About halfway through the HBO documentary, “Becoming Warren Buffett,” a scene shows Warren Buffett and Bill Gates sitting at a table, each painting a picture — apparently a first for both. “He doesn’t know much about art,” says Bill in a voiceover. “I can’t tell you the colour of the walls in my bedroom or my living room,” says Warren. “I don’t have a mind that relates to the physical universe well.” For a moment, I thought I detected the slack-jawed bewilderment of a guy on the precipice of failure.
While our interests may diverge, I nevertheless can’t help adopting a few of Warren’s Buffettisms. Shortly after meeting and becoming friends, Bill and Warren were asked by Bill’s dad to write down on a piece of paper one word that best described what had helped them the most. Without collaborating, they each wrote the word, “focus.” Warren calls it his “circle of competence.” “I don’t worry about things that are outside that circle,” he says. “Defining what your game is — where you’re going to have an edge — is enormously important.”
Warren suggests writing a list of two-dozen or so goals within a set time period. Next, circle the five most important. Now, you have two lists. The first, the longer one, is renamed: “Avoid At All Costs.” Do you see where he’s going? “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
As part of living out a mandate of consistency and focus, Warren spends five or six hours daily reading up on his favourite subject, investments. “I like to sit and think,” he says. “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”
PS: “Intensity is the price of excellence.” (Warren Buffett)
Esoterica: Warren Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1930. By the time he was eleven, he was selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola and newspapers door to door and buying his first stock market shares, including shares for his sister. Obsessed with numbers, he fell in love with the magic of compound interest accumulation and discovered that, through research he enjoyed, he could make educated decisions about which companies to buy or short. With a current net worth hovering around $77 billion, Warren has become the most successful investor in history. He also continues to build upon the largest philanthropic gift in history, pledging 83% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At 86, he still lives in the Omaha house he bought for $31,500 with his ex-wife, Susie in 1957. “Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.” (Warren Buffett)
“It’s exactly the life I like. And it’s not work, it’s just a form of play, basically.” (Warren Buffett)
Highlights: See all 6 Mosaic’d churches in Ravenna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Visit & sketch the places where Michelangelo sketched in the late 1490’s in Bologna; Wander the house where Renaissance artist Rafael’s grew up; Tour the castle that inspired a chapter in Dante’s Divine Comedy; Paint while watching the sunset over a cliff-top castle; Ride a bicycle along the beach to a Roman Bridge built in 10AD that is still in use today!; Sketch alongside Canadian artist Joanne Hastie & experience how the Italian countryside inspires her art.
Included: 7 nights accommodations, 7 gourmet breakfasts, 7 gourmet dinners (wine included) at Hotel Belvedere in Riccione; transportation to and from Riccione to each location; watercolor sketchbook, plein-air starter kit (watercolor), ink pen, eraser
$3325 CAD per person
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