Have you seen the “The Wolf of Wall Street?”. Although extremely vulgar (after all, it did set a world record for the most uses of the f-word in a movie – 506 times) and criticized by many for the excesses portrayed, I think the movie was great and it actually has some precious lessons the business world could benefit from.
1. Follow your goal fervently
Jordan Belfort says:
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
All throughout the movie, he shows us what it means not to ever give up on your goal. Sure, his methods are less than orthodox and illegal, but we can read between the lines and not let ourselves be influenced by the unscrupulous manner in which he chooses to do things. You don’t have to step over dead bodies in order to be successful, but you can’t forget about your goal on the road to success either. Don’t be like Jordan Belfort, be empathetic instead, but don’t set up limits for yourself where it’s not completely necessary.
2. Learn when to stop
One of the laws in “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene says:
“Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop.”
Victory comes with its dangers. The moment when you can feel the taste of victory is overwhelming and a true test to your nature. You can easily let the overconfidence you’ve achieved push you past the goal you had aimed for and enter dangerous territory. Letting success get to your head is one of the biggest mistakes a businessman can do. Success can be blinding and overpower those who lack a moral compass. It can make you forget all about your goals and launch you in vicious battles with your competitors who will then become your enemies. Do not create more enemies than you are able to defeat. When you reach your goal, stop. Learn how to savor your success and try to realistically analyze your urge to make more money and go higher on the success ladder. Do you really need more money? Will you feel better by obtaining a higher position? Will you have time to enjoy your success if you keep struggling to advance? Take a cold shower and give yourself time to think. Success can feel so empowering and hallucinating, but most people end up regretting later in their life that they didn’t know where to stop, that they didn’t stop to enjoy life, that they didn’t spend enough time with their families, etc. Do you really want to be one of those people?
3. Build a loyal team and keep them motivated
We can blame Jordan Belfort for a lot of things, but one thing we can’t blame him for is his passion. The passion and determination with which he pursues his goal, the passion he instills in his employees though several motivational speeches he delivers with such power. To charismatic Jordan Belfort, a happy team is a successful team and nobody can argue with that. Treating your employees with kind and respect, rewarding them when they’re successful and giving them reasons to want to do their job well and actually be happy and exalted to do it is a priceless power. It will keep your employees happy and loyal, which is a very important key to your success.
4. Learn from past mistakes
Studying history is an important part to Jordan Belford’s success and it should be an essential asset for anybody trying to succeed in a certain field:
“I’m a student of history, Roland, and I’m a firm believer that he who doesn’t study the mistakes of the past is doomed to repeat them”. – Jordan Belfort
Educate yourself. Learn about your competitors, about big names that made it in your field, and about those who failed as well. It will help you not repeat the same mistakes or try the same tactics as before, and it can give you extra motivation when you need it.
How about you, what lessons have you learned from “The Wolf of Wall Street” or what did you like or didn’t like about the movie?