Leadership / #ForbesLeadership

May 8, 2018,   12:20 PM

Warren Buffett Quotes That Will Give You Wisdom Beyond Your Years

Kevin Abdulrahman


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Warren Buffett is a highly successful investor and businessman. He’s witnessed the stock market crash and rally. No matter how the market behaves, Buffett maintains a calm attitude and patient demeanor and it works for him. That's why all business owners can learn from his beliefs. Here are seven of the best Warren Buffett quotes that can be applied to make your life better.

Be proactive

“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.”

You identify a huge threat to your business but you don’t do anything to minimize your risk. Instead, you complain about how “times are changing” and “life isn’t fair.” How productive is that reaction really? If you're honest with yourself, you know that it's completely and utterly useless. You might as well lay down in the path of a train and say: “Who does this conductor think he is? Can’t he see I’m napping?”

Warren Buffet’s quotes remind us that change and progress can’t be stopped. If a technological advance is “bad” for your business but “good” for the planet at large, you won't be able to stop it. Instead, accept the change and decide how to profit from it.

Have patience

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a few years ago.”

People are so impatient. They don’t want to spend hours at the gym. Instead, they want to do one workout and wake up with a six-pack. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works.

Significant progress requires a substantial amount of patience. You might have to dedicate many hours, days, weeks, months, or years to the pursuit of your goal (depending on its size).

But don’t be afraid of that, because here's the good news according to Warren Buffet. Most people are too impatient and once they realize how much time and effort is involved in something, they often stop doing it. They return to playing small because it's easier. In other words, you'll find less competition at the top, where only the patient can survive.

Invest in yourself

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Imagine that you're invited to a $500 marketing seminar. It’s led by one of your biggest influences. At best, you might get to meet them. At worst, you’ll gain insights to apply in your business.

After a few hours of deliberation, you decide to pass. $500 seems like too much money to pay for a speech. This influencer has a YouTube channel anyway and you can learn everything you need there.

Was this the right decision? Not necessarily. if you'd gone to the seminar, you might have been able to network with other professionals. You could have met a future collaborator or business partner. And all of a sudden, $500 doesn’t sound so expensive, right? As Warren Buffet points out, to excel, you must invest in yourself.

Calculate your risk

“Risks comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

No matter what you decide to do, there are always risks. There’s no way to escape them. Even the most well-made machines have malfunctions and when you're dealing with all the moving parts of a business or company, there would be thousands of tiny problems. The trick is to be 100% aware of how to manage any issues when they arise.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? This is a difficult question and no one likes to reflect on it. When you do, it's fairly likely that you'll end up trapped in the catastrophic side of your brain. That's the little voice inside you that says: “New mole? Let’s read about that on WebMD. (A few minutes pass.) Yep! It’s skin cancer!”

Let’s not go that far. But you should still prepare for problems. Keep an eye on your competitors. Watch out for trends and disruptions. Read industry magazines so you’re the first person to know about new innovations or technologies that could transform the competitive landscape. All of this will help you to calculate so extensively that you’re rarely caught off-guard.

Learn from the past

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

The past is a warehouse of insights and applying those takeaways today will markedly improve your future. It will also teach you how interconnected the past, present, and future really are.

Lots of people live in the past, reliving their worst decisions over and over again. Avoid this if at all possible. You can’t change the past. You can only modify your present actions in a way that will prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

This is also why unforeseen problems often seem obvious in retrospect. It’s like being in a toxic relationship. After the break-up, you wonder: “Why in the world did I tolerate this treatment for so long?” To help you avoid the same types of problems in the future, work on developing situational awareness. That way, if you pay attention, you’ll sense trouble before it arrives.

Don’t fall into toxic patterns

“The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

Routines are extraordinarily powerful forces in your life. When you follow a process consistently, you learn to execute it on autopilot. There’s no thinking, questioning or wondering “What to do?” You just shut up and do it.

That's why bad habits are so destructive. If you repeat a behavior enough times in a row, it becomes a habit. And then it's really hard to break. That's why Warren Buffet reminds us of how important it is to halt bad behaviors before they become habits. It's the best and easy way to avoid some major problems and pitfalls in the future.

Surround yourself with geniuses

“It’s better to hang out with people who are better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

You have nothing to gain from being the smartest person you know. I’d rather spend time with people who make me feel ignorant in comparison.

Does my ego like that feeling? No, and that's okay. Associating with extremely successful people motivate me to raise my game. Being in their company shows me how to work and act better, and it gives me hope that someday I'll reach their level. Or not. But at least I tried!

The number one thing you can take away from this

Learning from those who have achieved more, done more, and seen more is a great way to improve your own practices. And who better to learn from than one of the most successful men in the world at the moment? By integrating the wisdom from Warren Buffet quotes into your life, you'll be taking advantage of one of the greatest business minds of our time. And that's an absolutely brilliant way to learn.

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