A Real Life Revenant: Lessons In Leo’s Determination To Win


Leading sports stars, special forces and a selection of business tycoons are all known for their vicious work ethic and drive.

But, actors? Surely they just learn their lines, turn up and emote for the camera, then take home a fat check.

Not so in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio. His gritty efforts to win that elusive Best Actor Oscar see the man push himself to greater acting heights with each role.

Hotly tipped to win this year for The Revenant, the 41-year old previously lost out starring in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, with near misses for Blood Diamond and The Aviator.

Those two losses could easily have seen the actor settle for a career of lighter roles, cashing in the big pay days and staring with a continuous array of glamorous leading ladies (hello, Johnny Depp). But no, every role sees a new challenge, a new character to become, always radically different than what came before.

For the rest of us, he provides a key message that there’s nothing wrong with losing, as long as you keep trying and change your approach, rather than struggling on in the same rut.

Playing As DiCaprio

Instead, with each loss, he looked for more challenging roles, as evidenced by his resume on IMDB. While many actors find their niche in Hollywood, DiCaprio’s range reaches far and wide.

From the casual wanderlust of The Beach to the coiled spring in Gangs of New York and the innocent youth of Catch Me If You Can, every role is a big leap, a stretch, a reinvention of the man and his characterization skills.

Through his brushes with the disappointed face-cam at the Oscars, he’s gone from U.S. Marshall to cyber criminal, J. Edgar Hoover to Wall Street maverick and now a gritty frontiersman.

Reinvention is something that key to businesses and personal skills, markets judge companies on future profits, not past success. So, constant reinvention or evolution is vital. Helping drive that change are business leaders prepared to shift tactics and their own personal goals to better their prospects.

All Change in the Drive For Business

The example set by DiCaprio is one that can mirrored by both business leaders and the companies they create. The pivot is a longstanding tradition to realign people or teams when something hasn’t quite worked as planned.

Taking on a new challenge keeps everyone fresh and on their toes, allowing yourself and your skills to be pigeon-holed into one category (think of the endless stuck-in-romcom-hell actors and actresses) limits opportunity and freedom.

DiCaprio doesn’t just take this approach with his roles. A steady stream of girlfriends and relationships surely forces him to face new social and personal challenges.

His efforts stand as a clear counterpoint to those unwilling to change, those who are stuck in their rut. Being with these people or organizations will clearly result in limitations of your own ambitions or progress.

A Green and Charitable Business is a Happy One

His one firm belief, environmentalism, even his sports car is green, backed up by many charitable efforts also help define DiCaprio. Going green is a step that sees his technology and eco-commitments changing and challenged on a regular basis. All of this points to a man who must face change, and does so willingly.

Some corporate types might consider the need for an eco-friendly label as a tick-box for their company brochure, even faking it. But businesses with integrity see environmentalism and charitable efforts as a key part of their pact with the community and their local or wider area.

Will DiCaprio change his ways when he finally bags that elusive Oscar? We doubt it. When a life has taken on that many changes, the mix of risk and reward must have a deeply powerful narcotic effect that keeps the drive going.

Yet, when he’s not in character, DiCaprio seems capable of switching to a being a normal Joe, unkempt and a little chubby, like the rest of us. He’s not one to be concerned about his public image or stressing over the job.

Perhaps his best lesson for all of us is, when the lights go out, it it essential to be yourself, to find a base level of comfort and unwind for the challenges ahead.

We may not have endless press to be shielded from or a horde of paparazzi to dodge, but any executive or business owner must offer those downtime moments to recover from the day to day stress, whatever our roles may be.

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