Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson says his dad taught him to give every 'ounce of effort you can'

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, poses with his parents in 2015.
Michael Tran | FilmMagic

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the world's biggest stars and Hollywood's highest earner, raking in more than $89 million in 2019, according to Forbes.

Over a decades-long career that's seen him go from college athlete to professional wrestler to a global movie star, Johnson has said his success stems from a work ethic he picked up while training as a kid with his father, himself a former professional wrestler.

"Back when I was a punk kid, my dad would take me to the gym on weekends and kick the s--t [out of] me in the weight room and on the wrestling mats," Johnson wrote in a 2017 Instagram post. "He'd say, 'You didn't get up early to come here and give half-ass effort. Leave it all in the gym."

His father, Rocky Johnson, died this week at the age of 75, as Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment announced on Wednesday. The elder Johnson, who became a famous wrestler in the 1980s and was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, never took it easy on his son when working out and training him as a wrestler from a young age.

"'I'm going to train you 150 percent,'" Johnson said he told his son, Dwayne, in a 2017 interview with "And I was hard on him. But he never gave up."

In his Instagram post from that same year, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson recounted how the work ethic he learned from his father at a young age stuck with him and helped him succeed throughout his career as an athlete and actor.

"Years later, when I played [football at the University of Miami], we applied the same principles: we left it all on the field," Johnson said on Instagram.

Johnson was part of a football team that won a national championship in college, but a series of injuries put an end to his football career. That opened the door for him to take a shot at professional wrestling, just like his father.

As a wrestler, Johnson remembered the lesson from his father and made it "part of my nightly pre-match prayer." Johnson wrote on Instagram that, before each match, he prayed for "the strength to leave it all in ring — whether I was wrestling in flea markets or sold out stadiums."

He explains further: "Leaving it all … means you give every f---ing ounce of effort you can; to give the best performance you can give."

In other words, Johnson's father taught him to work as hard as possible so that, no matter what happened, he could not look back on his effort with any regrets. The massively successful celebrity, who went on to star in blockbuster films including the "Jumanji" and "Fast & Furious" franchises, also believes that lesson from his father can apply to anyone's career.

"Whatever it is you do, whatever job you have," Johnson wrote on Instagram, "at the end of the day, leave it all there."

At the time he wrote the Instagram post, Johnson was filming the movie "Rampage," an action-adventure movie that went on to gross $428 million worldwide. Filming his action scenes for that movie was "the most physically grueling role of my career," Johnson said. "But I'm grateful to go to bed [100%] satisfied I left it all on the set."

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