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Gordon Gekko’s famous assertion that “Greed is Good” became a mantra for the consumer-driven ’80s. But the lessons of Michael Douglas’ iconic Wall Street character run deeper than this legendary catchphrase for aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on to discover the steps you can take to follow in his financially savvy footsteps.
Accept that “Greed is Good”
The idea that “greed is good” shocked many in the 1980s, but it rings true for anyone looking to get to the top. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines greed as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something … than is needed.” But just taking what is needed will never see you attaining the wealth of a Gordon Gekko.
To achieve the results of a Gordon Gekko, you have to be greedy and hang on to money rather than letting it pass you by. Gekko himself explained it best when he said “It’s a zero sum game. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn’t lost or made; it’s simply transferred from one perception to another.”
When you understand this you’ll learn that greed needn’t have such negative connotations. Instead, acting out of greed helps you win.
Break The Rules
Ending up in jail for breaking the rules, as Gekko did, is certainly taking things too far. But there’s still a lesson to be learned in Gekko’s bold approach to investment.
The guidelines financial experts provide make sense for average people, but not the Gordon Gekkos of the world. They’re designed to minimize risks and build wealth at a steady pace. This approach simply doesn’t work for anyone who wants to amass Gordon Gekko’s wealth.
That doesn’t mean you should throw the rulebook out entirely, but sometimes it’s smart to act on instinct and think outside the box.
Never Stop Learning
“You’ve got that killer instinct,” Gordon Gekko tells Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox. “Stick around pal, I’ve still got a lot to teach you.“ Bud Fox might have the drive to succeed, but in this scene, Gekko reminds him that he still has a lot to learn.
To become the next Gekko, it’s important to heed his words and never stop educating yourself. Read the financial news and watch clips like this career opportunities video. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the financial industry is one of the best ways to get to the top.
However, your learning shouldn’t stop there. Gordon Gekko was so successful because he understood people as well as money. As Gekko said, “Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought.” Books like this will teach you useful strategies for manipulating others and outsmarting your competition.
Don’t Get Emotional About Stocks
“Don’t get emotional about stocks” was one of Gordon Gekko’s most important rules, and one all investors can learn from.
Emotions interfere with logic, causing investors to act too quickly, or not quickly enough. Consider the moment in Wall Street when Gekko’s Blue Star Airlines stocks were tanking and he was losing millions. After an expletive-laden rant, Gekko accepted Fox’s advice and calmly dumped the stock, saving himself from further financial damage.
It takes practice, but it’s possible to avoid feeling attached to your stocks. It’s even possible to settle your fears of losing money, or your excitement about making more. Pushing these emotions aside will help you think clearly and make financial decisions Gordon Gekko would be proud of.
Gordon Gekko’s comment that “Money never sleeps” is so significant that it was adopted as the name of Wall Street’s sequel. Gekko goes on to tell Bud Fox that he’d just made $800,000 in Hong Kong gold. Taking a more global perspective on finances opens up even more opportunity to build your wealth, as Gekko did.
Money never sleeps. There’s always an opportunity to make more. Foreign markets give you a bigger pool to play in. They can also be very lucrative, with some foreign markets historically producing double to triple-digit returns. Investors remember fondly when Bangkok’s SETI 100 rose 117% in 2003, and when Russia’s RTS Index jumped 72 percent during the first nine months of 2005. Gordon Gekko would certainly approve.
Greed might be good, but any aspiring Gordon Gekko knows that financial success is even better.
Author Bio: Lauren Katulka is a happily married freelance writer living on Australia’s Central Coast. When she’s not playing around with words she loves spending time in the kitchen, watching indie films and cuddling her Devon Rex cat, Gizmo.