Born: December 28, 1954, New York, US | Successful For: Actor, Director | Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Inner Keys to Success:
- NEVER SETTLE, KEEP LOOKING: He had the great ability to never settle. He kept looking and did not stop searching until he eventually found his fire. Denzel played college basketball and was even a counselor at an overnight summer camp until a colleague told him to try acting, at this point the searching was over and he stuck with what he realized he had a storming deep desire for. He once prompted “Do what you got to do so that you can do what you want to do. And fail big.”
- FALL FORWARD NOT BACKWARD. LEARN FROM THE FAILURE TO GET IT RIGHT: Denzel strongly believes in what he calls falling forward. In a commencement speech for the University of Pennsylvania, he explained the concept of falling forward and how Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times, the most in the history of baseball, he said ‘people don’t remember the strikeout people remember the home runs’. And he states how even in his own life he remembers not getting the auditions and falling short a lot as an actor. Denzel claims we need the guts to fail and overcome.
- COMPOSE DISCIPLINE AND ORDER IN YOUR LIFE: As a troubled teen, Denzel was hanging out on the streets with kids who would ultimately end up dead or doing time. “My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.” Mr. Washington eventually realized quickly enough that being disciplined meant a less resistant path to his goals, that he could get places faster. He was quoted saying “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.” This secret sauce was his early awareness to self-control and willpower which guided him in the best direction.
“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
Little Known Success Fact:
When Denzel was just 14, his parents’ marriage turned to turmoil. With the absence of his father, the young man started hanging out in the streets and getting into much trouble; he eventually became a heroin addict, some sources say. He credits his mother and the Boy’s and Girl’s club for turning his life around and putting him on the right path. Denzel’s adversity proves that humans can turn their lives inside out from extreme negatives to big positives.
“You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it” – Denzel Washington
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- Image: (Creative Commons) “Denzel Washington cropped” by Photo by Falkenauge, cropped by Machocarioca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denzel_Washington
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- “Denzel Washington” by Alan Light – Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Denzel_Washington.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Denzel_Washington.jpg