Finance

Warren Buffett says this is what sets the truly successful people apart

Close-up of Warren Buffett.

Image source: The Motley Fool

Should you take this advice from Warren Buffett?


Key points

  • Warren Buffett is one of the best investors of all time.
  • He thinks that really successful people set themselves apart by saying no to almost everything (like hot new investments) and staying within their purview

If you hope to be very successful professionally or financially, it may help to heed the advice of others who have achieved that dream.

Warren Buffett is one of those people whose advice you might want to take. The self-made billionaire is one of the greatest investors of all time and has managed to build a large business empire that has provided him with untold wealth.

Buffett gave a simple explanation of what separates “really” successful people from others, and this advice is especially worth considering when making your own life choices.

Could this be the key to true success?

So what does Buffett think separates successful people from others?

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything,” Buffett said.

Buffett himself implemented this strategy, abandoning certain types of hot investments even as others jumped on board. One example is cryptocurrency, which the celebrity investor has repeatedly made clear he is not interested in investing in, even as a growing number of Americans embrace the asset class.

Buffett was also slow to jump into tech stocks in the early 1990s and 2000s, but indicated years later that he had no regrets about staying out even though there were some missed opportunities.

“I don’t worry about things that I miss that are outside of my scope of evaluation,” Buffett said. “It’s not a bug because I miss Netscape or something.”

Should you take this advice?

Buffett’s advice can be helpful when making decisions about what to do with the money in your brokerage account. There are many people who can try to convince you to invest in something either because they get a fee or commission for it or because they really believe it is the right way to go (even if they don’t necessarily know if it is for you).

You don’t necessarily need to jump on many or most of these ideas, but instead develop your own solid investment plans and stick to them while saying no to anything outside of your comfort zone.

But Buffett’s advice can actually go far beyond saying no to investments that don’t fit your careful plans. It can also apply to other financial and life decisions you make. For example, you don’t want to overcommit to activities you don’t enjoy, and you don’t want to say you’re spending money on things you don’t value just to keep up with the Joneses or because it feels like the norm.

If you define what you want your personal and financial life to look like, you can set clear boundaries and say no to anything that doesn’t fit within them. You may feel uncomfortable not doing what everyone else says or what others ask of you, but you are in the best position to prepare for the future you want. You should avoid saying yes to anything that would take you off that path.

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