Whether you’re talking about a person or a corporation, it is hard to pin down a single source of success. Is it the outlook? Personality? Decision-making paradigm? Luck? What is it that makes one person or company successful and another not?
Well, billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, spoke at a student convention about the personality traits that he believes led to his personal success. And, as with most things Buffett, most of this advice is extremely down-to-Earth and could be followed by anyone.
According to Buffett, the most important traits are intelligence, patience, and interest. However, that is only going to get you so far. Here are a few other traits that Buffett lauds, along with an explanation of why those traits will lead to success:
“The biggest thing is to be rational”
Problems and unexpected things are going to happen, and one of the most important things that you can do is keep a clear head and think things through. Buffett is a very rational thinker from his methodical investing approach to his corporate decisions.
“Don’t get caught up with what other people are doing.”
Gossip isn’t going to get you anywhere, and stopping to wonder what someone else is doing is the opposite way to make any headway. Focus is key, here, and it’s important to be more mindful of your own decisions instead of worrying what someone else is doing and why.
“Being a contrarian isn’t the key, but being a crowd follower isn’t either.”
If you go completely against the flow, then you’ll be outright dismissed as strange or dangerous. But, on the other hand, the way to extraordinary success does not lie with what everyone else is doing. The important thing here is to not fight the flow and find your own ground. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, but make sure you understand first why it is that way.
“You need to detach yourself emotionally.”
Emotional decisions are rarely good decisions. There’s nothing that will cloud judgement and rationality as well as emotions, so while you don’t want to purge yourself of emotion, you also don’t want it to drive your business decisions. There’s a place for emotion, and the board room is not the right place for it.
“You need to think about what is going on around you.”
Understand that you don’t live in a bubble and the rest of the world is going to have an effect on both you and your business. This is especially important when working with stocks and major corporations, where their value is tied to consumer opinion. Read the news. Be aware of your surroundings and you’ll make better business decisions overall.