What Was It Like To Interview The Wolf of Wall St.?

Jordan Belfort is someone who likely needs no introduction. He is the man that the Wolf of Wall St. movie was based on.

Jordan is a very polarizing figure and is either loved or hated by virtually everyone whom he comes in contact with and knows his story. I had the rare opportunity to interview Jordan a few weeks ago to break down what he’s learned and what advice he would share to those who want to be successful and do it the right way. Here’s what I learned:

Apply Meaning To Experiences

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

The interview goes beyond his time as a stockbroker. Did you know Jordan went bankrupt at 23? He almost wears this as a badge of honor. I’m 24 years old and not sure how I would react if I lost everything I owned. Probably not well.

But the way to rebound from failure, Jordan says, is all about the meaning you apply to an experience.

When his business went bankrupt at 23, there are two stories he could have told himself: 1) I don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur or 2) I have what it takes — I just made a few fundamental mistakes that I can learn from. He chose the latter.

He failed time and time again before making it big (and then failed majorly when going to jail). But his goal was to fail elegantly — take a stab at something and when you inevitably mess up, try to minimize time/money lost and maximize what you learn.

Think BIG

Jordan says that most people have goals, but truly successful people also have a vision for their future. This means, that they think 5, 10, 15 years into the future and what they want their life to be. They write it down. They tell people. They visualize it.

But let’s be realistic: just because you write down that you want $10M dollars in 5 years, doesn’t mean it will magically happen. It’s just an additive piece to putting in the work and believing in yourself. The point is to think BIG and long-term on where you want to end up.

Personally, I’ve been writing these down my vision the past few weeks and spending time in the morning to use imagery (a tactic I learned from Michael Gervais). See you in 10 years!


Standards are what your “normal” looks like. It’s interesting that everyone has a different level of “normal”. People wake up at different times, work different hours, expect different levels of income.

How do you see yourself? How do you accept being treated by others? This is a major exercise of being introspective and knowing what you want and deserve.

Tony Robbins is an advocate for this and says that “the strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves.”

Change your standards, change your life.

Mentors & Models

“A great group of people can turn a bad idea into a home run”

It’s no surprise that surrounding yourself with great people can lead to a successful career. One piece that stuck with me was Jordan’s thought on mentoring and modeling, which resembles James Altucher’s +/-/= philosophy.

Essentially, you need both mentors and models. A mentor is someone who has already done what you want to do and will communicate & support you. A model is someone you admire (past or present) that you can’t get in touch with but can follow to help guide your path.

Intellect Does Not Equal Wealth

We dove into Jordan’s childhood. His parents were smart, well educated, had graduate degrees — and broke. Jordan argues that you do not need a degree to be wealthy, but you do need these three things:

1. Sales ability — because everything in life is Sales (I agree)

2. Risk tolerance — because that’s what separates wannabe entrepreneurs from those who make it

3. Have specialized skills — spend time honing your craft so you can be the best in the world at what you do. If your craft is sales, you can start here.


“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar

Motivation was a major tactic that Jordan used when building Stratton Oakmont. You know the movie scenes where Leonardo DiCaprio gave pump up speeches to the entire company? Those happened — every morning and every afternoon.

What was Jordan’s motivation? Well, let’s just say he started off the interview by saying…

“For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be rich”