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37 Invaluable Lessons from 10 Movies That Will Help You Become a Better Entrepreneur

How do you feel each time you watch a movie? Inspired? Fulfilled? Exasperated? Confused? Happy? Sad? Or Neutral? As an entrepreneur who is striving to become a better person, you need to be mindful of not only what you think about but also what you watch, hear, feel or touch. What you watch has a powerful influence on you and if you are a movie lover, here are 10 movies that will help you become a better entrepreneur.

1. The Aviator (2004)

This movie, released in 2004, was directed by Martin Scorsese. The main role was played by Leonardo DiCaprio who acted as Howard Hughes. Hughes was a billionaire, director of big-budget films and a pioneer in the aviation industry. He was a highly determined man that allowed nothing to hold him back even though most people labeled him a mad man

However, outside of the public view, he suffered from paralyzing phobias and depression. Despite his limitations, he had great problem-solving skills and blazed a trail that many couldn’t even dare to catch up with. That is what every entrepreneur need to become successful.

Lessons

  • Be resolute in the fulfillment of your goals
  • Do not allow the noise of others drown your inner convictions
  • Your success is not determined by your challenges
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2. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, was adapted from the autobiography of the successful businessman and motivational speaker, Chris Gardner. Gardner rose from nothing into He rose greatness. From his wife leaving him due to financial hardship to becoming a homeless man with his young son to going on and becoming a successful man, the movie exemplifies the fact that no condition is permanent.  His role and that of his son were played in the movie by Will and Jaden (son) Smith.

Despite Gardener’s hard time, he was extremely focused, unbelievably positive and fiercely determined until he encountered the breakthrough that changed his life and that of his son for good. The ability to remain resolute despite overwhelming situations is an invaluable skill every entrepreneur should have.

Lessons

  • Happiness is not just a function of having things in abundance. It’s about being content even when you are in want.
  • No matter how dark the night is, the sun will surely shine again.
  • A positive attitude even when everything looks gloomy is the magnet for a breakthrough.
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3. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is a low-witted man who never underestimates himself because his mama made him see beyond his capabilities. With his low IQ, he went ahead and started a shrimp company, ran a marathon, became a national war hero and became very rich. If you are an entrepreneur, watching the movie, Forrest Gump, will give you more than enough reasons never to give up on your dreams. 

In addition to not underestimating himself, Gump was also a man of integrity who honored his words even after time has passed. While in Vietnam, he made a pact with his friend, Bubba, about starting a shrimp business together. Shortly after signing the pact, Bubba died and Gump went ahead to start the shrimp business remitting half of the profit to Bubba’s family.  Who does that especially when no one is watching.

Lessons

  • Do not allow people’s label on you to become your reality.
  • When people try to put you down, ignore them and keep moving in the direction of your dreams.
  • Always surround yourself with people who are genuinely rooting for you. They have the power to change what you believe about yourself
  • Tenacity is what will separate you from the pack. Be tenacious.
  • Results breed attention. When you get results, people will not only seek you, they will also find ways to be associated with you.

4. Wall Street( 2005)

Bud Fox was a stockbroker who had a humble background. His thirst for success got him involved with a godfather Gordon Gekko. Together, they cut shady deals, trade inside information and Bud committed lots of crimes to maintain the status quo. When Gekko betrayed Fox by planning to take over the company where his father was working which resulted in his father having a heart attack, he became guilty and secretly went behind Gekko to help his father and friends regain the company. This action led to Gekko getting back at him by turning him into the authorities and he eventually had to pay for his crimes. 

Lessons

  • Greediness leads to disaster. Avoid it by all means.
  • Don’t let your thirst for success turn you into a monster.
  • You may get away with illegal things temporarily, but one day your deeds will catch up with you and you’ll pay for it
  • Be careful whom you associate yourself with. 
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5. Joy (2015)

Joy is a biopic of the great inventor, Joy Mangano who invented the miracle mop. The movie is a must-watch for every entrepreneur as it is very relatable and practical. This is especially true for women. From being a broke unemployed housewife, Mangano, against all odds rose to be a magnate. She struggled to thrive in the midst of adversity and betrayal.

Lessons 

  • As an entrepreneur, always do your homework. Never base your decision solely on other people’s opinions.
  • Train yourself to be able to thrive in the midst of chaos. In the movie, she was able to focus on her work despite her living conditions and so much family drama going on around her. 
  • Nobody can sell your product better than you. She tried using a celebrity to help sell her mop and it failed until she stepped up. 
  • Make sure your product is a solution. She was able to make it because she created something above the norm. Her miracle mop self-wrigs and the head can be detached for placement in a washing machine. 
  • Authenticity. People will sense it when you are a fake and no one will buy from someone they can’t trust. When she was being forced to wear a dress for national television, she decided against that and wore her regular clothes. This singular action imprinted her into the hearts of many. 
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6. The Intern (2015) 

70 years old Ben Whittaker( played by Robert De Niro) heard about the Internship opportunity for senior citizens at an online fashion outlet owned by Jules Ostin ( Anne Hathaway). He applied and was taken. Although the two did not see eye to eye from the beginning they both got along eventually. Whittaker despite his age was able to bridge the gap between him and his colleagues. He was a great listener and always ready to help. He was also very loyal.

