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Lessons from Wolf of Wall Street

by Culture Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

"My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26 I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week." 

This is Leonardo DiCaprio's opening line on the trailer of The Wolf of Wall Street. For many, the line came as a shock, because the idea seemed ludicrous, contrived, and downright impossible. But Jordan Belfort is a real person, and his story of success (and more) is just as real, too. Yes, all those parties and deals you saw in the movie have a grain (maybe even more) of truth in them.


But beyond the wild and fun scenes of the film, it is also a source of valuable lessons on how we deal with our financial dreams. Although Leo didn't get an Oscar for his performance in the film, we can all pick up a thing or two about how we handle and grow money. We have listed five valuable lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street:

Dream Big
What propelled Jordan Belfort to success is a vision. The same applies to you. Before you dream of a successful life, you must have a vision and a purpose of what you want to achieve. Having an outcome in mind makes it easier to decide on crucial matters, and that goes a long way in your financial life. As Belfort puts it, "If you want to be rich, you have to program your mind to be rich."

The Strategy Matters
Before founding Stratton Oakmont, Belfort knew that the big names of Wall Street are already immune to generic sales pitches. It has become impossible to catch their attention with something that's been used up again and again. For this reason, he came up with a strategy and a niche to convince his prospects into buying stocks. 

Confidence Sells
It's not just about the products or services you offer, but also the way you sell and compose yourself in front of your prospective clientele. In the movie, Belfort never ran out of confidence, even during the most trying times. He's smug, reckless, and to some extent, arrogant, but that has paid off in millions of dollars.

With his headstrong aura and fancy tailored suits (which his employees also wore), Leo's character became the perfect image of a successful and confident man. Money-wise, the lesson here is the power of confidence and how your very presentation of yourself can make or break a deal. Remember: selling yourself is part of it all.

Success Needs People
An enterprise is only as good as the people who run it - that perhaps is one of the most important nuggets from The Wolf of Wall Street. Although Belfort came up with the effective business model of Stratton Oakmont, he had to trust his staff to follow his plans. His firm dominated the stock market, and that wouldn't have been possible if not for the brokers working under his employ.

But, hiring the right people is not enough. As DiCaprio showed in the movie, he kept his staff happy and sharp. He trained people who had no clue how to sell stocks and made them sound like seasoned brokers. In other words, he supplied them the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. Plus, with every success, he threw wild parties and spoke words of encouragement that kept his workers going.

Never Give Up
It's easy to summarize the movie as a story of persistence; after all, it recounts the tale of a Biology graduate who tried to be rich, succeeded (albeit through some dishonest means), failed, and stood up again. Persistence is also evident in Belfort's disposition towards his clients - he never gave up until the client ended the call or closed the door. As the Wolf once said, "If you want to be rich, never give up. People tend to give up. If you have persistence, you will come out ahead of most people."

Jordan Belfort is many things - he may be a con artist, a drug addict, and a former Wall Street giant all at the same time depending on who you ask. But no matter how you spin it, there's no denying that he found the success he envisioned - and that we can learn a few things from Wall Street's iconic wolf to reach the successful life we all dream of.