Buffett urged students to do the things they know will enjoy throughout their lives and gave good counsel about making business connections with likable people. "I only work with people I like," Buffett told students. "If I could make $100 million with a guy who causes my stomach to churn, I'd say no."
The advice that resonated the most for me was his take on loving what you do for a living. Here's what Buffett said:
I urge you to work in jobs you love. You're out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it'll look good on your résumé.
Work for the love of it
The future of work is autonomous and purpose-driven. It's owning what you do -- whether working for yourself or partnering with peers and colleagues to build something of value that you all love to do, in a respected spirit of community and entrepreneurship. Anything else and I would wager that you're probably watching the clock to hit 5:00 so you can leave the misery of a dead-end job where the boss calls all the shots.
Buffett said, "I love every day. I mean, I tap dance in here and work with nothing but people I like. There is no job in the world that is more fun than running Berkshire, and I count myself lucky to be where I am."
While I'm no a tap dancer, I attest that I can get down and boogie to my heart's content because I just love what I do and whom I do it with.
Let's face it -- work can be a grind, political, and filled with toxic personalities, but the best brands are places where people love coming to work because the culture is positive and uplifting.
When co-workers and leaders share the same values, ethical behaviors, beliefs, and norms in a psychologically safe environment, every individual contributor is uniquely positioned to give and receive love without fear of retribution. This leads to a high-performing company that will attract other, like-minded people who love what they do.
Effects of love
People who do what they love are more open to opportunities and new experiences; they are willing to accept challenges and take risks, and when they fail, they are much more resilient and able to bounce back up when getting knocked down.
When you do what you love, you also create alignment between your work, values, and the things that bring you passion and purpose. This opens up new possibilities as you learn what matters most for your life and business.
Loving what you do also makes you more motivated to put in more time to get work done -- the kind of work you want to do, not feel obligated to do. Your desire to be more productive is intrinsic; it comes from a belief deep inside you that your hard efforts will make a difference for those you serve.
Finally, when you love what you do, it just doesn't feel like work. That's why Buffett is spot on. True happiness in life comes from doing what you love.
Time to put on your tap-dancing shoes.