Warren Buffett: There are 3 Qualities That Make Athletes Successful In Life

warren buffett qualities to be successful in life

Warren Buffett is no stranger to success. One of the wealthiest people on the planet, Buffett has developed his own little game that he likes to play with students when he has the opportunity to speak with them. His game is very simple.

Buffett will often conduct an experiment where he asks student to participate in an exercise where they choose a classmate that they would want to have 10% of their future earnings for the rest of their lives. This “pick-your-classmate” game of horse delivers results that has helped Buffett shape his mind around the qualities that he believes are common amongst successful people.

  • Which, asks you, the reader, this question: which classmate/teammate would you pick, and why?

“Are you going to pick the one with the highest IQ?” asks Buffet. “Are you going to pick the guy who can throw a football the farthest? The one with the highest grades? What qualities will cause you to pick them?”

Throughout the game, Buffett changes things up and asks the same group of people who they think amongst them will be the least likely to succeed. The final stage of the game asks the participants to write down a list of positive and negative attributes per person in two separate columns, much like a “pros/cons” list.

At the end of the day, the most useful qualities that were desired were not based on IQ, grade performance, or family connections. As a matter of fact, Buffett mentions that the three things most sought out for are:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Energy
  3. Integrity


Finally, Warren Buffett will ask the group which of the qualities they are personally incapable of having or stopping.

The answer that he wants to get at: NONE.

Why does Warren Buffett believe that generosity, kindness, and integrity capable of being within all of us?  It’s because these qualities are based largely by one of the three things that you can control in life: Your choices.

How does these important qualities from Warren Buffett translate over to sports?

Quite well, actually. You can decide to not be generous and help your teammates out, you can decide not to be there for your teammate when they need a helping hand, whether or not to “one-up” everyone around you, or whether or not to swallow your pride and help out even though you’re tired.

To Warren Buffett, at the end of the day those three things are what makes a person successful in life. “If you don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. Everyone here has the intelligence and the energy.  You wouldn’t be here otherwise. But, the integrity is your decision; it’s up to you. You weren’t born with it and you can’t be taught how to have it.”

Buffett goes on to say that accountability and integrity are the cornerstone for success because they are qualities that you choose to have. For athletes, you have to understand that you can be intense, and a nasty competitor, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice admirable qualities because you perceive them to be a weakness.

“You decide to be dishonest, stingy, uncharitable, egotistical, all the things people don’t like in other people,” states Buffett. “They are all choices. Some people think there’s a limited little pot of success to go around, and anything the other guy takes out of the pot, there’s less left for you. But it’s just the opposite.”

So, if you’re out there grinding away, trying to reach a new level within your game, don’t forget to be the athlete that does things the right way.  Your legacy will be remembered not by how good of a player you were.  Your legacy will be remembered by how good of a person you were.

One of the greatest books that you can read about one of the highest achievers in our lifetime is The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. In this book, you will learn all about the path that Warren Buffett took to be the greatest investor in the world and learn how he never lost his sense of being grounded along the way. If you’re always on the go and don’t have the time to read The Snowball, you listen to it on the go for free with a 30 day trial of Audible as well.

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