Stock Trading

10 Things I Learned from The Wolf of Wall Street

In case you didn’t already know it, let me be the first to tell you that the stock market is NOT a warm and fuzzy place where you can go to refill your emotional gas tank with boat loads of love, validation and acceptance.

It just isn’t.

In fact, it’s more like the opposite of that place.

The market is a machine, and it runs on MONEY. Yours. And mine.

It consumes more and more of that money every single day and it distributes that money in a VERY uneven way between the strong hands and the weak.

It does this day after day, month after month, year after year.  And it has.  For a very long time.

That’s why I am blown away when people seem surprised that people like Jordan Belfort (the man behind The Wolf of Wall Street) exist.  And that greed exists.  And that sharks exist.  And that sometimes, when surrounded by bucket loads of money, people hurt other people.

Look, I’m not going to get into the ethics of what Mr. Belfort did here. But let’s just say that everytime CNBC or Fox Business pumps their daily stock news/picks down your throat, at the worst possible time, the same thing is happening — and on a much larger scale.

Anyway, I digress, because The Wolf of Wall Street is an AWESOME film — Scorcesse’s best in years.

Better than Boiler Room.  Better than Wall Street.  Better (how could it not be) than Margin Call.

If you like high octane tales of greed and excess and madness, then you definitely need to check this out. Leo is nuts, Jonah Hill is out of control with his bleached white fake teeth. And the stories…

Just in case you don’t know anything about him — here’s a quick RetailTRADER style bullet point list covering the life of Jordan Belfort.

  • Jordan Belfort was born
  • Jordan Belfort went to dentistry school — for 1 day
  • Jordan Belfort became a stock broker
  • Jordan Belfort got a job brokering pink sheet stocks
  • Jordan Belfort started his own company, made a lot of money, did a lot of drugs and generally went nuts

Got it? Awesome —

That said, here are the top 10 things I learned from my new favorite movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. I’ve split the list into positives and negatives — in case you can’t tell.

The Positives:

1. Know What You Want – And Go For It

the wolf of wall street yacht - rich jordan belfort 2013-12-31 13-05-55

Before you can achieve any goal in life, you have to know what you are after. You need to define it, and you need to put all of your effort into it. Jordan wanted to get rich. Plain and simple. And he worked his ass off to achieve that goal.  In the beginning that work was legal.  In the end…not so much.

2. Go Big

the wolf of wall street - go big

Once you have defined your goal — go big! Do it with style, bravado, passion. Put your whole self into it, and really go for it. Jordan took what he’d learned working for brokers and penny stock brokers and he built it into a massive company that employed hundreds of people. He had a vision. A big vision.

And he went for it.

What are YOUR goals? Are you going after them in a big enough way?

3. Motivate Those Around You To Greatness

the wolf of wall street - inspire people

If you motivate those around you to greatness, they will lift you up higher and faster than you ever thought possible. Most people are looking to follow a great leader — and they will follow that leader to the ends of the earth if they are inspired.

Jordan took a scruffy bunch of have-nots and turn them into foaming at the mouth killer salesmen — and everyone got rich in the process.

4. More Is Not Enough

the wolf of wall street - more is not enough

Don’t settle. Don’t rest on your laurels. Ever. Always keep looking toward the next goal. The next big idea. The next big story. Jordan went from working for someone else as a stock broker’s assistant, to working as a stock broker, to starting his own business working out of a garage, to leasing a huge office, to buying yachts.

What is your growth path? Keep building on it!

5. Have Some F&%#*ing Fun

the wolf of wall street - have some fun

Seriously, are you having enough fun? Are you enjoying life and getting crazy every once in awhile? If there’s one thing Jordan knew how to do — it was have fun. He threw crazy/lavish parties for his employees, sometimes at the office, and in turn, they loved coming to work and their bonds were unbreakable…well, for awhile.

The Negatives:

6. Don’t Do Quaaludes

quaaludes - don't do them

Like ever. I’m just saying. Supposedly they don’t make them anymore. But even if they do, and you can find them, don’t do them.

They will make you drool. They will make you fall asleep all over the place. And they will make you sink your yacht. Just ask Jordan.

7. Quit While You’re Ahead

wolf of wall street -- arrest 2013-12-31 13-02-41

If you are on top, and pulling in boat loads of money, especially if you are doing something illegal, then quit while you are ahead. Don’t let your ego drag you down.

At one point Jordan was making 49 MILLION dollars a year.The SEC was investigating him.  At his own office.  Which he had bugged.  And they gave him a free get out of jail pass!

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are one of his victims) his ego wouldn’t let him walk away.

And then the whole thing crashed around him.

8. Don’t Make It Rain Dollas On The FBI

The Wolf of Wall Street - raining dollars

Take my word for it. You’re loaded rich. You’re on your VERY expensive multi-million dollar yacht. Surrounded by call girls. You’re feeling like a king. And the FBI shows up. What do you do?

In my mind, I’m thinking you respect authority. You don’t try and bribe the FBI.  And you definitely don’t throw hundred dollar “fun coupons” on them as they walk away.

9.Don’t Trust Shady Business Partners

the wolf of wall street - don't trust this guy

Let’s face it, you’ve started a shady company, with shady partners, in a shady industry, I’m guessing there aren’t that many people you can trust — least of all the shady partners you are in business with. So when you finally crack and become an informant (read: RAT) for the FBI, do NOT tell your shady business partner that you are wearing a wire.

Why? They will use that information against you and become an even bigger RAT than you are. It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe if you’re not on Quaaludes.

10. Don’t Use Your Powers For Evil

jordan belfort - use your powers for good

Finally, it was my impression that Jordan Belfort was/is a very bright guy. He was hungry, smart, positive, and eager to get rich. He could have done it legally.

But the dark side got to him — and he went nuts. He went nuts and he swallowed up money as fast as he swallowed up Quaaludes.

Maybe a lot of money will do that to you. Maybe a personality flaw will do that to you. Heck, maybe Quaaludes will do that to you. Either way, The Wolf of Wall Street paid the price.

Some people don’t think he paid enough of a price. Who knows.

So there you have it, fellow retail traders. The top 10 things I learned watching The Wolf of Wall Street.

It’s a long movie (3 hours) but if you like watching crazy people get crazy and do more crazy things than you can imagine — then trust me — the time will fly — and you will probably leave the theatre feeling like you’re high — on Quaaludes.  Without all the messy drooling.  Or the helicopter crashes.  Or yacht crashes.  Or jail time.  Or…you get the picture.


  1. Dan May 9, 2017
  2. Robyn September 15, 2017

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