Warren Buffett Says 1 Decision Separates Successful People From Everyone Else (and Will Make the Biggest Difference in Your Life)
Warren Buffett knows how to make smart decisions. One is to say no to just about everything. Another is to hire the right people. But there's one decision Buffett feels is the most important you will ever make: Deciding who to marry.
As Buffett says:
You want to associate with people who are the kind of person you'd like to be. You'll move in that direction. And the most important person by far in that respect is your spouse. I can't overemphasize how important that is. Marry the right person. I'm serious about that. It will make more difference in your life. Research backs him up. One study found that people with relatively prudent and reliable partners tend to perform better at work, earning more promotions, making more money, and feeling more satisfied with their jobs. That's true for men and women. What the researchers call "partner conscientiousness" predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion.
The Power of Partner "Conscientiousness"According to the researchers, "conscientious" partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life -- all of which enables their spouses to focus more on work. As one researcher said, "These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one's professional life." In non-research speak, a good partner sets a good example and makes it possible for you to be a better you. That's definitely true for me. My wife is incredibly organized, juggling family, working multiple jobs, pursuing another advanced degree. She sets goals and achieves those goals. Her conscientiousness sometimes bugged me until I realized the only reason it got on my nerves was because her level of focus implicitly challenged my inherent laziness. Her example helped me realize the best way to get more done is to actually get more done. She not only shows me that, she also helps me do that. And while she's still much more conscientious and organized than I am, she's definitely rubbed off on me in a very positive way. Of course, this makes sense: As Jim Rohn says, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with -- and that's particularly true where our significant others are concerned. Bad habits rub off. Poor tendencies rub off. We all know that. But good habits and good tendencies rub off too. Plus, if one person is extremely organized and keeps your household train running on time, that frees the other up to focus more on work. (Of course, in a perfect world, both people would more or less equally share train-engineer duties so that both can better focus on their careers, whether those careers are in the home or outside.) Keep in mind, I'm not recommending you choose your significant other based solely on conscientiousness. As the researchers say, "Marrying a conscientious partner could at first sound like a recipe for a rigid and lackluster lifestyle." Nor am I suggesting you end a relationship if you feel your partner is lacking in those areas. But it does appear that having a conscientious and prudent partner is part of the recipe for a better and more rewarding career. So instead of expecting your partner to change, think about what you can do to be more supportive of your significant other. Maybe you can take on managing your finances, or take care of more household chores, or repairs, maintenance, or schedules. After all, the best way to lead is by example, and in time you may find that you and your significant other make an outstanding -- and mutually supportive -- team. This will help you both achieve more of your goals. And live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
There’s a depressing reason time flies faster as we age. So here’s how to slow things down.
Digesting that the first day of spring came and passed was a toughie—and not just because the park outside my apartment still looks like the forest from the Blair Witch Project. Rather it’s because of how fast entire seasons—and thus, years—seem to fly by. Honestly, wasn’t it just the holidays? Well, new research shows you’re not crazy—time does seem to be moving more quickly, but the reason why is kind of a downer. We’re all getting old, and our brain needs new viewing material. The theory, recently published in European Review, hypothesized that as we get older, the speed at which we process new images slows down, because our seasoned psyches are simply processing fewer new images. As the web of nerves and neurons grows with age, it gives more resistance to the flow of electrical signals. That negatively impacts the rate at which fresh images are acquired and processed with age. Basically, we’re seeing less new stuff than we used to but within the same brackets of time, and this lower density of stimulus makes time feel as if it’s passing faster. “People are often amazed at how much they remember from days that seemed to last forever in their youth,” lead researcher Adrian Bejan, PhD and professor of mechanical engineering at Duke, tells Science Daily. “It’s not that their experiences were much deeper or more meaningful, it’s just that they were being processed in rapid fire.” Consider how babies are always moving their eyes around quickly: That’s because they’re acquiring all this new information, and they have to do it fast. Meanwhile, adult brains doesn’t have to relearn new images—like the Starbucks on the corner you go to three times a week or the Starbucks three blocks away you go to two times a week. The nerves and neurons have seen these surfaces a gajillion times already, meaning our lives are blandly passing us by at fast-forward speed. So now that you’re either bummed or low-key panicking about your life passing you by, you might be wondering if there’s any way to slow down time. Well, that one terrible Adam Sandler movie suggesting a magical remote as a solution aside, my hot take is that now is the time to switch up your routine or your surroundings. There’s a reason why it seems like time slows down when you’re traveling; it’s the element of novelty, supported by research termed “the oddball effect,” referenced by The Cut. In a 2004 experiment, the image of a shoe flashed on a monitor multiple times and the image of a flower just once. Subjects insisted that the flower was on the screen for much longer, simply because their brain took longer to process it once than it took to process the shoe several times. This is how we can trick our brain to savor the moments we’re in—and honestly, it’s sound advice. I get it if you don’t have the trust fund for an Eat, Pray, Love thing, but exploration doesn’t always involve going to the ends of the Earth. So this spring, seek out your flower! Try a Sri Lankan restaurant. Take a spontaneous day trip. Find a new coffee shop (Starbucks will always be there for times you want to cater to your comfort in sameness!). Look, you can’t stop aging and you can’t stop your brain from doing what it biologically must. But you can slow down your perception of time by discovering new environments, and painting your experiences in different hues. Go see new things and enjoy feeling like you’re living more and louder and longer.
