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5 Lessons We Can All Learn From the Life of Warren Buffett

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Of all billionaires and successful business people, Warren Buffet remains my favorite. Not only is he witty and sharp-minded but, Buffet is also very insightful. He reads a lot and above all that, he knows how to enjoy life from his famous junk-food diet to the old house he still lives in today.

Check out the video below! Here are some of my favorite lessons that I’ve learned from Warren Buffett:

1. It`s all about how you present it

Many believe Buffett is one of the greatest thought leaders in the past 100 years and he’s also known for being a great public speaker. But things weren’t always this way. For more than twenty years, Buffett couldn`t even say his name in public. In college, he selected the courses where he didn`t have to stand up in front of the class and even the mere idea of giving a presentation made him throw up. But he finally found his courage and took a public speaking course, then a teaching job to hone those skills and build mastery.

In his interviews,  Buffet attributes most of his business success to his presentation skills. He believes that regardless of what you do, you must build good communication skills or people won`t follow you.

He values the public speaking course he took at the Carnegie Institute so much that he hangs that certificate on his office wall instead of his Diplomas from both Colombia and the University of Nebraska. He also believes he wouldn`t have persuaded the love of his life to marry him if it wasn`t for that course on public speaking.

“In graduate school, you learn all this complicated stuff, but what’s really essential is being able to get others to follow your ideas.” – Warren Buffett

2. Follow the right people

If you want a shortcut to learning or becoming anything then what you should do is surround yourself with what Buffett calls “High-grade people,” or those who are better than you are. Before you know it, you will soak up their good skills and end up behaving similarly to them, which is good if you`ve picked the right people to follow.

One of Buffett`s smart shortcuts is to pay for tutoring. Yes, self-tutoring is cheap. In fact, it was common among Greek debaters to spend years studying rhetoric in solitary before returning to Athens. But this doesn`t normally work with all people. You may waste a year figuring out something an expert would`ve taught you in a month or even a week. Besides, paying a tutor will force you to commit, attend all lessons and do your homework which is exactly what you need to learn a skill.

According to Buffett, he spent years trying to learn public speaking and failed. It`s only when he paid for the entire course in advance he was able to commit and learn what he believes to be the most valuable skill a businessman can have.

3. Stick to your circle of competence

Buffett admits he`s only great at evaluating businesses. Not even all of them, only the ones he can comprehend. Early on, he noticed that along with his emotional stability, he had a unique way of evaluating investment opportunities so he honed that skill, became a master at it and made a fortune. And he urges you to do the same. Instead of trying to be good at all things, try to be great at one thing and give it all you`ve got. It`s better to be known for one thing than nothing.

4. Change the way you see setbacks

You will make mistakes, probably lots of them, as long as you choose to swing for the fences. Buffett believes you can do well if you program your mind to see opportunities in every setback. When he was rejected by Harvard, it was a huge disappointment for him and his father who thought a great deal of his son.

Buffett was devastated but the young man pulled himself together and began to investigate other schools until he discovered that Benjamin Graham, whom he was really fond of, was teaching at Colombia. So he applied there, got accepted and met with Graham who became a major influence in his life and taught him everything he knew about investing.

“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubtet it for a minute.” – Warren Buffett

5. Treat your body like the only car you could have

If someone offered you the most expensive car in the world with a single condition that you never get another one, how will you treat this car? I guess you`ll treat it like one of your kids, if not better. With this analogy in mind, Buffett urges you to treat your body and mind the same way you treat your one, and only car. If you don’t take care of your mind and body now, by the time you are forty or fifty you’ll be like a car that can’t go anywhere.

What is your favorite thing you have learned from Warren Buffett? Please leave your comments below!

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. AL

    Jan 31, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Among those five, the only thing that truly new and resonates in my heart was the last one, to treat your body like the only car you could have.

    That reminds us, without our body in top condition (read: health), anything else in our life will have less meaning or even meaningless…

    Personally, I am a car guy, so that resonates me.

  2. Harsh Tiwari

    Jan 30, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Just love this one

  3. Ambika

    Jan 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    I liked the last one that is treat ur body and mind the way u treat ur only car.I completely agree with it

  4. UTTAM KUMAR

    Jan 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I liked Buffet’s idea of becoming expert at any one thing and paying for tutorials.

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Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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Life

5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused

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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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Life

Decision and Failure: Deciding That Failure is Not an Option

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Nobody likes wasting time, money or opportunities by making a bad business decision. We can certainly identify what “bad” looks and feels like, however we should be identifying what the “win” looks like too. Too often we focus on the bad, which puts us in victim mode that perpetuates a scarcity mindset which leads us directly into becoming frozen or stuck. (more…)

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