Who said there is nothing to learn from a Hollywood blockbuster, half of which is drugs, sex and cussing? Well, if you haven’t realized this already, there is always something to be learnt from every experience in life and The Wolf of Wall Street is no exception!
1. Work Hard, Play Hard
Life is tough, jobs are stressful, and between satisfying your woman and making sure that your next project meets the deadline, there is plenty of space to think about suicide or giving up altogether. Everyone has a breaking point, no one is invincible, and as much as you like to think of yourself as the next terminator, you’ll always hit a wall at some point in your life. And the secret to keep going in a stressful, competitive and draining environment; Spice up your life with entertainment! No matter what it is, you’ll have to let yourself go from time to time, forget about work and float the waves of life like there was no tomorrow. You have to give yourself a break; otherwise there is no point in working hard in life if you’ll have a nervous breakdown by the age of 30.
2. Bullshit is King
Im guessing you went through college, so you realize how true this statement is! Everything in life is run by bullshit, from finding an excuse for your late submission to convincing your boss that you’re the right guy to hire even if your resume is half the size of the guy next to you. Bullshit is what keeps life running, what keeps society working. Because lets face it, life is unfair in so many ways: your parents might not afford getting you into that expensive college, maybe you just can’t deal well with numbers or maybe you were born with a complication, well fear not, there is always a way when there is a will. Bullshit is the weapon that makes life a fair playground. Bullshit is what makes you as good as the other guy and gives you a shot in life which you know you well deserve!
They say nice guys finish last right? Well armed with bullshit, you finally can marshal enough confidence and guts to walk up to your crush and tell her, not how awesome you are, but how great she is. You don’t have to be driving a Bentley or wearing a 5000 dollar suit; all you need is a functional brain and a slick tongue to play the game. Jordan Belfort knew all too well how true this was. It doesn’t matter whether you are a trillion dollar hedge fund with 50 years of existence or a firm that operates in your backyard with three employees, if you can bullshit your way through a conversation, that actually is convincing, then the sky is the limit.
Just think about it; you shouldn’t be judged for things you can’t control: your race, place of birth, height, religion or wealth, but in the real world you sure as hell will. Your way around this: Bullshit!
3. Have an Exit Strategy
Ever thought why the house always wins? Its because people get so invested in the game, get so greedy that they forget to quit when they are in a winning position. Let me tell you something: you can live your life in two ways: either as a sprint or a marathon. You can rise fast, go quick, nail it to the top by your mid 20s, but by then you probably have burned most of your potential, and it’s time to leave the game and enjoy what you´ve earned. On the other hand, we have the people who like to live life as a marathon, trying to spend their greatest moments in their late 50s or 60s, and that’s fine. But if you are not one of the marathon runners, and you´d like to spend big, live life and enjoy it to the fullest while you’re still young, then you’ll have to get ready to retire while you’re at the top of your game.
Think of it as a game of cards; you are in a tight position, you can either hide your cards for a while, bluff the house and win big, but when the time to show your hand and cards comes, you don’t want to be sitting at the table, you want to be 3000 miles away and that much richer. You made a fortune, you made a name for yourself, now buckle up and be satisfied because once you reach the pinnacle of your career or life, there is only one way to go, and that’s vertically down, because there will always be someone, younger and hungrier, looking for your position. Know when it’s time to leave the table, or otherwise, prepare yourself for disgrace. Jordan Belfort could have cut a deal with the Securities Exchange Commission, but he didn’t. Where did he end up? Exactly, broken to pieces. He could have paid a couple of millions and still lived like a king. Don’t do the same mistake. Get in, work your magic, and then get out!
4. Talent Can Be Learnt
There will be people who’ll tell you that you are either born great or not, and learning how to be great is just a waste of time. They will tell you you’re either born a good programmer or not, that you are either good with numbers or you’re that sports type. They will tell you that not everybody is born to be a king, a president or a billionaire. Let me break it down for you: it’s all BS. Everything can be learnt and acquired, talent, success and even happiness. Everyday a nobody becomes a somebody; failed students becoming great coders, janitors becoming CEOs of fortune 500 companies. There are people who start learning when they hit their late 40s and become the best at what they do in their 50s. Today, in a world where everything is accessible, you can learn anything; you just have to set your mind to it. It all starts and ends with you: do you want to learn and achieve greatness or do you want to keep on living a miserable life, talking about how much of an ass your boss is? Jordan Belfort turned a couple of losers into moneymaking machines, into stunning salesmen, who could convince you of anything. All you need is a script, all you need is to learn what you have to do and the rest follows.
Never complain about not being able to do something because you didn’t have the chance to learn it in high school or college. There is something called the world wide web, there is something called people, reach out to these resources and you’ll be able to turn your life around. Moral of the story: you don’t have an excuse to be talentless.
5. Be your Own Boss
No one likes to hear orders from the top, no one likes to be yelled at by his or her superior, no one enjoys to work for an asshole who takes all the credit for the great work his or her employees produced and in return all you get are insults after insults. But there are people who will swallow it and move on, and stay mediocre for the rest of their lives, and there are those who will say enough is enough, and will quit to start their own business, becoming their own boss. You are hired because you have something to give, you are paid a salary because you have a talent, so why not use that talent, those connections or that knowledge to start your own thing? If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs; be that someone who hires others to reach glory. If you are good at something, then don’t do it for free or for a crappy paycheck. Go out there and make things happen, because if you don’t take risks, then you won’t rip great returns.
Jordan Belfort knew that he was good, he knew how to do what he does best, so he left and started his own firm. Result: he grew into a giant when he was released from the chains of corporate or bureaucratic slavery. This is what separates the awesome from the mediocre: there are people who live on small paychecks and dream at night, and then there are people who live their dream and pay out the paychecks. Which one do you want to be?
6. How Bad Do you want it?
There are people who like sleep more than anything else! There are people who cannot live without their cellphone but can live without a dream. There are people who think they want something, but in fact they don’t. There are people making wishes, when in fact, they should be having goals and making plans. How bad do you want to succeed? Ask yourself this question, and to be honest, think about how much you are willing to give to get it. Can you stay awake for days without sleeping? Can you sacrifice what you have for what you want to be? Are you able to forgo your friendships for the sake of becoming a better successful individual? Can you spend painful years trying to be the best at what you do? When you start asking yourself these questions, you´ll start realizing how much you actually want to make it to the top. Don’t fool yourself, don’t pretend, if you are not honest with yourself about what you want, then you’ll stay stuck at square one.
People kill for success, people starve for success, people don’t sleep for success, people change their lives for success, people lie for success… get it? How bad do you want it, that’s the million-dollar question! The Wolf of Wall Street didn’t just want to be successful; he was ready to sacrifice anything for that purpose. Are you able to make such sacrifices?
There are endless lessons to be learnt from a movie no matter however profane it is or controversial it can be. Everything in life, every experience, every book you read or music you listen to: if you can’t learn something from it, then it was just a waste of time. Know how to discern the signs, know how to learn from the mistakes of others and how to capitalize on their successes. If you are able to do that, then you’ll have enough up your sleeve to become the next big thing because there is nothing you didn’t come across, nothing you didn’t fail to learn.
Are you a wolf or a sheep? Your answer will determine how far you’ll go in life!