BeeLine Reader uses a colorful cognitive trick to help you read 20 percent faster.
Reading on a regular basis gives your brain a workout, and curling up with a book is a popular habit among the world’s most successful people. Barack Obama said that reading helped him survive his two terms as President, and Bill Gates releases an annual list of his favorite books every year.
If you think you’re too busy to carve out time to read every day, think again. The right speed reading techniques can slash your reading time without sacrificing reading comprehension.
BeeLine Reader is an award-winning plugin that uses a colorful cognitive trick to help you finally get through all of your emails. BeeLine Reader was one of the 10 startups honored at the UN Solutions Summit, and it has won other accolades from Stanford, Dell and the Tech Museum of Innovation. It’s a Chrome and Firefox plugin that changes the text colors on your screen. It creates an eye-guiding color gradient where the color at the end of one text line perfectly matches the hue at the beginning of the next line. This helps you follow text without skipping any lines, speeding up your reading without letting you miss a single word. When you use BeeLine Reader on your inbox, it helps you sift through email subject lines more quickly so you can pull out the most important messages first. It also reduces the risk of “line transition errors,” so you won’t skip any important thoughts as you scroll through your boss’s latest message. BeeLine also helps you absorb and remember the emails, blog posts, white pages and ebooks you read up to 20% faster. If you can read something in your web browser, you can read it more efficiently and thoughtfully with this app. Usually a lifetime subscription to BeeLine Reader costs a hefty $220, but you can start burning through your daily reading now for $29.99 (86 percent off).
Matt Wiley from Smartasset for Bergen Review Media
Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision. Being aware of these seven common blunders when choosing an advisor can help you find peace of mind, and avoid years of stress.
1. Hiring the First Advisor You Meet
While it’s tempting to hire the advisor closest to home or the first advisor in the yellow pages, this decision requires more time. Take the time to interview at least a few advisors before picking the best match for you.
2. Choosing an Advisor with the Wrong Specialty
Some financial advisors specialize in retirement planning, while others are best for business owners or those with a high net worth. Some might be best for young professionals starting a family. Be sure to understand an advisor’s strengths and weaknesses - before signing the dotted line.
3. Picking an Advisor with an Incompatible Strategy
Each advisor has a unique strategy. Some advisors may suggest aggressive investments, while others are more conservative. If you prefer to go all in on stocks, an advisor that prefers bonds and index funds is not a great match for your style.
4. Not Checking References
Most advisors are happy to offer references to prospective clients. Calling references only takes a couple of minutes, and it can help put you at ease when handing over the keys to your bank account.
5. Not Asking about Credentials
To give investment advice, financial advisors are required to pass a test. Ask your advisor about their licenses, tests, and credentials. Financial advisors tests include the Series 7, and Series 66 or Series 65. Some advisors go a step further and become a Certified Financial Planner, or CFP.
6. Making Assumptions When They are Affiliated with a Reputable Brand
An advisor might appear qualified and professional due to an association with a major firm like J.P. Morgan or Morgan Stanley. Working with an advisor from a reputable firm can lead to stability and better tools and information. However, choose an advisor because they are the best fit, not because of their branding.
