It’s hard for a man to watch a James Bond film and not picture himself in the driver’s seat of his Aston Martin with a beautiful woman in the passenger seat and hot on the trail of some international bad guy. Whether you are watching the smooth-talking Sean Connery, the cool customer Roger Moore, or the tough guy Daniel Craig, you must admit you’ve wondered how to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond.
The point to remember about this is that James Bond’s savoir-faire is more than just being able to save the world and get the girl. This isn’t really an article about that. It’s about how to be smooth and classy. How to say the right things at the right times. No matter what happens in a Bond film, he is always the coolest person on the screen. He is never rattled, whether he is facing a laser or a bad guy with a mouth full of metal. He always knows just what to say and do. We can apply that in our lives as well, though we will probably never have quite the same experiences as Bond.
“World Domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon. Or God.” – James Bond, Dr. No
The first key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to know your limitations. Most people can see right through you when you try to play yourself off as something you are not. James Bond always knows what he is capable of and knows what he can’t do. A good practical way to be classy is to be yourself and work within the confines you naturally have.
“I think my mouth is too big.” – Tatiana Romanova
“It’s just the right size… for me that is.” – James Bond, From Russia with Love
The second key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to be satisfied with what you have. There is no need to keep looking for the next big thing. Enjoy what is in front of you. When you are not content in life, you often get yourself into trouble by trying to make things happen that aren’t meant to happen. Many a marriage is ruined by infidelity when the husband is not satisfied with the wife he has and tries to find a different one, instead of seeing the person who has stood with him through thick and thin to get to that point. Many go into debt trying to show off their wealth or prestige, when what they could afford is probably just as nice. Be content with what you have.
“Just a drink, a Martini, shaken not stirred.” – James Bond, Goldfinger
The third key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to know what you want. Bond’s “shaken not stirred” reference to his drink was a repeated line throughout many Bond movies. Bond always knew what he wanted and didn’t hesitate to make that known. We can develop that same classiness by being decisive in our decisions. We don’t need to hem and haw about whether we want the steak or the chicken. We need to make up our mind and live with the consequences. Being indecisive, especially about simple decisions, can be a real negative in relationships, especially ones that are just forming, such as with new business partners or dates. If you can be decisive, you show that you know what you want and aren’t afraid to go for it.
“Anytime… anyplace…” – Patricia Fearing
“Another time… another place…” – James Bond, Thunderball
The fourth key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to have good timing. There is a time and a place for everything. You don’t need to rush through life trying to fit too many things into your schedule. The classy man has the ability to manage his time in a way that helps him have just enough time to do the things he needs to as well as some spare time to enjoy life. When the time is not right, it is often best to wait for a better time to achieve the best results. Patience can help you get what you need.
“But James, I need you!” – girl in a cabin in the mountains
“So does England!” – James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me
The fifth key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to have your priorities in order. No matter what is going on around James Bond, he is always keenly aware of what his duty is. Whatever he does always works toward achieving his primary goal. We should also prioritize in order to be a classy man. If we devote too much time to what is not important, we’ll often find that we have lost the opportunity to do the things we actually want to do. We can miss out on important relationship-building time with our spouse or our children. For what? An extra round at the golf course or a few more minutes watching the game? These things should take the back seat in our lives more often than they do. Once we get our priorities straightened out, the other things have a way of taking care of themselves.
“Could I interest you in something?” – Female Receptionist
“I’m tempted to say yes immediately, but I think I’d maybe have a look around.” – James Bond, Moonraker
The sixth key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to not make rash decisions. This may seem to fly in the face of the third key, but there are some qualifiers. While it is important to be decisive, it is possible to be too quick to pull the trigger. If what you are doing requires more thought, it may be best to give yourself more time. Many times, if someone is pressing you for a decision right away without giving you time to think about it, your best answer is probably “no.” Bond is good at taking in the information and assessing the right play. We also need to be able to make sure we make informed decisions on those things that are either expensive or important to choose.
“Well, I understand ‘double-0’s’ have a short life expectancy, so your mistake will be short lived.” – James Bond, Casino Royale
The seventh key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to understand your place in life. James Bond knows who he is and never pretends to be what he is not (well, unless he is undercover, but you get the point!). We can be classier if we simply understand our own identity. James Bond is a Double-0 – he knows that he is not the most important person in the world, but he is important in helping that world be better (and not blow up, as the case may be). If we understand our place in life, we can learn to appreciate what we have and who we are; that realization will keep us from becoming depressed or dissatisfied with life.
“This man and I have some unfinished business.” – James Bond, Quantum of Solace
The eighth and final key to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond is to keep a short account with people. Bond is always sure in the movies to take care of the business he has with whatever bad guy is trying to kill him and take over the world. In our own lives, we need to make sure we keep a short account with people around us so that we don’t have extra baggage between us that will weigh against our relationship. If someone offends us or does us wrong, we need to take the initiative to set things right. If we are at fault, we need to apologize and make things right. If the other person is at fault, we need to stay open to reconciliation even if it takes that person a while to admit his guilt. If we don’t resolve our problems, they can fester into worse problems, but if we address them head-on, our lives will be better.
James Bond embodies the idea of classiness and savoir-faire for men. We don’t need to carry a Walther PPK or hold a “License to Kill” to be as classy. We can be classy in our own way if we follow the steps to develop the savoir-faire of James Bond.