Do you want some personal development and business success nuggets from two of today's most amazing entrepreneurs? Then stop right now and watch this video. If you can't watch (but you will if you want to benefit from the wisdom and experience of Warren Buffet and Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z), then read what they said, summarized below the video.
This is what I call a good investment of your time. My summaries paraphrase their tips. Anything in quotes is a direct quote:
Emotional stability trumps intellect. Buffet said emotional stability is more important than intellectual capability. No matter how bright you are, if you are not emotionally stable and confident in your abilities to do what you think is right, even when it's unpopular, you cannot achieve.
Respect your circle of competence. Stay in your lane. Don't try to achieve in areas where you are are uninformed or weak. Focus on areas where your competency shines. In other words, the only way you could have beatn the late chess legend Bobby Fischer would have been to play him at something other than chess. As Buffet put it, “knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to leave in.”
Resist shiny objects. Jay-Z warns against becoming caught up in the emotion of the moment. Successful artists have the discipline to stick with who they are. This mentality makes the difference between one hit wonders and artists whose gifts last lifetime after lifetime. Articulate your own view of the world, not someone else's.
Profit from your gifts. The notion of a “starving artist” was developed and perpetuated by greedy corporations to take advantage of artists, says Jay-Z. Artists only starve if they don't figure out how to control their gift. You must love your art and your gift, but in order to be profitable, you must treat both like a business.
You may be a great artist, but if you don't take complete control of your gift, you will lose what you create. Control your gift. Don't end up like an indentured servant, always getting the short end of the stick.
Don't give up. The difference between success and failure boils down to not giving up. When every record company in the world turned down his music, Jay-Z simply started his own record company. Once he achieved a level of success, the big labels came back to him and he named is price. Meanwhile, hundreds and thousands of other artists gave up, so their gifts died on the vine.
Make technology your friend. Citing what happened when the record industry forced Napster to close down, Jay-Z said you have to make technology work for you. Paraphrasing, he said:
Instead of working with Napster to create a win/win file sharing arrangement, the record industry invested all of its resources in shutting down Napster. As a result, the industry lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to control artistic content. Napster's death gave birth to a billion mini-Napsters. Now, the music industry cannot control anything. Its refusal to embrace technology resulted in losses for the industry and the artists it is supposed to represent.
Jay-Z ended this point by saying that, as an artist, “You don't have to change who you are, but have to change how you go about being who you are.”
Improve yourself first. Buffet said the only things that cannot be taken away from you are the investments you make in yourself. Here' an exercise Buffet says will build a moat around you. Make a list of what you admire about successful people. Then make a list of people who are equally as smart as them, but not successful. Explore the habits of the people on the successful list, and emulate them.
You have the energy and you have the brain power. If you develop the habits to go along with them, there's no limit to what you can do.
Once you build this moat around yourself, no one can cross it without your permission.
Leverage the power of collaborative competition. Jay-Z says, “One plus one is three,” When he performed on stage with Eminem, together they delivered a better and more memorable experience to the audience. Why do all that work yourself when you can enhance people's lives more by doing it with someone else?
Make philanthropy count. Jay-Z spoke of his foundation, the Sean Carter Scholarship Foundation. He remembers that a sixth grade teacher once told him he was smart. He repeated that to himself, and it helped him achieve his goals. Through his foundation, he does more than sit around writing checks to make himself feel good. He is actually reaching out to offer tangible opportunities to children in urban areas — like the one he grow up in.
Buffet acknowledged that Jay-Z teaches in a far bigger classroom than he ever taught in, proving that real change requires more than money.
On your financial legacy. Buffet spoke of The Giving Pledge, his partnership with Bill Gates to invite wealthy people to donate 50% or more of their wealth to charity. Buffet stipulates that all of the money must be used within ten years of the death of the donor.
He said this is important in order to avoid the temptation to justify keeping it in a foundation for decades or generations on end.
Buffet says that, since foundations are not tested by a market system, it's easy to rationalize doing things differently from the way you originally planned to To avoid this, money from the donors must be used quickly to accomplish specific goals, or not be used at all.
Question: This discussion is at least as good as a business school classroom lecture costing multiple thousands of dollars, don't you think?