This article is about Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos. It contains simple insights that they shared with children to help them be more successful.
We’ll get straight to the insights Buffett and Bezos have shared so frequently. We’ll then summarize the main points, add some caveats and provide three guidelines to make it more appealing and useful for younger generations.
Bezos is our first choice, even if it’s because his name appears alphabetically after Buffet’s. Here’s what he had to say back in 1997, when he was asked how he got the idea to start Amazon.com:
I came across this shocking statistic: web usage was increasing at 2,300% per year. After compiling a list with 20 products, I decided to pick books.
Bezos kept this story nearly unchanged for over two decades.
“Anything growing that fast, even if its baseline usage was tiny, it’s going to be big,” he said in 2018. That was what I saw, and it made me think, “I should start a company on the Internet.”
It all boils down to recognizing growth and building an idea that supports it.
“Not like the Olympics”
The next is an unmistakable quote by Buffett — making the exact same point but in a completely different context.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is a result of a 19th century textile company Buffett purchased in the 1960s. Buffett continued to own the textile company despite investing in more lucrative industries.
He gave up, and shut down all the mills. He’s talked about this lesson many times, but here’s an apt quote:
The interesting thing about business is that it’s not the Olympics. It doesn’t matter if something is very difficult to accomplish. You might be better off just stepping over one-foot bars than trying to leap over seven feet.
Was the bar 7 feet high? Because it was not growing. It’s much easier to pursue one-foot bars like the rapidly growing insurance industry, which became Berkshire’s greatest concern.
Go toward growth
Take both these points of view and combine them to get what you need. This is short, simple advice that can be used by people just beginning to explore the world. This is how it works:
- Get to the heart of it.
Or perhaps even better:
- Focus on things that grow.
This applies regardless of whether you’re looking to start a career, build businesses or explore life.
It can paralyze people who have the potential to succeed in multiple fields. All things being equal, encourage your children to look for opportunities and places that grow. It is possible to grow bigger, but it is not always easy.
- Are you trying to choose between several cities for living or studying? If all else is equal, choose the one with the fastest growth.
- Do you have a preference for the career that interests you most? You should pay more attention to the ones that are growing in demand, and (or perhaps related), where salaries are rising.
- This works even for intimate relationships. You should choose experiences and people that will help you grow.
This sounds simple until you realize it is the opposite of what many young people believe. Higher education will provide the best and most concrete examples.
Consider, for example, Columbia University film graduates who, according to The Wall Street Journal, took out federal loans in the amount of $181,000 each. This was to be able compete with jobs paying as low as $30,000.
Northwestern University’s speech pathology graduates, who borrowed $18,000 to get jobs that pay a $60,000.
They are highly talented individuals who want to pursue a career in something that interests them. They are apparently doing this in an economic environment that suggests a lackluster growth. What is the result?
One passionate student of film put it this way: “Financially hobbled to live”
Balance passion and growth
Here are a few caveats. First, you don’t need to be a fan or respected by Buffett or Bezos to pass this message on to your children.
Bezos as well as Buffett could both be considered self-worth partly due to their net worth. However, this advice doesn’t have to consider monetary benefits.
Second, success is not all about “moving toward growth”. It would be foolish to suggest young children think of things such as market size, consumer trends, or population growth.
This is the best time to discover and explore the passions you have, without worrying about whether or not they will fit in with your life plans.
As kids grow older, they begin to consider the implications of their decisions on long-term success.
This doesn’t mean that kids shouldn’t be passionate or interested in the market, but it does not mean they should abandon their passions. Even if Bezos suggests otherwise.
The hard work of figuring out the best way to pursue your interests is more important than pursuing them in an environment of stagnation.
The Journal’s film students might find it more beneficial to use their creativity for a wider audience and in markets that are expanding rather than contracting. Speech pathology students may choose to focus their efforts on helping people with speech and developmental issues, although they might be in a better market.
It is about finding the right balance between passions and economic realities.
Actionable, authentic, and measurable
How can we make it all more practical? These are three things
Teach your children to look for things.authenticGrowth
This basically means that it is possible to understand and communicate information. A big, broad example of this would be the census data released last week, which shows how the United States is becoming a more ethnically diverse society, and an older one — with people living longer but birth rates dropping.
You want items that you can use.Measurable.
Bezos spoke of this statistic in his quest to create Amazon. It was the 2,300% annual growth in Internet use in the 1990s. Trends and numbers.
Teach them how to find things that are.Actionable.
This means that children must be taught to accept growth insights and to not let them down.
If the medical industry is not appealing to young people, it’s irrelevant to look into other careers. It is also less important to think about moving to another part of the country if someone doesn’t want to move to the area where they were born.
It’s all fine. All of that is fine. We do not want children to be slaves to one consideration.
However, all things being equal, encourage your children to consider the following reflection: You have a better chance of succeeding if you work and play in areas where growth forces are supporting you rather than hindering you.
Who wouldn’t like the odds of their children winning?
Publiated at Sun, 15 August 2021 09:21.37 +0000