Warren Buffett And Other Billionaires Believe Saying No Is The Key To Success

·3 min read

Warren Buffett, the sage of Wall Street, has been dispensing pearls of wisdom on the secret to success. According to him, the key to achieving greatness is to say no to almost everything. But does he actually put his money where his mouth is?

In a recent memo addressed to the CEOs of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.-owned companies, Warren instructed them to decline all requests for him to speak, make contributions or intercede on behalf of others, no matter how appealing they may seem.

The memo cautioned them against being swayed by the temptation to say yes to requests for introductions to Buffett. Instead, he urged them to politely decline such requests, stating that it would be easier for everyone involved.

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Buffett's directive comes amid a flurry of requests for his time and attention, including invitations to speak at events and requests for him to act as an intermediary with the Gates Foundation. By saying no to these requests, he hopes to prioritize his time and energy towards the most important matters at hand.

Buffett learned the invaluable lesson that time is the most precious commodity of all. He mastered the art of setting boundaries for himself, which has allowed him to focus on what truly matters. As a result, his famous quote, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything," has become a powerful life lesson for many.

In 1997, Steve Jobs echoed Warren Buffett's sentiment on the importance of saying no, during an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Jobs argued that focus didn't mean saying yes to everything, but rather saying no to the many other good ideas out there. He famously stated that "innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."

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Other successful individuals have also recognized the importance of saying no to opportunities that don't align with their goals. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc., famously said no to a $1 billion acquisition offer from Yahoo in 2006. He believed that Facebook had the potential to be much bigger and wanted to continue building the company.

Oprah Winfrey has spoken about the power of saying no and setting boundaries to prioritize her time and energy. She has said, "I've learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time."

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