With a fortune of more than $70 billion, Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest people of our time. Yet, what’s unique about Buffett compared to other billionaires is that he seems to be genuinely happy. Regardless of his financial status, the famous investor is known for his sunny, optimistic outlook and the way he appreciates life.
In an interview, when Buffett was asked what keeps him going, his answer was the following:
“We are doing what we love to do with people we love. Every day.”
According to Buffett, the work you do and the people you work with have a massive influence on your happiness.
However, being careful about your social circle and the people you work with is not only life advice from Buffett. Studies have shown how there’s an actual connection between our relationships and health. Those with stronger relationships are not only happier but also live longer.
Other than taking care of your social circle, these are the seven traits of genuinely happy people, according to Warren Buffett:
They Don’t Show Off
Truly happy people don’t feel the urge to show off. Satisfaction is a state of mind rather than what you communicate to the outside world. That’s why genuinely happy people don’t feel the need to talk about their accomplishments.
In fact, nobody likes to be around people who always talk about themselves and their success. Even if you don’t envy them, listening to someone who’s frequently showing off is no fun.
Instead, we all like being around people who are humble and ready to help rather than those who are looking down.
If you’re honestly happy and proud of your results, you don’t feel the urge to share your accomplishments. Instead, you can sit back and listen to the stories of others.
They Talk Less
Besides being humble, happy people talk less in general.
While unsatisfied people often fight back and share their opinion, those who are content can sit back and listen to conversations in silence.
As the Dalai Lama once said:
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
You can’t talk and listen at the same time. The more you talk, the more you miss out on the opinion of your conversation partner. Honest listening is not only a sign of maturity but also shows that you’re genuinely interested in your conversation partner.
Additionally, happy people are more careful in deciding with whom they talk because they don’t want to be involved in negative conversations. They’d rather choose to be alone than spending time with people who spread negativity or hate.
They Ignore Nonsense
With the rise of social media and thousands of dubious media outlets, filtering information is harder than ever before. And unfortunately, a massive part of the information we consume is not of value.
Contrary to frustrated people, happy people are self-aware. They know that their mental energy is precious and don’t waste it consuming irrelevant information. Instead, they carefully pick the books they read, the information they consume, and the people they surround themselves with.
They Learn Daily
Warren Buffett, among others, is known for practicing the 5-Hour Rule, which means he’s spending at least five hours per week learning and developing new skills.
Buffett, however, even states spending five hours per day reading and learning. In many interviews, he shares how reading and patience are what led to his massive fortune.
“I read and read and read. I probably read five to six hours a day. I don’t read as fast now as when I was younger. But I read five daily newspapers. I read a fair number of magazines. I read 10-Ks. I read annual reports. I read a lot of other things, too. I’ve always enjoyed reading. I love reading biographies, for example.”
As a passionate life-long learner, Buffett indicates how happy people are those who invest in themselves and their personal growth.
As Benjamin Franklin stated more than 200 years ago:
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
According to Buffett and many other successful people, continuous growth and improvement lead to even more satisfaction in life.
Nowadays, you don’t even need to read books. YouTube and tons of other resources are providing more free educational content than you could ever consume.
It’s often said that without learning, you’ll stagnate. Yet, today’s reality is that you wouldn’t stagnate but move backward because the world is changing so quickly.
If you fail to educate yourself, you’ll soon be outpaced by those who invested in their skills and knowledge.
They Help Those Who Are Less Fortunate
The billionaire preaches that delighted people are those who also give back to the less fortunate and try to make the world a better place.
You may say you don’t have the money to donate, yet, helping others doesn’t necessarily need to translate into financial support. Sometimes, the most precious resource we can donate is our time and energy.
A few minutes of research are enough to find organizations that look for volunteers to make the lives of unfortunate people better and happier.
They Laugh Often
Not only do happy people laugh more often, but laughing also makes us happier.
Research shows that laughter makes you more open to new people and helps to build and strengthen relationships. Another study showed that laughter can sharpen your memory while also reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
By choosing to be around people they genuinely like and doing work they love, happy people create a life that leads to more happiness.
In interviews, Buffett isn’t afraid to make jokes and show his funny, human side instead of acting professional.
Once he was asked what keeps him going and he answered:
“We have so much fun.
They Don’t Feel Entitled
While unsatisfied people often expect results without delivering the work, genuinely happy people take responsibility for their outcomes. Instead of waiting for things to come their way, they do the work and go after their goals.
Those who expect special treatment often end up in disappointment and frustration because they struggle to accept adverse outcomes.
People with entitlement tendencies expect life to be easier for them than for the rest. They have high expectations but don’t want to give back once they’re asked for a favor.
Happy people, however, do the opposite; they take responsibility and massive action towards their goals and don’t have expectations.
“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”
— Marian Wright Edelman
Warren Buffett’s lessons are as simple as profound. The 90-year-old investor obviously learned some great lessons on how to live a happy life regardless of financial resources.
Based on his seven lessons, here’s what you can immediately do to have a happier day or even life:
- Next time you feel like showing off by talking about your achievements, hold yourself back, and instead ask your conversation partner about their accomplishments. You’ll learn more by listening than by talking, plus you’ll charm people because we all like talking about ourselves when someone listens.
- For the next few hours, take care of all the information you consume and write down all sources of negativity and nonsense you could eliminate. By ignoring nonsense, you’ll have more time and energy for things that truly matter. Once you’re aware of all the different sources of nonsense, you can start eliminating them.
- Set up a daily learning routine: No matter if it’s reading, watching YouTube videos, or whatsoever — make sure to spend at least ten minutes per day consuming valuable information or strengthening your skills. If done consistently, ten minutes per day can have a significant impact.
- Take a few minutes to come up with ideas on how you can give back to your community or even the world: If you can’t make financial commitments, look for ways to volunteer and help those in need. Even a few voluntary actions per year could make a difference in somebody’s life.
- Write down at least five things that make you laugh and come up with ideas on how you could incorporate even more of them in your daily life. E.g., if you have a favorite song that makes you happy, why not turn it on while getting ready in the morning?
- Get rid of entitlement. Take full responsibility for your actions and outcomes. There’s no one more responsible for your life than you and by avoiding entitlement, you ensure that you’re the only one responsible for your happiness and success.