Warren Buffett knows a thing or six about creating wealth and success. The Oracle of Omaha has freely handed out profoundly simple (but profound, nonetheless) advice to the rest of us mere mortals willing to walk in his footsteps.
With one Google search, you'll find an endless array of quotes, including some of his best leadership and life advice outside of the realm of investment.
These six success tips have left an indelible mark on me because of their easy applicability, whether you work in Wall Street or Main Street.
1. "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
This came from one of his annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders years back. Anyone's reputation or whole career can quickly fall like a house of cards. What Buffett is alluding to here is that, without integrity built in as your internal GPS system navigating you through life, you're going to fail.
2. "You really should take a job that, if you were independently wealthy, that would be the job you would take."
This is what Buffett once advised graduating students at the University of Florida in a commencement speech. He added, "You will learn something, you will be excited about it, and you will jump out of bed. You can't miss." Buffett calls us to find what we love and are passionate about, and make that our life's work.
3. "It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction."
This quote came from a 2004 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska. It was in response to a question from a 14-year-old kid from California, who asked Buffett what advice he had for young people to become successful. Buffett taught a life lesson for all, regardless of age, about the need to soak up the wisdom, experience, character traits, and attributes of more successful people further down the path who will elevate us as leaders, investors, workers, and human beings.
4. "You're looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't even bother with the first two."
That was Buffett's advice a few years ago on key attributes to look for when considering job candidates. The last one is purely non-negotiable. When you hire people with integrity, you don't question them for their actions. Buffett also said: "If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy." That made me laugh, but it's true. People operating within parameters of truth, honesty, and ethics will listen to their heart and do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. Here are 12 questions to consider asking when assessing your job candidates for integrity.
5. "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."
With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. Whether he meant saying no in the investment sense is not so important; what is important is that his advice, in whatever context, can apply to anyone arriving at the crossroads of daily decision-making. We have to know what to shoot for to simplify our lives. It means saying no over and over again to the unimportant things flying in our direction every day and remaining focused on saying yes to the few things that truly matter.
6. "Without good communication skills you won't be able to convince people to follow you even though you see over the mountain and they don't."
Buffett gave this gem of an advice to a graduate student earning his MBA at Stanford. Buffett also dropped this gold nugget prior to the quote above: "At your age, the best way you can improve yourself is to learn to communicate better. Your results in life will be magnified if you can communicate them better. The only diploma I hang in my office is the communications diploma I got from Dale Carnegie in 1952."
What's your favorite Buffett quote? Leave it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and let me know.