“Tap dance to Work”
Ok I’ll admit the Warren Buffett posts are probably getting a little old, unfortunately fascination of the moment. There are many reasons to admire and respect a man like Warren Buffett (the man is the self made richest person on the planet and he did give away more than 85% of his net worth to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation), but the thing I admire most about him is that he’s one of those few who found and followed their passion. Or to put it into Warren’s words, he “tap dances to work everyday.”It may be a pipe dream but somewhere in the last 3 years of my life, I’ve convinced myself that there is some sort of path in life I can take that will “click” for me. I don’t want to come across sounding mystical, like there’s some powerful force guiding me towards “my thing,” because I don’t believe that. I just believe that we can find work that touches who we are at the deepest level, work that energizes us, and pulls out the most amazing parts of our being. This is the work that you would probably do for free, but ironically the one where you have the most financial opportunity. This seems to be the case for Warren Buffett. It has never been about money or fame for him. He just was fortunate to discover early on that everything about investing clicked with who he is. A quote from a class discussion Buffett with some students at Emory:
I enjoy what I do, I tap dance to work every day. I work with people I love, doing what I love. The only thing I would pay to get rid of is firing people. I spend my time thinking about the future, not the past. The future is exciting. As Bertrand Russell says, “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.” I won the ovarian lottery the day I was born and so did all of you. We’re all successful, intelligent, educated. To focus on what you don’t have is a terrible mistake. With the gifts all of us have, if you are unhappy, it’s your own fault.
I’m amazed by his gratitude for his life. You don’t have to be a billionaire by the way to be so lucky (won the ovarian lottery…great). Another great quote showing his humility and gratitude:
I had nothing to do with my own success. My father was a securities broker and after the Great Crash, he had no one to call. Consequently, I was born in 1930 in the United States during the time of one of the greatest capital markets. I was born with the wiring for capital asset allocation. I had the right wiring at the right time. Temperament is a large part of my wiring. I was naturally good at it, and I used some feedback to develop it better. There is nothing to be arrogant about. Gates says if I had been born earlier, I would’ve been some animal’s lunch. I can’t run, I can’t climb. I’d be talking about allocating capital and the animal would think, “Those are the kind that taste the best.”
I also love this quote:
“I have so much fun that it’s not work. I get to do what I want, where I want – on a boat, wherever.”
It sounds to me that Buffett would agree with the notion that the best investment you could ultimately make is in yourself. Take the time and spend the money to really find the path that works for you. It may take a few stops and starts, but the pursuit is worth it.