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 Avoiding failure requires making some new decisions.

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Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of our time, has bestowed valuable lessons that have had a profound effect on people everywhere. Buffett’s legendary tips for success make your wheels turn as you ponder the possibilities. The real question is: do we follow his advice with practical application in order to improve our situation? Buffett once said:

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

That means making good, smart choices every day. Because – let’s face it – every one of us has failed at some point; some of us in spectacular fashion. And it’s bound to happen again.

Minimizing your failures will require making good decisions on the road to success. It’s what Buffett has advised us to do for decades because it has worked for him. Here are three life-changing decisions to consider:

1. Define success by your “inner scorecard”

When setting the bar for your own goals, don’t fall for the trap of measuring it by other people’s measure of success. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, measure yourself by one of Buffett’s most famous rules – your “inner scorecard.”

The inner scorecard defines your own standards and not what the world imposes on you. It’s a principle he learned from his father; it comes from deep within and speaks your truth. 

It gives meaning to who you are, and how you naturally behave and see the world on the basis of your values and beliefs, not someone else’s. In short, it’s taking the higher road to achieve success because it comes from the heart.  


2. Surround yourself with mentors 

Buffett has repeatedly mentioned the importance that mentorship can have in someone’s career development.

During his time at Columbia University, Buffett was fortunate enough to have Benjamin Graham as a teacher and mentor. In the foreword of the book Security Analysis, Buffett writes that Graham “changed my life.” 


Beyond that, Buffett has always advised that success relies on surrounding yourself with the right people. He said: “Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

This is a good life lesson about adopting the traits of successful people further down the path from us. Because when you do, you grow your influence and network. 


As the famous saying goes, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Make sure to associate with those who can potentially help you learn new things, grow, and advance your career. 

3. Protect your reputation at all cost

One of my favorite Buffett one-liners which should be top-of-mind for business leaders speaks volumes of truth:

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

This statement from Buffett is all about making sure that you stay true to your values, even when faced with challenging and stressful situations because business is full of tough decisions. Buffett has been known to tell his managers to judge every action they take because they can’t afford to lose their reputation.

He also fully understands that all smart leadership and business decisions are founded on the bedrock of integrity. Because without integrity, let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to gain a good reputation and achieve the success you want long term.



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