One of my favorite books is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, which then became an awesome film, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.
Better yet, I was able to actually extract eight business lessons from the book (or film), which I’ll share with you.
- Lesson number one: listen to people.
There’s a scene in the movie where Edward Norton’s character explains his rationale for attending group therapy lessons for terminally ill people and cancer patients.
He says, “When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.”
The lesson: if you’re talking to somebody, they do notice if you’re not paying attention. So, put away your cellphone, make eye contact and really do listen to what somebody’s saying.
- Lesson number two: do something for someone else.
There’s a scene in the movie where Tyler Durden, the character played by Brad Pitt, takes this young store clerk behind the store and puts a gun to his head, scaring the crap out of the kid.
He asks him what the kid wants to do with his life. The kid says that he wants to be a veterinarian.
So, Durden tells him that he’s gonna keep his license and he’s gonna come check on the kid in a few weeks and if he’s not working towards becoming a vet, he’s gonna kill him.
And then he says, “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.”
We should try to have an impact like that on someone else’s life, minus the gun to the head.
- Lesson number three: do that thing you’ve always wanted to do.
There is a scene where Tyler Durden is in a car with some other guys and he intentionally threatens to crash it.
He then asks the passengers: what is the one thing that they would regret not doing before they died.
One guy answers he would paint a self-portrait.
Another other guy says he would liked to have built a house.
Well, ask yourself that question. And then go do it.
- Number four: accept things outside of your control.
Durden says, “I say, never be complete. I say, stop being perfect. I say, let’s evolve and let the chips fall where they may.”
We don’t have to have everything, we don’t have to do everything, just accept your life and be proud of it.
- Lesson number five: challenge the status quo.
At one point in the movie, somebody asks, “Why do they have oxygen masks on a plane?”
Durden replies, “Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you’re taking giant panic breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric. Docile. You accept your fate. ‘It’s alright here.’ Emergency water landings. Six hundred miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows.”
Well, this is obviously not the way the flight crew explains it but ,when you think about it, it’s possible.
So, when you’re faced with situations, think of them creatively because the answer may not be as obvious as it may seem.
- Lesson number six: persistence is key.
Tyler tells Edward Norton’s character, “If the applicant is too young, tell him he’s too young, too fat, too old. If he then waits three days outside with no food, shelter or encouragement, he may then enter and begin training.”
Sometimes we’re tested by people or situations, but be persistent.
- Lesson number seven: not everyone is a winner.
The current generation being raised is one where everyone is special, everyone gets picked for the team and everyone gets a participation trophy.
Well, real life is not like that. There are winners and there are losers.
And the ones that learn from their losses are the ones that end up winners.
Much of what happens to you in life is the result of the hard work that you’ve put in and the luck that you create.
- Lesson number eight: seize the day.
One of my favorite quotes in the movie is, “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
Sure, it’s a little bit morbid but the idea is that you should live for the moment.
So, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Well, there you have it. Eight business lessons from a pretty unlikely place.
Always remembering the first rule of Fight Club,