Another way to get smarter, outside of reading, is to surround yourself with people who are not afraid to challenge your ideas.
“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.”
MORE IDEAS FROM The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
It’s important to think about the opportunity cost of this hour. On one hand, you can check Twitter, read some online news, and reply to a few emails while pretending to finish the memo that is supposed to be the focus of your attention. On the other hand, you can dedicate the time to improving yourself. In the short term, you’re better off with the dopamine-laced rush of email and Twitter while multitasking. In the long term, the investment in learning something new and improving yourself goes further.
Read. A lot.
Warren Buffett says, “I just sit in my office and read all day.”
What does that mean? He estimates that he spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking.
When asked how to get smarter, Buffett once held up stacks of paper and said, “Read 500 pages like this every week. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”
All of us can build our knowledge, but most of us won’t put in the effort.
“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”
In an interview he gave for his authorized biography The Snowball , Buffett told this story about Charlie Munger, his longtime business partner at Berkshire Hathaway:
Charlie, as a very young lawyer, was probably getting $20 an hour. He thought to himself, “Who’s my most valuable client?” And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day. He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this, be the client, and then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.
Commenting on what it means to have knowledge, in How to Read a Book , Mortimer Adler writes: “The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.”
Can you explain what you know to someone else? Try it. Pick an idea you think you have a grasp of and write it out on a sheet of paper as if you were explaining it to someone else.
If you work from a loss, it's much harder to get back to where you started, not to mention earn gains.
Bad decisions never look like bad decisions at the moment.
So, a better strategy and faster way to stock up that "things to avoid" bin is learning from others' mistakes.
It amps up our effort to avoid making dumb decisions.
If you want to improve your odds of success in life and business then define the perimeter of your circle of competence, and operate inside.
The concept has been used by Warren Buffett and relates to the importance of honestly definining what we do know and to stick to those areas.
The circle can be widened, but only slowly and over time.
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