Top 10 Career Lessons from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, despite his immense wealth, is actually a very down-to-earth sort of person. He reads a lot and has lived in the same house in Omaha for years. And, while most people probably think about investing and financial advice when they consider talking with the Oracle of Omaha, it turns out that he has quite a bit of career advice as well to dole out.

Here, we’ve gathered 10 of his most relevant quotes for success in both your personal life and your career.

1. “Invest in as much of yourself as you can; you are your own biggest asset by far.”

The best and first investment everyone should make is in themselves. That means reading like Buffett, learning, and taking the time to constantly better yourself. You don’t have to pay a lot to do this, but it’s a constant effort. Buffett is an avid learner and, according to some sources, reads upwards of 500 pages everyday.  

2. “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

Find one thing you love, do it often, and do it well. Despite what it might seem like, you don’t have to be a jack of all trades to do well in your career and life. Buffett has said many times that he was lucky to be born in a time when his brilliant financial mind was a boon, and that any other time he would have been a nobody. So if you aren’t good at everything, focus on what you are good at.

3. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Reputation is your most valuable commodity. Money can be made as easily as it can be lost. Reputation, on the other hand, is nearly impossible to rebuild once lost. It’s important to take your reputation in mind when making decisions, and only do things you would be proud to have advertised to the entire world. Never sacrifice your reputation for a few dollars.

4. “Don’t follow the pack. You need to divorce your mind from the crowd.”

Following the pack isn’t the way to success in your career or finances. After all, if you’re looking for uncommon success, you will have to try things that are a little outside of the box. You don’t want to fight the crowd, but you also don’t want to follow them.

5. “The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes”

Having positive role models will go a long way in both your personal life and your career. Mentors are invaluable and you’ll learn more from them than anything else.

6. “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.”

People tend to reflect those they are around, so rather than surrounding yourself with followers, you should surround yourself with people who you believe to be better than you in some way, and then learn from them. You’ll naturally improve yourself as well. Success is easier if you surround yourself with the right people

7. “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”

Everyone is going to make mistakes—that’s part of being human—but make sure that you learn from them. But, more importantly, pay attention to others and take note of their mistakes so you can avoid them yourself.

8. “Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning.”

Job satisfaction is worth more than people realize. There’s no sense in working a job that you hate simply to buff up a resume. Center your career on something that you love doing, and you’ll be not only happier but more successful.

9. “I made my first investment at age eleven. I was wasting my life up until then.”

The hardest part is getting started, and the longer you wait, the more time you’re wasting. That first step is hard to make, but once you make it, things will slowly become easier and easier.

10. “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Don’t be afraid to say no to things, especially if it’s something you know you don’t want. Don’t waste time trying to please others.

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