Learn to Say No with Warren Buffett’s Success Strategy

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Learn to Say No

The brains behind and current CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, is arguably one of the world’s most proficient and accomplished investors whose one of mottos is: learn to say no. Starting from square one in the business world but now with a net worth of around $100.6 billion, he is an inspiration to many.

Buffett has been profoundly involved in various industries, analyzing and investing strategically and successfully over a long time. This lofty level of business success, blended with a lifestyle that’s not so alike to one worth even a little over a billion dollars, has garnered him immense veneration in economics and entrepreneurship while gaining him the nickname, “The oracle of Omaha.”

You may habitually accredit his success level to the commonly advised factors of talent, work ethic, and consistency. While all these elements contribute heavily to his success, Warren Buffett has specific, prolific strategies that separate him from the masses.

Here, we will discuss a necessary process consisting of three steps, which is one of the most effective strategies used by Warren Buffett to enhance productivity levels ultimately. You can call it the 5/25 plan.

The 5/25 Strategy by Warren Buffet

Let us discuss this strategy to learn to say no with the aid of a story about Warren Buffett and his private jet pilot, Mike Flint. Years ago, Buffett had a conversation with Flint about Flint’s goals. It started with Buffett saying to Flint before one of their many airplanes takeoffs, “The fact that you are still here working for me tells me I’m not doing my job. You should be out and go after more of your goals and dreams.” 

After this, Buffett told him about the 3-step process we mentioned earlier. Specifically, they include;

  • Step 1: Get a list down of your 25 peak goals. 

This first ask of Warren Buffett from Flint was to jot down the goals he considered most vital to accomplish. The targets on the list went up to 25.

  • Step 2: Highlight five of the most important of the goals.

The next phase of the discussion involved Warren telling Flint to draw circles around five from the compiled lists of 25 goals that he considered most important of them all. A hesitant Flint took his time with this stage because he thought all the 25 goals to be very important, but he finally did what Buffett asked. To confirm, Buffett asked Flint, “Are you sure these are the absolute highest priority for you.” In response, Flint said, “Yes.”

  • Step 3: Concentrate on these five and forget about the rest.

At this point, Flint was convinced, so he said to Buffett, “Warren, these are the most important things in my life. I will work on them now. I’ll start tomorrow. Actually, no, I’ll start today.” Cleverly, Buffett retorted, “but what about these other 20 things on your list that you didn’t circle? What is your plan for completing those?” erroneously, Flint answered, “Well, the main 5 are my main focus, but the other 20 come close. They are still essential, and you can work on those intermittently as you see fit as you get past your top 5. They are not as urgent to me, but I still plan to give them a great deal of effort.”

You may be wondering why was Flint’s answer erroneous then? Buffett answers this by saying to Flint shortly after Flint’s reply, “No. You’ve got it wrong, Steve. All you didn’t circle just became your ‘avoid at all cost list.’ These things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your main five.”

Applying the 5/25 Strategy Daily

Buffett informed Flint about the strategy regarding long-term career goals. Still, you may be wondering how to use this same strategy to bring out immense productivity in your everyday life and learn to say no.

  • If your priority is in regards to wellness and fitness

Follow the 3-step process of the strategy and compile a list of 25 goals for your health, such as eating more plant-based foods, losing or gaining a certain amount of weight, or getting adequate rest every day. Then circle out five from these goals and concentrate on them alone.

  • If your priority is in regards to business growth

Apply the 3-step process and jot down 25 goals for your business, such as creating a performance-focused habit, hiring or cutting down staff, manufacturing new products and services. Circle out five from these and focus on them alone.

  • If your priority is in fostering longstanding, helpful relationships

Make use of the 5/25 strategy by putting out in paper 25 of your relationship goals. These include going on vacations with families, developing a relationship-friendly schedule, and building relationships in the world of finance. Circle five of these goals and focus on them alone.


Remonstrate the Unnecessary 

The hands of time keep turning, and the energy we have is all but limited as well. Achieving our goals can be such difficulty when there are so many of them and so little time to achieve them. Trying to meet so many goals at once, even in a long-term perspective, will undoubtedly result in you wearing yourself thin, accompanied by a lot of inessential distractions.

The 5/25 strategy employed by Warren Buffett is one of the best methods, if not the best, to prioritize your time and learn to say no, which will, in turn, heighten your productivity levels momentously and ultimately have you achieving your dreams quicker than you would think. The summarized idea behind the strategy is the brutal exclusion of some things you may even really care about. Doing this will help you focus your limited energy into an unlimited field of few specific goals.

In the words of Alexander Graham Bell, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Ensure to focus on the right things and learn to say no to the unnecessary today.

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