Character: X (You never learn his name in the film)
From: Layer Cake (2004)
Actor: Daniel Craig
What’s this clips all about?
The first clip shows the official trailer for the ‘Layer Cake’ film and the second clip is the opening monologue narrated by X (Daniel Craig). I feel that X is a great example of someone who is different to the others in terms of their values and life outlook but still fits in with the group and people he has to interact with. I see a lot of people struggling to be part of the group, due to different interests etc, when out with their friends but it’s easy to do so when you know how. X is a great example of how to do this.
OK, so what should I be looking out for?
- X creates a distinctive identity for himself by stating that he is not a Gangster, he’s a Businessman. Despite being associated with numerous people, that you could call Gangster’s, X maintains his own individual identity by how he acts and the principles he follows in his life.
- X has a goal that he is aiming to achieve (£1 Million to finance his ‘retirement’) in his life. It is a good paradox to look at the other guys that he associates with, as you can tell that they work for anyone who will hire them. Instead, X has a streamlined vision of his future and works solely towards achieving that goal. X doesn’t aimlessly wander from action to action, everything he does is working towards his end goal. Notice the way he conducts himself and controls his business, to avoid Police attention, unlike the wannabe Gangsters.
- X doesn’t try to be anyone else than himself. He openly admits that he doesn’t like violence and instead uses his brains instead of his fists, like the others do. X sees the bigger picture – he knows that the risks and the types of people that he works with, so he aligns himself with people who have the skills he doesn’t (people to protect him etc). He doesn’t pretend to be a scary gangster, he simply uses his individual skills to be irreplaceable and lets others do the ‘muscle’ stuff.
- Regardless of how non-threatening he is, note how X is still the leader of his group. The other guys may be stronger (or maybe in Clarkie’s case, smarter than him), X is still followed as the leader as he understands the complexity of the business and makes everyone money. X is not afraid to talk direct and look the ‘scary’ people in the eye to get what he wants. He knows the value that he brings to the others.
- As like most of the other videos, X uses strong eye contact throughout, he dresses the way that makes him confident and he talks slowly, with confidence and uses a deep masculine tone. Note how he seems completely comfortable in all types of society (Gangsters, Accountant, Estate Agents, muscle men …).
That’s pretty cool – how can I be like him?
- Decide who you are … right now! Once you have a set decision on the type of person you are (smart athletic, blogger who recycles etc etc), make a decision to stand by that image – do not change for anyone. You know the type of person that you are. By pretending to be someone else, you are not being congruent to your principles. Align your actions and choices in life to your chosen identity and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their problem. Stop trying to please everyone else and be yourself! You will find that people will accept you more than the few who will reject you.
- Be Sociable. Understand that other people have skills and benefits that you don’t and that people will need what you can do. Accept that life is about give and take, appreciate what you AND them can bring to the group. Accept people as you find them and allow them to be who they are.
- Become irreplaceable. The reason X was able to lead the Gangsters and mix with the top criminal hierarchy was because he was highly skilled at his job. He was not like the others but managed to do things that the others couldn’t. Develop yourself and your skills. Learn new things and become the go to guy on whatever interests you. Don’t try to fit in (try-hard’s are naturally unattractive to girls), just work on yourself and you will find that people will naturally appreciate you for what you do. In other words, ensure that you give value to others and don’t suck it from the group.
- Decide what you will accept and what you won’t. Never backtrack on your values. Also, value your time. Just because you are part of a group, always be willing to walk away. I’ve met too many people who have done things they normally wouldn’t have to remain part of a group – when you change for someone else, you’ve already lost. Interact on your own terms like an Alpha Male should.
So what do you think? Is X a good example to follow? Would you be able to fit in with friends etc and live your life on your terms if you followed X’s example? Let me know what you think, in the comments below. All comments are encouraged and welcomed!