Also known as the ‘Oracle of Omaha’, the third richest man among the 2208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories around the world (source: Forbes 2018 list of Billionaires) Mr. Warren Buffett says, “The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes”.
Though most of us are unable to recognize the man on the left, Buffett credits this man Banjamin Graham, his hero, for teaching him the philosophy of investment, business and ultimately the philosophy of life.
Buffett’s passion for reading, which was introduced to him by his father (whom he speaks of as his first mentor), Howard H. Buffett, steered him to catch hold of an interesting book from a library shelf at the age of 7, One Thousand Ways to Make $1000 by F.C. Minaker. The book gave him a start towards investment and as a result Buffett ended up filing his first tax return at age 14.
Buffett was introduced to his second and most impactful mentor at the age of 19, through his reading of the book, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. Even though Buffett had made his first investment at age 11 under his father’s mentorship, he credits Graham’s principles that established the foundation of investment and that enabled him to become what he is today.
In addition to laying down the 3 key investment principles (https://www.businessinsider.in/3-fundamental-lessons-Warren-Buffett-learned-from-his-mentor-Ben-Graham/articleshow/47463060.cms), Buffett credits Benjamin Graham for bestowing upon him his wisdom to continue to learn and develop oneself as a fine human being. In this direction, Buffett lists 3 lessons that he learnt from his mentor:
• The lesson about powerful ideas executed in a gentle manner
• The lesson about creativity in his ideas
• The lesson about his mentor’s generosity.
Graham had not only provided Buffett with professional tips but also influenced his core beliefs and values. A mentor is someone who provides insight into domains unknown, paths unraveled, the skills unexplored and the blind spots that exist in a mentee, helps reveal the benefits in failure; only to enable his mentee to manifest his inherent creative and innovative potential. In the roles of a teacher, an author, or an employer; Graham truly was a mentor to Buffett worth idolizing and learning from.
Hence, it makes sense to choose one’s mentor wisely. Just like a fly that clings to a galloping horse can cover longer distance than by itself and an ivy plant can grow to a thousand feet by twining around the tall pine tree versus when left alone to grow; similarly a mentor can enable the mentee to develop himself beyond the boundaries of his limitations.
Such is the power of a mentor, a power that focuses upon developing a human into a complete, gentle, generous and creative human. In his talks with young people Buffett mentions that it is the power of one’s inner scorecard that one needs to develop more than worrying about the outer scorecard (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/30/warren-buffetts-best-advice-for-young-people.html) and a true mentor enables such growth.