Working really hard is what successful people do. In this text, tweet, twerk world that you’ve grown up in, remember just because you’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.” – Denzel Washington
41. “If I’m going to fall, I don’t want to fall back on anything. I want to fall forward. I figure at least that way I’ll see what I am going to hit.” – Denzel Washington
42. “If you’re looking for more money, more love, more success, or more impact you always have to manage the stress, obligations, commitments, and criticism that come along with all of it. When you want more, you get more of everything.” – Denzel Washington
43. “Believe that what you are doing is bigger than yourself, and you will find an irreplaceable peace.” – Denzel Washington
44. “Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big, but remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment. I try to give myself a goal every day, sometimes it’s just not to curse somebody out.” – Denzel Washington
45. “Focus on what you are doing, and not the critics. Critics never made history, and critics never made anyone’s life better. Focus on adding value in your own unique special way.” – Denzel Washington
46. “Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big.” – Denzel Washington
47. “You only live once so do what you feel passionate about.” – Denzel Washington
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