Lessons

  • It is never too late to learn. Whittaker was 70 years and was labeled as retired but he refused to be tired. He plunged into a new world and made the best of it.
  • Dress the way you want to be addressed. Dressing well gives you confidence. Do not say because you are an entrepreneur and that you are your own boss is the reason you dress shabbily. Dress neatly all the time because it’s the right thing to do and also because you are not aware of who is watching you. Whittaker always dressed well despite the fact that his colleagues dress anyhow to work. That sure earned him respect from the boss herself.
  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. The boss, Ostin, did an amazing thing in this movie that every entrepreneur should emulate. She ordered her own product online just to have customer experience. When she received the order, she wasn’t pleased about the packaging so she corrected her staff. She is a hands-on and ever-present leader who leads by example.
  • Put your family first. Ostin was always busy and as a result of this, her husband was a stay-at-home dad who provided childcare. Out of neglect, he started messing around with one of the mums at his children’s school. When Ostin found out, she forgave him and even attempted to hire a CEO to manage the affairs of her business.
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7. Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball is a true-life sports story based on the book written by Michael Lewis in 2003. Sports manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane, during one of the scouting trips employed a young Yale economics graduate Peter Brand as his assistant. The latter brought up a method of choosing athletes looking beyond the appearances and ranks by the use of data. They evaluate each player and use the data gathered to choose the best team who went ahead to break records by winning 20 consecutive baseball games for the first time in 100 years. 

Lessons

  • Experience is good, but the potential may be better. When employing it is good to look out for people with years of experience and professionals but sometimes all you need are people who have the potential to take your business to the next level. Billy saw this in Peter when he asked him a brainy question and they teamed up to produce the best team in the country.
  • Never underestimate people. From Brand’s theory, they were able to realize the potential in athletes that have been written off by other clubs and brought out the best in them.
  • Hard work pays. Beane asked Brand to analyze just three athletes and he went ahead to analyze over 50. His tenacity and their collective effort brought about their success.
  • Be loyal and don’t be driven by instant gratification. Beane was offered money to become the general manager of another company he refused and eventually his hard work paid off.
  • Make use of data and analysis. Not only did they gather data, but they also used it to their advantage. Do the same for your business don’t just acquire information. Use it to make informed decisions.
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8. Good Will Hunting (1997)

If you are looking for the right motivation to harness your potential then Good Will Hunting is the right movie for you. It is the story of a young man who is a genius, but he never believed in himself. He worked as a janitor at MIT and he was secretly helping to solve difficult grad questions in professor Lambeau’s class. The professor caught him and ever since tried all he could to help him make the best use of his talent. He got him professional help. The psychologist Sean and his friends helped turn him into a responsible citizen. 

Lessons

  • Harness your inner power and make the best use of it to your advantage.
  • Get help when you need it. Never resist it. 
  • Overall, choose to be happy.

9. Barbershop (2002)

The movie was about a barbershop in Chicago. Calvin Palmer Jr. Inherited the shop from his father. Like most young people, he became over ambitious and sold the barbershop to a loan shark who wants to turn it into a strip club. Realizing the social implications of his actions, Palmer struggled to get the shop back. He succeeded after making lots of sacrifices. Though the movie is a comedy yet, the business lessons are rich.

Lessons

  • The customer service in the barbershop, the ambiance and the fact that it is people-oriented is a model for every business.
  • There is nothing like getting rich quick. The only way to success is through hard work.

10. Jobs (2013)

This is the story of the Silicon Valley Hero and founder of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs. He dropped out of school because he couldn’t afford his tuition. Afterward, he started his company from his father’s garage and recruited others to join him.

While at it, he distanced himself from friends and family and then denied paternity of his own daughter. His behaviors were tagged irrational. He was also forced out of his own company in 1985. Down the road, he realized the importance of family and got married, had a son and reconciled with his daughter. He returned to Apple as a consultant. Finally, he regained his position as the CEO and fired his friend who didn’t support him during hard times. He restored the glory of Apple Inc.

Lessons

  • It doesn’t matter where you came from, you can make it if you work hard. 
  • Set yourself apart. Only dedication breeds success.
  • Beware of fake friends.

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