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Success Advice

14 Lessons We Can All Learn From “The Wolf of Wall Street”

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Both the book and the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” contain many crazy, entertaining, and decadent stories. But beneath all the debauchery there are a number of key lessons for you to learn from the success of Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont.

Read on for some great insight into this motivated business man that will show you how Jordan Belfort was able to build a super pumped organization before it all came tumbling down.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wolf of Wallstreet

 

 

1. Execute on Ideas

Stratton Oakmont’s initial success was based on two premises:

• That Belfort had come up with a way of teaching young, uneducated people how to sound like professional stock brokers over the phone.

• That rich people love to gamble – especially when the gamble seems like a legitimate business opportunity.
While there had been other people on Wall Street who’d had the same idea, Jordan Belfort was the first person to execute on this idea.

 

2. Simplify

The reason Belfort was able to transform young, uneducated people into charismatic stock brokers was because he was able to impart his knowledge by giving simple instructions in a way that even the most stupid employees could easily understand.

“And as word of this little secret began to spread throughout Long Island—that there was this wild office, in Lake Success, where all you had to do was show up, follow orders, swear your undying loyalty to the owner, and he would make you rich—young kids started showing up at the boardroom unannounced.” – Jordan Belfort

 

3. Put Together a Loyal Team

Guys like Kenny Greene and Danny Porush weren’t the smartest guys around. But, they were long-term friends who were fiercely loyal to Jordan Belfort.

What does this mean?

That it might be a good idea to work with old friends who knew, and liked you, before you got rich and successful. By doing this you will reduce the risk of:

• Becoming betrayed or backstabbed by two-faced people.

• Making stupid decisions because you’re surrounded by yes-men who don’t give you accurate feedback.

 

4. Diversify Competence

Why were Jordan Belfort and Danny Porush a good team?

Because they were very different:

• Belfort had sleeping problems. Porush could fall asleep everywhere – even during bumpy plane rides.

• Belfort was a highly strategic leader who specialized in delegation. Porush was a good enforcer –brutal enough to eat a gold fish to put employees in their place.

• Belfort was analytical and had a long-term orientation. Porush was emotional and short-sighted.

They were both good at different things – but together they were a great combination.

 

 

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wolf of wallstreet jordan belfort

 

5. Dress for Success

From day one, employees were instilled with the mantra that they had to act as if – starting by dressing well and looking the part. The purpose of this was to improve their self-esteem and charisma.

Jordan Belfort even hired a guy to create tailor-made suits for the up-and-coming employees of Stratton Oakmont.

 

6. Gather Intelligence on Rivals and Enemies

Belfort gathered intelligence by:

• Bugging the SEC people who were investigating Stratton Oakmont.

• Befriending FBI agent Jim Barsini and getting information about the ongoing investigation on Stratton Oakmont.

 

7. Guard Your Secrets

Jordan Belfort carefully guarded his secrets by:

• Drafting legal documents to create plausible deniability for shady deals.

• Having the office of Stratton Oakmont and the houses of the top employees swept for bugs regularly.

• Never speaking over the phone about past business deals.

• Using pay phones and other covert forms of communication to ensure that no one listened in on what was being said.

Note: While your business probably differs from Belfort’s by being legal, it’s still a good idea to gather intelligence. For example, you might meet an employee of a rival firm for drinks to learn about the internal gossip going on over there.

 

8. Study History and Learn From Past Mistakes

Said by Belfort to a Swiss “master forger” while discussing banking laws:

“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

You should follow Belfort’s example by:

• Studying past events in your profession to see what it was that made other people succeed or fail.

• Studying the great men who came before you.

 

 

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jordan belfort business

 

9. Establish a Concrete Reputation

There was never any doubt to the employees, nor the public, that anyone could make a ton of money by working for Stratton Oakmont. To confirm this, the only thing you had to do was take a look at the young, racially diverse, sometimes acne-ridden, well-dressed young men that spread havoc on Long-Island.

“The very idea of Stratton is that it doesn’t matter what family you were born into, or what schools you went to, or whether or not you were voted most likely to succeed in your high-school yearbook. The idea of Stratton is that when you come here and step into the boardroom for the first time, you start your life anew. The very moment you walk through the door and pledge your loyalty to the firm, you become part of the family, and you become a Strattonite.” – Jordan Belfort

 

10. Create a Set of Core Values that is Easy to Grasp

The core value of Stratton Oakmont was to seize the day. What this really meant to the employees was to:

• Make as much money as possible.

• Compete with colleges who could spend more money and live a crazier and more luxurious lifestyle.

