From Meet the Fockers to Casino to Limitless, Robert De Niro’s legacy is huge. He is one of the most successful actors in the world. The next time you are watching one of his movies, do me a favor: don’t just watch them for pure entertainment, but watch them as a source of education.
Although Mr. De Niro is well known for his acting abilities, his movies don’t just entertain. They can actually teach you a lot about business 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. 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’s character stated, you should try to hide them when doing business because emotions and business don’t mix well.
What you do need to do when doing business with other people is 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 is 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 ten 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.
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 sixteen or eighteen 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 had an option to be part of the problem, solution, or landscape, which one would you pick? I hope you didn’t say “landscape” because that means you’re not even trying - you are just watching everyone pass you by.
If you said “problem”, that’s also bad because people don’t pay people who cause problems; they 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 am I solving?”
You should never start a business because you have a cool idea. Instead, start a business because you know of a problem that enough people have today for which you have a simple solution.
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 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. 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. I saw that no one wanted to help out this Russian kid who could barely speak English. I took thirty minutes of my time to give him free advice. That same night, he told over ten 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 and contractors on time. 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 of 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 without paying 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. Next time you are talking to someone, don’t assume you know more than the person you are talking to does.
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 he or she can’t teach you something else.
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, but I never pick fights.
The next time you are thinking about burning a bridge, running your mouth on someone, or 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 a cowardly thing to do, but in the long run, it will pay off. For example, I had someone screw me over and then try to pick a fight with me. I apologized; the other party forgave me; and a year later they ended up giving me a $240,000 contract.
Robert De Niro’s characters are not the only ones you can learn something from. You can literally gain knowledge from everyone. Heck, I even learn new things from my one-year-old nephew. He taught me that you don’t need much in life to be happy.
Stop looking at things just from the surface level. Dig deeper!