Warren Buffett is not often wrong when it comes to making investment decisions. The Oracle of Omaha's sage-like wisdom and hard-hitting truth-telling have also transcended industries and generations and cultures.
Most of the time, if we hold up the mirror to face our own reality, Buffett is spot-on. I may not be turning 91 (Buffett's birthday is in August), but the Man Upstairs willing, I'll get there eventually. And when I do, I want to leave this planet having measured my success against one of Buffett's most powerful tests:
When you get to my age, you'll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That's the ultimate test of how you have lived your life. The more you give love away, the more you get.
Buffett shared that bit of profound advice with a group of students at Georgia Tech when they asked him about his definition of success. The quote was also captured in the Buffett biography The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
Motivated by the pursuit of love
That four-letter word -- l-o-v-e -- can be off-putting in the business world, but not so much for leaders, founders, executives, and entrepreneurs operating from the heart.
Chances are, you love your employees, you love your customers, and you love the mission you are serving.
Since the business or career path you've chosen is an affair of the heart, you are motivated by the love that energizes you to give much to others. You just won't work hard enough to become great if you aren't doing what you love.
Buffett surely understands this premise, because he once quipped, "In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love."
Think about it. Does that thought ever run through your mind in your daily work? For most of us, we take for granted our paycheck and job security, even though we may dislike our chosen field and wish we were doing something else -- something we actually loved.
Doing what we love is a major contributor to our happiness as humans. And, more important, finding out what it is you love to do should be your first step.
Finally, when you are doing what you love, you are loving the people around you who support your business endeavors. Love travels in all directions in service to all your stakeholders in support of your mission. At the end of the road, this is passing Buffett's "ultimate test."