Born on September 6, 1972, Idris Elba is a brilliant British actor, producer, musician and DJ. If you’re a superhero movie fan, you probably know him as Heimdall, the gatekeeper of Asgard, in Marvel’s fantastic Thor movies.

Elba was born to immigrant working-class parents and became interested in drama while attending school. Ever since he was awarded a grant by the Prince’s Trust to join (1990) the National Youth Music Theatre, Idris did his best in showing his acting skills. Now, he is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars.

At the beginning of his career, Elba landed a number of British television roles and worked with his father in a car factory to make ends meet. He also worked as a doorman at the comedy club Carolines and DJing, after settling in America.

So while things were never easy, and Elba is one of the actors that literally worked their way up from the bottom, he finally got his major break starring as crime boss “Stringer” Bell in the highly acclaimed HBO drama The Wire. But if you want to see Elba playing a badass detective, Luther is the kind of series that will keep you glued to you monitor.

Here are 20 Idris Elba quotes that show your only competition is yourself.

Fear nothing. Do what you want to do, but be educated and intelligent and confident about it.

My father always told me that a fool at 40 is a fool for life.

Don’t just give yourself boundaries!

I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to fall over and make a mistake. That often cripples people on the onset of getting into anything.

I’m an ambitious person. I never considered myself in competition with anyone, and I’m not saying that from an arrogant standpoint, It’s just that my journey started so, so long ago, and I’m still on it and I won’t stand still.

Waking up in truth is so much better than living in a lie.

Idris Elba Quote on shaken or stirred

I’m never shaken or stirred.

When you come from an underprivileged background, oftentimes, you feel a little overwhelmed by your education or your lack of.

I’ve always had ambition, and the acting was successful and put my name on the map, but it was never the plan to stop there.

Know what your target is, don’t guess it…if you don’t know what you’re targets are you’re never going to get there.

The other thing I think is important is to keep your head down.

It turns out that you make your own luck but you work hard to keep it.

Work hard, sleep less.

My definition of bad-ass is that I’m a force of nature and true spirit. I’m self-admitting that, and it sounds vain to say that, but I am.

That’s the thing about people, they always find ways to surprise you.

You won’t know you got to the top until you got there.

I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.

Look whoever you’re talking to in the eyes. Don’t look away. Two reasons: you can tell whether they are lying. Also, so that they can see whatever you’re saying you mean and you can connect to that person.

Because I was big, I didn’t have to listen to anyone doubting me. I was just considered good at football or whatever, there were no questions about it.

I knew that if I wanted to be all I could be, I would have to go to the US. It took three years to get the accent right.