Few people are as focused on doing the job as Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), the criminal mastermind in director Michael Mann’s 1995 crime drama Heat. No matter what obstacles lay in his path, which is mostly the LAPD hot on his trail, McCauley always remained calm, collected, and never lost sight of the task at hand.
While his laser-like focus on the job may have pushed aside all the aspects of a normal life — things like romance, a family, and even furniture — his professionalism went unmatched. The next time you need to be all business, let these McCauley quotes help guide you to success.
“Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”
Probably the central aspect to being an all business type like McCauley is how willing you are to fully commit to the lifestyle. To him, there’s only the job at hand, and anything else is simply a distraction that can, and will, lead to your downfall. Sure, this approach might seem a little extreme, but when your business isn’t exactly legal, being able to walk away from everything isn’t valuable advice so much as it’s an essential survival technique.
“I do what I do best: I take scores. You do what you do best: Try to stop guys like me.”
It’s important to know what your adversaries are good at, just like it’s important to try and undermine their confidence whenever possible. When McCauley gets the chance to have a one-on-one chat with LAPD Detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), he wastes no time doing exactly that. Hanna may be dead-set on putting McCauley behind bars, but McCauley simply shrugs the whole thing off and even throws a little shade Hanna’s way. It may seem like a little competitive banter, but a snide remark like this can go a long way in leaving your competition flustered.
“He knew the risks. He didn’t have to be there. It rains, you get wet.”
After Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) is gunned down during a shootout with the cops after a robbery goes sideways, McCauley doesn’t waste time getting emotional, he just regards it as some inevitable collateral damage. If you’re going to get ahead — and stay ahead — you can’t get caught up thinking about what could’ve happened had things gone differently. When consequences happen (and they will happen) take time to remember that everyone involved knows what they signed up for.
“What the f*ck is that? Barbecues and ball games?”
For McCauley, there is no other life than the one he chose. Even when asked about the prospect of a ‘normal life,’ he scoffs at the idea, viewing it as nothing but a bunch of lifeless suburban activities that repeat themselves until death (from boredom or whatever). Sure, the all-business lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but for some, it’s simply an all-or-nothing existence — one where any sort of conventional alternative seems trivial by comparison.
“No matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah, but I will not hesitate. Not for a second.”
If friends and family are nothing more than distractions to McCauley, then the guy he grabbed coffee with isn’t someone he’d bother considering a footnote. Even if McCauley ends up having a bit of respect for his opponent on the other side of the law, it doesn’t change the fact that all he cares about is getting the job done. Or, at the very least, going down trying. Anything in the name of business.