What Warren Buffett Would Tell You About Love and Relationships

I love Warren Buffett and his ideas. Anyone who has ever loved investing, investment philosophies and the whole idea behind it — loves the Berkshire Hathaway letters more than their own love letters probably. Each of them is a storehouse of genuine, logic and knowledge.

Warren Buffett on Love

It is said that relationships are lived from the heart, not the mind. And investments are exact opposite. So how do we mix them? Turning to Warren Buffett’s wisdom bank for some invaluable advice on love and relationships:

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

You know, there is no emotional insurance for the uncertainties of life. And monetary compensations hardly come close in comparison to the mental calm you seek when things go wrong. You have to live with your thoughts, in your own head, while going through whatever turmoil you are going through.

If you haven’t been able to build a rock solid internal software, all the malware and the virus of life will keep hitting you all over the place. Invest in that anti-virus. I call it the anti-misery virus. Invest in making your heart and soul rock solid. Invest in improving your warfare, should life throw uncertainties at you, as it surely will.

Weak people are of no strength to anyone. And moping, always weeping people are not an attraction for long either. It is okay to feel sapped off. But a greater sin to yourself is to not try and get up ever. You need to invest in your own character. Make smart and strong investments towards building such inner strength that no relationship forces can cause you a shipwreck. You may feel turbulence but you will know how to manage yourself and be right on track.

Only a good investor knows the value of good self. For if you are sound, you can re-invest. Never lose that soundness. That’s your insurance. It may not cost you money but it will cost you every ounce of energy. And once you have that in place, you can conquer any relationship woes!

“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.”

I love this one. So simple and so beautiful. It is easy to foresee what may go wrong in your relationship. Repeated behaviours can show you patters — be it your own or your partner’s. Sometimes you can predict and sometimes you can’t. But that foresight isn’t enough. What will you do with a list of things that can go wrong if you do not know how to set them straight?

If you know your habits, you should try and change them while there is still time. And also have back up plans in case one or both of you end up screwing things.

I know all these relationship quotes by Warren Buffet may give you an impression that I am seeing relationships as extremely transactional and two people as two sides of balance sheet. It may so appear that I am encouraging people to back out as quickly as possible in case things don’t work out in their relationships.

But that’s not true. I am a Motivational Speaker, and it is my job to help you figure out — when it is enough.

There is a time to back out and that’s early in a relationship when you are not too attached. That’s the time to predict rains. And if you think you are not ready to bear a monsoon with the person you are dating, you leave. But if we talk about marriages / other family relationships, you are probably in for all seasons. There is no backing out until it’s probably a flood and that’s why you need those arks.

If you have found your forever, you should know — that with forever, all seasons tag along. Rains too. And that’s why you need to build arks.

“Successful Investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day. You weren’t built in a day. The person you are today is the result of more than two decades of learning, unlearning, socialization and experiences at the least. And so is your partner.

That’s just too much of baggage that any person enters into a relationship with. To make space for each other in your lives and suitcases and wardrobes takes time. It takes love, patience, understanding, some adjustments and lot of maturity. It’s a dish that can get screwed up so easily. Individually you may be brilliant people. But how are you as a team? You will need to figure that out with patience and experience.

There is a learning curve in every relationship. And as it is said, no matter how many mommies are pregnant, the babies will take their sweet 9 months. In fact, those who come out early are often in a lot of risk. That gestation period prepares them for life.

With relationships, the gestation period is never fixed. It depends on the quality of the two people. But I am most certain it is never one single day or month. Like wine, it becomes better with age, hopefully.

As a married man I can surely say, the marriage begins after the honeymoon is over, after the fiery romance has settled a little and after all the sex has been had. It is like building a fortress. You need a solid foundation and you need patience, brick by brick, day by day, moment by moment patience, to build a relationship that can stand the test of time.

“Buy a stock the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of any market.”

Houses, cars etc. are big investments. You do crazy amount of research before buying a car don’t you? You don’t just run into one and own it. More so for houses. You go in, take a feel, see what the ghar “says to you” before deciding to invest.

Same for relationships. After all, the relationship will be there in the car and in the house. Try as much to understand the other person before you try to become an invincible part of their lives. Don’t just be choosing people out of loneliness and boredom. That’s the best recipe for disaster.

Before you invest in any relationship, you need to make peace with your own company. Be sure even when you are with someone, you can enjoy solitude. It is very important that you do not lose your sense of space in a relationship. It could be physical or mental but have that mind palace where you can slip in and everyone else’s entry is proscribed!

“What an investor needs is the ability to correctly evaluate selected businesses. Note that word ‘selected’: You don’t have to be an expert on every company, or even many. You only have to be able to evaluate companies within your circle of competence. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital.”

Simply put, you pick your battles. And you don’t rattle everything that crosses your way. Most people forget that they are not dating themselves and hence should not be hoping for perfection. If two people are trying to cohabitate mentally and physically, there will be clashes and wars too. But you don’t need to fight them all.

Choose 5 things that matter to you most in a relationship. Any 6th thing is probably not worth losing your sleep over. I do not mean to say that you neglect mistakes. Just, don’t fight over them. If something your partner is doing that’s bothering you, talk to them calmly and try to explain them your situation and how you feel about it. Don’t start barking or exploding at the slightest touch. That can’t ever be good for a relationship.

Your priorities, your top 5, are your boundaries. Anything before that should not tick you off. Anything beyond that should not be tolerated.

“What counts for most people in investing is not how much they know, but rather how realistically they define what they don’t know.”

When you assume, you make an ass of yourself and the other person. It is true for all relationships, irrespective of their nature. If you are in doubt, always look at two things — what you know and what you do not know.

When you assume, you are telling the people you love that you do not trust them. Always ask. There might be more to a situation than you think there is. Of course there is also the chance that you may be lied to, or kept in the dark. But this is for your own peace, more than for the benefit of doubt that your partner owes. At least this way, you will know that you gave them a chance, to set things straight. You will know that you did the right thing.

But I do not mean, even for once, that you become stupid. What you do not know, should not be taken at face value. Please know that you have the right to ask questions and be convinced. And you have the right to keep asking questions till you are convinced. There are two people in a relationship and it is important that both be comfortable and on the same page.

If you have a nagging suspicion about the other person’s loyalties, it will eat away your relationship anyway. Always try to be convinced. And know, that sometimes the best of people go wrong. That does not excuse their wrong doing, even one bit. But they do go wrong. So, do not let people off until you are convinced. Do not let people off just because you think you know.

Invest in what you do not know, as much as what you do know.

Relationships — the most constant investments in our lives :). Invest well.

Akash Gautam

To know more about Akash or subscribe to his blog, please visit his website.

Akash Gautam is one of India’s Top Motivational Speakers, Corporate Trainers and Bloggers. He loves speaking, writing, meditating and parenting.