Friday, August 7, 2009

The Snowball- Lucky to Be Me

…here is this barrel with 6.5 billion balls, everybody in the world, if you could put your ball back, and they took out a random 100 balls and you had to pick one of those, would you put your ball back in? Now those 100 balls you are going to get out, roughly 5 of them will be American, 95/5. So if you want to be in this country, you will only have 5 balls, half of them will be women and half men--I will let you decide how you will vote on that one. Half of them will be below average in intelligence and half above average in intelligence. Do you want to put your ball in there? Most of you will not want to put your ball back to get 100. So what you are saying is: I am in the luckiest one percent of the world right now sitting in this room-- the top 1% of the world.
-Warren Buffett

The quote comes from a 1998 presentation Buffett gave to Florida MBA students (quote above from video 10). It’s a great way of putting things too. Aside from my few readers outside the Country we are all United States Citizens and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. We probably are happy with the sex we are. So that leaves you already in the luckiest 2 1/2 % of the world. We so often compare ourselves to our immediate environment.

A great example is I often consider myself a funny guy, and at work I can often kill the room. I’m one of the funniest accountants I know, but really as a group how funny are we… Put me in a room full of comedians and I’m the least talented of the bunch. When it comes to analytical skills though accountants are very high on that list. There are definitely people in my profession whose analytical skills surpass my own. Put me in a room with a bunch of comedians again and I’m probably the most analytical guy there. It’s all about perspective, and when you really sit down and think about it you’re in a really good place right now. You’ve been given more advantages than most in the world. Appreciate it and take advantage of it.

Another great point Buffett makes is that he had as much fun doing his job with $10,000 as he did with $100,000,000. It was never about the money. It was always about doing what he loved to do (which is allocating capital). If you have a passion go out and pursue it. If you don’t know exactly what your passion is (like me) then develop yourself. You’re one of the luckiest people in the world… take advantage of it.

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