The Secret to Warren Buffet’s Success? It’s Simple…

goals Dec 28, 2019

The Secret to Warren Buffet’s Success? It’s Simple…

A man once asked investor Warren Buffet, “I want to be successful, but how do I know where I should put my focus?” Buffet’s answer went something like this (and I’d strongly suggest that you read and follow steps #1 and #2 BEFORE you read #3).

#1. Take a few minutes to sit down and consider, then write down, your top 25 goals for both your life and career. These can be personal or professional.

#2 Go through that list carefully, then choose your top 5.

#3 Clear on those top 5? Good. Now, avoid at all costs number 6-25, and concentrate all your efforts on the top 5. That was Buffet’s advice; that success is achieved through focusing only on those things that matter most and letting the rest go.

I’m thinking about goals today because we’re at the start of a new decade, and that’s a great opportunity to consider seriously what it is I want to bring forth in my life over the next ten years. Many of us see goal-setting as an annual thing – whether that’s a matter of making New Year’s resolutions or committing to new projects. My advice is, think bigger, because big things take time, and using that time effectively requires breaking your goals into bite-sized, actionable pieces.

What are you going to commit to accomplishing over the next ten years? If you can clarify that using those top 5 goals as your north star, you can begin to think of this year, and the years following it as steps toward accomplishing your goals. Well-run businesses depend on strategic plans that project goals for growth out over one, five and ten years, to get them where they want to go. If you’re not planning strategically for your own growth, whether personal or professional, in that same thoughtful way – why not? You’ve got no bigger business than yourself, after all.


When I did this goal-choosing exercise, of my top five goals two were professional and three were personal. I’ve chosen to follow Warren Buffet’s advice and to focus on them. You don’t have to have worked in hospice to realize that none of us are here forever. As the poet, Mary Oliver asks in The Summer Day,

Tell me, what else should I have done? 

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

Plan your own “wild and precious life” wisely.

Make of it what you want it to be, and about what matters most.



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