Warren Buffett is famous for his strategic investing and for heading mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. He is often looked to for advice with business and investing, but under his wise exterior, he’s just a person. While there is plenty to be learned from Buffett for your career, leadership, and of course investing, there are some general life lessons Buffett can teach you, too.
1) Don’t give up.
An important lesson for anyone, Buffett learned this early on in his career with Berkshire. The firm originally specialized in the textiles that lined men’s suits, and unfortunately, it was a failing company. Buffett saw different potential and with a lot of patience and perseverance was able to create a huge conglomerate, which today is the fourth most successful business in the country.
2) There’s more to life than money.
It may seem strange that the second wealthiest man in the world can teach you that there’s more to life than money, but it’s true! Buffett has kept his $100,000 salary for most of his career with Berkshire, and still resides in his modest home in Omaha, Nebraska which he purchased in 1958 for $31,500.
“If there is a place that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and you do what you love doing, you will do fine. You’re rich if you are working around people you like.”
3) Healthy hobbies are important.
Buffett spends arguably a little too much time each week playing bridge, spends a ton of time reading, and enjoys playing the ukulele— plus, he’s CEO of one of the largest companies in the country. If he has time to have healthy hobbies, you probably do too.
4) And so are healthy relationships.
“Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be.”
5) Communication is key.
Actually, communication is the one skill Buffett believes everyone should try to learn. He says that communication, depending on how comfortable with it you are, is either going to be an asset or a liability for the rest of your life. He used to be terrified of it— he signed up for a public speaking course twice before following through— but eventually he conquered that fear, and it’s safe to say we should all be glad he did.
6) Cut down on meetings.
Buffett prides himself on being able to keep his schedule wide open, and a lot of that is due to his “less is more” attitude when it comes to meetings. He knows that scheduling meetings with all of his subsidiary managers and shareholders would take an enormous amount of time, and a lot of it might be a waste, so Buffett tries to cover a lot of bases in his annual shareholder letter. It’s a solid idea, and more and more CEO’s are starting to do the same with their companies.
7) Resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon.
“Be fearful when others are greedy, be greedy when others are fearful,” is one of the most famous Buffett quotes there are.
He is famous for investing in what he knows, whatever lies in his circle of competence, but steering clear of the bandwagon. Stocks like Facebook, whose popularity could be fleeting yet profitable, is a risk that Buffett wouldn’t be willing to take.
8) Your reputation is important.
Buffett has put a lot of effort into keeping his own reputation and Berkshire’s in pristine shape; because of that, Berkshire is held in high regards and that can open up more business opportunities and better deals in general.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”