Not everybody can be a globetrotting super-spy who saves the world every few years. In fact, almost nobody can. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t view James Bond as a role model.
No, we’re not talking about the rampant murder and womanizing. We’re talking about the little things he does every day to keep himself alive and at peak performance.
I mean, come on. If his tricks and practices can help him succeed under the pressures that surround 007 himself, think of what they could do for the life of a regular person. Living like James Bond can be so great.
Here are seven life hacks you can learn from the master spy himself:
Only Follow the Rules That Suit You
Despite being part of a paramilitary government organization and a rigidly defined hierarchy, James Bond isn’t afraid to disobey regulations and orders if they run contrary to his duty or mission. He’s not a rebel for its own sake, but the only rules he follows absolutely are loyalty to his people and success in his mission.
When you act as though the rules don’t apply to you, it’s surprising how often the people around you will adjust their expectations so that you’re right. Follow the rules of loyalty, of personal ethics, and of the laws in your locality. But, be also willing to bend or outright break anything else that stands in your way.
Almost every Bond movie features a supposed ally who betrays James at a critical moment. Over half of those traitors are at the end of his gun by the end of the movie, but does James seek revenge?
In most cases, he lets the traitor live — because he understands that revenge is a bad motivation and an even worse goal. He is fully aware that every decision is part of a larger situation, and that the people who go against him are usually choosing the lesser of many evils.
Be like James. In life, people are going to hurt you, but almost none of them mean it personally. They’re just on their own journey doing their best. Reach out to help them if you can or just ignore them if you can’t quite take the high road.
Bring the Right Equipment
No Bond adventure would be complete without some kind of high-tech gadget like a laser-shooting watch, souped-up combat sports car or listening device the size of a grain of sand. Gadgets are one of the standout features of the franchise that have made it so popular for over 50 years.
You’re not going to have access to that level of technology (unless you have both an AmEx Platinum card and ample stock in Amazon or Apple). However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in your equipment.
Most things in your life you can get cheap at the dollar store, thrift store or from some discount online shop. But for the essentials, you should splurge. Buy the best you can afford when it comes to the tools of your profession, the safety and comfort of your home, the food you put in your body, and at least one high-quality set of clothes.
Ask for Help
Although he’s usually alone in the field, James Bond goes out with a full briefing and an equipment package fully managed by other members of his team. He relies on local contacts for information and protection and reaches out to MI6 when he’s in over his head.
If the world’s greatest secret agent doesn’t hesitate to ask for help, why should you?
Whether that help is emotional, logistical or financial, reach out to the people who love you and to your colleagues at work when you need to. Delegate tasks other people can do better. Hire a personal assistant to do the chores that don’t feed you. Let your most trusted friends know when you’re hurting.
The more hands that carry your load, the easier your life will be.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Despite all of his training, intelligence, and support, James still finds himself in a situation for which he is totally unprepared. But does he flinch from it? Never.
James smiles and walks right into the situation, allowing his confidence to carry the day until he finds the right opportunity to apply his competence. That’s exactly what you should do.
The next time you find yourself not knowing what to do, just take one step at a time. Keep moving forward until you run into a situation where you have an epiphany and finally know what to do. You’ll be surprised how often this method works.
“Keep Calm and Carry On”
You’ve seen the t-shirts and posters. Even though they’re not Bond-branded merchandise, they might as well be.
James Bond is never rattled, even when strung up in a death trap from which there seems to be no escape. And it’s that refusal to panic that gets him out of the trap every time.
Emotions are natural — even strong negative emotions like anger, fear, and anxiety. But they have no place in your decision-making process or in how you treat the people around you.
Take a page from James. When emotions start to get the best of you, let them in, and then send them back out. Breathe deeply, go for a walk or sing a song that makes you smile.
Once your head is clear, go back to the situation and address it with a calm, composed, and steady mind.
Never Miss an Opportunity
James Bond wins the day by seeing thin opportunities for success and then following them to the next opportunity until he comes out of the situation on top. Your life isn’t a harrowing adventure beset by supervillains, superpowers, and high-powered firearms.
But that doesn’t mean it lacks opportunities for success and adventure. The next time you spot one, simply take it. See where it leads and find out where you can go from there.
Combining that with the other tools on this list is how many of the world’s most successful people got where they are now. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.
The other thing to keep in mind about James Bond is something you rarely see on screen: training. There’s an old adage in special operations that goes “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in the field.”
Between movies, the actor playing Bond goes through countless hours of practice, application, training, and instruction. He screws up thousands of times in private so he can succeed every time when he’s on assignment.
Apply this to the hacks in this article and to everything else you want to do in your life. The more you sweat in practice and the more repetitions you make in the things you want, the more you will succeed.
Have you picked up any lessons from James Bond?
Mark Smith is a freelance writer and motivational speaker. He writes for various websites on topics related to professional and personal development. He resides in Pennsylvania.