Warren Buffett: 3 Things in Life that Separate Successful People from Everyone Else

Warren Buffett is often recognized for his many business and investing achievements. His wealth-building wisdom and leadership advice have made a difference in my own entrepreneurial career.

The mega mogul has uttered countless inspiring and prophetic statements over the decades. Here are three that have captured my attention:

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

Buffett is known for telling his managers to judge every action they take because, as high-profile business leaders in the spotlight, they can’t afford to lose their reputation. This statement from Buffett is all about making sure that you stay true to your values, even when faced with challenging and stressful situations. Business is full of tough decisions, so it’s really important to keep your integrity at the forefront of your decisions.

2. “You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it’s important to associate with people that are better than yourself.”

This quote is actually a paraphrase by Buffett’s best buddy Bill Gates, captured in Gates’s memorable 90th-birthday message to his close friend: “As Warren himself put it a few years ago when we spoke with some college students,” says Gates, “‘You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it’s important to associate with people that are better than yourself. The friends you have will form you as you go through life. Make some good friends, keep them for the rest of your life, but have them be people that you admire as well as like.'”

3. “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.”

Extraordinary accomplishments done by extraordinary people are quite rare indeed. The word extraordinary itself indicates something unusual — out of the ordinary — a feat that most of us won’t easily reach. But everyone can strive to be extraordinary — to be their best — in pursuit of their own worthy goals, by exercising their own set of strengths and skills. Buffett’s quote suggests that we stop chasing after those pie-in-the-sky ideas and the endless planning and strategizing of extraordinary and grandiose pursuits that yield no return. In the end, true success comes from focusing on those steady, small, and consistent day-to-day actions that pave the way to long-term results. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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