10 Rules of Success According to Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill is a funny guy, but not someone you would expect to be entirely inspirational. Many people will likely remember him for his more comedic roles, but some might actually recall the dramatic characters he’s played throughout his career. He usually seems to be a very successful secondary character, but the role of the start seems to elude him at most times. He’s typically the backup, the guy you depend on, or at the very least the one that simply can’t be ignored. While he’s done a great deal in his career to this point he is perhaps one of the more humble actors in Hollywood that lives by a very mild-mannered set of rules that he lives his life by. While he is not the biggest success story in Hollywood to date, he is one of the many that have come a long way in his career, working beside some of the greatest names in the business and creating a fan base that has remained loyal even through some of his more dubious performances.

10. “If you’re trying to make someone happy, you gotta try and make them happy.”

You won’t make everyone happy in life, no matter how nice of a person you might be. Jonah Hill has been reported to be a nice guy at times and kind of a jerk at others, but overall he’s been lauded as one of the nicer guys that Hollywood has ever produced. It also stands to reason that he’s a well-liked actor considering that he got his first break thanks to Dustin Hoffman, having been referred to the legendary actor by Hoffman’s children, who were friends with Hill at the time.

9. “I assume everything I do in life is gonna be a failure, and if it turns up roses, I’m psyched.”

Just watching his every role it almost seems as if Hill is setting himself up to fail, even if the role is small an innocuous as it was in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. It’s a mark of his acting talent that he look as though he is about to miss a line or trip himself up half the time in an attempt to get the right words out, only to nail his lines perfectly and move the scene forward without fail. Even in his most confused and sputtering moments he always manages to right himself and move forward. That is the mark of a successful and even brilliant actor.

8. “It wasn’t like ‘I’ma lose weight and start doing dramas.’ I wanted to be healthier, and that was the impetus for losing weight-it’s just about being healthy and feeling good.”

You might have noticed at one point and time that Jonah Hill lost a lot of weight. From his appearance in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” to “21 Jump Street” he slimmed down considerably, changing his look and making people wonder if it was really him. The weight would come back eventually, but he would slim down again eventually. This was undoubtedly a success on his part, but one that seems to be a part-time thing rather than a full-time lifestyle.

7. “I run and do a lot of push-ups and eat healthy.”

This quote kind of explains itself. In order to be healthier and more fit we could all stand to do a little more exercise, especially during and after the holidays. Jonah Hill took these words to heart in such a way that he lost close to 40 pounds. If this isn’t an inspiration then nothing else could possibly be as he is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood.

6. “I learn a lot from every director that I work with. I sit on set and watch them, every one.”

This has applied to Hill’s career and can apply to most any career in the world. Granted, not everyone works with a director, but paying close attention and learning the tricks of any trade from those who are in the most key roles can grant anyone the knowledge that is necessary to be a success. As an actor who one day aspires to work more behind the camera than in front of it, Hill is on the right track to making his way as a director, producer, and writer, as well as an actor.

5. “You just have to be strong and don’t be stupid; freedom of choice is a big responsibility.”

Once again his words inspire and speak common sense. In any business in the world a person needs to be able to stand their ground and make decisions based on their own judgment and experience. Hill has made it this far in life being silly and even ridiculous on screen, but rarely ever has he gone full stupid in any film, showing that he is an affable personality but not someone that is willing to give up his integrity to push a role and make it believable.

4. “Be open to other peoples’ ideas. Don’t get arrogant about your ideas. Shoot a lot of options so you’re not stuck with just one version of something.”

This is a large part of why this actor is so successful. He listens to his fellow actors, he opens up to the director and voices his ideas while in turn taking the advice and mild criticisms of others as a chance to learn. This is what make a great actor and can also make a success out of virtually anyone.

3. “When you create something you’re free to explore it however you want to do it.”

Creating something, anything, is a big responsibility, but it is also a time to shine. By showing that you have what it takes to create something you are showing that you know what it takes to bring forth an idea and allow it to shine. While in college this is exactly what Hill did, and why he managed to gain the attention of the Hoffman children and, later on, the approval of Dustin Hoffman.

2. “I think morality is so individual and personal, and people draw their own lines of what that means for them.”

It’s important to be at least morally aware of your choices and what they will mean to others. Interpreting what is morally sound and what is not tends to differ from person to person, but the core values and morals that human beings share are usually quite similar. In treating others the way you want to be treated, success is only a few building blocks away as your relations with others begins to grow.

1. “It’s always better to shock people and change people’s expectations than to give them exactly what they think you can do.”

As Kenny Rogers, the Gambler, would have said “You got to know when to hold ‘em…”.  Don’t show your full talent to the people that are expecting something great out of you, hold it back just a little and then, just when they are sure they’ve seen all that you have to give, knock their socks off. Jonah Hill has done this repeatedly throughout his career, establishing himself as what people would call a one-trick pony only to come back and completely decimate what people think of him with one stunning performance. In life it’s usually best to be forthcoming with what you can do, but sometimes it’s best to hold back for just a bit so that people don’t get too used to expecting your best every single time.


As it was said at the beginning, Jonah Hill is one of the last people you might expect to hear even a lick of wisdom from, but in truth the actor is quite the wellspring of common and inspirational knowledge. His words are simple and quite redundant at times, but the core of each quote tells a story that can relate to most people on a very basic and extremely important level.

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