There is a movie that arrived in the theaters, and just as quickly, in the video rental stores approximately seven years ago called The Tao of Steve. For some strange reason, this movie has been in my head the past few weeks and has even seeped in to several conversations I’ve had with friends. Very few of those people have ever heard of the movie.
The Tao of Steve is interesting to me not so much for the movie itself, which I have found entertaining in the multiple times I’ve seen it, but more so in the philosophy. This film is about an overweight, underachieving character named Dex who is an uninspired, drug touting kindergarten teacher in New Mexico. This character has no business doing well with the ladies and, yet, he does very well for himself. He frequently waxes intellectual throughout the flic as to why his female conquests occur and the philosophy boils down to a simple taoist-like approach: be excellent, be desireless, be gone. The creed refers to the “Steves” of the world (i.e. McQueen, Austin) who epitomized cool, never pursued women aggresively and always got what they wanted. On the other hand, a “Stu” is a man who is over-eager and awkward in his approach, rarely achieving his desired outcome whether that be women or otherwise. Humorously, one of my friends noted in a recent conversation that her father is named Steve and boyfriend is named Stu. Yikes!
As I’ve contemplated this Steveonian approach of late, it has occurred to me that the philosophy extends beyond this rare recognized film and even approaching women. It is a prudent mindset for business and negotiation as well. It taps the direct human characteristics of our need to surround ourselves with that which is cool. And, we almost always want what we cannot have in life. In business, where leverage is fundamental to any dealing, the party who is casually and comfortably positioned to walk away from a negotiation is frequently the one to achieve their ultimate, desired goals. If one is not positioned to be desireless and/or leave the table, the other side has an advantage.
I’d personally recommend The Tao of Steve. I like the Canuck Donal Logue’s character in this movie, Dex, the New Mexico scenery and the light-hearted nature of the piece. But, I particularly enjoy the philosophy underlying the plot of the film. It speaks well to womanizing, poker playing, business and life in general. Not bad for a movie virtually no one has ever heard of at this point.