Warren Buffett often tells his audience to perform a simple exercise which runs like this: Imagine if you had to invest all your money today in a person, a friend. It would work similar to any investment, in that you would be getting a stake of his future income. Who would that person be? And more importantly, which of their qualities make you willing to put such faith in them? The point of the exercise is to get you thinking about qualities you admire, respect, and believe will lead to success.
I've run through this exercise countless times. I've found that the people I admire usually are:
Long term outlook
And no exercise would be complete without inverting the question.Which qualities do I dislike in others? That list of opposites would be something like:
Once I had this list, it became simply a matter of acting like the first list and avoiding the second. And although perfection is near unattainable, it helps immensely if you know what you are aiming for. Should you not uphold the qualities which you admire in others?
As you ask other people to perform this exercise, I think you will find the list of positives overlaps for many people; and you'd be hard-pressed to give approbation for any of the second list of qualities. The lesson has some bearing for the investors out there as well. It is difficult to find a truly great investment when you are entrusting your money in a crooked culture. So I recommend all of you to make your lists, study it closely, and start finding people and organizations which match your admirable ideals.