Idris Elba Shares 5 Pieces of Advice to Follow Your Ambition and Achieve Success The actor and DJ has joined forces with Stella Artois to help everyone make the most of the summer.

By Nina Zipkin

entrepreneur daily
Courtesy of Stella Artois

Idris Elba is busy.

This year, the actor-producer-director-musician led two series, Netflix's Turn Up Charlie, inspired by his work as a DJ, and had a fifth outing as determined detective DCI John Luther in the BBC's Luther. In August, he can can be seen wreaking havoc as the big bad in the Fast and Furious franchise spinoff Hobbes & Shaw.

But in the meantime, Elba hopes he can convince you to take a step back from the grind and give yourself some time off, in your own backyard. Elba has teamed up with Stella Artois to be the creative director for and star in the company's Summer Like You're on Vacation campaign.

Basically, his argument is, even if you can't make it to a place such as Ibiza, where Elba has a DJ residency, for some rest and relaxation, you have the power to make your own city a glamorous getaway.

Entrepreneur spoke with Elba to get the multi-hyphenate talent's take on creativity, ambition and fighting burnout.

On starting something new

"My advice would be, understand 100 percent whatever the idea is. Nothing worse than receiving a pitch from someone who hasn't really thought about all of it. That's a daunting thing. You can come up with this great idea, you can explain it in two lines, but then you pitch it to someone and they ask you some difficult questions and you don't know -- that's the worst thing. So, if you have a good idea, really research it and really do the work. It's the boring part. Actually what you'll find out is that no ideas are original, but don't get dissuaded by that. Just keep going and try to find a way that your idea is great. Make sure you own your idea and you really know it inside out."

On patience

"Things take time to materialize. You know even human beings take nine months to be made, so your idea is going to take time to cook. You really have to take time to figure out. Some pitfalls are inevitable. Not all things are going to go your way but just be resilient enough to be to take the losses and keep going."

On creativity

"I find myself really creative … when my brain gets de-cluttered, which is usually in the morning or usually when I'm sleeping. That's where my best ideas or thoughts come. I find that I'm way better at articulating my ideas in the morning. For me there isn't so much of a [creative] process, it is sort of more about when. When I'm tired, I'm no good for anyone."

Related: 'Always Be My Maybe' Director and 'Fresh off the Boat' Creator Nahnatchka Khan On Creativity and Getting the Details Right

On fighting burnout

"I need to have some sort of escapism. I just might escape into a world that someone else is taking the time to create. I do like music. I love listening to it, but I love making music. I find it really therapeutic. Sitting in a studio with a musician and coming up with stuff is quite relaxing to me."

On time management and staying present

"By the time [it's been announced I'm doing something], it's been a long time in the planning and in the making. And the way I deal with my work and my ambition management is just to be prepared. I have a great team around me. You can't do it by yourself. Be organized, be on time. You know, all the basic stuff that we learn in school. But it really does apply when you when you're overly ambitious like I am. And enjoy what I do. I love what I do. I don't see it as work. I really love what I do. I can't imagine myself in any other profession."

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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