Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Rare is the ambitious person for whom modesty comes naturally.

After all, if you want to achieve a lot, you surely assume you're able to get there. 

Which takes a little self-worth.

It's as well, though, to be careful what you grasp for. Or, rather, what you tell others about your grasp.

These slightly philosophical thoughts strike me on reading a new interview with Warren Buffett in the Financial Times.

Buffett is an excellent marketer. 

He's created an image -- based, one imagines and hopes, on some reality -- that involves a deep down-to-earthiness and an upliftingly balanced perspective. (And portfolio, of course.)

In this interview, however, he explained the sheer emotional sanity of not shrieking your excellence from the rafters: 

The one thing that would ruin my life is people expecting more than I deliver.

Some leaders walk into a new job and promise the Earth. The Stars and the Sky, too.

They seem to believe that if they do this, it'll motivate employees to do the impossible. And, naturally, to believe in the impossible.

For Buffett, however, creating unreasonable expectations would be hell. He explained: 

I can do that by being short on delivery or I can do that by being long on expectations with them, but either one would make my life miserable.

Ambition -- and its ugly stepsisters, ego and greed  -- can warp the mind and inflate the head.

It's especially tempting to go this way in an individualistic society which seeks stars to lionize, rather than teams to admire.

Yet keeping your confidence quiet and not hailing your abilities as the second coming of true genius can lead to pleasant surprises for both employees and customers.

There's surely little more satisfying in life than deep, pleasant surprises.

Look at Warren Buffett. His Berkshire Hathaway has done quite well without shouting from the rooftops of very tall buildings .

And he seems like a very happy man, doesn't he?

Published on: Apr 25, 2019
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