Warren Buffett is now 90 years young and still going strong as the world’s sixth-richest billionaire (as of this writing). His investing advice is full of wisdom and his life advice even wiser if you actually apply it.
One classic piece of Warren Buffett advice may be a good starting point: overcoming the bad habits that may be keeping you from achieving your full potential. Buffett said, “I see people with these self-destructive behavior patterns. They really are entrapped by them.”
He advised graduating students at the University of Florida to learn and practice good habits early on before it’s too late. “You can get rid of it a lot easier at your age than at my age, because most behaviors are habitual,” said Buffett.
He went on to quote the words of English philosopher Bertrand Russell: “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
One bad habit you need to break
Russell’s words appropriately describe the sneaky nature of bad personal and business habits alike. They may not become apparent until it is too late.
To that end, here’s one bad habit to pay close attention to that could become self-destructive in the long run. Not becoming aware of it and doing something to rid yourself of it may hold you back: intellectual arrogance.
The need to show people that you think you’re smarter than they are is one way to derail yourself from building solid bonds.
To counter the effects of intellectual arrogance, the smartest people stretch their knowledge by being open to soaking up the intellectual wisdom of others. In other words, to be smart without being arrogant is to acknowledge that you don’t know it all. Then seek knowledge from those who may know more than you do.
Because, let’s face it, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Metaphorically, view yourself as a small fish in the great big pond of life. You’ll seek out connections and appointments to learn to do great new things.
Seek reverse mentors
You need to find a “reverse mentor.” For years, we have thought of mentors as older and more experienced sages. And that’s entirely appropriate, and there will always be a role for that type of mentorship.
But in this social era, smart people are catching on to the advantage of learning from reverse mentors. They can be younger and less experienced, but they’re technologically savvy and hold other expertise in unfamiliar terrain.
To be smart without being arrogant is to leverage these reverse-mentor relationships as a strategy to help you succeed. And if you’re a boss in a work environment, when you seek out and listen to a younger mentor to get a fresh perspective on a challenging situation, they will love and respect you. This counterintuitive act of influence will win many over to your tribe. Give it a try and see where it goes.
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