–And what are some common core values of contemporary companies?

• Sustainability.

• Environmental friendliness.

• Integrity.

Which core values do you think are easier to communicate to the employees and make them live by?

 

11. Lead by Example and Set the Standard

No one over at Stratton Oakmont spent more money on buying luxury items, drugs, prostitutes, or partying than Jordan Belfort. He represented the epitome of the lifestyle that the employees sought to achieve.

“It’s important to keep these guys chasing the dream. And it’s even more important to keep them broke.” I gestured over to the plate glass. “Look at them; as much money as they make, every last one of them is broke! They spend every dime they have, trying to keep up with my lifestyle. But they can’t, because they don’t make enough”. – Jordan Belfort

 

12. Create Expectations

At Stratton Oakmont employees were expected to work their asses off and make a lot of money. Anything else was frowned upon.

“A rookie stockbroker was expected to make $250,000 his first year. Anything less and he was suspect. By year two you were making $500,000 or you were considered weak and worthless. And by year three you’d better be making a million or more or you were a complete f#%$ing laughingstock.” – Jordan Belfort

 

13. Provide Incentives for Hard Work

Not only were the employees of Stratton Oakmont paid far above the going rate for stock brokers – but a select few of the hardest working employees were also eligible to branch out on their own and start brokerage firms under Belfort’s guidance.

“It was what every Strattonite dreamed of and something I touched upon in all my meetings—that if you continued to work hard and stay loyal, one day I’d tap you on the shoulder and set you up in business. And then you would get truly rich.” – Jordan Belfort

 

14. Keep People Dependent on You

To ensure that employees were not only motivated to work, but literally had to stay at the firm and continue making lots money, Belfort encouraged employees to live beyond their means.

“I want you to deal with all your problems by becoming rich! I want you to attack your problems head-on! I want you to go out and start spending money right now. I want you to leverage yourself. I want you to back yourself into a corner. Give yourself no choice but to succeed. Let the consequences of failure become so dire and so unthinkable that you’ll have no choice but to do whatever it takes to succeed.” – Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort Picture Quote

 

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Question:

Are there more lessons to be learned from the Wolf of Wall Street? If you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.

Ludvig Sunström runs Start Gaining Momentum where he writes about practical self-development and gives no-nonsense tips for becoming more efficient and stepping up in life. He is also the author of Breaking out of Homeostasis , a book about claiming more control over your life by overcoming the brain's innate mechanism for staying the same. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

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75 Comments

75 Comments

  1. Afiq azizi

    Dec 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Sell this pen!

  2. Tim Denning

    Jun 8, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Such a good article! The Wolf Of Wall Street is one of my favorite movies of all time.

  3. Julian

    Nov 20, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    What’s up everybody? I like it that everyone here is sharing all kinds
    of knowledge. It’s nice to read these articles. I do a quick visit to this website every day.

  4. jerome

    Aug 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I think you miss the point of the movie. The reality is that in his most desperate moment Jordan was able to see an opportunity where none existed and built an empire based on him. It shows that one is able to do anything if you have a plan and you execute on it

  5. David

    Jun 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    What I learned..? To “wh**k off twice a day ! At least !”

    Just kidding. What I learned is to drive people emotionally.

  6. Sean J Kennedy

    Apr 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    With joy in our hearts we are perfect…anything else is a ruse at best and tyranny at worst.

  7. Emily Filloramo

    Mar 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Rob and Tony,

    I have a blog post that is almost ready to send to Joel on

    “10 Reasons Why You Are Not Happier Despite Your Successes”.

    There are points in this post that few people have ever talked about. You might be enlightened.

  8. Tony Wood

    Mar 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Rob – Do you really believe that life is all about how much you make, with no regard to the damage or financial loss you cause to others along the way?
    Well, if that’s your philosophy then you go for it.
    But make sure you’re prepared to pay top dollar for the team of lawyers you’ll need to pay to feed off you.
    You ask how much I make – well, I’ve run an accounting practice for the last 25 years, recently sold it to a long-term employee who paid me less than I could have got on the open market, and I’m now retired very comfortably, secure in the knowledge that none of my clients, many of whom I’ve had for most of that 27 years, will ever sue me, as I’ve always dealt with them honestly, ethically and professionally.
    Just part of my get rich slow scheme.

  9. Rob

    Mar 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Brilliant, fast money and even faster women what more can you ask for. Let me ask you how much do you make?

