Warren Buffett is widely regarded as one of the best investors of all time. In some circles, he’s at the top of the list. That’s why every year, thousands of acolytes flock to Omaha, Nebraska for the annual shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B), where Buffett answers audience questions for hours at a time.
This year, Buffett has maintained positions in several Canadian companies, including Suncor Energy and Restaurant Brands International, but his ability to invest in individual stocks hasn’t been his greatest asset. In fact, Buffett credits his success to several factors that aren’t even directly related to investing.
If you want to follow in someone’s footsteps, pay close attention when they share their hard-earned wisdom. Collected below are Buffett’s top tips for a successful life.
Invest in yourself
If you’re reading this, then you already have a head start on Buffett’s greatest lesson of all: invest in yourself. “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself,” he said last year. What skills should you focus on first? “Learn to communicate better both in writing and in person,” Buffett suggests.
Additionally, make sure you’re taking care of your health. After all, skills are only useful if you’re capable of deploying them.
“If I gave you a car, and it’d be the only car you get the rest of your life, you would take care of it like you can’t believe. Any scratch, you’d fix that moment, you’d read the owner’s manual, you’d keep a garage and do all these things,” he implored. “You get exactly one mind and one body in this world, and you can’t start taking care of it when you’re 50. By that time, you’ll rust it out if you haven’t done anything.”
Curate your company
Buffett thinks curating your company is critical, but he’s not talking about a corporation. Instead, he recommends curating the people around you.
What type of people should you keep close? “One of the best things you can do in life is to surround yourself with people who are better than you are,” Buffett advises. These individuals, which Buffett simply calls “high-grade people,” can help you improve yourself without even trying. That’s because you’ll trend in their direction. If all of your friends and colleagues are focused on becoming better people, odds are that you’ll join them on a daily basis.
Just be careful: the opposite is also true. Buffett warns that “if you hang around with people who behave worse than you, pretty soon you’ll start being pulled in that direction. That’s just the way it seems to work.”
Investing can seem all about money, but in reality, it’s about way more than that. After all, you’re investing for a reason. Whether that’s the ability to spend more time with friends and family or to pursue your hobbies and passions, investing should be a means, not an ends. Make sure that your investing is geared towards providing for both yourself and the people you love.
“Being given unconditional love is the greatest benefit you can ever get,” Buffett stresses. “The incredible thing about love is that you can’t get rid of it. If you try to give it away, you end up with twice as much, but if you try to hold onto it, it disappears. It is an extraordinary situation, where the people who just absolutely push it out, get it back tenfold.”
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The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2020 $94 calls on Restaurant Brands International. Fool contributor Ryan Vanzo has no position in any stocks mentioned.