From Meet the Fockers to Casino to Limitless, Robert De Niro is one of the most successful actors in the world. The next time you are watching one of his movies, do me a favor and don’t just watch them for pure entertainment, but watch them as a source of education.
Although Mr. De Niro is well known mainly for his acting abilities, you can actually learn a lot about business from his movies as well.
If you don’t believe it, just look at some of his movie quotes…
Don’t Be a Rat
You learned the two greatest things in life, never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.
Talking shit about people or tattle telling on people won’t make you look good in business, it will make you look bad. Unlike your personal life, your business life should be a drama free zone.
If you start gossiping or ratting people out you’ll start to earn a bad reputation and no one will want to hang out with you after hours. And although that may not sound like a big deal to you, a lot of business deals are done outside of the work place.
Emotions Affect Decisions
People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.
It doesn’t matter how logical or tough you are, you have emotions. There is nothing wrong with it, we all have emotions. And just like Mr. De Niro stated, you should try to hide them when doing business because they don’t mix well.
But when you are doing business with other people you need to look deep into their eyes, analyze their body language and figure out what feelings they are trying to hide. If you can figure out the emotions they don’t want to show you, you can then leverage those feelings to close a deal.
Just make sure you aren’t crossing any boundaries when doing this. For example, I would never leverage someone’s family or personal life to close a business deal as it unethical.
Patience is a Virtue
All good things come to those who wait.
The reason I have succeeded in business isn’t because I am smart, it’s because I am persistent. I have succeeded because I have been in business for over 10 years.
The first few years are always hard because you’ll make rookie mistakes, but as you continue your entrepreneurial journey you’ll be less likely to make mistakes and sooner or later you’ll start succeeding.
As long as you learn from your mistakes and you are willing to put in a good portion of your life into the business world, sooner or later you’ll do well. My recommendation is that you start as soon as possible as you don’t have too many financial or family obligations when you are 16 or 18 years old.
It’s Better to be the Solution Than the Problem
Either you’re part of the problem or you’re part of the solution or you’re just part of the landscape.
If you have an option to be part of the problem, solution, or landscape, which one would you pick? Hopefully you didn’t say landscape because that means you’re not even trying… instead you are just watching everyone pass you by.
If you said problem, that’s also bad because you don’t pay people who cause problems, you pay people who solve them.
Always try to solve people’s problems as you’ll make a lot more money doing so. When you start a business the first thing you should think about is “what problem are you solving.”
You should never start a business because you have a cool idea, instead you should start a business because you know of a problem that enough people have today and how you can solve it in a simple way.
Give a Little Respect
I don’t give a shit who he’s connected to. Tell him to take his fuckin’ feet off the table. What’s he think this is, a goddamn sawdust joint?
It doesn’t matter how much money you have or who you are, you should always respect others. Just because you are famous or more successful than someone else, it doesn’t give you the right to treat them like shit.
In the long run when you start respecting the little guy, they will start telling all of their friends about you, and sooner or later more people will want to do business with you.
For example, I was at a conference in London a few years ago and no one wanted to help out this Russian kid who could barely speak English. I took 30 minutes of my time to give him free advice and that same night he told over 10 companies how great I was. One of those companies ended up giving my firm a 1.2 million dollar contract.
Don’t Stiff People
I’ll fuckin kill you, get the money, you fuckin’ cocksucker, you hear me?
Whether my business is doing well or not, I always figure out a way to pay my employees on time and contractors that I am working with. If you can’t learn how to pay people the money you owe them, how can you expect people to always pay you?
I’ve been stiffed a lot of money and I probably still have a few hundred grand in receivables from companies that will never pay me. I never want to have other people experience that feeling as it isn’t fair to make people work for you and then not pay them.
You Don’t Know Everything
You haven’t had to climb up all the grease balls. You haven’t been bored blind at fundraiser. You haven’t done the time and that first marriage to the girl with the right father. You think you can leap over all on a single bound. You haven’t had to bribe or charm or threaten your way to the seat at that table. You don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.
No matter how smart you are, you can always learn more. So the next time you are talking to someone, don’t think you know more than him or her.
One of the best ways to learn is from other people, so when someone doesn’t know the latest stuff that is happening in your world, it doesn’t mean that they can’t teach you anything.
If there is one thing that I wish I could have more of, it’s experience. The more meetings I do, the more problems I run into, the smarter I become because I am always learning from these experiences. Which is why you should never stop learning!
Don’t Fight Fire With Fire
There’s no way you can be making accusations like that and be walking around alive.
I’m a big believer in living a peaceful life. I’ve been screwed over multiple times and I never try to pick fights.
The next time you are thinking about burning a bridge or talking shit on someone, or even picking a fight, just remember that you are better off by keeping your mouth shut and walking away.
You never know how far the other party is willing to go to make your life miserable, so why not just take your tail and put it between your legs. I know it sounds like the sissy thing to do, but in the long run it will pay off. For example I have had someone screw me over and try to pick a fight when it was their fault. I apologized, they forgave me, and a year later they ended up giving me a $240,000 contract.
Robert De Niro isn’t the only actor that you can learn something from, you can literally gain knowledge from everyone. Heck, I even learn new things from my 1-year-old nephew such as you don’t need much in life to be happy.
Stop looking at things just from the surface level, you need to dig deeper.