Few successful billionaires are as admired and respected as Warren Buffett. He has a Jimmy Stewart quality – he is both ethical and humble. Here are ten “It’s A Wonderful Life Lessons” gleaned from the pages of My Warren Buffett Bible.
- “Hang out with people better than you and you will drift in that direction.”
Buffett clearly prefers nurture over nature. One practical application would be to send your children to the most competitive, rigorous school they can get into and you can afford.
- “Money can’t change how many people love you or how healthy you are.”
This Buffettism is all about work-life balance. We all know people who neglect their families and health in pursuit of money.
- “What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.”
This Buffett quote brings to mind the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared.” When you set out to accomplish a goal, do your research first and lay the proper groundwork to succeed.
- “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.”
Buffett’s highly selective 60-plus year investing history is an excellent example. The same thing holds true for super successful actors like Meryl Streep, who is finicky about the roles she accepts.
- “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”
No matter who you are dealing with, remember to consider motives of any person sitting across the table from you. Virtually everyone has their own agenda.
- “I insist on a lot of time being spent to just sit and think”
This is one way Buffett avoids making impulse decisions. We live in an “always on” world of acute information overload. There is constant pressure to take action, hit reply, search, respond. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and just think.
- “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
This is especially important advice for young people who are tempted by short cuts and will sometimes cross ethical or legal boundaries either because they either don’t agree with them, or because everyone else seems to be doing it.
- “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”
In Winning Ugly, Tennis coach and author Brad Gilbert asserts that the most successful tennis players are the ones who make the least mistakes on the court. This works in life too. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or be the smartest guy in the room. Just avoid dumb mistakes.
- “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.”
Most of us are guilty of accumulating unnecessary stuff. Do you really need another pair of designer shoes or that expensive handbag or another golf club?
- “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
Buffett likes to keep it simple. His long time investment in Coke is a great example. You don’t need advanced math to understand how they make money.