There is no doubt that Warren Buffett has achieved a huge amount of success in business, investing, and life. He also manages to achieve the near-impossible feat of bridging the divide between the super-rich and the general public.
How is this possible?
Primarily it is his down-to-earth folksy and simple approach to life, love, and success. He is always modest and self-deprecating; it is hard not to like Warren.
1. “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Buffett clearly gets pitched on investing opportunities on an almost daily basis, but if they do not meet his investing criteria, he will usually say no. This he attributes to his immense success.
2. “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.”
A self-deprecating Buffett always maintains that who he is and what he does is not particularly special, just common sense.
3. “Only when you combine sound intellect with emotional discipline; do you get rational behavior.”
Warren is a very balanced person who prides himself on good decision-making. This is a lesson we can all learn. Work on your knowledge and control your emotions, and you will make better decisions through more rational behavior.
4. “If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money.”
Referring to the emotional and logical balance required in good decision making, Buffett makes a serious statement about approaching all decisions, not just investing.
5. “Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, you have nothing.”
Set goals that make you passionate if you are passionate about what you do, you will be motivated. That motivation will give you the energy to keep going. Buffett is in his mid 80’s and will never retire due to his energy and passion.
6. “The Leaky Boat”
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
Here Buffett shares a pearl of wisdom regarding seeing problems for what they really are. Here the problem larger than most people would understand; you need to see the big picture problem and be prepared to make drastic changes.
7. “If you are in a poker game and after 20 minutes, you don’t know who the patsy is, then you’re the patsy.”
I love this quote and use it all the time, but what it is really saying to you should look at others’ motivations; if you do not understand who is going to lose on a deal, it is probably you.
8. “The Walking Fish”
“Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day running a business has the same kind of value.”
This really means that talk is cheap; if you want to gain insight and experience, you actually have to go and do it.
9. “If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.”
Referring to stock chart analysis, Buffett explains that a stock price’s history is no indicator of future performance. The key to investing is understanding and discovering a valuable business at a great price.
10. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
This refers to the fact we are all sitting on the shoulders of giants, and we all benefit from the hard work and foresight of our ancestors that went before us.
11. “Tell me who your heroes are, and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be.”
12. “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you’ll drift in that direction.”
These quotes share the insight that Buffett attributes his financial success to his mentor, the great Ben Graham, the author of the original work on value investing, “The Intelligent Investor.” If you choose the right mentor or heroes, you will follow them.
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13. “If you are stuck in a hole, stop digging.”
When all you are doing is contributing to your own problems, you need to stop.
14. “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
This means getting your money working for you and not you working for your money. You need to make investments that will pay you back regularly, such as dividend investing for regular income.
15. “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
This quote is incredibly philosophical, referring to everything from addiction to drugs and alcohol to the things we do every day in life.
16. “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
Never a truer word said, from investing to trading and our technology, things can get very complicated quickly. Producers add features and benefits to separate themselves from the competition, but often it simply adds complications to essentially simple things.
17. “Those who know the edge of their own competency are safe, and those who don’t aren’t.”
This means you should really try to understand what you are good at and what you are not. We, humans, over-estimate our real abilities most of the time. Do this while investing, and you are likely to lose money through your own incompetence.
18. “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”
There have been many articles written on Buffett’s inheritance plans for his family. Still, ultimately the fortune will not go to them as he will be giving the majority to charitable causes like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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19. “You can’t make a good deal with a bad person.”
20. “It is impossible to unsign a contract, so do all your thinking before you sign.”
This is clearly about doing your due diligence, whether you invest in the market, buying a house, or even getting married. Do the research and make the right decision.
21. “I measure success by how many people love me.”
Ultimately, this poetic insight into how Warren Buffett’s brain works philosophically sound. You cannot take any of your riches with you to the grave, and ultimately you will only live on in the thoughts and memories of those who love you.
22. “Money, to some extent, sometimes lets you be in more interesting environments. But it can’t change how many people love you or how healthy you are.”
23. “Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”
24. “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”
25. “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is; your life is a disaster. That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.”
Fine words from a good man; even though he is one of the richest men globally, he still fundamentally understands that you have essentially failed in life without love.
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