Warren Buffett recently said four choices in life separate the dreamers from the doers. Here’s why he’s wrong!
According to Buffett:
- Pick your friends wisely
- Go to bed a little smarter each day
- Improve your communication skills
- Say “no” more often
I am a fan of Warren Buffett. How can you not be a fan of someone who has a worthy, defined purpose? He has been fortunate enough to stick with that purpose for so many decades that his wealth strategy accumulated billions of dollars. The thing is, what he does is not for everybody. There are lots of ways to be successful. When Buffett describes four choices in life that separates doers from dreamers, I’m disappointed to see that although they seem like nuggets of wisdom, he has it wrong.
Come on, Warren!
Just changing your perspective in life, a little bit changes your trajectory tremendously either good or bad. Following Buffet’s four choices could send you down the wrong path. Let me help guide you for a more practical 21st-century success path with the choices you make in life.
I developed Renaissance Methodology for leaders and their staff to focus on how to substantially grow individually and together to achieve an incredible vision. It takes a new mindset to evolve in a manner that thrives within the world we live in. After all, it is said that high school seniors in the coming years will have to absorb more information in their final year alone than their great grandparents did in their entire lives. Bottom line: you have to shake yourself up and be willing to shake up the people around you.
Unfortunately, Buffett’s advice misses the mark.
My four counterpoints to my friend, Warren’s, list is:
- Make yourself pickable.
- Go to bed with a plan to be smarter.
- Be an active communicator.
- Focus on “yes” rather than “no.”
Who picks who. First, Buffett says: “pick your friends wisely. “Yeah, that’s the same thing our parents told us. Makes sense when you hear it and it’s hard to argue with. However, it’s not the right perspective. Instead, be worthy of the right people picking you. The right people picking you are those who you seek to align with for your personal and professional life goals. When you work on yourself and exude the characteristics that align with your life goals then the right people notice you. Work on yourself first before expecting the right kind of people to pick you to be your friends or colleagues. This way you all become a part of a symbiotic sphere of influence.
Planning “smarter.” Second, Buffett says go to bed a little smarter each day. Of course, that is obvious. I mean who wants to go to bed dumber each day? Your objective should be to go to bed a lot smarter each day but have a plan. Do not limit your expectations and just hope it happens that you get a little smarter each day. Instead, exert focus and discipline spending at least 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the midday, and 30 minutes in the afternoon focused on learning. Use your calendar to schedule learning time. Schedule everything and use the to-do list function to manage your tasks. Check them off electronically and still get the endorphin rush you would from a paper list. Listen to podcasts and books on tape and YouTube videos with the people sharing the knowledge fitting your vision. You have to actively engage in learning to absorb it and you need to allow knowledge to build upon knowledge, so your wisdom and street smarts grow together.
Communicate actively. Third, Buffett says to improve your communication skills. Okay, he is spot on with this one. Miscommunication causes wars and breaks up relationships as well as erodes businesses from within. Use the Renaissance Methodology’s communication process establishing its proprietary vertical, three-way-regimented-communication system. Your objective is to establish strong communication bonds, both personally and professionally, with people from every level of your sphere of influence. Work actively on communication and schedule time to engage people. Have impromptu encounters with people to keep the lines of communication open. The key is to own your message. It’s not solely other people’s responsibility to understand what you’re communicating. It is your responsibility to do what it takes to make sure people understand your communication. This involves being a good listener as well. Being controlled, yet emotionally vulnerable and empathetic with people, is key to the art of communication.
Focus on “yes” more than “no.” Fourth, Buffett says to say “no” and limit the commitments you obligate yourself to, so you have more time for yourself and other things of importance. Sure, sounds like the executive thing to do that empowered people should strive for. However, this is wrong. It’s just the wrong perspective. Instead, focus on saying, “yes” to the right kinds of actions and activities in your life.
One of my original mentors, the late great Dr. Gordon Dodson told me: “if it’s too good to be true, unbelievable, and hard to imagine, then I want some of it. I’ve got to have it.” That sounded perversely wrong. But think about it: if we open up our minds to the incredible then we can achieve an incredible vision. You have to be open to seeing “yes” and experimenting rather than guarding yourself by saying “no.”
Buffet, my friend, your interviews are lacking substance and involve playing it safe. I get it. This mimics your success of investing in something for the long-long-long haul. The thing is, though, life is much more complicated than this for the vast majority of people. Remember, the average American cannot afford a $400 surprise medical bill much less expensive car trouble. Advising someone to shake up their life needs to take into account these differences.
Follow the four Renaissance Methodology actions in your life and the seemingly impossible will incrementally become possible.