  10. Tony Wood

    Mar 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Success – Cash, houses, cars, boats
    Bullshit.
    Success is the progressive realisation af a set of worthwhile goals which are meaningful to the individual.
    Almost all of these 14 pointers are manipulative, superficial or just bad.
    “Gather information on your enemies” – if you act ethically you don’t get enemies.
    Finally, why would I take advice from a convicted fraudster who’s a drug addict with two failed marriages, and goodness only knows the damage he’s caused his children.

    • John

      Apr 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      He is richer and smarter than you…

    • a_bateman

      Feb 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      I once heard, don’t remember where from, that if you don’t have enemies you aren’t making enough waves.

  11. J Harris

    Mar 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    It’s easy to be ‘financially successful’ when you lie to people to get what you want.

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Success Advice

6 Important Things to Consider When Choosing an Investor

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Angel investment is one of the preferred options for starting up your business. Angel investors are successful businessmen, investing their own funds into a potentially rewarding business opportunity. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial for you to choose an investor that can fulfil your specific business needs.

The right investors can add value to your startup, far beyond the capital they bring to your business. You need to be careful in selecting the investors because seed investing is an early stage investment requiring particular skills and experience.

Here are the six important things to consider when screening and choosing the right angel investor for your company:

1. Experience

You should choose investors who have the experience of building, running, or helping startups in the past. They should have a proven record of investing in startups that have been successful in their endeavors. More than their money, their experience is vital, which makes them an invaluable advisor.

Your angel investors should have experience in the same business domain and in-depth knowledge of your industry. If they have achieved success in other domains or industries, they may give opinions on how to grow your business that aren’t applicable in your field. With the requisite experience, they can guide your business through the difficult start-up phase.

2. Trust

Your angel investor should be trustworthy who can keep your company’s confidential information safe without creating problems for you by using that information against you. It is important to choose an investor who gives you not only monetary assistance but also the right guidance and knowledge. A good angel investor is the one who invests in your team along with your business.

3. Risk Taking

The success of your business venture cannot be guaranteed as there are many potential risks that can lead to its failure despite a brilliant idea. It is vital to find an angel investor who is willing to take calculated risks on a rational basis rather than emotional considerations. They shouldn’t be overconfident and they should think differently from the crowd and be willing to learn from mistakes to keep your company going in the right direction.

4. Support

Angel investors who have been a successful entrepreneur can be very helpful to your business. They have it all to guide and support you to develop a successful business and overcome the challenges that your company can face in the initial stage.

Good business angels are very supportive, helping you in problematic situations. They act as a mentor for you to help you achieve your goals by constantly coaching you and supporting you at every step. They provide time and empathy during your tough times.

These investors have an idea about the highs and lows a new business has to go through before it succeeds. They can give you emotional motivation and help you with their expertise and involvement, ensuring success. They will encourage and challenge you at every step of the way and offer you advice when needed to make you grow as an entrepreneur.

5. Expectations

Before you choose an angel investor for your business, you have to ensure that they have realistic expectations about the timeline of the growth of your company and when you achieve your goals. They should even have realistic expectations about how profitable your company will be in the long-term.

Too high expectations can put pressure on your business and make you take risks that can get you off track and not be good for building long-term value of your business. You should select investors who demonstrate flexibility and have reasonable expectations around reporting, communication, and goal-setting.

6. Patience

Angel investors should be patient enough to understand that it takes time to earn profit. They should have the quality of thinking long term and visualizing the bigger picture of your company’s future. Your business angels should be calm and relaxed, and not be the ones who panic and fear to take challenges. It is crucial for them to understand that startups go through highs and lows, and there’s high competition. A good angel investor will remain calm and accept the fact that all new businesses have to struggle in the initial years before they become stable.

When assessing angel investors, you will have to ask them questions about their prior investments, what their expectations are and how much involvement they will take in your business, among other things. You will have to find investors that have the same domain expertise and portfolio companies related to yours.

By considering the above-mentioned points, you will be able to evaluate whether you and the angel investors are aligned and if it is feasible to have a partnership with them in the long-term. Take the help of your network to find the right investors with requisite skills, experience, and funding capacity to get your business global. So, use your due diligence and get the best angel investors on-board!

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Success Advice

3 Reasons Why Getting Clear Is Important for Your Business

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Everyone goes through times in their lives where blue skies and sunshine are a rarity. Too many clouds and storms, whether they involve business or personal issues, become the everyday occurrence and keep people from achieving whatever they want to do.

There have been many times on this business journey of my own where fogginess and haze have sent me to the mat. Trying to kick out at a 2-count when being pinned with all of this stuff seems unbearable.

