The Revenant: lessons for Life and Entrepreneurship

Revenant means ‘he who returns from the dead’ truly depicting the character of the movie which will make you cry, terrified, and speechless. It is based on the true story of the real-life fur trapper ‘Hugh Glass’ which gives us many life lessons. He is mauled by a bear with his throat slashed open and his back torn and left for dead by members of his own team, he fights back to life to survive by showing extraordinary resilience and grit.

Let us see some of the Life Lessons from the Revenant.

To survive is the key:

Survival should always be the priority. I think the most gruesome and famous scene was ‘grizzly attack’. Grizzly attack 99 times out of 100 would result in death. Bear represents life which sometime may tear you apart, knock you down, leave you at the mercy of others, without any choice when days and nights seems like years to pass and short memory of good days make you cry. But you have to drag yourself from under the bear back into the reckoning the way Leo did.

There were most brutal of circumstances for DiCaprio to die by Indians, starvation, sickness, predators and hypothermia; and he did nearly died a few times, but did “everything” to survive even slept inside a carcass.


Learn the survival tips!

Never never give up: miracles are about to happen when you are about to give up:

This is very famous cartoon for many years depicting the true meaning of ‘never give up’. ‘There is no failure except in no longer trying.’ by Elbert Hubbard – an American writer and philosopher. Hit the heights, don’t be scared, you will develop the limits.

There is an amazing line from DiCaprio in the movie “As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight.” These words are sufficient to prove the importance of ‘not giving up’. It is easy to blame the circumstances always, and give up.


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Remember, Leo fell from the cliff and survived!

Hate keeps a man alive:

Above is a famous line from the movie ‘Ben Hur’ by Quintus Arrius ‘Hate keeps a man alive, it gives him strength’. When Leo’s son is killed by Tom Hardy and he himself is left to die, Leo only wants revenge which gives him a reason not to die. Here hate represents a reason, a goal, and an ambition in life.

It is very easy to get bored, fail, and surrender in life. But it takes a grit to bounce back and keep your self motivated and be what you want to be or get what you want to get! Give your life a reason to live before you die like Leo did.

Entrepreneurs Lessons:

Your failures are infact your foundation of success:

DiCaprio’s endurance through the hell circumstances is the lesson for young entreprenuers. No matter how dire situation looks like there is always a way out. Perseverance and discipline only will earn you success.

Steve job was fired from the job, Nelson Mandela was put in the prison, Stephen Hawkin was bound to chair, and there are hundreds and thousands of such example of successful people. Their failures were foundation of success.

In the last scene when Indians walk right in front of the Leo, they do not kill him as he once saved the daughter of the Head and earned their respect.


You need a team – can’t do it alone:

This movie also tell you that you need a team to complete the mission. The real Hugh Glass’ decision to scout alone through the unexplored territory of predators and Indians was perhaps the bad decision perhaps he believed he didn’t need the help, or simply didn’t want it.

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There is strength in numbers.

Use the existing resources at its best:

One of the greatest skills ever is to use what you have rather than complaining you don’t have. This is how DiCaprio survived the harhest environment ever. As an entrepreneur you need to be resourceful, learn survival skills and tips from competition. Learn their ability to live off, be methodical and optimistic in approach, and keep yourself busy thinking ideas.

One classic example is from the movie when Leo is crippled he turns scavenger until he gathers his strength.

Give your 100%:

You need to outwork and outplan your competition on how to succeed when the odds are stacked against you. Remember a strong line from the movie “The wind cannot defeat a tree with strong roots.” Bill Gates did not get his success right away. Don’t settle for less than your goals. In the movie Leo eventually gets to the post and he has given all the comforts – food, shelter, warm clothes, service, but he keeps on going to hunt Tom.

And finally, learn something from Leonardo DiCaprio himself:

A mind blowing actor known to do the extreme and experimental role, from playing obsessed lover in ‘Titanic’, a mentally disturb aviation pioneer in ‘Aviator’, to corrupt stockbroker in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, a highly technical role of dream thief in ‘Inception’ and playing U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels in ‘Shutter Island’; Leonardo has gone to every length to prove his cinematic grit.

However, each time (six times!) he was nominated for the Best Actor in Oscar, the award went to someone else until ‘The Revenant’ happened where he has broken all his previous records or acting and this time even Oscar Jury was speechless and everybody knew this time it was DiCaprio.

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He never gave up!

Gautam Trehan

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