by Sean Levinson | May 8 2013
Warren Buffett assumed the role of mentor to the youth yesterday when he gave networking and career advice in an “Office Hours” session with Levo League, a site aimed to assist youngsters in making their dreams come true.
The Berkshire Hathaway CEO shared personal stories about his fear of public speaking, and notably told women to “stop holding yourself” back.
Here’s 9 points Buffett highlighted as some of the most important steps to follow on the path to success:
1. Find your passion.
“Never give up searching for the job that you’re passionate about,” he says. “Try to find the job you’d have if you were independently rich. … Forget about the pay. When you’re associating with the people that you love, doing what you love, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
2. Be careful who you admire.
“If you tell me who your heroes are, I’ll tell you how you’re gonna turn out. It’s really important in life to have the right heroes. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve probably had a dozen or so major heroes. And none of them have ever let me down. You want to hang around with people that are better than you are. You will move in the direction of the crowd that you associate with.”
3. Learn how to communicate effectively.
While getting his MBA from Columbia University, Buffett revealed that he was “terrified of public speaking,” causing him to withdraw from a Dale Carnegie class. But after graduating he saw the ad for the course again and decided to give himself a second chance.
“I became associated with the 30 other people in the class. We couldn’t stand up in front of a group and say our own name. I mean it was — we were — it was pathetic. But that class changed my life in a big way.”
4. Develop healthy habits by studying people.
“Pick the person that has the right habits, that is cheerful, generous, gives other people credit for what they do. Look at all of the qualities that you admire in other people … and say to yourself, ‘Which of those qualities can’t I have myself?’ Because you determine whether you have them. And the truth is you can have all of them.”
5. Learn how to say “no.”
“You won’t keep control of your time, unless you can say ‘no.’ You can’t let other people set your agenda in life.”
6. Don’t work for someone who won’t pay you fairly.
“I do very little negotiation with people. And they do little with me, in terms of it … if I was a woman and I thought I was getting paid considerably less than somebody else that was equal coming in, that would bother me a lot. I probably wouldn’t even want to work there. I mean, [if] somebody’s gonna be unfair with you, in salary, they’re probably being unfair with you in a hundred other ways.”
7. Become involved with growing businesses.
“I mean, you want to get on a train that’s going to go 90 miles an hour and not one that’s gonna go 30 miles an hour and you’re gonna try to figure out how to, you know, push it along a little faster. So it really does make a huge difference. And there are some businesses that inherently [have] far more opportunities than others.”
8. Learn everything you can about your industry.
Buffett says he reads for six hours every day because he believes that growing your intellectual capacity will help you solve problems more effectively.
“I knew a lot about what I did when I was 20. I had read a lot, and I aspired to learn everything I could about the subject.”
9. Young women should seek mentors.
“These [mentoring] relationships all just evolve. I never set out to become a mentor … It’s amazing … how the person that really wants to do a terrific job just jumps out. There aren’t that many. You will be perceived as exceptional and as a worthy person for a superior to spend some extra time with if you just do something extra all the time. It seems elementary, but it’s true.”
At the end of the interview, Buffett reminded everyone to keep getting up after all falls because “you are healthy, and bright and have decades ahead of you.”