Undeniably one of the best actors of all time, it comes as no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio’s win at the 2016 Academy Awards was celebrated all over the world.
Still, it took more than twenty years for the famous actor to grab the coveted Oscar. Plenty of life lessons can be learnt from DiCaprio’s career so far, which finally culminated in his victory this year.
Talented as he is, DiCaprio has seen “failure” many, many times. He has come so close to winning prior to his 2016 Oscar win. Having been nominated six times for the Award, it may be fair to say that victory should have been expected in at least one – but it was not to be.
DiCaprio might have complained or thrown a fit as many actors have done in the past when faced with such results, but he never once did. On the contrary, this talented actor chose to focus on finding the next big role.
Life will throw many challenges at you. You will come so close to clinching the trophy only to miss out. How you respond to difficult times will determine how well you can actually overcome them to reach your desired goals.
Successful people like DiCaprio know how to quickly evaluate where they are, assess what works and what doesn’t, and forge forward with increased momentum.
True success is not about the acquisition of fame and money for the sake of it. While the world was incredibly thrilled for DiCaprio on his Oscar win, and justifiably so, he did not lose sight of his humanitarian course against global warming and climate change.
That he took away the limelight from himself as he received the award to highlight the potentially destructive effects of not taking action against climate change makes DiCaprio more desirable as a role model and a success icon.
The actor has been quoted saying, “You can either be a vain movie star, or you can try to shed some light on different aspects of the human condition.”
DiCaprio fully understands the fleeting nature of fame and realizes that putting fame into meaningful use is a far better way to impact the world. His Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation espouses these efforts.
From downright bad movies to blockbusters, DiCaprio has been right at the heart of it all. He began his acting career at 19 and the 40-year old actor had to wait 21 years to win an Oscar when it could be argued he should have won many times prior to this.
Many of his movies have been successful while a few have flopped—this is pretty much the way life is and the most successful people understand this fact and are able to keep doing what they do best.
No matter how talented or capable you may be, success will not come overnight. If it does, it is likely to go away as fast as it came. Success is a constant series of losses and wins; there is no end destination, a place where you declare ‘I have arrived’. It’s a continual journey and to get more, you have to wake up each day, face the challenges, get better and do it all over again.
DiCaprio is certainly one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. He can act as the bad guy, the aggressive business man, the romantic lad, the ferocious fighter.
How does he do it?
Other than being a very talented actor, DiCaprio doesn’t rest on his laurels. His success at the Oscars this year is a culmination of many hours, days, weeks, months and years of pushing to outperform himself.
Given the massive success from one movie to the next, DiCaprio could have easily remained in his comfort zone but this would have completely stagnated his career and made winning an Oscar all the more elusive. He chose a better path—that of betterment and pushing the boundaries to get to where he is.
When director Alejandro González Iñárritu approached DiCaprio and said to him that the Revenant film would be shot using only natural light instead of the usual computer generated imagery technology, which is the backbone of Hollywood film, DiCaprio did not frown upon or decline the idea, he took it up to see where it would take him. Well…it took him straight to the coveted Oscar for best actor.
As DiCaprio may know only too well, putting yourself in unfamiliar situations may be scary and uncertain but it also positions you for more opportunities than you would be exposed to in your comfort zone.
We’ll see much more of DiCaprio over the years – his approach to his career has been an inspiring one. If you want to apply some of DiCaprio’s lessons in your own life and business then approach “failure” as feedback and forge ahead once you have learnt what you need to learn. Stay humble and understand that success is a journey, not a destination. Finally, always push yourself and extend your comfort zone. This is where you’ll experience the greatest personal growth.