In taking a holistic view (meaning looking at the entire picture) of where I am, what has changed? Clarity. Getting very clear on what I want to do and where I want to focus my creative direction. Yes, I’m a writer, content writer, copywriter, ghostwriter and creative. That’s one element of my own life. Another one involves being a voice for the voiceless in the craniofacial community around the world.

But this is not to simply focus on what I am doing now. This is about clarity, about getting laser-focused on what you want to do. If you have a coach or mentor in your life, then I’ll bet you have heard them say on one or multiple occasions that you have to “get clear” on what you want to offer.

Here are three core reasons clarity is an important factor for your business:

1. You Stand Out From The Crowd

You cannot go anywhere on social media and not see people putting out content. Some may be good; others are meh. It does not matter, though, if it is good or not. What matters is about conversion. Does the content turn into sales? Does it attract and speak to people’s problems?

Not everyone can be a jack-of-all-trades. You become a master-of-none pretty quick. Theories abound about niching down and finding that sweet spot where you can deliver your mastery to those in need. Think of the millions of niches out there: cannabis, fitness, spirituality, relationships, finances, food, and on it goes.

Every one of these niches need people who can come in and put clarity around their products and services. If these businesses are not clear on what they do and solve to those seeking solutions, then they are not going to have clients and eventually will have to shut the doors.

Learning to stand out from the crowd is going to make you a powerful voice in whatever niche or field you are looking to dominate in all the time.

“It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” – Steve Maraboli

2. You Attract A Lot of Clients

If you wanted to apply one of those ancient universal laws to your business – for instance, like the very popular Law of Attraction – then you would understand what attracts people to you. Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest inventors, once said that if people understood energy and vibration alone and how that works then they’d understand a lot of how things actually work in the world.

Clarity brings out a new energy from your words and actions. You come from a place of total and unbelievable awareness where you look around one day and go, “Dang, look at all of the people who want my services.”

Trust me. This is one of those lessons that I have to come back to over and over again. People might know who I am and what I do from this or that space. Yet is it really crystal clear enough to a targeted section of people? Um, it’s still a work in progress.

In order, though, to actually move forward in business and have the level of success that I desire, then clarity must come into play. Clarity attracts clients. They solidly know what you do and what you offer. There’s no wishy-washy stuff taking place. Understand this core reason to achieve clarity and watch what happens to your very own business and brand.

3. You Begin To Believe In Yourself

There’s this ongoing idea around “imposter syndrome” that folks on the interweb love to discuss. Showing up online like you are a real go-getter and hotshot, but offline that’s not the same person…that’s a problem.

“Imposter syndrome,” to me, starts happening when a person stretches out of his or her comfort zone and it feels miserable. Instead of getting up at 11 a.m. after working a night shift job, you get up at 8 a.m. to get a head-start on tasks and obligations around what you do. Thoughts like “this will never work out” or “I’m never going to succeed and get out of debt” start swirling around your mind like a bunch of chattering monkeys.

Clarity, though, allows you the benefit of starting to truly believe in yourself. In his famous book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Norman Vincent Peale writes in the first chapter’s first line “Believe in yourself.” That’s it. Then the book goes on to describe different ways of building up your positive mindset through prayer, faith, action, and other real-life examples. Peale’s work may not appeal to you directly, but the mere thought of believing in yourself and your dreams is appealing.

“Clarity comes from action not thought.” – Marie Forleo

Find yourself getting clear on what you want and where you want to go and begin to truly believe in yourself and your abilities. There are lots of people who definitely need your services and work around the world. There might even be people right in your own town who do, too.

When tackling the issue of clarity for your business, take these three factors into account. Think about them seriously. Take stock around where this can be an effective place for you to succeed every single day.

Look for the sunshine and blue skies in your business. They are there. All you have to do is some sightseeing and all of it will pop out very clearly.

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Success Advice

How YOU Can Create a Powerful 10 Year Life Vision

Ashley Hann

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Where do you desire to be 10 years from now? Joel Brown, founder of the well-known website and podcast Addicted2Success, breaks down exactly how to gain clarity in your life and create a powerful 10-year life vision. The vision process that Joel teaches has transformed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who use it.

You can listen to the full podcast interview here with Joel Brown or head over to my website AshleyHann.com for more inspirational podcast episodes.

Joel Brown is the real deal. He travels the world coaching thousands and thousands of people to stand in their vision so they can turn their dreams into a reality. He has been featured in the Think and Grow Rich movie, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, Success Magazine and more. He has sat down with well-known thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Jay Shetty, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, John Assaraf and the list goes on.

