The Oracle of Omaha as Warren Buffett is often called is an investor, business tycoon, philanthropist, and the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and widely considered to be the best investor of all time. He owns stakes in the likes of Kraft Heinz, Coca Cola, American Express, Wells Fargo, Dairy Queen, Bank of America, and Apple among many others. He has a net worth approaching $100bn and has consistently been one of the richest people in the whole world. So, what can we learn from Warren Buffett’s leadership?
Love what you do
Warren Buffett has taught us many valuable lessons about success over his long career, but one message he keeps on coming back to is an urge for people to consider whether or not they have chosen the right path. One of his quotes is:
“There comes the time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
For many of us toiling in the corporate world and very often burning the candle at both ends, we take for granted our job security while secretly wishing we were doing something else. When you Look back at your life when it’s all said and done, will you tell yourself with great pride that you made the right career decisions? Doing what you love is a major reason for your long-term happiness. And knowing what you love should be your first step toward self-discovery. After all, it is proven that having a clear purpose results in higher levels of performance.
Learn to communicate
Warren Buffett credits much of his success to a $100 public speaking class that he took early in his career. In fact, if you ever visit his office you will see exactly how much he credits this. He doesn’t have his diploma from the University of Nebraska hanging on his office wall, and he doesn’t have his diploma from Columbia on the wall either. But he does have his public speaking graduation certificate proudly displayed. When it comes to communication Warren Buffett has said:
“You’ve got to be able to communicate in life and it’s enormously important. Schools, to some extent, under emphasize that. If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
The lesson here is simple. It doesn’t matter what career path you take, but whatever you end up doing in life, the basic skill of public speaking is going to be crucial to your success. When you are studying for your various qualification, you learn all this complicated stuff, but what’s really essential is being able to get others to follow your ideas. If you’re a salesperson, you want people to follow your advice. If you’re a management leader, you want them to follow you in business. Essentially whatever you do, good communication skills are incredibly important and something that almost anybody can improve upon, both in writing and speaking.
Only buy what you need
Despite consistently being one of the richest people in the world, Warren Buffett shows none of the trappings of wealth. He does not own big houses and flaunt his wealth. His approach to wealth is the complete opposite of most people who are constantly trying to impress others by upgrading their house, car, wardrobe and so on. He has actually lived in the same house for the last 55 years, and even today it is only worth about $650,000. To put this into perspective, the average house price in my hometown of London, UK is about $850,000 and about 0.001% of his own net worth. Despite this relatively modest home, Warren Buffett has said the following:
“I have a house that I bought 55 years ago. It’s warm in the winter; it’s cool in the summer. It has everything I wanted, plus it has all kinds of good memories. Like my kids, I have good thoughts about that. I can’t imagine living any better.”
His point here is clear, what else does he need? Sure, you could have an extra couple of bedrooms, but other than to try and show off, why do you actually need them really? He takes this approach into other aspects of his life too. Despite his wealth, his breakfast usually costs $3 from McDonalds that he collects from the drive-thru on his way to work. He even buys a used car instead of a new car and even uses coupons to pay for meals that he clips out of the newspaper.
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