Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, turns 91 in August. Remarkably, at an age where most people’s cognitive functions have entirely regressed, where many are now at the hands of caretakers, Buffett still captures the world’s attention as the fifth richest person on the planet.
The greatest investor of this generation has amassed a following of millions who’ve learned, like Buffett, that long-term success is achieved by making smart decisions — in investing and in life.
Here are four Buffett lessons that will yield good returns when you choose to act on them.
1. Master the practice of ‘boundaries’
With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. That’s why this Buffett quote remains a powerful life lesson. The mega-mogul said:
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Buffett’s advice is a bull’s-eye to our conscience. We have to know what to shoot for to simplify our lives. It means saying no over and over again to the unimportant things flying in our direction every day and remaining focused on saying yes to the few things that truly matter.
2. Invest in your personal development
What assets should you be investing in the most? In a 2019 interview, Buffett said: “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”
As Buffett has repeatedly taught us, it means never stopping to acquire knowledge — the kind of knowledge that betters yourself as a whole person, not just as an investor.
Buffett’s lifelong pursuit of learning, which he shares with his longtime Berkshire Hathaway partner and colleague Charlie Munger, is the secret sauce of their success.
3. Model the leadership behaviors of the best managers
In Buffett’s 2015 letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett summarized how one arrives at leadership greatness in a few words:
Much of what you become in life depends on whom you choose to admire and copy.
The quote was in reference to Tom Murphy, who taught Buffett everything he learned about managing a company. Murphy, who was Buffett’s biggest admirer, gave plenty of lessons on the best management practices that Buffett has adapted for his own companies, including:
- Give autonomy to workers.
- Delegate your authority effectively and wisely
- Hire for integrity
4. Build a positive reputation
Buffett’s reputation is founded on his principled and level-headed approach to his personal and professional life. When it comes to building a good reputation, these are some things worth prioritizing:
- Establishing trust, transparency, and fairness
- Offering good value and high-quality products and services
- Treating people with dignity and respect
- Communicating clearly and promptly
- Providing a service to the community
You should treat your business practice as a reflection of yourself, and that means being thoughtful and considerate of how your decisions affect others. If you embrace professional opportunities as a chance to add value to your community, your reputation will reflect your own personal growth.