Warren Buffett has said a lot of profound things and given out a lot of useful advice. Outside of his sound investing wisdom, many of Buffett’s tips are things we may have learned or heard long ago — from parents, teachers, or coaches.
Buffett’s simple gospel of life mastery packaged in common sense is certainly legendary. But how many of us heed his advice to heart, and actually apply it to our lives, our leadership roles, or in business decision-making?
It may be the difference between winning and losing. Here are three that stand the test of time:
1. Build up your knowledge — one day at a time.
The fact that Buffett has achieved so much means his advice is highly sought after. He thinks anyone can do the same if they follow one simple rule: the Buffett Formula.
According to Buffett, the key to your success is to go to bed a little smarter each day. Buffett pointed out the strong similarity with investing when he said, “That’s how knowledge builds up. Like compound interest.”
One of the ways he famously builds his knowledge is to read. A lot. While Buffett has been known to spend 80 percent of his daily routine reading, whether or not you have time for such an ambitious goal is largely irrelevant. The point of the Buffett Formula is to make whatever progress you can and improve your life on a daily basis.
2. Don’t compromise your integrity.
From a teenager with a paper route and talent for selling soda for extra pocket money to a self-made billionaire with a vast and varied portfolio of astute ideas and investments, Buffett understands the value of hard work.
He also fully understands that all smart leadership and business decisions are founded on the bedrock of integrity. Because without integrity, let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to gain a good reputation.
3. Measure your success by Buffett’s ‘ultimate test.’
I want to leave this planet having measured my success against one of Buffett’s most powerful tests. The Oracle of Omaha once said:
When you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life. The more you give love away, the more you get.
Buffett shared that gold nugget with a group of college students when they asked him about his definition of success. The quote was captured in the Buffett biography The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
Chances are, if your heart is in the right place, you love your employees, you love your customers, and you love the mission you are serving.
Since the business or career path you’ve chosen is an affair of the heart, you are motivated by the love that energizes you to give much to others. You just won’t work hard enough to become great if you aren’t doing what you love.
When you are doing what you love, you are loving the people around you who support your business endeavors. Love travels in all directions in service to all your stakeholders in support of your mission. And love comes back to you ten-fold. At the end of the road, this is passing Buffett’s “ultimate test.”