In the speech of Warren Buffet, one of the richest people in the world, at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, of which he is the CEO, it was time for the Q&A session with the participants.
Among the attendees was Justin Fong, 14, from California, who asked Buffet a non-investing question that baffled him:
“What advice would you give a teenager my age to be successful?”
Warren Buffet’s answer may not be right for everyone, but it was guiding a teenager. In fact, looking deeper, it will be especially beneficial for business and career development for people of all ages, no matter what stage of life they are at.
“Hang out with people who are better than you, and when you choose friends whose behavior is better than yours, you will gradually progress towards getting better.”
Charlie Munger, a longtime business partner of Warren Buffet and vice president of Berkshire Hathaway, added:
“If that gives you temporary popularity with your peers, forget it.”
So, in what sense did Warren Buffet mean the ‘better ones’?
Buffet actually teaches a life lesson for all of us: he says that we should absorb the qualities and behaviors of successful people that will make us better people, employees, leaders.
To be an effective leader, boss, or professional employee, there are four qualities you need to look for in people who are better than you so you can “go in that direction.”
1) Hang out with honest people.
Integrity is crucial to success. Warren Buffet says you should never hire someone who is dishonest, no matter how smart, and adds:
“You have to look for three things in a person: intelligence, energy, and integrity. If you don’t have the last one, ignore the first two.”
2) Hang out with people who know when to say “no”.
Buffet learned long ago that our most important asset is time, so he has become an expert at setting his own limits. It gives us a life lesson for this:
“The difference between successful people and truly successful people is that truly successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
Buffet’s advice may sound harsh, but we must learn it to focus and make our lives easier.
3) Hang out with people who feed their minds by reading.
Do you want to increase your knowledge tenfold? Buffet and Munger owe their success to their willingness to learn. Instead of coming home and laying on the couch and watching an entire season of Game of Thrones, grab a book. Buffet spends 80% of his working days reading and thinking. When asked how he could be smarter once, he grabbed a stack of papers and said:
“Read 500 pages a day like this every day. Knowledge is developed this way, like compound interest.”
4) Hang out with people liked by others.
According to Buffet’s biography, “The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life,” Buffet was once asked by students about his greatest success and failure, and Buffet replied:
“When you get to my age, you will measure your success in life by seeing how many people you truly love.
Buffet ends his sentences with a statement about the secret of being loved:
“The only way to be loved is to be lovable. The more love you give, the more you get.”