This is a MUST LISTEN episode all about gaining clarity, creating harmony in your life and creating a powerful 10-year vision so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted.

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

Joel breaks it down for you step by step. In this episode, we go over:

  • The 3 key questions you must ask yourself in order to live a fulfilled life and master your 10-year vision
  • How to define success for yourself and discover what you really want
  • The 8 areas of life to include in your 10-year vision
  • The top, prevalent patterns successful people share and why you should adopt them too
  • The 3 main limiting beliefs and bullsh*t stories that hold people back from achieving their dreams and goals
  • Why dropping perfectionism is so important and what to do instead
  • …and so much more!

If you’re more of a visual person then you can watch my video interview with Joel Brown here:

This is an episode you won’t want to miss. Joel Brown is the 10-year vision expert and teaches his vision process all over the globe to thousands and thousands of people. You’ll want to make sure to grab a pen and paper so you can take notes and action on the strategies he shares with you.

You can connect with Joel Brown @iamjoelbrown on Instagram and Twitter.  Make sure you also check out his popular motivation account @addicted2success on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You can listen to the full episode on SoundCloud,Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

OR you can watch it on my YouTube Channel:

RESOURCES:

His event: www.elevatetribe.net

The #1 motivation website he built from scratch: www.addicted2success.com

His Circle of Influence online mastermind: www.iamjoelbrown.com/applynow

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Success Advice

5 Ways You Can Utilize Information Properly and Think More Efficiently

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The mind is a complex system of facets, of which some have yet to be discovered. Still, in spite of all this, there has been enough information to help us gain a rudimentary understanding of it. Thinking is what we all do, although what differs is the efficiency and levels at which we do it.

A lot of things influence the way you think, and most of these factors vary from person to person. However, there are some foundations and basic laws that can help you move from just filtering information and utilizing it to think efficiently.

Below are a few ways you can utilize information properly and think more efficiently:

1. Be quiet and listen

We’re constantly bombarded with information, and the nature of this information determines how we respond. Are you the type of person who doesn’t handle bad or even good news well? If so, learn to take a step back, evaluate things, and look for the way forward. It’s something that stock market traders do all the time, and it works like a charm with practice.

2. Never neglect what your emotions tell you

While a lot of people might not know this, it is true that the conscious thoughts we have only represent a small fraction of the events going on in our heads. At any given point in time, you have the unconscious aspect taking in massive amounts of information, most of which we don’t even know are being processed.

Your brain makes conclusions, good or bad, and starts to generate feelings that rule our emotions in the long-run. So, whenever you have a subtle feeling that points you to a certain course of action or thought, don’t ignore it. At the end of the day, that feeling gets its way somehow, and it’s better you come face-to-face with it and understand its nudges better.

“When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.” – Bohdi Sanders

3. Never think while under pressure

Pressure can be good, but a lot of the time, it tends to yield counter-productive results. Regardless of what you’re doing, there are times when you feel pressure. What this pressure does is force you to rely less on the part of your unconsciousness that functions like a trained autopilot system (from all of the training and experiences that you’ve had in the past). Essentially, it forces you to overthink things.

You begin to analyze every aspect of what you’re doing, and you end up using parts of your brain that have no business with the specific activity. So, whenever you take the time out to develop a certain skill, make sure you learn to have faith in your instincts as well.

4. Never focus on one viewpoint

Bluffing is something that professional poker players do almost every time. It’s become an art. However, instead of just bluffing on a whim (which also works at times, by the way), most of them employ a simple trick while playing; they think about how the opposing players would act if they weren’t actually bluffing.

In most cases, the brain tends to search the world for filters in order to confirm the beliefs that it holds. However, the problem with this is that it tends to limit you. At the end of the day, you could be dealing with facts that are just not wrong.

“What’s true of the poker game is true of life. Most people are suckers and don’t realise it.” – Michael Faust

5. What do you love doing?

According to studies, a lot of people tend to have moments of insight and solutions to problems when they’re not even aware of the fact that the problem is being analyzed by the brain. These are usually moments when you take a stroll, listen to your favorite track, brew your favorite coffee, take showers, and read blogs; when you feel relaxed and comfortable.

This is because insightful thoughts are usually generated by an influx of neural activities that occur in the right hemisphere of the brain. The best time to plug into the mind is when you’re stress-free, so make sure that you engage in activities that relax you more often.

How do you go about maneuvering around and making decisions in a world constantly bombarding you with information? Let us know your thoughts and advice below!

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