Will Smith over the years has been known to say some pretty inspiring things, but a lot of it gets lost when the many parody accounts are running rampant. It can be confusing to decipher what the actor has really said — until it comes out of his own mouth. In an interview with Esquire, Smith, who is promoting his upcoming film Focus) gets real about how failure following After Earth bombing at the box office made him re-evaluate how he handled certain situations and get to the bottom of the fact that he actually “sucks.”

Here are the seven most relatable quotes he said from the interview:

On being a gift to others:

I have the spirit of desire to make people’s lives better. Being famous is such a gift for me because small things make people’s lives brighter. You just shake somebody’s hand. You just smile and write your name and people will talk about it for the rest of their lives.

On having things all figured out:

I always thought it [life] was a science. I thought there was math. I was always looking for the math. As a parent, as a husband, as an actor, just as a human being, I suck a lot. You know, I suck so much more than I’ve thought that I should at forty-six. I hate not knowing what I should be doing. I don’t mind not being where I’m going, but I hate not knowing where I should be going.

On raising black males:

I’ve always been telling my sons, We have to separate fault from responsibility—whose fault it is that black men are in this situation, whose fault it is doesn’t matter. It’s our responsibility to make it go right. It’s our responsibility. It’s a lot of people’s fault, systemic racism, and it’s a lot of people’s fault that the black community is in the situation that we’re in, but it’s our responsibility to clean up the mess.

On working out:

There is nothing like having to change your physical form to put you in contact with every weak part of yourself, to train yourself in discipline.

On what really matters:

You can’t win enough, you can’t have enough money, you can’t succeed enough. There is not enough. The only thing that will ever satiate that existential thirst is love. And I just remember that day I made the shift from wanting to be a winner to wanting to have the most powerful, deep, and beautiful relationships I could possibly have.

On dealing with pain:

Something hurts, lean in. You just lean into that point until it loses its power over you. There’s a certain amount of suffering that you have to be willing to sustain if you want to have a good life. And the trick is to be able to sustain it with your heart open and still be loving. That is the real trick.

Focus opens in theaters on Feb. 27.


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