7. Not Understanding How They are Paid
Some advisors are "fee only" and charge you a flat rate no matter what. Others charge a percentage of your assets under management. Some advisors are paid commissions by mutual funds, a serious conflict of interest. If the advisor earns more by ignoring your best interests, do not hire them.
Article found on: SMARTASSET The web's best personal finance advice.
A Nobel Prize Winning Economist Just Shared His Framework for Making Smart Decisions, and It's Absolutely Brilliant
If you can train yourself to decide things like this, you'll make better choices in life.
When we talk about great leaders, we often talk about decisiveness.
Great leaders don't overthink, we say. They don't succumb to "analysis paralysis." And that makes sense for most decisions, both in business and in life. But that positive leadership quality -- decisiveness -- can bleed into impetuousness and gut-level thinking.
And now, one of the foremost economic thinkers of the last century has published a paper suggesting that a a result, many business leaders go about making the biggest, most consequential decisions of their careers the wrong way.
Big decisions aren't normal
Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review this week, Daniel Kahneman (winner of the Nobel prize in economics), along with Dan Lovallo, and Olivier Sibony, say the root cause for poor strategic decisions is that leaders fail to isolate their human biases and tendencies, which ultimately drives them to make less sound choices. So, Kahneman and his colleagues suggest an approach they call the Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP). As Jena McGregor of The Washington Post summarized, MAP has a single goal: "To put off gut-based decision-making until a choice can be informed by a number of separate factors." In other words, it's a process that requires a leader or a team to delay articulating which of a certain set of outcomes will turn out to be the best choice.
If you're trying to decide whether to hire a key team member, make an acquisition, bring a new product to market, or choose any one of dozens of similarly important, strategic-level decisions, the key in part is to get all the evidence before allowing yourself to decide.
Forget what you want
The MAP protocol isn't intended to take intuition or gut-level thinking out of the decision-making process entirely. But it is designed to guide decision makers to identify independent qualities in any decision, and evaluate them separately and explicitly, before trying to make an overall decision. Why? Mainly because human beings have natural tendencies to let themselves be guided by irrational factors. Maybe it will be more clear with an example that Kahneman and his colleagues make in their paper. Suppose that a venture capital firm is deciding whether to invest in a startup, and some of the partners have already been seen "an impressive product demo," in this example.
That experience might lead them to "rate the management team's skill favorably," even on aspects that have little to do with product development. The investors risk getting excited about the investment, and then wanting to believe that all the other factors they should consider will also support making an investment. But the key is really to forget about what you want -- and train yourself to isolate and identify what the evidence actually tells you.
Define the assessments
Notably, you can't make decisions on each factor separately until you identify the factors -- and how you'll assess them. Of course, this varies depending on the decision you need to make. But you can probably identify some universal categories. If you're deciding whether to launch a business, you might break the categories down into things like:
Use fact-based, independent assessments
Breaking down the overall decision into assessments is great, but you also want to guard against your implicit biases. One way to do this is to insist as much as possible on fact-based assessments. "People who weigh in on one aspect of a strategic option should not be influenced by one another -- or by other dimensions of the option. Their opinions should be grounded in the evidence available," Kahneman and his colleagues write. Market size might be measurable in dollars, but maybe the quality of your team is harder to put a number on. However, forcing yourself -- or your team -- to measure each area separately, while guarding against undue influence of one factor toward another, is important.
The final 10 percent
Admittedly, the MAP process can seem a bit robotic. And, business leaders sometimes resist it, precisely because it encourages you to push all of the gut-level intuition to the last step. Doing that implies perhaps that decision-makers (and leaders) are therefore interchangeable. But that in turn ignores the crucial step of the decision-making process - what we might call the final 10 percent.
"Unlike algorithmic decision-making, which aims to take subjectivity out of the decision entirely, MAP values intuition, provided that it is informed," he writes. "The holistic judgment of experienced executives is valuable, but it must first be prepared by a profile of mediating assessments." In other words, MAP isn't about never taking the human factor out of decision making. It's instead about holding back on the gut-level, intuitive decision making until after you've eliminated as much uncertainty as possible. Doing that should allow you to make much better decisions than other people do. And in turn, become a better leader.