The following article by John Rampton originally appeared in Entrepreneur magazine, the source for information and advice for up-and-coming small business owners and startups.
No one ever said being an entrepreneur would be easy. A million obstacles seem to stand in the way each and every day. The naysayers and budget woes can be enough for the average person to start waving the white flag.
But you are not an average person: You’re an entrepreneur. That means that even when times are tough, you’re still going to march forward.
Yet when this whole entrepreneur thing becomes overwhelming, take a break and look for some much needed motivation. And what better way to find inspiration than watching movies?
Whether it’s a heartwarming adventure, irreverent comedy or thought-provoking documentary, a film can inspire and motivate a weary business owner.
With that in mind, here are 10 movies that every entrepreneur needs to watch:
Why watch it? Never mind if this was overdramatized. The film gives viewers a better understanding of how to make a startup succeed by exhibiting such qualities as being flexible and resilient. Every time I watch this movie it motivates me to be a better entrepreneur.
2. Glengarry Glen Ross: Based on David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this film explores the cutthroat world of Chicago real estate.Glengarry Glen Ross takes a closer look at the lies and betrayals people endure just to succeed in business.
Why watch it? Unfortunately, the business world can be brutal, something you’ll learn even as a salesperson. This 1992 film illustrates just how vicious it can be.
3. Pirates of Silicon Valley: This was a made-for-TV movie released in 1999 that covers the early days of the country’s leading technology hub and the eventual rise of both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The documentary-style movie provides an interesting take on the lives of the founders of Microsoft and Apple.
Why watch it? Entrepreneurs are still looking for inspiration from these two iconic “pirates.” It definitely provides pointers to learn from.
4. Citizen Kane: Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, watch Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece. The film revolves around the life of a fictitious Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon loosely based on William Randolph Hearst and his quest for fortune and power. In the end, however, Kane comes to understand what’s really important in life.
Why watch it? While launching a successful business is a goal of every entrepreneur, it’s not the only goal in life.
5. The Pursuit of Happyness: Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, this 2006 Will Smith vehicle is one of the most heartwarming and motivational films for entrepreneurs. If you’re not moved by watching Chris and his son struggle to follow a dream, then I am truly puzzled.
Why watch it? Even though he became homeless and struggled to provide for his son, Chris never gave up on his dream. That passion and sacrifice is something every entrepreneur should be willing to embrace.
6. Moneyball: You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Because the team didn’t have the finances to spend on players, Beane had to discover a unique way to compete.
Why watch it? Beane had to be innovative. And that’s one of the most-well known traits of entrepreneurs: figuring out how to make something better. Also, Beane never listened to the naysayers and never backed down from his vision.
7. Rocky: This is another film that everyone has to watch at least once. Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in this ultimate underdog tale of Rocky Balboa going the distance with boxing heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
Why watch it? Even when the world tells you that you’ll never have a chance to succeed, keep fighting. That competitive spirit can take you a long way. And I dare you to listen to the classic score from Bill Conti and not become motivated.
8. Wall Street: In 1987, director Oliver Stone made Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) one of the most infamous characters in cinema history with his motto “greed is good.” The film centers on the illegal and unethical decisions made by Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) to become filthy rich like Gekko, a corporate raider.
What watch it? Don’t sell yourself out just for the sake of money. Remember, being an entrepreneur isn’t just about becoming rich and famous.
9. Jerry Maguire: The protagonist, Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), had it all: a great career, lots of friends and a beautiful fiancé. One day, however, he has an epiphany: Sports agents shouldn’t just be looking at the money scenes but how to take care of their clients. Jerry loses everything and goes on journey to regain everything he’s lost.
Why watch it? When you’re following your dream, everything else will fall into place both professionally and personally. Jerry Maguire eventually learns this valuable lesson.
10. Office Space: This 1999 comedy from Mike Judge focuses on Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who eventually discovers how much he hates sitting inside a cubicle taking orders from his creepy boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole).
Why watch it? Every entrepreneur hates working for someone else and will even sometimes go to extremes to get fired: I’m not condoning that you embezzle, though: it could result in jail time.
I’m sure I missed a couple. What movie do you think every entrepreneur has to watch?
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